Sunday, January 21, 2007

Late Night FM in the 70’s & Postmodernism

This entry came about because I realized that in the midst of working on my photographs today, I am doing the Late Night FM in the 70’s thing. The only difference is that it is on iTunes and the artists are updated. Daytime radio generally still sucks by the way, which is one essential reason why believe iPods are so popular. You sometimes find an oasis among the great wasteland on your radio dial every now and again, but not nearly frequently enough. Is that what they mean by low frequency? I put forth the argument that most of the really great music from the 70’s never really got any airtime and we were forced to listen to mostly crap during the daytime hours. Ahhhh, but at night, stand back suckers.

Here is a game for you. See if you can identify these albums from the 1970’s. Who can tell me what the CTI sound is? Why did Idris Muhhamad’s Loran’s Dance become so wildly popular with the acid jazz crowd? Can any one person or group claim to have set the stage for Rap? What is fusion and why did it fit so well into all this other new postmodernist stuff flying around the rafters? Why is Sly Stone so revered among many highly respected jazz musicians? Ok all you theorists—I say that Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew from ‘69 was postmodern a decade before everyone else. What is kind of cool is that our FM station in Santa Barbara where I lived would play whole albums in the middle of the night on FM. When I was going to Brooks back then I had my own darkroom and would blast this stuff all night while learning photography. Shake the walls stuff. I can actually remember hearing the complete Köln Concert, Hijera, and Gil Scott Heron's The First Minutes of a New Day albums back to back with no interruptions. I think they stand the test of time, and Heron’s Winter in America is more relevant than ever.

I made the mistake of taking my blaster to our school darkrooms and doing the same thing. Everyone in the tunnel was cool with it except one very middle class girl who came and tactfully told me that she thought that the Pharaoh Sanders Upper & Lower Egypt cut sounded like someone was screaming, and looked at me with pleading eyes. I sheepishly told her sorry and changed the tape (those were the days when cassettes were used). I was kind of startled to learn that there is such a thing as the avant-garde, and not everyone really appreciated what it had to offer. Dang.

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