[NetBehaviour] On Music

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sun Feb 28 21:21:46 CET 2021

or something :-(

best, Alan

On Sun, 28 Feb 2021, Annie Abrahams via NetBehaviour wrote:

> Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2021 12:30:40 +0100
> From: Annie Abrahams via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity
>     <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> Cc: Annie Abrahams <bram.org at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] On Music
> Dear Allan
> you are a master
> in thinking with whatever
> love
> Annie
> On Sat, Feb 27, 2021 at 7:23 PM Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:
>       On Music
>       http://www.alansondheim.org/esaz.jpg
>       https://youtu.be/RtY56tQJcBU
>       I don't consider myself a musician, by which I mean I don't
>       identify as such. I took a few piano lessons when I was young
>       and
>       was told I had no ability. I have a hard time discerning
>       intervals unless I'm playing them or playing with someone. Years
>       later I took a classical guitar lesson from a woman in Israel
>       who
>       told me I was holding the guitar wrong (blues-style). I ended up
>       giving her a lesson. My parents hated the music. Before my
>       father
>       died I asked him what was wrong with it, he said 'boom boom
>       boom'
>       - that it was all one beat. I realized he had never listened to
>       it, just as he had never read the books I wrote or appreciated
>       the art I gave him and my mother (after he died, I found my art
>       in a corner on the basement floor, moldy and unsaveable). But I
>       began playing after hearing Lightning Hopkins and then found a
>       voice. Then I lost that voice and didn't play for years, after
>       recording for a couple of labels. Then I found my voice again
>       and have played since. Then I thought I should go in a direction
>       of potential ugliness, that I owed nothing to anyone. Now there
>       are maybe twenty albums (cds, online, records, even cassettes),
>       most out of print. I play with a few people or solo or with
>       Azure
>       who sings. I listen and know a number of jazz players; they
>       never
>       seem to listen or comment on my work. We get almost no reviews,
>       one only on Plaguesong (ESP), the last. I don't play classical
>       or
>       jazz or folk or world music. As a result, there's almost no
>       audience either. I'm grateful for anyone who listens and even on
>       occasion supports what we do, what I do.
>       I'm not comfortable playing, but that's comfortable, that
>       discomfort. I'm used to it. I don't consider myself a "musician"
>       but I don't consider myself a theorist or writer or new media
>       theorist or performer or any other category. I seem to be an
>       outlier which is an interesting and frustrating position. I'm
>       the
>       first to admit I'm the master of nothing.
>       Whatever else I do, I write, do research, practice daily. I'm
>       limited. I'm very very lucky to have a few people around me who
>       do understand what I'm doing.
>       I can always do music; it's just the matter of picking up an
>       instrument and playing it. Writing is very hard, especially if
>       I'm writing theory; I feel the academy breathing down my neck,
>       thinking I've got it all wrong. I assume I've got it all wrong,
>       which is why I've written about defuge (early on), and the
>       fundamental concept of failure (which seems somewhat absent from
>       theory, or rather theorists might theorize failure, but it's an
>       object, not the internal abject and problematic effluvia that I
>       think it really is). Much to my serious horror, I practice my
>       thought on myself; I never escape.
>       Here is an older piece that relates; I've isolated it for
>       another
>       potential publication:
>       "(in the mountains, 4)
>       Tendenz
>       What does it mean to tend the net, to tend to it? What is
>       tending
>       something, tending-to something, in general.
>       Tending-towards is a falling, tending a vigil.
>       What does it mean to be vulnerable, open, to dream oneself into
>       someone else?
>       Vulnerability is a failing, foreclosing, the drama of
>       displacement.
>       What does it mean to transform objects, spaces, trajectories,
>       textualities?
>       Transformation is the remnant of magic obliterated by the
>       counting and accountability of step-wise procedures; spaces are
>       their domains, trajectories the ensurance of repetition, and
>       textualities, their betrayal.
>       To hold a step accountable: to construct it by rules and
>       repetitions from the previous step, but also to find it whole,
>       intact, within the previous step. To find it whole, not by
>       parallelism, but by fragments of logic, micro-domains.
>       Tending-towards is the vigil of the parallel, tending falls
>       towards the object which has become the subject.
>       But vulnerability is also an opening towards tending, reversal
>       of
>       foreclosing towards foreopened, replacement by the parallel,
>       empathy, the drama of the other, the subject, not
>       transformation.
>       Even here, even within all of this."
>       __
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