Paul Bailey of PBE once told OC Weekly after being asked if his band was more like an orchestra than anything else: “Fuck the orchestra. Let’s burn that puppy down and start over. The orchestra’s proper place is the museum.”
I”ll go even one step further. The symphony hall is a museum and the orchestra a glass case, the selected works open to viewing. One or two exceptions to the rule doesn’t change this fact, which is why I laugh just a little when composers complain about the injustice served to great modern and contemporary (1920 – present) composers who are rarely played at the symphony hall. Those who buy season tickets aren’t looking for a new experience or enlightenment. Just the opposite, they are there to observe fossils, composer dinosaurs, who unknowingly claimed their spot in the league of dead composers decades and decades ago. The symphony does have its place beyond the museum, however; and that’s when its striking up brilliant music for theater and film (not to mention all those horrible scores).
So as you can imagine, nothing thrills me more than new music composers/performers who think outside the box and do something about what’s really happening in the amaranth scene instead of beating against a wall in a futile attempt to bring their genius to the masses, magically converting the graveyard into a live scene once again. Playing clubs, churches, high school stages, outdoors, and from their domiciles. Wait, what was that last one? From their homes you say? That is correct. How many performances would Satie have put on with this technology, you ask? I can’t answer that, but probably quite a few.
There is a wave of improvisers and composers hitting the streaming online video circuit, (your hero included ), live looping, soloing, inventing, and bending/reshaping what an amaranth concert is. Of course its up to the listener what level of sound quality they wish to attain, the performer is set to give you stereo – CD quality. In essence, the price of a couple tickets to the symphony hall, parking, and dinner/drinks afterward will probably eclipse the price of a couple quality speakers. But that’s nonsense anyway considering a nice sound system is fairly commonplace.
This brings me to Steve Moyes, who literally knocked me off my ass the last two times I attended his Ustream performances. The first via Cello live looping which shook my whole flat to his last performance on the electric guitar which I have nicknamed his Fantasia. A nice feature for these performances is the chat box function. You can /clap /hoot and /holler all you want without disturbing the performer. I shouted out during Steve’s performance “you’re possessed and that last note just elevated my chair off the floor!” Of course Steve wasn’t interrupted by this and the other listeners had the benefit of my keen observation. Yes, it was a Fantasia.
At one point between performances, Steve lifted up a cased record. Those in attendance quickly compared notes on what we thought Steve was going to do with it. Scratch? Play along? But much to our delight, Steve took the album out and proceeded to give a workshop on ingenuity and brilliant craftsmanship and I’ll just say it, GENIUS, by playing the guitar with the record.