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lawson's missive (was kc)

steve@steve-lawson.co.uk writes:
>On the subject of naming stuff (Frippertronics, Belewps etc), isn't it
>just about things being memorable? Perhaps, market
>driven, perhaps an affectation, or sinisterly perhaps an attempt to claim
>credit for things as yet unlabeled (x-ref the
>entire history of the British Empire). I think that there's something 
>contemporary western culture that drives us to
>label stuff (maybe it's an innate human trait, but I'm nowhere near 
>enough from my cultural context to make such a
>judgement) -
i'd tend towards that last.....

> I spent a long time trying to encapsulate what I do in a pithy
>way, and came up with AmbiEntertainment - partly
>cos it does seem to describe the tension inherent in my gigs between being
>a performance and me not really minding being part
>of a general sonic environment, but also just cos it's a cute word, that
>I've not heard anyone else use before (though I very
>much doubt that such an obvious link is completely original...) 
my own inclinations towards self-labeling also involves a need to cleverly 
respond to folks when they query, 'uhhh, so , uhhh..... what kinda music 
you play?'
(i used to say: blues).

>- there's
>an element of affectation in there, and some
>silliness, but also the desire in all of us to stand out in some way, 
>nicely brings me onto what SPG said...

>> >In any event I was looking for something that *I* could get my own 
>> >sound out of, as opposed to attempting to replicate the work of either
>> >Fripp or Eno.
>> >I threw out or erased more material I'd composed just because
>> >it sounded like someone else's stuff

>Is it more important to be 'original' or be 'good'? We all love the notion
>that we could be innovators. Some of us (DT being
>a bright shining beacon of innovation in our midst) are,
i consider myself to be 'forward-thinking', but not particularly 

>but most of us
>are ostensibly assimilators (I think that perhaps
>every musical intention is innovative in someway, though maybe there is
>such a thing as negative innovation?). 
though the language is a bit different ---
i said 'synthesiser', for your 'assimilator' ---
that's the 'labeling' distinction that i was trying to draw.....

>Is that a bad
>thing? Is Fripp any less influential in either real or theoretical terms
>because he was taking that which was being caried
>out largely in academia and then regurgitating it in a pop context (or
>even that which was being used in a fringe pop way,
>and making it a little more mainstream)? 
no, i don't think so!, and, i certainly wasn't ever degrading rf's role as 
**major** influence, in this oeuvre..... not at all, though someone may 
misinterpreted my ridiculous blabbering thusly.....
i was, though, attempting to illustrate how easily 'popular opinion' can 
recast 'history', and that i react very negatively to that.

>I'm a firm believer in credit
>where it's due, so it would be nice if peope perceived
>as innovators were a little more vocal in crediting sources.
.....very unusual, for musicians to do so.

>On a small
>scale, I'm fairly quick to point out to people who
>have had no other introduction to looping, e-bow, solo bass or whatever
>else I might be dabbling in at the time that I'm not
>the only person in the world using those things, and that what I do is
>a mish-mash of influences, some of whom loop, and some
>of whom I then list (Frisell, Manthing, Levin, Jonatha Brooke, Spearhead,
>Lewis Taylor, Don Ross, Stevie Wonder, Paul Hinklin
good on ya, mate.....

>I think I'd struggle to not at least sound partly like me... being me 
>to get in the way of not sounding like me. Myopia
>about one artist can sometimes lead to clone mode, but if one's desire
>is to create music of substance rather than pastiche,
>are obvious influences a bad thing? 
i don't think so, especially when one can validate those acknowledgements 
'respectful', as opposed to 'abusive'.

>At the moment I'm fortunate that my
>biggest influence (Frisell) plays a different
>instrument it me, and uses a whole different bunch of gear, so his 
>in my music is perhaps less obvious that it
>would be if I played a Klein, and anyway the things that took him to where
>he is, and the influences that shape me are going
>to be way different. Is Frisell a closet Kajagoogoo obsessive, does he
>dig the Spice Girls and Pantera? He certainly didn't
>spend two or three years touring round Europe with a second-rate Canadian
>singer-songwriter, and I've never played with
>Zorn... So I'm not going to worry about his influence blocking my 
>or overtaking whatever else is going on in
>my own musical journey. In fact, it becomes a clarifying lense, as in 
>some of the compositional, improvisational
>and performance models that I've encountered in his work, I've obviously
>be drawn down other routes that work better within
>my skill set, sonic paradigm and gear-pile...

>So is it more important to be original than good?
it's more important to be 'personal', imho.
>obviously a combination
>is preferable, but if one is choosing aims and
>goals, are either valid? Or is self-expression at any cost the goal? or
>is it, like the rest of life, driven by the pursuit
>of meaning, which seems to have morphed somewhere in the last few years
>into the pursuit of novelty... 
i believe that you're posing such personal questions, here, that only you 
answer --- what 'we' ('we', as in vonnegut's 'granfalloon'-sense) think is 
materially immaterial, or, well..... maybe i think it should be.

>Right I'm off before I
>start quoting Michael Franti, high priest of all things good in the 
would that that were so!

>Thoughts, clarifications, rebuttles and general musings on any or all of
>the above greatly appreciated - I'm still fumbling
>my way through alot of these questions...
as me is, too.
dt / s-c