Friday, July 15, 2011

Anti-Social Music

I’ve been kind of liking Anti-Social Music Is The Future Of Everything, the fourth album from a collective of downtown avant-classical experimenters that includes Franz Nicholay (once of the Hold Steady) and various members of Gutbucket, World Inferno Friendship Society, the New York City Opera and the New Jersey Philharmonic.

The album’s a bit of a project, with at least three distinct suites of music, written by various members and performed in a variety of styles…I’m liking the one called “Correction” the best, a long, fairly abstract composition in strings and woodwinds which ends with a bit of spoken word. The spoken word makes three separate corrections – one to a report of a conversation between then-President Richard Nixon and his chief of staff Bob Haldeman, another to an article in Slate about the differences between creationism and intelligent design, and a final to an NPR piece on lunar equipment named after Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Then the same voice announces a series of errors in the preceding music and the orchestra plays those bits again. I think it’s interesting, because the corrections are all “deck chairs on the Titanic” types of emendations. That is, a minor factual error in what Nixon said about his bugging activities, an errant attribution of the divine watchmaker analogy…fixing these kinds of things won’t alter the fundamental wrong-ness of Nixon’s wiretapping or creationism. So you wonder if the authors felt the same way about the music…that fixing a few error would not salvage fundamentally flawed material. Or maybe I’m reaching. In any case, thought-provoking stuff.

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