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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Nancarrow Biography MP3

Reportedly the first step in breaking an addiction has something to do with owning up to it, so suffice to say my name is Marc W. and I’m hung up on the Internet Archive, specifically its Other Minds catalog, at archive.org. Today’s Disquiet Downstream entry is yet another fine downloadable Other Minds file, a half hour audio documentary on composer Conlon Nancarrow, by writer/producer/narrator Helen Borten and featuring interviews with, among others, Yoko Ono, Kyle Gann, Ursula Oppens and Mako Nancarrow. Nancarrow composed for the player piano, which music historian Artis Wodehouse (misidentified on the site as Ardis) describes as “the first computer.” The documentary is packed with insightful and often humorous anecdotes, including Nancarrow’s dismissal of John Cage’s chance compositions. Borten gives a solid overview of the history of the piano, and of Nancarrow’s aggressive exploration of its potential. The file is only downloadable via FTP, but the site provides clear instructions; just search for “nancarrow place.” … By the way, this year’s Other Minds festival, the 11th, occurs this week, February 24-26, in San Francisco. Included: Michael Nyman, John Luther Adams, Fred Frith, Joan Jeanrenaud, Phill Niblock and more. More info at otherminds.org.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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