Prog-Rock Politics

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Check out this customer review of Paul Stump - The Music's All That Matters : A History Of Progressive Rock.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0704380366/qid=1081997031/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_3/102-3542073-7427317?v=glance&s=books

The Music's All That Matters: A History of Progressive Rock
by Paul Stump

Is the music all that matters?, March 14, 2004
Reviewer: maiala

To have a better understanding of this book one must take into account its author's ideology. As pointed out by Edward Macan (whose musicological and sociological analysis is much more superior to Stump's), the ranks of music critics were dominated by neo-Marxists. That explains Stump's preferences and prejudices. Henry Cow and Soft Machine get his praise because of their ideological beliefs rather than their artistic merits (in the long list of acknowledgments, he thanks Chris Cutler for "intellectual inspiration"). Accordingly, Stump's sarcasm towards Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull, etc., is focused mainly on their decadence, not their music. But Stump's objectivity in his venom distribution is skewed too - for example, his bourgeois ways notwithstanding, Bill Bruford (as well as all Stump's interviewees) gets a much better treatment than other members of Yes. Kind of a payback.
Writing a history of progressive rock is quite an ambitious undertaking, and it's hard to expect one person to know everything about the multitude of bands and musicians. Claiming encyclopedic knowledge, Stump can't leave out less-popular-yet-major players. Here Stump's pretense is apparent, as his familiarity with those bands is rather minimal in many instances. Take Gentle Giant. Stump's upcoming book implies that he must be a great scholar of their work, but his overview of the group looks more like a compilation of opinions. At the very first mention, he defines them as a part of "by far the more commercially successful form of Progressive rock" (page 97). This statement should not even be contested because of its obvious fallacy. The fact alone that one of their best records, In a Glass House, had never been released in the U.S. as too "uncommercial" leaves no uncertainty about their moneymaking success. Their statement about "blatant commercialism", ridiculed by Stump, really reflects their approach towards music. Stump repeats every silly epithet used by critics (except for "pretentious") and then refers to Jan-Paul van Spaendonck whose opinion he evidently respects and whose high praise is in total contradiction with Stump's pearls. This dualism reveals his total lack of knowledge of the subject. He is tempted to side with the majority, but few respected voices confuse him. So it came out pretty confusing and quite pathetic too.
Stump's interpretation and philosophizing of the social side of the movement is rooted in his ideology. It's full of customary Marxist truisms, and is pretty shallow and weak.
On a minor note, Stump's universally praised vocabulary is an intellectual show-off, a sign of self-infatuation, typical for unrecognized self-achievers. A standout evidence of that is his comparison between prog "big guns" and "ascetic and virtuous Stakhanovites" (page 12). For the record, the Stakhanovites were super-productive workers during the industrial build-up in the Soviet Union in the '30s. These people were neither ascetic nor virtuous. Their only virtue was their productivity. Otherwise, they were quite arrogant because they were well-paid (i.e. rich) and famous. Stump's desire to impress results in his attempts for neologisms and improper use of words ("atavism" and "lumpen" come to mind) as he tries to impose his "intellectual superiority".
All in all, ignore Stump's ideological assault and don't succumb to his pseudo-intellectual pressure, and you have a good historical overview of progressive rock although his pretentious style really spoils it.


My question is do you agree with this guy that progs bands got/get positive/negative reviews because "the ranks of music critics were dominated by neo-Marxists. " ?

Also feel free to discuss anything socio-political about prog rock.

Cheers,
Raindancer.

Raindancer, Thursday, 15 April 2004 01:53 (fifteen years ago) link

Prog books have a reputation for being bizarrely bad, just like
prog compilations.

As far as socio-politics, I was never interested in the political
views of musicians, but Jethro Tull's lyrics could be quite effective
anti-establishment tracts.

Squirrel_Police (Squirrel_Police), Thursday, 15 April 2004 05:42 (fifteen years ago) link

I have that Stump book, and it's not bad.

The review excerpted above I suppose is just proof that boring ideologues a/ can be fans of any music genre and b/ read their own meaning into any text.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 15 April 2004 07:00 (fifteen years ago) link

Re-reading the excerpt, I think I do detect a hint of "that fux0r dissed my favourite band!!!!1"

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 15 April 2004 07:02 (fifteen years ago) link

Noam Chomsky luvs prog-rock.

belcher, Thursday, 15 April 2004 07:14 (fifteen years ago) link

hey norman, i've email you -- good news.

doomiexx, Thursday, 15 April 2004 07:44 (fifteen years ago) link

As pointed out by Edward Macan (whose musicological and sociological analysis is much more superior to Stump's)

I think this quote undermines any pretensions the reviewer has to intellectually challenging Mr Stump. As Pashmina said, s/he's just peeved cos he likes Soft Machine better than ELP.

noodle vague (noodle vague), Thursday, 15 April 2004 10:33 (fifteen years ago) link

'My question is do you agree with this guy that progs bands got/get positive/negative reviews because "the ranks of music critics were dominated by neo-STONERS. " ?'

Question fixed.

earlnash, Thursday, 15 April 2004 10:55 (fifteen years ago) link

Hold on tho, what exactly were Soft Machine's "ideological beliefs"? Remember in those days, Robert Wyatt was still writing songs about ladies' underwear and not East Timor.

Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 April 2004 11:30 (fifteen years ago) link

maybe it was in code.

el sabor de gene (yournullfame), Thursday, 15 April 2004 12:56 (fifteen years ago) link

Hmm, what "ideology" could I get out of prog-rock? Libertarianism, Jethro Tull.

ELP and Crimson seemed kind of Tory.

Yes--I can discern not only no ideology but no ideas of any kind. Nice sounds, though.

I can kinda see the fellow's point, though. Henry Cow and the Cambridge school of proggers were pretty different from Yes/ELP/Tull. Henry Cow comes straight out of Zappa, Beefheart, various serialists and so forth. So I think they were definitely smarter. So I guess they were a species of English Marxism? I dunno. It's all rather boring to me. At least Kevin Ayers wrote extensively about drinking lots of wine in the south of France, and Robert Wyatt covered Chic...whereas Peter Gabriel thought he was getting funky by hiring the Memphis Horns. Yawn. It took Eno and Roxy to blow away all that bad air out of the "progressive" rock movement and give it back the people, as it were, so I hardly see how the Marxist ideals of either the players or the reviewers really means anything in the long run. Not that I'm not in agreement with Marx on several rather big issues...

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Thursday, 15 April 2004 22:00 (fifteen years ago) link

It's been oft-stated that Robert Fripp is a Tory but is there really any conclusive evidence of this? Stodgy and immersed in a conservative 19th century Romanticist myth he is (re: his ceaseless whining about the travails of the cult of the "professional, virtuoso" musician), but I've never read anything by him that suggests an empathy with Thatcherite policies. His slag wife, on the other hand....

kjoerup, Thursday, 15 April 2004 22:15 (fifteen years ago) link

i know Fripp's home town (Wimborne Minster, Dorset) and most people there are Tories but they tend to lean more towards romantic Toryism than Thatcherism, which is more a phenomenon of south-east England. so it's quite conceivable that he could be a Tory without being a Thatcherite, and in fact be the sort of Tory who sees Thatcherism as philistine, anti-intellectual, overtly cultural proletarianising etc - many people from Wimborne and other parts of Dorset are that sort of Tory, trust me on that.

phoebe dinsmore's bastard nephew (robin carmody), Thursday, 15 April 2004 22:38 (fifteen years ago) link

Interesting: old England, old school Tory. Robin Carmody to thread now!

kjoerup, Thursday, 15 April 2004 22:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Hold on tho, what exactly were Soft Machine's "ideological beliefs"? Remember in those days, Robert Wyatt was still writing songs about ladies' underwear and not East Timor.

Well, maybe not while he was in Soft Machine--but not too far off, either. Wyatt's ideologies were pretty overt by Matching Mole's Little Red Records (e.g. "Righteous Rhumba", "Gloria Gloom", "God Song").

Joe (Joe), Thursday, 15 April 2004 22:47 (fifteen years ago) link

Wyatt's ideologies

Leftist, I should say

Joe (Joe), Thursday, 15 April 2004 22:54 (fifteen years ago) link

the Cambridge school of proggers

Canterbury?

Joe (Joe), Thursday, 15 April 2004 23:00 (fifteen years ago) link

The irony perhaps being that Robert Fripp produced said album? (Matching Mole's 'Little Red Record'.)

This all smacks of a revisionist argument. Inasmuch as anyone at the time was classifying things by "ideology" (they weren't), all you really had, to the (smallish) extent it was even mulled over was UFO Club/International Times Young and Beautiful Progressive-leaning Hippies vs. the Old Guard (Harold Wilson and Cliff Richard and the like). The only explicitly Marxist - or, more specifically, Maoist - rumblings I can recall from the time (not that I was there) would be from AMM - and even that was more Cornelius Cardew than the rest of the group. True, this collectivist/ideological notion eventually did go into the heads of people like Robert Wyatt and the Henry Cow crowd, but these notions are not even explicitly addressed until later (after progressive rock's heyday). Henry Cow's "Marxist" lp, 'In Praise of Learning' came out in 1975; Wyatt really doesn't become an all-out Marxist on record until his Rough Trade period during the post-punk era, a time when other former "Canterbury"-associated people like This Heat and (ex-Henry Cow) Art Bears also exist.

kjoerup, Thursday, 15 April 2004 23:04 (fifteen years ago) link

These are mountains that should be molehills.

Squirrel_Police (Squirrel_Police), Thursday, 15 April 2004 23:56 (fifteen years ago) link

ilx: overthinking things since 2001

el sabor de gene (yournullfame), Friday, 16 April 2004 01:18 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, sorry, "Canterbury" not "Cambridge." Been listenin' to too much Syd Barrett and Soft Boys lately, no doubt.

Very informative comments above about the varities of English Toryism, thanks!

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Friday, 16 April 2004 01:20 (fifteen years ago) link

These are mountains that should be molehills.

-- Squirrel_Police (goblinatri...), April 16th, 2004.

Maybe they should be, maybe they shouldn't, but these things matter in Britain

de, Friday, 16 April 2004 01:26 (fifteen years ago) link

Exactly. They are important in a small island whose inflated
sense of importance is about 100 years out-of-date.

Squirrel_Police (Squirrel_Police), Friday, 16 April 2004 01:28 (fifteen years ago) link

Ha ha you really are a waste of protein, SP!!

Rock On.

de, Friday, 16 April 2004 01:32 (fifteen years ago) link

Jacques Lacan let me rock you; let me rock you Jacques Lacan....

Evanston Wade (EWW), Friday, 16 April 2004 01:38 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh btw I'll take Britain's current position and level of importance in the world over its status and activities 100 years ago every time.
You're an American right? Currently fucking up Iraq? Argument over.

Btw 'small island'?? Do you realise Britain is the 6th largest island on the globe? Out of tens of thousands? You really are witless aint ya?

de, Friday, 16 April 2004 01:47 (fifteen years ago) link

stay down, man. stay down.

el sabor de gene (yournullfame), Friday, 16 April 2004 02:28 (fifteen years ago) link

Well I'm not British and I find this topic of interest. If you couldn't care less about it, Squirrel, why bother "contributing" to the thread at all?

Why have some people on ILM become so hostile lately?

kjoerup, Friday, 16 April 2004 02:58 (fifteen years ago) link

Well, maybe not while he was in Soft Machine--but not too far off, either. Wyatt's ideologies were pretty overt by Matching Mole's Little Red Records (e.g. "Righteous Rhumba", "Gloria Gloom", "God Song").

They weren't overt, Wyatt was not a confirmed Marxist until after the first part of his solo career was over, as you point out. He was kind of dipping his toe in the waters with Matching Mole and was more modishly lefty, "Little Red Record" was more of a cute joke than a serious political statement.

The only explicitly Marxist - or, more specifically, Maoist - rumblings I can recall from the time (not that I was there) would be from AMM - and even that was more Cornelius Cardew than the rest of the group.

Not strictly true as Keith Rowe was involved in the same political group as Cardew and gave up playing "elitist" music in AMM to play dreadful "workers'" music alonside Cardew. Silly boy!

Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 16 April 2004 08:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Now seems like a good time to mention Bad Company again

dave q, Friday, 16 April 2004 15:38 (fifteen years ago) link

I can conirm that the book by Paul Stump is ndeed a fine book, and it doesnt concentrate on the big selling bands. Which is probably what upsets the amazon customer.

Now who is Edward Macan?

Victor Meldrum, Friday, 16 April 2004 15:51 (fifteen years ago) link

I think Edward Macan wrote another less well-known book abt progressive music. There was yet another book about the same subject that came out at the same time that was also OK, I forget the author or title. There was a good quote from IIRC pete sinfield in the stump book, about various progressive musicians' political views, I'll try and find it.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 16 April 2004 15:54 (fifteen years ago) link

still the best prog site i've ever seen on the web:


http://gnosis2000.net/

scott seward (scott seward), Friday, 16 April 2004 16:05 (fifteen years ago) link

I like this one best:

http://www.progressiveears.com

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 16 April 2004 16:10 (fifteen years ago) link

HA, both my albums are rated on gnosis (haha, among s.th like 15000000000 other privately pressed prog CDs), I got all excited when someone rated them both at "10", till I realised that's like half marks!! Still, better average marks than some albums I really like!!

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 16 April 2004 16:15 (fifteen years ago) link

I like Gnosis for pages like this:

http://gnosis2000.net/reviews/magma.htm


and those Jestersaurus web-zines that they did for a while (and which are on the site) are great. really informative stuff. and some of the reviews are great! really funny stuff.

scott seward (scott seward), Friday, 16 April 2004 16:23 (fifteen years ago) link

i will bookmark that progressive ears site, Pashmina. thanks.

scott seward (scott seward), Friday, 16 April 2004 16:26 (fifteen years ago) link

http://www.gepr.net/ is excellent.

Eve Atley (Kilbey1), Friday, 16 April 2004 16:27 (fifteen years ago) link

It is "small" (compared to other countries) and it is an island so the term
"small island" is perfectly appropriate. Also, it's No. 7, Mr. Douchebag.
And blaming me for the Iraqi fuckup (which I have never supported in
any way shape, or form) is like attacking a random Rwandan for
supporting genocide.

Squirrel_Police (Squirrel_Police), Friday, 16 April 2004 21:44 (fifteen years ago) link

Whoops, I miscounted, it's no. 8 here the list
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001783.html


Squirrel_Police (Squirrel_Police), Friday, 16 April 2004 21:46 (fifteen years ago) link

http://www.progreviews.com

Good site for multiple stances on the same albums - just wish they updated more often. (oh and I have reviews there too)

Gnosis is a great resource - especially check Eric Lumbleau and Craig Shropshire if you're into prog on the avant end.

dleone (dleone), Friday, 16 April 2004 21:49 (fifteen years ago) link

I like progreviews v. much, the multiple review format especially.

btw, just clicking through on some of these sites led me to this non-sequitous discovery and I can't think of any other thread to post it to, so:

Maestro exists because the Gravitars say it must.

"Technology has now advanced far enough for Maestro to exist," Mike Oldfield.

http://www.mikeoldfield.com/flash/maestro.html

check out the screenshots, I am losing my mind

(Jon L), Friday, 16 April 2004 22:07 (fifteen years ago) link

And blaming me for the Iraqi fuckup (which I have never supported in
any way shape, or form) is like attacking a random Rwandan for
supporting genocide

or blaming a random a random Brit for belonging to a small island whose inflated
sense of importance is about 100 years out-of-date
?

Inconsistency is such a useful thing.

noodle vague (noodle vague), Friday, 16 April 2004 22:11 (fifteen years ago) link

SP - Ah I see Honshu has been bumped up the list one. You get that.
But nothing else. You write a continuing stream of crap, and I should have obeyed the advice of Tep:

Why do people still respond to Squirrel Police?
-- Tep (te...), April 9th, 2004.

More fool me. But you are the worst arsehole on this forum.

PS The adjective qualifies the noun you emptyheaded piece of shit!

de, Friday, 16 April 2004 22:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Noodle I regretfully apologize that this nonesense is even slightly steering the thread away from its stated theme; I just want to respond to that bit about Iraq. I meant that if SP was defining Britain's 'importance' as hbeing master of the world/economic powerhouse/having fingers in every pie as it did in 1904, as he clearly was, then I was replying that if this was 'importance' I was very glad and relieved that I did not live in a country like that today. He however does, so he knows 'first-hand' what I read about in a history book. My point was if this was so crucial to him, well he shouldn't be proud of it. Britain is 'important' today for it's technology, science, pop music, society, arts, etc. not for invading foreign lands and butchering indigenous peoples (which SP professes to care about, viz. his Native Americans thread.) His ideas about 'importance' are bizarre and insulting, but I refer you to Tep's post again. The guy is a desperate troll, pure and simple.

de, Friday, 16 April 2004 22:24 (fifteen years ago) link

I understood yr point, de, I was just pointing out to SP that he has a one-sided notion of stereotyping.

noodle vague (noodle vague), Friday, 16 April 2004 22:26 (fifteen years ago) link

To clarify, I am not, in any way, holding American posters responsible for its government's foreign policy. I am merely pointing out that USA 2004 = Britain 1904, with all the 'importance' and 'inflated self-importance' associated with hegenomic empire. What USA is doing is Iraq, indeed Afghanistan is *precisely* the kind of actions Britain was carrying out at that time. Yes there are contrasts, no need to elaborate now, I'm just happy that Britain neither has the opportunity, status, or inclination to behave that way anymore, and before anyone points out Iraq, yes wee are party to the whole business, but clearly not the prime movers. Sad to say it, but our government has no ideology in regard to this, only one of subservience to the USA.

x-post noodle okay that's it sorry. I am enjoying reading this thread, which is how I got myself onto it in the first place.

de, Friday, 16 April 2004 22:37 (fifteen years ago) link

What do you think of this?

Web fans boost Marillion single

Rock band Marillion look poised to enter the UK top five with their new single after a sustained campaign among fans on their website.
Retailer HMV's online arm has received a record 4,400 pre-orders for the song You're Gone, which is out on Monday.

It could become their biggest hit since Kayleigh, a number two success in 1985, according to HMV.

Marillion singer Steve Hogarth urged fans to buy at least three copies of the single to get it into the top 10.

You could dig deep, get into eight quid's worth of debt and buy three copies or more of our single

Steve Hogarth
On the band's website, Hogarth said: "By our calculations, in the current UK single market, if you go out and buy one single each, we'll go top 40. If you go out and buy two versions, we'll go top 20.

"If, however, you'd like to make an old dog very happy, you could dig deep, get into eight quid's worth of debt and buy three copies or more of our single.

"We'd almost certainly go top 10 and I'd have my first ever top 10 single just before my 45th birthday!"

The song is available on two CD singles and a DVD single with a combined retail cost of almost £8.

'Loyal support'

Marillion spokeswoman Lucy Jordache said: "Whatever chart position You're Gone achieves will largely due to the fans' loyal support of the band.

"We hope that this will enable other people to hear the music and get into the band."

The band's fans are renowned for their loyalty. In 1997 they raised $60,000 (£32,000) to help finance a North American tour.

Marillion were among the first to embrace the internet as a means of marketing and selling their records, and communicating with fans.

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said the campaign had led to the most orders on its retail website since its launch in 1997, beating the previous best of 4,000 for the Stereophonics' Moviestar in February.

Raindancer, Friday, 16 April 2004 22:40 (fifteen years ago) link

Why would they care about getting a Top 5 single? Do they imagine it will gain them 1 new fan?

Anyway, I lost interest when Fish left.

noodle vague (noodle vague), Friday, 16 April 2004 22:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Didn't someone else do this to get a top ten hit last year?
Presumably if they get a top 5 hit, it will at least get one play on radio on the chart rundown, and maybe on Radio 2. This should lead to increased album sales. And some press publicity "ohh look at what marillion did to get a hit" etc.
Shame they're shit really.

Wonder if Status Quo will try the same tactic.

Raindancer, Saturday, 17 April 2004 00:19 (fifteen years ago) link

"Here you go, a steaming plate of imperialism"

-Richard Dawson

are you a fan of i.die music (Drugs A. Money), Saturday, 1 February 2020 01:31 (three weeks ago) link

no dunts
no libs
no prog-rock politics

A+++

Colonel Poo, Saturday, 1 February 2020 01:37 (three weeks ago) link

"We shall now demonstrate our solidarity with the proletariat by playing a bassoon solo in 13/8 time" - Robert Wyatt (or was it Ian Anderson?) on Henry Cow.

it's after the end of the world (Matt #2), Saturday, 1 February 2020 10:04 (three weeks ago) link

It's off-kilter, just like economic precariousness.

pomenitul, Saturday, 1 February 2020 10:06 (three weeks ago) link

'It's off-kilter, just like economic precariousness'

I'm stealing this line for an article on the cinema of Sean Baker

Frederik B, Saturday, 1 February 2020 10:53 (three weeks ago) link

As long as you also compare it to prog-rock, you have my blessing.

pomenitul, Saturday, 1 February 2020 10:58 (three weeks ago) link

"We shall now demonstrate our solidarity with the proletariat by playing a bassoon solo in 13/8 time" - Robert Wyatt (or was it Ian Anderson?) on Henry Cow.

Slightly embarrassing, but I thought it was me who said that on ILX?

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Saturday, 1 February 2020 11:14 (three weeks ago) link

Hi Robert, it's an honour to make your virtual acquaintance.

pomenitul, Saturday, 1 February 2020 11:15 (three weeks ago) link

Haha I might be confusing a couple of quote sources there! Shall we not mention Magma btw?

it's after the end of the world (Matt #2), Saturday, 1 February 2020 12:05 (three weeks ago) link

ok, i'm gonna put it out there, i think this whole line of criticism is bullshit. "making art for the proletariat", fucking hell you'd think none of us had the example of socialist realism. it's kitsch, ok? socialist realism is kitsch, it's frequently demeaning and insulting propaganda. the sarcastic cardew references in this thread - you know, does anybody really think his post-scratch orchestra music was a good idea?

this idea of a "bassoon solo in 13/8", how is this different from looking at arugula or whatever as somehow an "elitist" food? lindsay cooper wasn't "a bassoon", she was lindsay cooper, she was expressing her truth as a radical queer woman and what, that's somehow less valid because she played the bassoon?

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Saturday, 1 February 2020 13:14 (three weeks ago) link

does anybody really think his post-scratch orchestra music was a good idea?

It has its defenders. John Tilbury for one.

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Saturday, 1 February 2020 13:25 (three weeks ago) link

rush utterly otm, of course.

Just to play devil's advocate, I guess you could come up with a statistics-based argument about the listening habits of specific socioeconomic communities and extrapolate from there but I don't find that very helpful if the conclusion is an eminently essentialist and conservative one, i.e. 'this is what background x listens to', as though there were no room for variation and, indeed, queer life experiences in particular.

pomenitul, Saturday, 1 February 2020 13:39 (three weeks ago) link

I mean, if we were just going by anecdotal experience, I would probably say that Rush and Pink Floyd ARE working class music.

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Saturday, 1 February 2020 13:46 (three weeks ago) link

(Rush and rush both obv OTM, though.)

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Saturday, 1 February 2020 13:49 (three weeks ago) link

lol, well played.

pomenitul, Saturday, 1 February 2020 13:52 (three weeks ago) link

tilbury's biography of cardew reminds me a bit of THE CROWN actually: a deep dive into a life which quietly but mordantly outlines its increasingly isolation within absurdity and i think sadness while paying mind to the rich complexity (and immobility) of many of the issues surrounding it, and doing justice to cardew's own seriousness of mind even when he was wildly wrong. so i'd push back a bit against rush's "obviously he was a patronising idiot! nothing to see here!" -- well, no, he really wasn't, he was struggling with an issue which it's easy to run away from, which is basically education. to argue that other ppl are being patronising i think you have to engage with the strongest version of their thinking (even when it's extremely tangled and contradictory in its evolution) and not just a message-board cartoon (even then that's excellent handy fun and i am as kneejerkily prey to it as anyone reading lol). it's not as if cardew dispensed with the combative high-seriousness and polemical rigour of the darmstadt avant-garde -- he just transferred his wars into the intra-party squabbling of the ever-shrinking splinter groupuscules of the UK maoist movement of the 70s. probably it was a waste of mind in both places, but it's not like it's something the classical avant-garde was otherwise innocent of -- stockhausen said and believed a bunch of dumb things about the motral-political value of his work also. and actually didn't the guiltiest parties when it comes to very rude message-board beef (ok i mainly mean boulez, permanbanned from ilx in the very early days) also run into a creative wall innovationwise at some point in the 70s?

as far as i know cardew never broke with the scratch orchestra or with the idea of the scratch orchestra -- and one of the SO's hinge-points, aside from the help that the better musicians gave the weaker ones, and the unskewed insight that the weaker musicians occasionalt gave the overttained ones, was the question of *which* works were good works for SO to perform (it's interesting for example the riley's in c was a staple, a piece that relatively unsophisticated players can give excellent (as in interesting) performances of, bcz its subtleties are generative and unexpected rather than on-page complex, present in the output rather than best grasped via score-reading on (= opaque if you don't read music and if ordinary music education omits to engage with them anyway).

mark s, Saturday, 1 February 2020 14:31 (three weeks ago) link

s/b even WHEN that's excellent handy fun plus some other stupid typos which are more easily decoded 🙄

mark s, Saturday, 1 February 2020 14:33 (three weeks ago) link

as far as i know cardew never broke with the scratch orchestra or with the idea of the scratch orchestra

Not sure about this tbh, can't remember - however, apart from Stockhausen and Cage, the other person who gets a severe kicking in "Stockhausen Serves Imperialism" is Cornelius Cardew!

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Saturday, 1 February 2020 14:40 (three weeks ago) link

tbh i'm a bit rusty on the details of which very sharp corner was taken when -- i wrote a piece for a crafts council exhibition in 2013 abt the parallels between CC and his dad michael (who was a famous potter, if there can be famous potters) and how both of them chose to move from the high-profile high arts circuilt to small and local education (MC ran a workshop kiln in nigeria, CC did a lot of youth work). i think this is definitely extremely relevant to CC's latterday output. but i don't have the ideological details at my fingertips any more.

http://www.soundmatters.org.uk/content/documents/exhibition-guide/CC_SM_guide.pdf (you have to scroll down to page 7 for me, and the final sentence is weirdly screwed up)

mark s, Saturday, 1 February 2020 14:59 (three weeks ago) link

(who was a famous potter, if there can be famous potters)

Careful there, you'll make Keith cry (it doesn't take much)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK_2t_kd5XU

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Saturday, 1 February 2020 15:14 (three weeks ago) link

It's the first thing I do before listening to a song, read the lyrics.

Before listening to a song? No. Before typing a sweeping dismissal of the lyrics? Perhaps.

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Saturday, 1 February 2020 16:14 (three weeks ago) link

Seeking out and reading lyrics to a song you don't like seems a strange pursuit though.

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Saturday, 1 February 2020 16:24 (three weeks ago) link

Mike Barnes - A New Day Yesterday: UK Progressive Rock & The 1970s (March 5, 2020)
Music journalist Mike Barnes (MOJO, The Wire, Prog, and author of the acclaimed biography Captain Beefheart) goes back to the birth of progressive rock and surveys the cultural conditions and attitudes that fed into, and were in turn affected by, this remarkable musical phenomenon. He examines the myths and misconceptions that have grown up around progressive rock and paints a vivid, colourful picture of the Seventies based on hundreds of hours of his own interviews with musicians, music business insiders, journalists and DJs, and from the personal testimonies of those who were fans of the music in that extraordinary decade.

https://images.roughtrade.com/product/images/files/000/186/307/hero/Omnibus_Omnibus.jpg?1577747154

Fastnbulbous, Saturday, 1 February 2020 16:30 (three weeks ago) link

so i'd push back a bit against rush's "obviously he was a patronising idiot! nothing to see here!"

― mark s

hell, mark, i'd push back against that statement. "insincere" is one of the last words i would ever think of to describe cardew - he was very obviously sincere, excruciatingly so. the other side of my rejection of "authenticity" criticism is that I think music can be honest and sincere while at the same time being condescending, didactic, and trite. to put it in a fairly offensive and tasteless way, just because clapton's kid died doesn't mean i have to consider "tears in heaven" great art.

(for the record i'm not personally much taken with cardew's work with AMM or with the Scratch Orchestra! i recognize it's conceptually interesting but i don't find it particularly listenable - and that's not a blanket dismissal of EAI)

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Saturday, 1 February 2020 16:38 (three weeks ago) link

so if we're not going to talk about magma, how about univers zero, who i've seen described as doggedly apolitical. of course even that description is challenging - offshoot band present released that hamfisted "new atheist" track "delusions" in 1998, and honestly, less so in the '70s than now certainly but being inspired by lovecraft is an inherently political act, just like being inspired by wagner (or coltrane!) is.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Saturday, 1 February 2020 16:40 (three weeks ago) link

lol i just found this in the youtube comments to HYMNEN

Paul Buckmaster (2 years ago (edited))
Maxwell Clark: It is Cardew who is the imperialist; he understands nothing of Stockhausen, whom I knew personally, and whose music I introduced to Miles Davis, May 1972, while collaborating with Davis on the "On The Corner" Sessions (including "Ife"). I had brought LPs of Gruppen, Mixtur, Hymnen., as well as Wuorinen's "Time's Encomium". Davis had them playing all day, over a week, on his autochanger. He couldn't get enough, and recognized KHS as the towering genius he truly is. Cardew, as typical of any dyed-in-the-wool British imperialist — cleverly, but not quite-so-cleverly — twists the discourse into falsehood and mere puerile calumny.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Buckmaster

(arranged the strings for space oddity among many other things, he actually died in 2017, maybe posting this comment finished him off)
(probably this belongs on another thread but this is where we were just talking abt cardew so)

mark s, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:23 (one week ago) link

Dayum.

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:25 (one week ago) link

this version of hymnen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDxpa-XPMTo

mark s, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:26 (one week ago) link

Ridiculous though it may be to portray Cardew as an accomplice to British imperialism, it is indeed remarkable to note that Stockhausen briefly mattered to one of the greatest African American musicians of all time (alternatively: to one of the greatest musicians of all time who happened to be African American).

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:29 (one week ago) link

honestly that's something i've never been able to understand, how it was _stockhausen_ of all the composers who blew the minds of the rock and jazz worlds collectively back in the late '60s, early '70s. i'd hire his press agent in a minute.

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:44 (one week ago) link

You mean, over and above Ligeti or Boulez or Carter or…?

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:46 (one week ago) link

MD's stockhausen fandom isn't new info particularly -- ian carr talks abt it pp258-59 if the 1984 paladin edn of his miles davis -- and actually i see that buckmaster is also mentioned on those same pages, inc.the possibility that PB introduced MD to those very records (he certainly caused them to be around at that point, and discussed knowledgeably, tho it's apparently likely MD was already aware of what KS sounded like)

buckmaster is accurately afaik described as a pupil of UK 12-toner humphrey searle but the all-important major tom/elton john connection is sadly not made :)

(i am listening to hymnen precisely bcz i'm currently looking into aspects of rushomancy's question: ignoring any specific musical conundra he was choosing to confront, i suspect two parts of the answer are KS's own personal charm and charisma (considerable, he was in many ways his own press agent) but also the wide availability of his work on deutsche grammaphon from c.1961

mark s, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:51 (one week ago) link

The hippie/proto-New Age stylings of his mid to late 60s 'intuitive' music in particular no doubt helped broker him a wider audience (cf. Aus den sieben Tagen and Stimmung).

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:55 (one week ago) link

*helped him broker

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:55 (one week ago) link

You mean, over and above Ligeti or Boulez or Carter or…?

― toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul)

or cage! it seems like nobody would talk about cage without dismissing him as a cheap punchline. fucking ridiculous!

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:57 (one week ago) link

It is Cardew who is the imperialist; he understands nothing of Stockhausen, whom I knew personally,

I suspect Cornelius Cardew knew Stockhausen a lot better, personally, than Paul Buckmaster.

High profile Tom D (Tom D.), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:59 (one week ago) link

lol I deliberately didn't mention Cage because I find his music profoundly uninteresting as a listening experience, barring an exception or two. But the intervening years certainly haven't agreed with me, so perhaps it's some form of justice.

xp

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:59 (one week ago) link

Aside from the reasons given so far, Stockhausen also worked far more with electronics than any of those, except possibly Cage, so it makes sense that musicians who were exploring electric instrumentation might have looked to him. There's also just the powerful visceral impact of some of his music.xps

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:03 (one week ago) link

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Musique concrète's protagonists don't appear to have been as 'marketable' fwiw.

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:06 (one week ago) link

Wrt Cage, I can see why jazzers might not have been taken by a guy who scorned improvisation and rockers might not have identified with
ideas of non-expression/non-intention. That said, Zappa and Patrick Moraz appeared on the 1993 Chance Operation tribute and a number of rockers have worked with the prepared piano.

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:07 (one week ago) link

Stockhausen was a pioneer wrt live electronics, which seems significant.

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:09 (one week ago) link

lol I deliberately didn't mention Cage because I find his music profoundly uninteresting as a listening experience, barring an exception or two.

― toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul)

this is how i feel about stockhausen!

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:10 (one week ago) link

That's totally fair. The thing too is that both composers' outputs are so massive that there is likely much that could tip the balance either way were I to hear it.

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:14 (one week ago) link

Love both, although it took me a little while with Stockhausen.

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:15 (one week ago) link

To go back to this thread's original premise, part of me feels like Stockhausen is a prime candidate for proggiest major postwar composer, if only because of his penchant for high-minded yet unintentionally silly conceptual grand narratives. Berio, too, but for completely different reasons (mostly having to do with proto-polystylism).

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:18 (one week ago) link

also his penchant for quilting together traditions, which is key to what makes prog "progressive" imo: not just the world-music tape-tapestries (telemusik and hymnen are distortion-heavy cousins to all you need is love) but also his constant drive towards at combining competing elements in the avant-garde (composed serialism, musique concrete, electronic composition, live electronic manipulation of all the above, plus some cheekily unacknowledged thefts from the early minimalists, and -- post his starvation-tantrum to persuade his wife to return to him in 1968 -- free improvisation)

mark s, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:30 (one week ago) link

Played not bad jazz piano, in his spare time, so I believe.

High profile Tom D (Tom D.), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:35 (one week ago) link

Wouldn't be surprised given his son Markus's musical path.

toilet-cleaning brain surgeon (pomenitul), Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:37 (one week ago) link

also indeterminacy of course

mark s, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:45 (one week ago) link


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