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  • Microgroove: Forays into Other Music

    Author(s): John Corbett
    Published: 2015
    Pages: 496
    Illustrations: 60 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $99.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5900-5
  • Paperback: $28.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5870-1
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  • Preface: Tympanum of the Other Frog  xv

    Acknowledgments  xix

    Introduction  1

    One. On The Road, Into The Cul-De-Sac

    Joe Harriott and Bernie McGann: Flying without Ornette  15

    Michael Hurley: Jocko's Lament  21

    Mayo Thompson: Genre of One  33

    John Stevens: Unpopular Populists  36

    Peter Brötzmann Tentet: Freeways  40

    Steve Lacy: Sojourner Saxophone  49

    David Grubbs: Postcards from the Edge  57

    Voice Crack: From Nothing to Everything  67

    Two. Exigeneses Of Creative Music

    Milford Graves: Pulseology  71

    Out of Nowhere: Deleuze, Gräwe, Cadence  79

    Carla Bley and Steve Swallow: Feeding Quarters to the Nonstop Mental Jukebox  85

    Misha Mengelberg: No Simple Calculations for Life  93

    Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink: Natural Inbuilt Contrapuncto  109

    Form Follows Faction? Ethnicity and Creative Music  116

    Anthony Braxton: Ism vs. Is  123

    Anthony Braxton: Bildungsmusik—Thoughts on Composition 171  129

    Paul Lowens: Lo Our Lo  132

    Clark Coolidge: The Improvised Line  136

    Nathaniel Mackey: Steep Incumbencies  142

    Sun Ra: From the Windy City to the Omniverse—Chicago Life as a Street Priest of D.I.Y. Jazz  153

    Fred Anderson: The House That Fred Built  162

    Three. Ululations And Other Vocal Stimulants

    Sun Ra: Queer Voice  169

    Jaap Blonk: Uncommon Tongue  170

    PJ Harvey: Mother's Tongue  179

    Aural Sex: The Female Orgasm in Popular Sound (coauthored with Terri Kapsalis)  182

    Liz Phair and Lou Barlow: On Music, Sex, TV, and Beyond  194

    Liz Phair and Kim Gordon: Exile in Galville?  205

    Koko Taylor: The Blue Queen Cooks  212

    Brion Gysin and Steve Lacy: Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permuted  217

    Four. The Horn Section

    Ornette Coleman: Doing Is Believing  233

    Roscoe Mitchell: Citizen of Sound  244

    Fred Anderson and Von Freeman: Tenacity  250

    George Lewis: Interactive Imagination  258

    Mats Gustafsson: MG at Half-C  264

    Ken Vandermark: Six Dispatches from the Memory Bank  270

    Ken Vandermark and Joe McPhee: Mutual Admiration Society  278

    Peter Brötzmann and Evan Parker: Bring Something to the Table  285

    Five. Track Marks

    Oncology of the Record Album  297

    Discaholic or Vinyl Freak? Mats Gustafsson Interrogates John Corbett  301

    Twenty-Seven Enthusiasms: A Spontaneous Listening Session  308

    A Very Visual Kind of Music: The Cartoon Soundtrack beyond the Screen  313

    R. L. Burnside and Jon Spencer: Fattening Frogs for Snake Drive  322

    Before and After Punk: The Comp as Teaching Tool  331

    Raymond Scott: Cradle of Electronica  336

    Six. Melodic Line and Tone Color

    Peter Brötzmann: Graphic Equalizer  343

    Albert Oehlen: Bionic Painting  347

    Albert Oehlen: Mangy—A Conversation and a Playlist  352

    Christopher Wool: Impropositions—Improvisation, Dub Painting  359

    Christopher Wool: Into the Woods—Six Meditations on the Interdisciplinary  366

    Sun Ra: An Afro-Space-Jazz Imaginary—The Printed Record of El Saturn  371

    Seven. The Texture Of Refusal

    Helmut Lachenmann: Hellhörig, or the Intricacies of Perceptiveness  379

    Guillermo Gregorio: Madi Music  387

    Experimental Oriental: New Music and Other Others  391

    Afterword: A Concise History of Music  417

    Grooving On: Selected Listening  423

    Credits  443

    Index  447
  • "Corbett has just published a terrific new anthology of his writing called Microgroove, the long-delayed follow-up to his 1994 book Extended Play. . . . There's a lot of great stuff in the new book—which went through multiple iterations over the years, scrapped and revisited several times—but in his introduction to a piece called 'Twenty-Seven Enthusiasms: A Spontaneous Listening Session,' Corbett expresses a major part of what makes his work so special. 'Show-and-tell was always my favorite part of school,' he writes, eventually explaining that 'you accumulate things not to own them, but to share them.' It's what he's done as a writer, a music presenter, and, in recent years, a gallerist, at Corbett vs. Dempsey." — Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

    "One of the more interesting features of Microgroove is the inclusion of multiple pieces on some of the artists. This allows Corbett to consider them from different angles or over time, providing a fuller picture of their art in the process. That, combined with the eclectic scope of Corbett’s interests, makes of Microgroove a rich, multifaceted survey of some of the more challenging artists of the last two decades." — Daniel Barbiero, Avant Music News

    "The far-ranging scope of the 53 essays and interviews collected in these nearly 500 pages, dating from 1993 to just last year, reminds us that even within music’s commercially neglected fringes complex gradations of sub-genre exist, separating the hardcore avant-garde devotee from one who thinks they’re down because they own a copy of Space Is the Place. ... But first and foremost [Corbett] is a devotee of challenging and outré sounds, and his essays are most compelling when he dives headfirst into his chronicles with a fan’s enthusiasm and verve. ...These pieces beautifully balance serious musical scholarship and critical analysis with the kind of collar-grabbing, “give-this-a-listen” excitement that draws us all to music in the first place." — Matt R. Lohr, Jazz Times

    "Corbett, like the best kind of record store crate digger, pinpoints the association between acknowledged innovators and the achievements of lesser-known figures. . .. [T]he book’s key achievement is how Corbett’s psychiatrist-like probing questions elicit the most definitive and/or instructive statements about their art from certain musicians." — Ken Waxman, MusicWorks

    Reviews

  • "Corbett has just published a terrific new anthology of his writing called Microgroove, the long-delayed follow-up to his 1994 book Extended Play. . . . There's a lot of great stuff in the new book—which went through multiple iterations over the years, scrapped and revisited several times—but in his introduction to a piece called 'Twenty-Seven Enthusiasms: A Spontaneous Listening Session,' Corbett expresses a major part of what makes his work so special. 'Show-and-tell was always my favorite part of school,' he writes, eventually explaining that 'you accumulate things not to own them, but to share them.' It's what he's done as a writer, a music presenter, and, in recent years, a gallerist, at Corbett vs. Dempsey." — Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

    "One of the more interesting features of Microgroove is the inclusion of multiple pieces on some of the artists. This allows Corbett to consider them from different angles or over time, providing a fuller picture of their art in the process. That, combined with the eclectic scope of Corbett’s interests, makes of Microgroove a rich, multifaceted survey of some of the more challenging artists of the last two decades." — Daniel Barbiero, Avant Music News

    "The far-ranging scope of the 53 essays and interviews collected in these nearly 500 pages, dating from 1993 to just last year, reminds us that even within music’s commercially neglected fringes complex gradations of sub-genre exist, separating the hardcore avant-garde devotee from one who thinks they’re down because they own a copy of Space Is the Place. ... But first and foremost [Corbett] is a devotee of challenging and outré sounds, and his essays are most compelling when he dives headfirst into his chronicles with a fan’s enthusiasm and verve. ...These pieces beautifully balance serious musical scholarship and critical analysis with the kind of collar-grabbing, “give-this-a-listen” excitement that draws us all to music in the first place." — Matt R. Lohr, Jazz Times

    "Corbett, like the best kind of record store crate digger, pinpoints the association between acknowledged innovators and the achievements of lesser-known figures. . .. [T]he book’s key achievement is how Corbett’s psychiatrist-like probing questions elicit the most definitive and/or instructive statements about their art from certain musicians." — Ken Waxman, MusicWorks

  • Microgroove is a brilliant contribution to the tradition of Nat Hentoff, Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, John Rockwell, and Robert Palmer. John Corbett loves improvisation and can write about unusual and nonpopular music in popular ways, taking readers behind the curtain to help them understand what creativity means and the conditions under which it comes to be. Corbett plays against the ultra-narrowcasting concept that dominates media now, and seeks audiences willing to chance an encounter with the unexpected. The genre-busting of Microgroove is highly laudable and sorely needed."  — George E. Lewis, author of, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music

    "John Corbett likes, I'm sorry - LOVES - all kinds of music. But who doesn't? Well most people really just dig one kind of genre or other but there are those who are into it ALL and continue to seek and follow the wild threads from African American jazz, blues, R&B and hip hop to the indie rock heart beat of college kid psychosis to the luscious worlds of Braziliana to European free improvisation to Japanese noise and pop paroxysm. One may suspect this erudite fellow as a chin scratching academic but I've been in the passenger seat next to this dude while he's blasting Chicago blues cassettes and he's hammering the steering wheel and fully turned on by the dripping music moment of creation and emotion. To share and express the impression of expression in discussion to the intellect and to the cosmic fire, this is where the righteously engaged Corbett comes into play. The respect, consideration and wonder is genuine. As music defines his aesthetic perspective, so he playfully identifies our sentience with the promise of music, the power of foreverness." — Thurston Moore

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  • Description

    Microgroove continues John Corbett's exploration of diverse musics, with essays, interviews, and musician profiles that focus on jazz, improvised music, contemporary classical, rock, folk, blues, post-punk, and cartoon music. Corbett's approach to writing is as polymorphous as the music, ranging from oral history and journalistic portraiture to deeply engaged cultural critique. Corbett advocates for the relevance of "little" music, which despite its smaller audience is of enormous cultural significance. He writes on musicians as varied as Sun Ra, PJ Harvey, Koko Taylor, Steve Lacy, and Helmut Lachenmann. Among other topics, he discusses recording formats; the relationship between music and visual art, dance, and poetry; and, with Terri Kapsalis, the role of female orgasm sounds in contemporary popular music. Above all, Corbett privileges the importance of improvisation; he insists on the need to pay close attention to “other” music and celebrates its ability to open up pathways to new ideas, fresh modes of expression, and unforeseen ways of knowing.
     

    About The Author(s)

    John Corbett is a music critic, record producer, and curator. He is the author of Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein, also published by Duke University Press. His writing has appeared in Downbeat, The Wire, the Chicago Reader, and numerous other publications.  He is the co-owner of Corbett vs. Dempsey, an art gallery in Chicago.
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