On Sunday afternoon, I played a couple of pieces at the <TAG> Gallerie in The Hague. I got this gig through a myspace connection. Myspace actually works for composers and musicians! You should sign up and post mp3s. It's a way to get people to listen to your music and maybe go to your real website. Plus you can come up with a metric for judging your self-worth by the number of people who "friend" you. Since hardly anybody will ever de-friend you, your list of friends will keep growing. I have 300 "friends" including dead composers, fictional characters, porn stars, people I know in real life, and Luc, the guy who arranged the gig.
Anyway, the concert started with a trio of Han Buhrs, Guy Harries and Luc Houtkamp doing a sort of planned improv. Then Kader Abdolah talked for a while in Dutch about the history of music and text in Persia. Music was disallowed for a while, but the Qur'an is very rhythmic and so it was declaimed in a very musical manner, but not called music. Also, Dutch has many cognates with English, French and German, but I really need to take a class. Then I played Meditations pour les Femmes, then there was a break, then I played Faux-bourdon Bleu, then the previous trio came back but with the addition of Joseph Bowie on trombone. They did sort of improv cabaret stuff, which was fun.
During the whole thing there was a pair of stereo mics in the back for recording, next to a tripod-mounted video camera. Two people had handheld cameras and were also filming from either side. A guy was also taking pictures. Afterwards, two of the video cameras were used to interview everybody who had been on stage. Cola noted that it was the single most documented concert that she had ever been to.
The guy who interviewed me was surprised to hear that I was new in town, because he was hanging out in the studio of a radio station last week and they were playing a piece of mine Virtual Memory. That piece is truly irritating and terrible. He said that they stopped it before it was finished because it was too awful. The good news is I've been played on the radio in The Netherlands. The bad news is that it's an irritating piece that will not bring me fame, fortune and women.
(You may wonder why I posted it to my web site if it is so fingernails-on-chalkboard. I did because to me it sounds very similar to some of the results of using Gendyn oscillators, which are Xenakis-designed algorithms for using stochastic noise to produce wave forms. They sound like data and Virtual Memory IS data, specifically the contents of my virtual memory buffer on OS 9.)
Anyway, I talked to the guy who (I think) was the DJ who played this harsh mp3 and I might be on the radio in person next month. The time for the show is very nocturnal for Europe, but it's also webcast and is in the middle of the day for America.
My friend Polly was on the radio in California on KFJC and the next week, she was the most requested artist on the radio station. Which is awesome for her and is a testament to her music, but also shows the power of an interview. But, alas, I have no record out to promote, although I have one out of print and one never-in-print and enough cohesive material for one or two more. Maybe the album paradigm is dead and the future will all be mp3s on the web? On a theoretical level, I'm in favor of low-fi. I use the headphone outs on my computer instead of an expensive d->a converter. But there is noticeable quality loss for the mp3s, even at the relatively high compression rate that I use. (Can I be both lo-fi and rue a loss in richness?) (Obviously the album paradigm is dead, as I haven't been approached by a record company.)