Saturday, December 25, 2004

Hey, Conservative Christians!

Interested in really living up to the tenets of your namesake?

1. Forget all that crap about whether or not political correctness has made us afraid to say the word "Christmas." (Though truthfully, the holiday committee has gotten Mr. Jesus's birthday all wrong. And by the way, is it just me, or does this sound like the most disgusting birthday cake ever?)

2. Stop buying all that creepy Veggie Tales propaganda for your kids. (Vegetables: good for eating, but do we really want to emulate them?)

3. Hell, skip a week or two of church this December.

Why? Because you can redirect all that energy into something useful: like doing for the U.S. Military what the U.S. Military should be doing for its own. That's right--send clothing to the wounded troops! Try to imagine what it must be like to spend Christmas sans clean underwear in a hospital ward in Germany, thousands of miles from your family and friends.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I got a rock

Give the RIAA and the MPAA coal for the holidays. They're dinosaurs, so what better gift than fossil fuel?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Shameless self promotion

From the most recent Downtown Music Gallery newsletter:

"INDUSTRIAL JAZZ GROUP - the Star Chamber (Innova 615) This is the fourth release (2nd for Innova) from this incredibly cool progressive/chamber/jazz unit from California, I believe. On 'the Star Chamber' they are a nonet led by pianist Andrew Durkin and feature Evan Francis, Cory Wright & Beth Schenck reeds, Kris Tiner & Phil Rodriguez on trumpets, Garrett Smith on trombone, Aaron Kohen on bass and Aaron McLendon on drums. All horns and rhythm team with no guitar! Andrew runs a tight ship and writes layers of intricate lines for his impressive six person horn team, giving each player a chance to solo over the intricate, interlocking parts. In some ways this is similar to Zappa's 'Grand Wazoo', but without the guitar or quick-changing complexities, yet still retaining with that wacky humor which is never forced. The strong point here is Andrew's rich writing for those layers of contrapuntal horns, at times it is only flute, sax and clarinet that we hear, used just right with equally strong harmonies for the trumpets and trombone. What is interesting is that this music is really in between categories, although it does use elements of modern jazz, chamber music and other quirky elements too difficult to pigeonhole. The group name is somewhat misleading, as there is nothing industrial about this and jazz is just one part of what this draws from. Leader Andrew Durkin concentrates more on writing, arranging and conducting and keeping his piano playing down to a minimum, hence it is crafty composing that makes this so special. I hear occasional snippets from different ethnic areas, which are just used as some minimal exotic spice to flavor things for subtle but satisfying taste."

Another item brought to my attention by KT.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A mighty wind

We're currently without cable, and so I've been temporarily disconnected from my beloved C-SPAN. As part of my withdrawal process, I've been turning to the local news. Last night I sampled the fare on our local channel 9 (KCAL).

The lead story? Wind.

I shit you not. Apparently, the fact that it's going to be a little breezy over the next few days is more important than anything else happening on the world stage at the moment.

Huh? What about that TV news adage, "If it bleeds, it leads"? Iraq is certainly bleeding at the moment, and it took the good people at KCAL half an hour get to that.

The first story on Bush (fifteen minutes or so into the program) was some human interest thing about his freakin' dog.

Alexandria, part 2

So you probably know about Project Gutenberg. Tonight I discovered this interesting sub-project, which has the goal of digitizing public domain scores.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Reviewing the reviewers

So the great Kris Tiner, a key player in the IJG (but more importantly a real gnarly and righteous musician / composer / artist / educator / fellow), passed along the following in response to our recent AAJ review (the latter has apparently pissed some folks off):

What Price Criticism? Bill Dixon at Victoriaville

A sampling:

"The collected press attempted a parley, 'You seem to be saying that we have to like your work, no matter what,' exclaimed one of the sages present. Bill roared back, 'No, I am saying that you should understand what my work is about before you decide whether you like it, and your liking it has nothing to do with it, your public wants to know THAT I have done it. I do not know anyone who does a work that they want someone to like overtly, that’s not why I do what I do. Why do I do music, that’s what they want to know about. It isn’t that you should endorse what I do, but you should try to inform your readership what it is that I do.'"

Get in it to win it back... or for real... or whatever

Remember the protests that accompanied Bush's first inauguration?

(Maybe not, as they weren't well-covered by the mainstream media.)

Well, there will be more.

Nancarrow would be proud

Just found the most amazing set of robot-performer-instruments here.

Check out the items on the audio and video page to get the full effect. Especially Josh Fried's piece for the GuitarBot, and the videos of Mari Kimura and the ModBots. The latter takes place in a church, and the visual effect is stunning.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Here's a story I never thought I'd see: egomaniacal porn star Jeff Stryker giving crap to the gentle folkie performance space Kulak's Woodshed.

Hey, we played at Kulak's back in 2001. That just goes to show you how nice a guy Paul Kulak, the proprietor, is. (What he should have said: "Industrial Jazz, huh? Do we look like we cater to Industrial Jazz? Do we look like we cater to jazz at all? This is a singer-songwriter venue, moron! It's not my problem if you can't play anywhere else in this fucking city!!" What he actually said: "Sure! Why not?")

The hearing is tonight if you can make it: 11724 Addison in Valley Village, 7 pm sharp. Urinating on cars strictly prohibited.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Have you seen my soul?

Because I need to "reach" it. At least according to Chris May at All About Jazz.

Ah well, it's not our first bad (misinformed?) review. Certainly won't be our last.

I won't go so far in my rebuttal as Leo Feigin recently did after The Wire trashed Anthony Braxton's latest recording (released on Leo Records). Feigin writes:

"Although this review is very bad, I am convinced such reviews are absolutely necessary, for they are a true indication that the album under review is really special. Mediocre or ordinary recordings never create controversy. Where would Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Charles Mingus, Art Ensemble of Chicago or Ganelin Trio be without the controversy they created with their music? When an artist comes up with something really new or radical there are always conventionally minded reviewers who don't understand the new aesthetic. Paul Bley said in one of his interviews, how do you know that something new has arrived? You know because you don't like it."

No, I won't go that far...

Alexandria, here we come!

Well, maybe. Some libraries are going online, but this process is long overdue, and likely to be stymied at some point by the copyright cops. (After all, it's not always possible to know what exactly is in the public domain.)

Why I love the web...

It's little things like this documentation of a set of experiments with Twinkies that justify all those otherwise wasted hours surfing the web, as far as I'm concerned.

I especially dig the haikus.

We lived in Houston very briefly, and can testify that Rice University has a totally bitchen radio station.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Everything old is new again, and again

For those who have tried to argue that this war is somehow unlike Vietnam (or who just don't see the recurrent pattern of American hubris and its deleterious effects), there's this.

So add rank-and-file-soldiering to the list of professions that are grossly underpaid and disrespected. (Also on that list: teachers.)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

...and we're back

Been doing a lot of traveling, performing, and recording of late so not much time to post. I do have a few items waiting in the wings, just waiting to be bloggified... perhaps tonight I'll get to them.

In the meantime I feel compelled to share this review of The Star Chamber by Brian Morton; it appeared in the November 2004 issue of The Wire. I'm a little surprised that they bothered to review us, actually; I didn't think we'd be their cup of tea (so to speak). Here's the text in toto (I don't think you can find it anywhere else on the web):

"The group name is only misleading if it leaves you expecting full-on metallurgical ugliness instead of machine-tooled modern jazz compositions of exquisite precision and strong aesthetic appeal. IJG have previously been heard on Hardcore and City of Angles, on which composer/pianist Andrew Durkin, publishing as Ugly Jazz, unveiled his slightly too selfconscious hybrids of classical and kitsch (though the Laurel & Hardy theme apparently counts as classical too with some senior Wire folks). This time out, he settles for what's effectively a live document of the IJG 2003 vintage, and a set of themes and solos that will recall the Either/Orchestra or one of the jazzier downtown ensembles of the late 80s. It's a comparison that in no way belittles Durkin's team, which numbers a couple of outstanding soloists--saxophonist Beth Schenck and trumpeter Phil Rodriguez--and a crisp, punchy ensemble sound anchored on bassist Aaron Kohen and drummer Aaron McLendon."

Oh, and there was this little note in the LA Weekly last week, regarding last night's show at Club Tropical:

"Jazz on a Monday Vibe presents The Industrial Jazz Group, whose leader Andrew Durkin's arrangements are weirdo cool, like hanging out stoned at Sam Rivers' loft arguing about Mingus vs. Threadgill, Duke vs. Raymond Scott..."

Thanks, Brick Wahl (if that really is your name).

Oh, and speaking of last night's show, we were honored to have in our audience (once again) Jacki Apple and Bruce Fowler. I guess they're fans! My friend Paul recently lent me some bootleg Zappa videos--concerts, interviews, and such--and Bruce is featured in a few of them. What a great musician, and what a sweet guy.

Monday, December 06, 2004

We will not have an all-volunteer army!

I'm paraphrasing, but remember when Bush made that slip-o-the-tongue statement back on the campaign trail? And then immediately flip-flopped--"Er, we WILL have an all-volunteer army!"--once someone cued him in on the blunder? (Via remote control, perhaps?)

Anyway, now there's this.