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Ich bin eine Nervensäge (Was: The Artist's Right To Be Boring)

I've been lurking in this thread... and as a performer who's  
profoundly dull... I think I've come to the conclusion that, for me,  
the world of music puts too much of an emphasis on performance.  I've  
got to say that at 95% of music shows I've ever been too... I'm  
usually ready to leave after about a half hour no matter how much I  
like the music.  I'm usually too far away... it's too loud, Fripp is  
shrouded in darkness (literally and metaphorically)  Dancing is not  
an option because it's too crowded (screw you hippy ass hole jumping  
around like an idiot running into people at the last Belew show...  


On the other hand, I love playing with other musicians... just not on  
stage.  Last time I jammed on stage with other musicians (Rick and  
Bill Walker) I couldn't hear our monitors at all and as it turned out  
I was screamingly loud compared to them (as reported by my friends).   
So, while being fun to me it probably wasn't much fun for the  
audience.  Hopefully they were distracted by the pretty video of sea  
life we were projecting behind us, or our collective devilishly good  
looks.  Oh yeah, and during my solo performance my KAOSS pad (true to  
it's name) decided it was OK to start sending MIDI program change  
messages done the line (after I asked it nicely not to) and a turn of  
the program change knob scrolled through my guitar patches at  
hyperspeed while I was sustaining a chord...


So... I'm boring and un-fun to watch.  I put up videos and video  
games projected behind me to cover the fact that I'm creating ambient  
drones and mostly making eye contact with LCD displays.  I'm losing  
my head hair and rapidly gaining ear hair.  I'm nervous, unskilled at  
many instruments and a bit of a blowhard because I want you to like  
me and think I'm cool so I over compensate.

Anyway, if anyone would like to perform with me, at my home, with my  
dog and cat as our audience, let me know.  I've just set up shop in  
Emeryville CA and I'm itching to bore.


On Jun 20, 2007, at 5:58 PM, bill bigrig wrote:

> Howdy,
>  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.
> Rig
> --- 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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