"BLUE" GENE TYRANNY'S FAMILIAR REVIEW
This issue: MISSED CHANCES AND CLEAR COINCIDENCES
In the past two weeks before and after the S.F. Exploratorium concert... that thing about paying attention to the impulses that make for coincidences. Driving to Bob Ashley's new place, I knew when the car stopped which room and floor was his, a detailed almost non-present understanding. but the invisible resistance of "maybe I'll be wrong" gated me from identifying that clear coincidence until the last moment -- another missed chance to show how we know much more than the stuff we make to seem purposeful (eg. our bodies know something all-at-once that it takes time to verbalize).
"Being prepared to observe co-incidence in its most subtle manifestation is a musical task" - Kathy Morton. The key for the piano improvisation and the cassette of audience noises matched the previous video soundtrack for my piece LIVE AND LET LIVE WITH TAKING OUT THE GARBAGE which Kathy had never heard before; so we decided to play the video audio with her playing which got really multi-dimensional.
John Bischoff's KIM microcomputer programs were, of course, as non-determinedly spaced and beautiful as ever, producing coincidences that were humorous and too numerous to mention. He said in the program notes: "I think our 4 activities are always really one activity - an activity where I imagine the 4 of us separated by vast distances of bounded, reverberant space."
John Cage's VARIATIONS IV (performed as the center piece in the program) produces that reverent open space in which coincidences can easily be seen to occur - a physical and perhaps psychological space. People handle that space in different ways, and it was astonishing and a little nostalgic to see some members of the audience doing the same things audiences did in the the 1950's: 2 people jumped on stage, hit 2 notes on the piano, and sat down; other people were feeling they wanted to clobber those 2 with the 2 by 4's I was using to gradually build a path that disappeared behind me; applause about 3/4's of the way along... and the enlightened people (who have it no easier than anyone else) were sitting there grooving on the piece. It was wonderful.
It seems that all of John Cage's work also contains this special piece that reminds us of freedom - where it comes from, how hard it is to reveal, and how it can be used.
The fearless Phil Harmonic was in top form, and related, among much other wonderful speaking, his last experience about wondering what to do when "dumb assholes" set out to wreck a concert (their actions are usually short, quick, designed to be funny and somewhat embarrassed, a breaking of repressions); he says it with a touching humor always appreciated by his friends."...The musical integrity of one moment leading into the next is enhanced when I recognize people themselves to be more interesting and important than their objets d'art".
Ignoring the feeling that leads us to a coincidence gets us sometimes lost in the substitutes - moralism (translating the ordinary into the pathological), methods and machines (with comparing and "good taste"). If that sounds heavy, it is.
I had to write this review of our own concert because, God knows, nobody else did. So much for objective truth. Until next time...love ya.
A SYNTHESIZER IS NOT A CHAIN SAW (BUT MIGHT AS WELL BE) - RON KUIVILA p.11