Across the Transom: October 2022
SoB at St. Ann's, Touring Economics, Insight
Gahlord Dewald :: 10/23/22 :: New York City
- Calypso & Highlife, video clip
- Niven's Jazz Archive, archive.org
- Images of the earth are free, satellite photo database
- 13 Point Manifesto for DIY, text
- color relativity, video
excerpt from an email, much glossed over, many nuances and side-paths of history skipped over:
Magazines & Zines
A typical 'zine manufacture and distribution system works like this: an initial version is created (often as a maquette–a physical cut/paste version with all the pages in proper configuration for duplication–though since the mid-nineties it could also be as a PDF), that initial version is duplicated on requisitioned corporate machines or in photocopy centers close to the people to whom it will distributed, some number is often mailed to the different 'zine archives or friends in other cities as part of a swap etc, some are distributed by mail order).
The 'zine as an object is often informed by this process: 8.5x11, folded in half, staple bind is something every copy center in the US can do, as well as many large companies and nearly every church.
The benefits of this approach are:
- low cost of duplication: no trimming, staple bind, usually no color or only 4 or 8 pages of color
- manufacture close to the audience decreases shipping expenses. It’s notable that Lulu does cover USA, Australia, & Europe though.
- handmade touches can be added: foregoing the staple for other binding was often a cost-saving measure but evolved into many people genuinely enjoying that aspect of the craft.
- Direct connection on distribution: an overall 'zine ethos of direct connection is enhanced when a human being who produced the thing slips it into an envelope or delivers it by hand.
- Archive/Show distribution: conversely, when the distribution of a 'zine is reinforcing a cultural institution like a show or 'zine archive or art collective instead of a capital institution like a PoD service, this is also nice.
I guess overall the low-convenience model of 'zine manufacture and distribution is about direct connection and engaging meaningfully with the question “Which kinds of institutions does our labor reinforce?”
an excerpt from a response about why musicians don't have their own websites
Though I maintain my own website and encourage others to do so as well, I think the reasons musicians often skip this include:
- Little/no benefit to the musician. Financial remuneration (if any) comes via Bandcamp, social proof (for bookers/promoters) comes via Soundcloud/Instagram, true fans/connection happens via the email newsletter. Who benefits from the existence of the website? Do those people exist? Is there a way for a musician to know that they exist? Is it more compelling/dopamine rich than social media thumbs?
- It takes time to make. We have less and less time and take on greater and greater administrative burdens. If we want to make music something has to give and the personal website, with the cui bono being a big question mark, is the thing that is dropped.
- A personal site can become a source of anxiety (“is my website good enough?” “oh no I haven’t updated it” “it doesn’t accurately represent what I want to be” “there is incredible friction using this software, designed for marketers, to represent myself creatively” etc.)
- Not all musicians are writers or enjoy the production of text or images etc. Some people just like making the music and all the verbiage around it is rough. Perhaps equivalent to the studio visual artist who dislikes writing artist statements or panels for a gallery show.
We went to Everything Rises, music by Ken Ueno and performed by Jenny Koh and Devóne Hines, at BAM.
An experimental sound occupying a space between narrative, documentary, and mood performed by two outstanding musicians.
- History (with lots of fun citations) and introduction to Hydra by Olivia Jack, video
- DIY Interactive Music Video Colab Series w/ Olivia Jack, tutorial
- Real Music Wages responses, database/spreadsheet
- Audre Lorde reading "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power," (text) essay
- Camera flange distances, table
A bunch of tours have been cancelled recently, citing tour economics health risks. The cancelled shows are by groups that fall in the gap between "not gigantically famous" and "mostly unknown and crashing with friends."
Every show that's performed is an investment of time and love. Sometimes the balance is in favor of the artist and they get some money at the end of the night. Sometimes the balance is in favor or the venue or scene and the artist loses cash or breaks even.
The new reality of pretend-there's-no-pandemic places tremendous risk on the touring artist. If they get COVID-19 during the tour then they lose revenue. The risk multiplies with every additional artist beyond solo and with every crew member (driver, sound engineer, cartage assistant, instrument tech, etc).
The economics were precarious before but they may well be unviable entirely now, at least for normal linear tours where an artist travels from place to place every night.
We went to see Dance Hole, a dance performance at The Tank near where we're staying. It was a four act with different dancers in charge of each act, curated by evan ray suzuki. Performers were Asia Stewart, evan ray suzuki, liana zhen-ai, and Ragin Smith.
The evening had moments of Bob Fossey crashing into ballet, robot, whimsey/dada (rubber painting gloves on feet and everything), and conceptual movement with narration.
The highlight for me was Asia Stewart's extremely well-developed spoken essay on the psychology of "getting a deal" which included personal family history and receipts. She paired this with the creation of a mobile-like structure made of store hangers and old clothes and a promenade. I would love to see the essay itself published as text.
I attended a performance by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn which contained pieces by Scott Wollschleger, my partner Leilehua Lanzilotti, and Jeffrey Mumford. I'd heard the Wollschleger before in the recording and played myself on the premier and recording of Leilehua's piece. The show took place in at St. Ann's in Brooklyn.
With so many friends involved in the show I can of course hardly give an "objective" (whatever that might mean) review, but I do want to take a moment to engage with the music in writing.
Before the performance I was curious to see how Scott's piece, Outside Only Sound would do in an indoor concert setting. The work had been commissioned as a piece to play in the park during the time when NYC was taking the pandemic quite seriously.
It's made up of sounds that can survive in the ambient fabric of a park: bells, scratch tones, all manner of interesting and beautiful textures created by wood and bow. The performers dispersed throughout the nave, surrounding the audience with these sounds.
The volume of air contained within the vaulted stone church shimmered and shook with these sounds, hanging just a moment and then gone. The effect was fantastic to my ears and put to rest any apprehension that the title of the work might be predictive in a strict sense.
In with eyes the color of time conductor and leader of The SoB Eli Spindel took the pacing a little slower than we did in the recording or premiere. This let the lush moments go deep and variety of textural elements really take up space. I'm not sure if I like either of the tempos more than the other—just different ways of perceiving time in a sonic texture.
Again, the room lent a gentle reverberation to the sound. As with eyes the color of time makes use of a wide array of white noise textures, a susurrative ebb and flow became a sort of formal element between moments of melodic poignancy or percussive scramblings.
A few moments of magic were provided courtesy of air traffic control: a turboprop doing very slow circles in the night sky added an exceptionally deep drone in parts via a trick of psychoacoustics and an incredibly slow approach of a helicopter lent it's rotor wash to the aforementioned susurrations.
While many pieces might be "wrecked" by intrusions like this from the outside world–especially something as gossamer light as moments in this work tend to be, there's something open and inviting to Lanzilotti's work where this sort of chance encounter with the real world ends up deepening the experience, a once only and never to be repeated moment.
Jeffrey Mumford's brightness dispersed was a world premiere by The SoB with Mariel Roberts as cello soloist. One of Roberts' pandemic zoom concerts was the highlight of my lockdown so I was especially psyched to see her take the stage for this work.
Following two works that made such thorough explorations of texture and space, Mumford's work jumped right into it with more traditional arco and pizzicato sound sources. Explorations of harmony and melody moved quickly through the air.
The bright tempos and playful colors of the orchestra danced into the room and with them Roberts' beautiful tone and spirit on the cello.
When the concert was finished a friend seated nearby leaned over and, thoroughly sated, said smilingly "I feel very full." So many different sounds, emotions, textures, and moments. What a great night out.
We grabbed a car hit the road for NJ to catch the results Bora Yoon's workshopping of her forthcoming opera at Princeton. First an afternoon talking with friends and then the show and then hanging briefly with more friends before the late night haul back to the city.
I enjoyed all of it and absolutely loved Bora's opening song. The melody was delicious and instantly made me want to make a double bass transcription, maybe someday I'll do a bunch of contemporary opera arias like some cyberpunk Bottesini.
I'm often sort of dancing on the edge of academia, having never gotten a masters and constantly surrounded by those who are getting them or already have them. As part of this dancing I'm curious about tools to organize knowledge. Here's a thread of getting started with Zotero tutorials.