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Thread: Improv is bad

  1. #16
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    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.

  2. #17

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    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.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by massrock View Post
    OK that's not fair, I never met Derek Bailey.
    but in all likelihood, he was probably a cunt. like me.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by martin View Post
    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.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    isn't all music improvised to some extent?
    no!

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by STN View Post
    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...

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    no!
    how come?

  8. #23
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    when improvisation = composition you have rendered meaningless the distinction

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by woops View Post
    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?

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    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.

  11. #26
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    '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

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    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...
    Last edited by zhao; 09-03-2010 at 02:02 PM.

  13. #28
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    it's a good line.
    improvisation is a part of the interpretation of a composition, that's why I see scores marked ad lib.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    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?

  15. #30
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    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)?

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