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Thread: Improv is bad

  1. #31
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    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.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    that stockhausen piece at audio poverty was gorgeous wasn't it?
    Yes, especially the cellist

    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    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.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    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.

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    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.

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    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.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    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

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunninger View Post
    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
    Last edited by subvert47; 14-03-2010 at 06:46 PM.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunninger View Post
    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...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slothrop View Post
    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


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    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.

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    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

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    Eight years ago I see I had things to say about this. Now I just looked at the title...

    Quote Originally Posted by woops View Post
    Improv is bad
    and immediately thought...

    "m'kay"

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