Saturday 4 January 2014

Rē Records Quarterly -- A Series, Part 9: The Quarterly Vol.2 No.4's Magazine Scans Part 2

An article on serialism by Roger Sutherland discusses this possibly now-defunct technique of writing music in the second half of the twentieth century, championed by such European composers as Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Stockhausen, etc.  Simply put the idea was to use the twelve tones of the chromatic scale in an equal way, taking an arbitrary sequence, possibly even randomly generated (called aleatory here), then playing it forwards, backwards, one octave up, one below, etc., in various rigid ways permuting the series.  Sometimes this style of music even provided explicit rules for loudness and so on with symmetrical or mathematical bases.  As a whole it sounds similar to the usual atonal stuff from earlier and is highly alien and odd to the average individual.  This was thought, as the article makes clear, to be the music of the future-- in the same way probably that the horrible square concrete government buildings or glass boxes made in the fifties were thought to be the architecture of the future.  These late art styles like Pollock's abstract expressionism remain for almost every ordinary human, impossible to enjoy.  What will be said about them now?  For me art must combine something recognizable with something brand new and creative, with an emotional underpinning or narrative that can hardly be missing.  When the only element present is the creativity as in serialism, we are really or merely denying our human nature.  As a result the majority of the population flocks to the extremely cliched and high-emotional content of such styles as pop music and impressionism.

Chris Cutler appears in this magazine with a handful of not so impressive poems.  Jean Derome as well has a kind of four-page poem discussing music in a very digressive manner which I found very tedious to read through.  At the end, each track is discussed individually, sometimes merely with images.  That artwork, as I said earlier, is what I love the most in these magazines, they remind me of the brilliant underground 'subversive' comics of the seventies to nineties...


  1. Magazine Part 2:

    Part 1 was included in the previous post

  2. Hi Julian, any chance of a repost for this? I suspect it must be big considering it's the second part of the magazine scans but Netkups is dead.