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Re: The Artist's Right To Be Boring (was: Re: the best.... the worst....)


 I know exactly how you feel. In 86 I had a  
couple or 3 stacks of keyboards, drum machines, etc. I
met a man through a buddy I had been jamming with for
a couple years at a party. i told him " you gotta come
over to my place and jam" after I found out he bought
a keyboard from aformentioned buddy. We met EVERY Wd.
night for 16 years and NEVER learned a song made by
someone else. We'd noodle around until some groove
kinda fell into place, pause, and hit record on my
cassette deck. I have over 90 cassettes filled with
muzik that is mostly not listenable, BUT, there are 3
or 4 good CDs among all that stuff, PLUS, countless
grooves that one can use for inspiration to compose
something good indeed.

--- tEd ® kiLLiAn <tedkillian@charter.net> wrote:

> Stefan,
> You make a lot of blanket assertions there. Fine. I
> have here a few of my own. 
> It has been so long since I posted my commments on
> this thread that I do not even remember what frame
> of mind I was in -- probably depressed (which I
> usually am after most public performances). Yeah,
> that's a bad attitude alright.
> I have been doing this stuff (looping and
> improvising) for well over 20 years. I think I can
> say from experience (and I am entitled to my opinion
> too, I think) that I know pretty damn well when a
> performance went successfully . . . or was a failure
> . . . or was some odd mix of the two.
> It is in the nature of improvisation to be risky --
> and we either learn to accomodate ourselves to the
> possibility of failure (and the hope or possibility
> of success) and persevere under those terms and
> circumstances . . . or we do not. Myself, I choose
> to persevere . . . but I also choose to not always
> wear a false smile on my face while doing it.
> "There is no BAD music" Well, you may just as easily
> say there is no GOOD music either. We all (in or
> heart of hearts) know this is nonsense. Otherwise,
> we wouldn't continually take the risks we do, try as
> hard as we do to become better, to learn, and to
> grow. Hell, we probably wouldn't even bother to play
> for that matter.
> Far from being a plea or an attempt to secure myself
> from failure, I was simply trying to say what I
> believe is true. Sometimes we FAIL. Sometimes we are
> BAD. It would be healthier (I think) if we could
> talk about it and not hide from it continually.
> If I perceive a given performance as being less than
> it could have been, yes it CAN help to know that
> some audience member or another had a different
> opinion and enjoyed it. It CAN lessen the pain a
> little. But that doesn't mean I dispose of my own
> experience and critical accessment and paste a big
> smile on my puss either.
> I'd say, a good 90% of what I do is simply show up
> and play (physically and mentally prepared of
> course) but with no rehearsal, set list or agenda
> other than to create something GOOD. That is what I
> aim for. That is what I do. That is what I am about.
> Sometimes it works. Sometimes it's golden. Sometimes
> it's shit. Sometimes its something of a mix
> (gold-plated doo doo or poop-covered gold brick).
> I'm a live-looping guitar player, but on rare
> occasions (the other 10% or less) I will go also
> with some "canned" loops of found noises,
> atmospheres, textures, rhythmic patterns and simple
> musical motifs, along with some notion that I will
> use them somhow . . . but will determine that "how"
> during performance. This could be considered some
> sort (or level) of improvisation too. You be the
> judge.
> Less than 1% of the time I will attempt to actually
> play one of the improvised pieces from my CD. I
> don't know why I do this, probably a sense of
> audience expectation or something -- or maybe a
> false self-expectation more likely. But it is almost
> 100% guaranteed to come out as a giant musical turd.
> Nevertheless, I sometimes fool myself into thinking
> I can do it.
> I have played some significant improv gigs upon
> occassion where it simply came out all wrong.
> Nothing went right. Nothing I tried worked. I felt
> like a fool and an idiot and a charlatan -- and I'm
> pretty sure most of the audience felt that way too.
> But I'd rather die than pretend it was all roses and
> tell myself that there is no such thing as BAD art
> or music. I don't believe it for a minute.
> I will say it again: Sometimes we (especially those
> of us who improvise) need to be allowed to fail.
> Best regards,
> Ted Killian
> ---- Stefan Tiedje <Stefan-Tiedje@addcom.de> wrote:
> > tEd ® kiLLiAn schrieb:
> > > In my experience, it is impossible to depend
> upon or predict success
> > > when you start out with a blank slate for every
> performance.
> >
> > But starting out with a blank slate is the core of
> improvisation...
> > If you put something into it to secure yourself,
> you failed already...
> >
> > > I fall flat on my face about as many times as I
> do well.
> > >
> > > The risk of being an abject failure is all too
> very real . . . and
> > > the consequences painful.
> >
> > But the times it goes well are worth to risk the
> "failure"...
> >
> > > Even when the audience and promoter(s)
> themselves are very forgiving
> > > it can be devastating to not live up to ones own
> expectations.
> >
> > Even if you "fail" out of your own perspective,
> because you know of your
> > own, better performances, the audience will grab
> something, maybe just
> > unconsciously an imagination of where it could
> have been gone if you
> > didn't "fail"...
> >
> > > Many positivly disposed listeners may just
> figure that it's
> > > "abstract" or "avant garde" or "new" and not
> realize that it also can
> > > be truly BAD as well.
> >
> > There is no BAD music, but there could be bad
> attitude. I suspect
> > securing yourself against "failure" is bad
> attitude and the result is
> > eventually not music... its more like showing off
> skills in the
> > circus... Which does help for acceptance of the
> audience sometimes, but
> > its not really interesting...
> > Either there is music, or there is not. Nothing
> in-between. This is true
> > for any instrument, being it a laptop or a
> cello/sousaphone/foot
> > pedal-bar...
> > With known instruments its just easier to show off
> skills, with laptops
> > it looks more abstract... But don't get me wrong,
> skills do help a lot
> > to make music, but anything you do often enough
> will develop your skills
> > anyway.
> >
> > In short, the attitude is more important than
> skills. Or for those who
> > need to avoid new age: The path is important, not
> the destination...
> >
> > > Artists need to be accorded a "right to be
> awful" from time to time .
> > > . . some of us more than others.
> >
> > Obviously you insist on your right to take a risk.
> That's an attitude
> > which will lead to music. The audience will
> appreciate this much more
> > often, than you think you did it well....
> >
> > ..........
> >
> > The good thing about looping is being able to
> start with a blank slate,
> > and still being able to build a structure.
> >
> > The worst is the dependency on technology (if it
> fails).
> >
> > Stefan

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