On a rainy, rainy Sunday, August 14th, a handful of brave souls (geeks) gathered in the back of Barbés for the third meeting of BYOV. Though the group was small, the discussion, music selections and opinions were all strong. Personally, I really enjoyed the frank discussion we were able to have. Not to mention, we heard our most obscure record to date… Read on, read on…
Here were our working themes, BYOVites:
a) Favorite duo performances. Two musicians, one stage. No holds barred. Well, no genres barred.
b) Unusual instrumental combinations. Mouth harp and tuba? Orchestra and helicopter? Bring your fav bizarro combinations.
Left field pick...
c) Blast from the past! Fav old-timer coming out of retirement or mixing it up with youngsters.
As you’d probably expect, there were a bunch of duo selections. Many presenters pulled a double and provided a selection covering two themes, mostly duos and unusual instrument combos. Only one old timer showed up, but on two different selections. Every selection was presented as a blindfold test.
1. Anthony Braxton / Richard Teitelbaum – “Behemoth Dreams” from Time Zones (Arista Freedom AL1037, 1977)
Presented by David Adler (in absentia) – Theme: A & B – MP3
Our new friend Steve Futterman quickly buzzed in with Braxton followed by a Teitelbaum assist from Macnie.
Braxton had to show up. Had to. Couldn’t think of another musician that has performed in so many different configurations on such a wide array of instruments.
This composition from September 16, 1976, recorded at Bearsville Sound in Woodstock, NY, showcased Braxton on contrabass clarinet and Mr. Teitelbaum on Moog synth. “Behemoth Dreams” was dedicated to the composer/installation artist Maryanne Amacher.
An odd mixture of timbres and textures. The Moog provided sounds from low rumble to ringing high tones while Braxton’s clarinet resonated with a very gruff, woody tone. The ideas were plentiful on this long track.
This got us talking about a bunch of stuff, especially Braxton and the Arista Freedom label. The label was in a unique position as it was able to release very advanced, “difficult” music through a major label’s distribution chain. The 1970s were a time of musical glut that allowed daring individuals an opportunity to release music that wouldn’t otherwise get into the mainstream marketplace, even though financial success wouldn’t be realized. It definitely helped kick start the careers of some of the artists affiliated. Maybe Steve Backer or Michael Cuscuna would like to weigh in?
The effect on the music world was interesting. The availability of these distinctive musical streams had direct influence on new music of all types and music culture in general. Avant-garde music in Rolling Stone reviews and record store chains? Would Pere Ubu sound like Pere Ubu without these records having been available in cutout bins everywhere?