Derek Bailey Tribute and Nige's Mission statement toward self sustainable creativity
(Skip to bottom of page for commisioning details. Moshi Moshi)
These days we're all saturated with music. Adverts take the greatest love songs and the most powerful heart rending ballads and use them to sell us shit paper, pizzas and fucking biscuits.
Music seeps and leaks out of every television, radio, MP3 and off-road SUV. Are we now so utterly innundated with generic sound that we've stopped listening? Christ knows the answer to that ruddy little ruddy ruddying poser, but I do know that we've certainly stopped listening to anything that's not been recommended, vetted and approved by others before we get to hear it...So my question is: Just how much fucking fucking fucking fucking fucking fucking fucking value to we put on music?
I picked up the Guardian December 29th 2005 and read an obituary about British guitarist Derek Bailey.
Being something of a fan of ‘off-kilter’ music and musicians, I was surprised to read about a man I’d never even heard of, a man who gave up conventional ‘traditional’ guitar playing in the 1950’s and early 60’s and struck out to collaborate with others creating ‘Free Improvisation’.
I was somewhat intrigued so I bought ‘Derek Bailey And The Story Of Free Improvisation’. (Verso 2004) A hefty and somewhat refreshingly opinionated tome by Ben Watson.
I read more, filled in the gaps and soon learned the differences between American ‘Solo’ Free Jazz and British ‘Collectivist’ Free Improvisation. (Jazz is an idiom. Soloing within the jazz idiom isn’t free, as you’re still playing within a recognized musical ‘form’ or genre.
Bailey railed against ‘Jazz’ improvising. Indeed, I think it’s a true testament to his doggedness AND seriousness that he NEVER slipped a lick, line, run or riff into his improvising. His music wasn't ever 'recognisable' to the listener as it wasn't in any way ‘Idiomatic’.
I also got uknova in on the action, they helped to get an excellent Derek Bailey written and narrated series on C4 about 20 years ago called ‘Over The Edge: Improvisation In Music’.
The series explains just how improvisation was used throughout the history of music from traditional to ‘ethnic’ and even in ‘hallowed’ classical music. Which given today’s reverence regarding NEVER EVER ALTERING OR CHANGING THE SCORE. Was something of a revelation!
Having read Brian Enos’ excellent ‘A Year With Swollen Appendices’ I was aware that ambient/improv players considered the rote-like replication of songs/licks/riffs an anathema to truly ‘Free Playing’
Prior to recorded media, live music would’ve had infinite varietals given the differing players, the environment and the audience.
I’ve often considered the way modern music is packaged and sold as a commodity AND the way the BBC has a virtual monopoly on the dissemination of ‘music’ (image) in the UK. I’m always looking for ways to get ‘the message/the music/the thoughts’ OUT THERE to the public BUT not via the auspices of the BBC/C4 or whatever ‘Broadcaster’ holds the keys to the kingdom. I WILL NOT be subject to the middle-class vagaries and inconsistencies of ‘Producer’ or ‘Director’
I had been in bands in my 20’s and 30’s but like so many others who ‘passed the age’ for being in a band (whether it’s rock, pop, punk or funk) and didn’t get signed to a major/indie/ and ‘made-it’ I sort-of gave up in my mid 30’s.
Now here I am in my 40’s playing more guitar than I ever did and loving it. I had some misgivings that it was in fact a, ‘Young Man’s Game’ but now I think, ‘fuck it I’ll do what I damn well like’!
Of course, when I started up I was a ‘Punk’ and had the usual ‘ You only know three chords’ stick from the REAL PLAYERS. But now I can play I get stick from people for being too technical. You can’t win!
But the question remains as you get older, do you (as a player) ‘graduate’ onto more serious music? Jazz? Folk? Classical? World Music? Or can/should you retain a love of pop/punk/rock without seeming like a sad and lonely out-of-time (possibly dodgy) tosser?
Ageism certainly exists in the notions of how we consume music, but I have come back to music, and I now feel that everything I’ve done since has been a shallow limiting experience compared to playing with others or simply playing with myself! (Wanking & lager again!)
Sorry it's turned into a vague type of 'Mission Statement' towards creative intent!
To this end, and to keep the tradition of ‘Free Improvisation’ alive, I am offering Dogsizedcat.com members an opportunity to commission an original one-off pieces of music directly from me to you, recorded and posted The Very Same Day. Well, let's say, within a few days. (I got a tad carried away again)
These pieces would be literally ONE-OFF and ORIGINAL MUSIC or spoken Word.
The commissioning 'client' would OWN IT.
Duration: Average 3 to 20 minutes
Commission: free Yes! you heard right and NO. I didn't misplace the decimal point!Free FOR AN ORIGINAL ONE-OFF PIECE OF MUSIC. Cheap ain't it?
But please bear in mind you've never heard me play anything before so it's a bit of a risk on your part. I might be shit. But the question is: what price to hear something that's been made only ONCE? Answer.... Nothing.