Email exchange between mathius shadow-sky and fred frith in April 2013

 

Try to contact colleagues musicians to perform around original music


10 avril 2013 from mathius to fred
visiting West Cost with original music

Hello Fred,

I wonder how is it possible today to communicate between original musicians-composers? I wonder what happened after the explosion of originality in music in XX century? Why composers after Cage, Ferrari, or Stockhausen, etc. stay unknown from the audience (and from each other)? Perhaps you are one of the last (I am from the next generation, born French, today over 50 years old) being famous. Most famous avant-garde musicians are Americans (few British and Germans). Is it because you have got the support in the US the musicians from other countries do not? My purpose is not to be famous (I really don't care) but to have means to release my compositions. I am not complaining too, since 1979, I realized a huge amount of music in different context all over the world. But perhaps my hunger of music creation is not yet satisfied. It should!

I am curious as French composer performer, how is it possible to perform in San Francisco and around ? The land of Harry Partch, electronic (Moog, Buchla) and minimal music. My proposition (not too complicate to release) is to play: Try to Catch Me, Charles! a spatial octophonic piece (8 tracks) sliced to be recomposed live with the help of a sampler performed with a keyboard + Envoutant d'Amour (Captivating Love or In You So Much Love) for string trio: the mixing of the 2 music would be a nice world premiere, which I am curious to listen to. Or anything else, since 1979 I create a lot of music, instruments, etc. Also I love to play with other musicians and compose for the ones who wish it. My last performance was with the British musician Aloof Proof in Barcelona. Aloof playing 2 electric guitars and myself playing analogue synthesizer and jinghu (Pekinese violin): a record should be released. My first spatial performance was in 1983 with Ourdission in London. I love to compose trajectories in 3D space. This idea to come to San Francisco starts because I had to pick-up in San Francisco the 2 last spatial sound processor (I focus my compositions on spatial music), but the owner comes to Europe. Mean while, I already sent the same question to Bob Ostertag. And I would enjoy to come to play in California some of my compositions. This is why I am planing to come to California to give some concerts and lectures. I am curious if you can help to make it possible. I already contact Bob Ostertag, Charles Amirkhanian, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Some links to my works:
the Envoutant d'Amour strings trio score:
http://centrebombe.org/livre/Envoutant.d.Amour_trio.a.cordes_de.mathius.shadow-sky.pdf
Try to Catch Me, Charles! reduce to stereo:
http://centrebombe.org/Try.To.Catch.Me,.Charles!_stereo.sad.reduction.mp3
My web site since 1997
http://centrebombe.org
My free downloadable discography since 1979
http://centrebombe.org/myster_shadow-sky_discography.html
My webook (in French) with yet incomplete presentation of my musical compositions
http://centrebombe.org/dansleciel,lebruitdel%27ombre.html
My musical history
http://centrebombe.org/MatSadRepairesBio.htm
Oldies:
1983 Ourdission in London:
http://centrebombe.org/livre/1982a.html
My Arcoguitar since 1983 (1984 at Ircam where Tod Machover invited me to perform)
http://centrebombe.org/livre/1983b.html
My nonoctave electric guitar since 1984:
http://centrebombe.org/livre/10.6b.html
Lasts:
spatial music in fog and winds
http://centrebombe.org/livre/2012b.html
http://centrebombe.org/livre/2013a.html
etc.

Warm Regards

Mathius

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18 avril from fred to mathius
Re: visiting West Cost with original music

Dear Mathius
where to begin
1) I am not an avant-garde musician. This description is rather of limited use after the 1920s in my opinion. My mainbackground is in folk and rock music.
2) Fame is a relative matter. To the people for whom I'm famous, I'm certainly famous. For the rest, I don't know. If you are not interested in being famous, why is the question of any interest?
3) I became an American citizen last year. Before that I was nominally British, but have lived in New York, Tokyo, Marseille, Villeurbanne, Stuttgart and Munich. The only people who have consistently shown interest in and supported my work financially are the French, for which I am very grateful.
4) in your own words you "realized a huge amount of music in different context all over the world." So clearly you are successful. Why not just start at your paragraph 3: "I am curious as French composer performer, how is it possible to perform in San Francisco and around ?"

The simple answer is, come and visit, meet as many people as possible, make interesting connections with the ones who share your creative aesthetic (and the ones who don't). Shake. Stir, Stand back. See what happens.

I don't have the key to a magic door that will open vistas of fame and fortune usually only available to privileged Americans. I don't really know any of those. We're all getting on with our work as best we can.

I hope this will be helpful
regards
Fred

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19 avril from mathius to fred
Re: visiting West Cost with original music

Dear Fred,

Thank you for your answer.

I understand the term "avant-garde" in English sounds to identify artists from the beginning of the XX century that decide to break up with the (heavy) past. "Avant-garde" is also mix up with "pioneer". But avant-garde is a military French term (vanguard) which means soldiers sent in a front to protect backup. It is also the evolution (or a diversion) of the infantry, the sacrificed soldiers children (infant) on the front of the battle to be massacre. If there is another term to identify original musicians starting from the end of the XX century: it does not exist yet (or I don't know). Most of musician born after the Second World War are involved with rock music. Rock music (folk, blues, jazz, etc.) after the war was synonym of liberation, the energy of the next generation, youth in majority (I still remember how my parents was dancing rock and roll (or twist) like crazy in the 60s). Liberation of a new generation works with new ideas. The summit was in the end of the 60s beginning of the 70s: the defeat of youth revolution against the old capitalism in 1968 starts the depression. One of the most spectacular attack was in Detroit with a massive unemployment by Ford factories. But in 70s (even in 60s) the massive unemployment was the weapon against people and its liberation. In 70s I remember, just the "punk" musicians from England was aware about the approaching disaster: what we are living now since 70s. In 60s people was enthusiastic, in 70s they was despair.

Perhaps "fame" is a wrong term to use: recognition by peers should be better. In simple say: I know your music, you don't know my music. In other term: "when Fred Frith is performing around, I go to his concert; when Mathius Shadow-Sky is performing around, Fred doesn't go to his concert, because he does not know his music." Like I said, recognition gives you means and work that being unknown is more difficult to get.

It is a custom in France to give means first to foreign artists (the local artists come in second if something is left: generally nothing is left!). I lived also in other cities like Warsaw (during communist period), Paris, Miami, Montreal, Rio De Janeiro and Toulouse that taught me the different local attitudes with foreign artists and with music.

It sounds in your 4th point that I am complaining: far away from me this feeling. I know for each of us, music life is not easy. Anthony Braxton told me about what he got through, same as many talented unknown musicians (do you know for example the drummer Michal Zduniak? He died unknown in 2009). Time to time I feel bitter! And by "realized a huge amount of music in different context all over the world" doesn't make you being recognized by your peers. I am working far from "the new music network" (The Wire and other magazines never mentioned my music work). Some colleagues do not understand why any French festival invite me to perform since 80s: it's a mystery! I follow no chapels (contemporary, improvised music, etc.) and feel deeply independent. It is my musical contradiction I assume. And as I told you, I am too old now to care of it now. I am not seeking any price given by incompetent people. The important thing, is (to have means) to release my next music.

I would be grateful if you can say something about my music: it is something that never happens to me in my musical life! Here is my downloadable discography: http://centrebombe.org/myster_shadow-sky_discography.html

I laugh a lot with your answer: "come and visit, meet as many people as possible, (...). Shake. Stir, Stand back. See what happens." This is what most people do, we do all in our life! Let's put in reverse: you ask me in Toulouse and around where to perform, I would give you some connections, people, places to contact which are involved in "your creative aesthetic": to make your investigation easier. "Shake. Stir, Stand back. See what happens" can be a tune, it sounds good rhythmically! "Come and visit, meet as many people as possible, (...). Shake. Stir, Stand back. See what happens" it is the way when you feel free, no basic needs, enough money to travel. I laugh also with your "magic key" sorry "the key to a magic door that will open vistas of fame and fortune": telling that, you suppose I am naive! Sorry, this is not what I was expecting, but it is our first contact.

Thank you again for answering

Mathius

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19 avril from fred to mathius
Re: visiting West Cost with original music

hey

thanks for the history lesson.

Recognition is the result of working my ass off for 40 years, often in very poor conditions. And supporting any new local initiatives that are trying to make things happen. As last week when I played in Le Havre for pocket money. I'm happy you come to my concerts. Thank you for your support.

Now that is a custom I never heard of I must say. I discovered that the only way to get the interest of any French festival outside of Vandoeuvre and Mulhouse was to perform with French musicians. And the scene in France is renowned for being sufficiently supportive of French musicians that they seldom have much incentive to leave their own country. When they do they are often generously supported by French cultural institutions in a way that is simply impossible for British or American musicians except ones who are already famous. I traveled to Europe because there was zero interest in my music in my own country. That is pretty much still the case. I generally go wherever any one can offer me the chance to present my music on my own terms, given that a lot of the time the primary interest of promoters is not my work but people who I work with who are more hip and/or famous than I am.

If you are realizing your work all over the world you must be being recognized by someone. Who gives a shit about the Wire? They don't write about me either, and I don't read them anyway. If you want people to ask you to perform you have to engage with them. It's frustrating sometimes, but it doesn't outweigh the fact that it is a privilege for me to be able to do what I love. As for whether or not I know a talented musician who died I could give you a book. And you could give me one. Does this prove something about us?

I downloaded a couple of things. When I have time I'll listen. Since I have to listen to the music of my 20-odd students, my own music while I'm in the process of making it, and the music of numerous friends who share their work with me, it won't be tomorrow. Or the next day. BUt I appreciate the offer.

Very happy I made you laugh. That's exactly right, it's what we do all our lives. But seems like I'm not allowed to say that, because, what, I'm known and you're not? Nevertheless, it's what I did, have done, and still do. I would not presume to ask someone who I'd never met and about whom I know next to nothing to share my contact list. First I'd expect to get a feeling for who I'm dealing with, then I might have an idea of possible connections that might be useful. It's a delicate question. I take it seriously. The fact that you talk about this in a subtly aggressive way, implying that I am privileged and owe you something, makes me fairly disinterested I'm afraid.

All I can say is, good luck
peace
Fred

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19 avril from mathius to fred
Re: visiting West Cost with original music

Sorry Fred about makes you think:
"The fact that you talk about this in a subtly aggressive way, implying that I am privileged and owe you something, makes me fairly disinterested I'm afraid."
You owe me nothing,
and I am sorry if I could express that: I don't really.
I am not expressing any "subtly" aggression (sorry again if I make you felt that):
It is sad (I feel sad) to make feel things you are not expressed...
It was just asking a musician where to perform in SF and around...
Thank you again for your answer
our musical life are not so far
Good luck for you too

Mathius

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20 avril from fred to mathius
Re: visiting West Cost with original music

On Apr 19, 2013, at 11:38 PM, Mathius Shadow-Sky wrote:
> It was just asking a musician where to perform in SF and around...

that's exactly what you were NOT doing. If you had, we might have gotten off to a better start.

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20 avril from mathius to fred
Re: visiting West Cost with original music

Ok Fred, so let's have a good start:
Could you tell me please where in SF and around, there is places and people being interested in listening original and adventurous music?
Take care

mathius

SINCE THAT DAY NO MORE COMMUNICATION FROM FRED FRITH

 

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