Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Los Angeles Summer New Music Festival

A flyer for SASSAS arrived in my mailbox recently.

It announces a handful of concerts in 3 different locations, June through September. This makes it the biggest summertime new music series in LA county that I'm aware of.

The performers are described as

  • founder of a free-noise collective
  • someone who revels in "thrift store brutism"
  • a psychedilic bagpipe minimalist
  • a cellist who reveals the "sublimity of the small"
  • eight "heavy metal and harsh noise" players combined in "randomly chosen ensembles"
  • three "international icons of modern improvisation"

Find out who these people are and what the letters SASSAS stand for at their website which was, amazingly, not listed anywhere on the flyer.

SASSAS Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . .


the improvising guitarist said...

I have a lot of respect for Mori, Parkins and Frith, but the statement “international icons of modern improvisation” pushes the boundaries of good taste (as Zappa said in response to similar hyperbole). Having said that, ‘icon’ and ‘canon’ (and, for that matter ‘idol’) are appropriately all words that serve religious purposes.

S, tig

David Ocker said...

Thanks for you comment.
You made me think of this simple thought experiment.

Imagine having some idea to communicate.

Create a program of between one and two hours length.

Adopt some sort of standard presentational practice which is widely familiar. Keep the percentage of originality in the format very low.

Invite people to a public space by advertising both the heritage of your tradition and the wisdom, experience, respect and understanding of you and your associates.

When the people arrive ask them to obediently pay attention while keeping rigorously silent except at precisely prescribed moments of response.

Before they leave, tell the people that they must donate money in order to ensure such events can continue.

Now, ask yourself. Have you created a musical concert or a religious service?

It seems to me it could go either way.

Anonymous said...

Wow, re: the comment above.

VERY different, Religious services and religion in general seeks control and obedience through deception, beyond politeness in the moment by instructing people in how to be, who they are, what is right and wrong in the eyes of that specific, and in most cases exclusive institution.

Music is a sacred language, Universal, non judgmental pure bringing people closer to their nature rather than divorcing them from the Natural World.

Reid DeFever
Culver City

David Ocker said...

Thanks for commenting Reid.

I think you're overlooking my attempt to make the above "thought experiment" universally applicable to services of ANY religion __or__ concerts of ANY type of music. In either case you pay some money, sit in a pew and watch a show. Only the content is different depending on whether it's religion or music. In both cases the motive is the same - the show is revealing the important unassailable truth to you.

I tried to write a description that would apply to religions you hate or religions you believe in; both to music you love and music you can't stand. Someone, somewhere, loves every kind of music and thinks it reveals truth to them.

If, by chance, you were suggesting that ALL music (no matter what style) is "a sacred language, Universal, non judgmental ..." then I respectfully suggest you should listen to a lot more different types of music; say serialism, new complexity, punk rock and heavy metal, either simultaneously or on random play.

OR ... just listen to your own musical hell playlist (I have two different Hell Playlists: one is Wagner, La Monte Young, Elliott Carter and Joni Mitchell. The other is any one single Willie Nelson tune repeated endlessly.)

Of course your music in hell will not be the same as mine. (This is just another thought game, I'm not really suggesting hell exists unless you create it for yourself during your lifetime.)

I hope you would agree that "bringing people closer to their nature" through music" isn't going to work for every possible combination of people and musics. There are just too many different kinds of music. And too many kinds of people.

Be well,