PDA

View Full Version : Improv is bad



woops
08-03-2010, 09:35 PM
While I'm at this I may as well mention that Free Jazz is great, but where's the interest in listening to a form of music that makes a point of rejecting your interest.
Free jazz is completely different.

connect_icut
08-03-2010, 09:51 PM
I tend to like non-idiomatic improv most in solo performance - the solo work of Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, in particular, is great. In a group context, the desire to avoid cliche often seems to result in people playing at cross purposes or just plain not listening to each other.

Also, it's incredible how cliche-ridden and conformist improv can actually be. The last improv show I went to featured a lot of people blowing into their wind instruments with the mouth-pieces removed, resulting in a uniform puffing noise. It was totally ridiculous but they were all doing it because I guess that's what the cool thing was in improv at that moment.

woops
08-03-2010, 09:54 PM
It was totally ridiculous but they were all doing it because I guess that's what the cool thing was in improv at that moment.

+n large up Mr. Tea in a different context.

If it's all about freedom to do what thou wilt why the massively documented reluctance to play in time? or to harmonise?

somebody please defend

mixed_biscuits
08-03-2010, 10:31 PM
There's no need for those blasting convention to play in time or harmonise because musicians are obviously free to do that already. The whole point is to try things that aren't usually done and see whether it brings bad luck or not. And they have to run each experiment at least twice just to check.

These pioneers are not free in that they are obliged to transgress. But in transgressing they give they then give every one of us more room in which to express ourselves - they give each of us more freedom. And for this reason, above all others, you too are subject to an obligation: to listen to what they do and pretend to enjoy it.

woops
08-03-2010, 10:51 PM
you're always wrong when you rely on safety in numbers.
or well
a pioneer in the day was the guy who put pions in for future guys to navigate by

Leo
08-03-2010, 10:52 PM
every once in a while i read some reviews in the wire and feel compelled to pick up a few improv cds, and i don't dislike them but can't say i get it and really enjoy it. just recently got burkhard stangl/kai fagaschinski "musik: ein portrat in sehnsucht" on erstwhile and Polwechsel "Archives of the North" on hatOLOGY and been making an effort to play them at least once a day to see if they sink in, but not really happening yet.

i do think some of this might be more interesting live than on cd (except for the examples mentioned above...)

woops
08-03-2010, 10:59 PM
i get it and really enjoy it

this is what's missing

that's why pictures can be a great record and n can't

Leo
08-03-2010, 11:30 PM
i get it and really enjoy it

this is what's missing

that's why pictures can be a great record and n can't

i must have missed something, don't understand what you mean. do you think improv is bad, or do you get it/really enjoy it?

woops
09-03-2010, 07:26 AM
it's the 1% of it that i like makes me wonder why

vimothy
09-03-2010, 08:32 AM
Get this:

http://www.emd.pl/wiki_data/images/7/7e/Four_Gentlemen_of_the_Guitar_Cloud.jpg

It's the shizz.

massrock
09-03-2010, 12:06 PM
shb;r

--- - o . pE .


f )e ^sk FTFTFt

;~~~~~~~~~¦~~~~ `0

+

zhao
09-03-2010, 12:16 PM
shb;r

--- - o . pE .


f )e ^sk FTFTFt

;~~~~~~~~~¦~~~~ `0

+

this is an undisciplined derivation of 70s post-concrete while adding nothing worthwhile. flowery and decorative frivolity in place of formal rigor. you just made Derek Bailey cry. i hope you are proud.

massrock
09-03-2010, 12:19 PM
Derek Bailey was a cunt and so are you.

massrock
09-03-2010, 12:24 PM
OK that's not fair, I never met Derek Bailey.

john eden
09-03-2010, 12:30 PM
isn't all music improvised to some extent? :confused:

STN
09-03-2010, 12:42 PM
I love it, though I'd be hard-pressed to explain why. Definitely better live than on record. Sounds much more similar within itself than almost any other style of music. I read Ben Watson's book on Derek Bailey and all the manifesto-writing and posturing was unimaginably boring and depressing and it was about 6 months before I could be arsed to listen to any improv after that.

martin
09-03-2010, 01:00 PM
I checked improv out years ago (in the academic sense of the word) and I ended up walking away. Two things I couldn't stand from experts on the subject: 1) The insistence that you always have to take it 'seriously'. Why? I thought the story about AMM having a hissy fit when an audience member couldn't stop coughing was hilarious 2) The insistence that, if you don't like it or find it boring, it's somehow 'your' fault, making you a closed-minded audio nazi, unable to cast off your 4/4 chains.

I like some of the Scratch Orchestra stuff, they didn't seem so defensive about what they were doing.

zhao
09-03-2010, 01:02 PM
OK that's not fair, I never met Derek Bailey.

but in all likelihood, he was probably a cunt. like me.

zhao
09-03-2010, 01:04 PM
isn't all music improvised to some extent? :confused:

no!

STN
09-03-2010, 01:04 PM
I checked improv out years ago (in the academic sense of the word) and I ended up walking away. Two things I couldn't stand from experts on the subject: 1) The insistence that you always have to take it 'seriously'. Why? I thought the story about AMM having a hissy fit when an audience member couldn't stop coughing was hilarious 2) The insistence that, if you don't like it or find it boring, it's somehow 'your' fault, making you a closed-minded audio nazi, unable to cast off your 4/4 chains.

I like some of the Scratch Orchestra stuff, they didn't seem so defensive about what they were doing.

I like it, but I do find it fucking hilarious as well: watching these old alcoholic socialists banging stuff together. Brilliant. I think you would like Machine Gun, by the Peter Brotzmann tentet actually.

martin
09-03-2010, 01:30 PM
I like it, but I do find it fucking hilarious as well: watching these old alcoholic socialists banging stuff together. Brilliant. I think you would like Machine Gun, by the Peter Brotzmann tentet actually.

I'm hoping it involves randomly firing off volleys from an AK-47 on a shooting range...but will have a squizz for it on Mediafire anyway...

john eden
09-03-2010, 01:46 PM
no!

how come?

woops
09-03-2010, 01:50 PM
when improvisation = composition you have rendered meaningless the distinction

john eden
09-03-2010, 01:56 PM
when improvisation = composition you have rendered meaningless the distinction

I'm not saying that they are the same, just that improvisation is one of the tools which is used in composition.

This comes back to the value, or lack of, of having recordings of improv gigs.

How is a recording of an improv gig different from a recording of any other gig?

zhao
09-03-2010, 01:57 PM
how come?

because a lot of music is written according to a set structure, and played according to the score.

sure you can say a bit of improvisation went into the compositional process of trying things that might work, or that each interpretation sounds slightly different, but improvisation play very minor, non-roles in the creation and consumption of the music.

of course fundamentally speaking improvisation is everywhere. but the whole reason why we (arguably i guess) need a genre specifically deals with improvisation is that improvisation and playfulness and a sense of adventure, if it can be described as that, has been marginalized by the implementations of various codes and structures.

john eden
09-03-2010, 01:57 PM
'I do not write experimental music...my experimenting is done before I make my music. Afterwards it is the listener who must experiment.' Edgar Varese

zhao
09-03-2010, 01:59 PM
This comes back to the value, or lack of, of having recordings of improv gigs.

How is a recording of an improv gig different from a recording of any other gig?

yeah "recorded music is canned music", and we should listen to improv recordings once and throw them away...

woops
09-03-2010, 02:01 PM
it's a good line.
improvisation is a part of the interpretation of a composition, that's why I see scores marked ad lib.

john eden
09-03-2010, 02:04 PM
because a lot of music is written according to a set structure, and played according to the score.

sure you can say a bit of improvisation went into the compositional process of trying things that might work, or that each interpretation sounds slightly different, but improvisation play very minor, non-roles in the creation and consumption of the music.

of course fundamentally speaking improvisation is everywhere. but the whole reason why we (arguably i guess) need a genre specifically deals with improvisation is that improvisation and playfulness and a sense of adventure, if it can be described as that, has been marginalized by the implementations of various codes and structures.

That's interesting. It's not something I know much about so I'm not intentionally up for an argument or anything.

is it really true that lots of music is played according to the score? I'd be surprised if that was the case for anyone on here who made music?

And ditto with composition - I imagine for a lot of people here they are dealing with very rigid rhythmic structures in terms of bpms, but surely all the stuff which makes tracks interesting is a product of arsing about, improvising, mistakes, experimenting?

john eden
09-03-2010, 02:08 PM
I should also say that Improv as a genre is not something I know to much about but have seen a reasonable amount of it live. And sometimes it's rubbish and sometimes it's great - usually on the same night.

For example I was at this thing on Sunday where Walter Cardew (son of...) was playing. He wasn't reading sheet music or anything, so I guess it was improvised. It was ok, glad I saw it.

Incidentally how do "conceptual" scores fit into this? Like that Stockhausen piece "Hunger" where they have to starve themselves for a week and then play one note (i.e no chords)?

zhao
09-03-2010, 02:22 PM
that stockhausen piece at audio poverty was gorgeous wasn't it?

to an extent its a matter of degrees, focus, and intent.

lots of improv players, or all, have a routine and specific pallete of sounds that they use, signatures if you will, so how improvised is each performance is up to debate...

a friend mentioned once that the background and experiences of each free player, and their interaction with another player, makes it that at any given point in time, they HAVE TO produce the sound that they did, and no other sound is possible... really interesting determinist angle.

john eden
09-03-2010, 02:28 PM
that stockhausen piece at audio poverty was gorgeous wasn't it?

Yes, especially the cellist :o

I think probably what I'm getting at is that it is a question of degree and intent as you say.

I'm interested in stuff like - when Jah Shaka plays a record and then messes with the bassline via his pre-amp and adds lots of sirens on top of it, is he improvising?

zhao
09-03-2010, 02:31 PM
when Jah Shaka plays a record and then messes with the bassline via his pre-amp and adds lots of sirens on top of it, is he improvising?

to a very small degree i would say. the dynamic he is after is an established one, that of "mashing up the dance", the timing, and sounds he uses, are all according to convention.

john eden
09-03-2010, 02:42 PM
to a very small degree i would say. the dynamic he is after is an established one, that of "mashing up the dance", the timing, and sounds he uses, are all according to convention.

Yeah I can see that and fair enough. It does beg the question about conventions of skronking saxophones tho?

zhao
09-03-2010, 03:01 PM
It does beg the question about conventions of skronking saxophones tho?

yeah like i said earlier, almost all "free" players have a bag of tricks that they use. palettes, dynamics, etc. it's routine to an extent... i can spot a few artists in any recording -- we humans are all creatures of habit after all. but the nature of what they do, responding to ideally un-premeditated situations, according to their abilities and sensibilities, and according to if they are feeling a bit ill or happy that day, makes it much more improvised than a reggae selector or rock drummer.

Leo
09-03-2010, 04:08 PM
i too know far less than others about improv, but do know that i enjoy it more when there's at least something going on (paul baran's recent "panotic" on fang bomb is a good example). i remember picking up the rowe/tilbury "duos for doris" 2cd after reading great reviews and "enjoying" it in concept on first listen but really having little desire to hear it again cuz there's just so little going on. the concept of minimal/quiet is fine but not all that inviting.

maybe this is what i mean by it being perhaps better suited to the live performance. if i'd experienced "duos for doris" live, i probably would have been impressed, but it just doesn't pull me in for repeat home listening.

Dunninger
09-03-2010, 08:17 PM
On record I tend to listen to improvised music as if it was composed. After all it is 'spontaneous composition' and there are so many shades of grey. In many cases I don't even know to which degree the music is improvised, edited or composed. Improv purists would probably shake their heads.
In a performance situation it's a bit different. Part of the appeal is to see how the performers try to deal with each other. The improviser has to be very much in 'the now' and make new decisions for every moment what to do (or not), and following that as a listener can be very exciting. But of course, improv can be dull and clichéd, and it often is. But that's true for every type of music.

subvert47
14-03-2010, 10:28 AM
I should also say that Improv as a genre is not something I know to much about but have seen a reasonable amount of it live. And sometimes it's rubbish and sometimes it's great - usually on the same night.

exactly so :)

people are trying to make stuff up right there on the spot.
obviously some (a lot) of it is going to be garbage

subvert47
14-03-2010, 10:31 AM
On record I tend to listen to improvised music as if it was composed. After all it is 'spontaneous composition' and there are so many shades of grey. In many cases I don't even know to which degree the music is improvised, edited or composed. Improv purists would probably shake their heads.

No, that makes complete sense. When improv is recorded it thereby becomes composed after you've listened to it more than once; i.e. you hear patterns in the music, impose patterns on it, etc.

So I guess the true improv fan should only listen to the recording once and then throw it away ;)

edit: ah I see zhao already said that :)

Slothrop
14-03-2010, 11:26 AM
In a performance situation it's a bit different. Part of the appeal is to see how the performers try to deal with each other.
A lot of them approach this partly as a political thing, don't they? Kind of like an improvised performance is a microcosm of how people can relate in an anarchist society or something? Don't really know much about this, but that's the impression I've picked up from the odd interview in the Wire, at least. I'd be interested if anyone knows more about this angle...

subvert47
14-03-2010, 05:44 PM
A lot of them approach this partly as a political thing, don't they? Kind of like an improvised performance is a microcosm of how people can relate in an anarchist society or something? Don't really know much about this, but that's the impression I've picked up from the odd interview in the Wire, at least. I'd be interested if anyone knows more about this angle...

to a certain extent, yes
if you want to know more you should read Eddie Prévost's book No Sound Is Innocent (http://www.matchlessrecordings.com/no-sound-is-innocent)

:)

connect_icut
14-03-2010, 06:01 PM
The first wave of British free improv (AMM, Company, SME etc...) was highly, highly political but I suspect that, nowadays, free improv is just something a lot of people get into when they're at music school. That might account for the lack of imagination in much contemporary improv. Music school people tend to be most comfortable doing stuff just because that's-what-you-do, without asking too many questions, whereas the original improv scene was all about asking difficult questions and challenging yourself.

luka
05-02-2018, 04:20 PM
john eden's Avatar
john eden
john eden is online now male pale and stale

Join Date
Oct 2004
Location
North East London
Posts
5,472

Default

Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
that stockhausen piece at audio poverty was gorgeous wasn't it?
Yes, especially the cellist

when a red blooded male could still say 'phwoar' without a hatemob of feminazis internet shaming him on twitter and ruining his life

luka
05-02-2018, 04:50 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKK42VGl2XA&t=2368s

subvert47
06-02-2018, 11:08 AM
Eight years ago I see I had things to say about this. Now I just looked at the title...


Improv is bad

and immediately thought...

"m'kay"

luka
06-02-2018, 11:11 AM
it's just a provactive way to title an improv thread really. conversation starter. can't get much going on an internet forum without that sort of behaviour. turns into a dinner party.

subvert47
06-02-2018, 11:17 AM
it's just a provactive way to title an improv thread really. conversation starter. can't get much going on an internet forum without that sort of behaviour. turns into a dinner party.

sure thing; my post was more a comment on my declining intellectual proclivities than anything else ;)