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Re: Is it "Live" or "Memorex"

>With the caveat that the last time I saw DJ Spooky perform live, he had a
>number of instruments with him (including an electric upright bass), and
>*played them live*. Yes, he sampled himself and then mangled them, worked
>them into samples, and spent much of the performance working with other
>peoples' sounds, but it's not quite accurate to say he only reassembles
>others' sounds.
By coincidence, I just got the new DJ Spooky CD, "Optometry", this 
week, and have been listening to it quite a lot. It's a collaboration 
with a number of excellent NYC avant jazz types: Matthew Shipp 
(piano), William Parker (bass), Joe McPhee (sax), Guillermo Brown 
(drums). Spooky is credited with laptop, kalimba, turntables, and 
upright bass. Amazing record, there's obviously looping and sampling, 
but lots of live playing as well. And the liner notes talk a lot 
about the meaning of "jazz" in the current culture. It's part of 
Thirsty Ear's Blue series discs, curated, I believe, by Matthew 
Shipp, and this has been one of the most interesting series of 
improvised music discs in recent memory.

As far as the live/memorex thing goes, I have this argument all the 
time with friends of mine. Surprisingly, the people who are often the 
most adamant about the looping/turntables/sampling/etc front not 
being music are non-musicians, but people who consider themselves 
"informed" listeners, fans, etc. Most musicians I know are fairly 
open to the concept, at least those under 50 or so.

My personal feeling is this: I listen to the results, not the means. 
If I hear something that kicks my ass musically, I don't care that 
much whether it was made by someone who has studied the saxophone for 
60 years, or someone messing around with a turntable for the first 
time. Of course, I have a lot of respect for anyone who has mastered 
an instrument, but mastery is not necessarily related to musicality. 
I have heard plenty of extremely capable instrumentalists who bore me 
to tears. I've also heard my fair share of inept amateur 
performances, naivete does not automatically equal inspiration either.
Dave Trenkel                                New and Improv Music
http://www.newandimprov.com         improv@peak.org