This Week in Sound: Purple Reign, Station Eleven, Ornette Coleman, …

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A lightly annotated clipping service:

— Purple Reign: In the New York Times, Randy Kennedy on the new home for La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s long-running “Dream House” installation. There are few things on the planet like this perpetual sound/art space, a dedicated, artist-specific union of site, sound, and vision. In San Francisco, the closest may be the Audium. Another somewhat kindred site is the Rothko Chapel in Houston.

— Station to Station: I haven’t yet read the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, but it’s now high on the my list thanks to a recommendation by Nicola Twilley on Twitter. The story of musicians and actors in a post-apocalyptic world, it touches on something I talk about a lot in my sound course I teach, which is the role of sound and culture beyond our current sense of pervasive technology:

— RIP, Ornette: Ornette Coleman died on June 11 at age 85. So many musicians of note die every month, it can be overwhelming, but I always keep an eye on obituary pages because the timing and pacing and rapidly reported history of those passings give a sense to the shape of generations. I rarely take the time to do more than tweet an acknowledgement, but Coleman’s passing hit hard, and had me thinking back to how I first came to listen to him. When I left for college, I took with me all my LP records — and some of my dad’s. When Dad visited me at college, he took back all the Charles Mingus, but left the one Coleman album, Body Meta, with me. Dad said at the time he had no idea how it is he’d come to possess the recording, which in 1978 came out on Artists House, a small label run by John Snyder. That record remains a constant for me, in large part because of the presence of guitarist Bern Nix, whose lines intertwine with Coleman’s in a way I can hum by heart. The broken rhythms of that record prepared my ears for much of what I’d come to love in the subsequent years, from John Zorn to Roy Nathanson to Marc Ribot. I can’t recommend the album highly enough, though I should mention in this context that there is nothing ambient about it. Speaking of Body Meta, if anyone reading this actually does Wikipedia updates, the album listings associated with Coleman have a mention of Body Meta, but no link to the actual page for the album, which is here:

This first appeared in the June 16, 2015, edition of the free Disquiet “This Week in Sound”email newsletter:

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