The Move – Message From the Country

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The Move – Message From the Country

September 30th, 2010

Message From the Country was the 1971 parting shot from Brummie rockers The Move, something of a contractual obligation while the now three piece recorded the first ELO album. And as far as contractual obligations go, it’s a bloody good’un.

the move - message from the country album cover

Consisting of Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, this album, recorded for the band’s new label and EMI’s progressive wing, Harvest, saw Lynne move to the fore, sharing 50% of the songwriting, vocal and production duties with the The Move’s regular creative workhorse, Roy Wood.

As a band that’d travelled a musical path from Mod chic and pop, to psychedelic floweriness, through to some particularly weighty progressive rock, Message From the Country sees a return to the realms of the pop song, albeit in a somewhat progressive vein.

Not quite the best album The Move ever recorded (Looking On still pips it at the post), it does contain one of the best songs, if not the best song, to bolt from the stable of Birmingham’s finest. ‘The Words of Aaron’ is a post-psychedelic masterpiece from the pen of Jeff Lynne; a moody and enigmatic tune that features dual vocals from Lynne and Wood, suitably cryptic lyrics and the menacing intrusion of an electric bassoon.

Yes, an electric bassoon! Of all things!

But it isn’t just ‘The Words of Aaron‘ that make Message From the Country such a worthwhile cause. Throughout, The Move play like a band in their prime and the songwriting is top notch, this is despite their attentions having already moved onto the Electric Light Orchestra project. A more conscientious triumvirate of tuneful Brummies, you’d be hard pressed to find.

‘Message From the Country’, the opening track and Jeff Lynne’s meditative ode to impending environmental disaster, is another strong contender for the all-time greats vault, and nestled between these two fine songs is a collection of the diverse, the experimental and the downright bizarre.

The Bevan-penned Elvis pastiche ‘Don’t Mess Me Up’, gives Roy Wood the opportunity to roll out his best Presley vocals, which he’d go on to revisit for both the first and second Wizzard albums. Elsewhere, Bevan himself is given the opportunity to take lead vocals for the first time since ‘Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart’ on The Move’s debut album, this time with the Johnny Cash-flavoured ‘Ben Crawley Steel Company’. As in the case of his previous stint out from behind the drum kit, the results are – at best – interesting.

Such frivolities aside, the remainder of the tracks are all firmly on the right side of decent, with Roy Wood’s Middle Eastern tinged ‘It Wasn’t My Idea to Dance’, being a particular highlight. Even the daft as badger-buggery, music hall wheeze of ‘My Marge’ passes muster. That’s how good this album is.

But it doesn’t end there. The 2005 Harvest reissue of Message From the Country features eight bonus tracks, made up of the final singles The Move released (none of which feature on the original album), as well as three previously unheard session tracks. Nestled amidst these bonuses is the wonderful Jerry Lee Lewis-styled ‘California Man’, the final song recorded under The Move name. A raucous, 1950′s throwback of a rock ‘n’ roller, it serves as a more than fitting end to a cracking legacy, one which began with a very different line-up at Birmingham’s Cedar Club, six years before.

Likewise, Message From the Country is an enviable swansong from one of the great bands sitting on the 60s/70s cusp.

Message From the Country by The Move is reissued by Harvest and available to buy from Amazon.co.uk

Don’t just read and applaud. Subscribe to the rather splendid RSS Feed

album reviews, progressive pop crossover

Copyright © 2008-2010

Head Full of Snow

Read more at headfullofsnow.com

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The Move – Message From the Country

Amplify’d from headfullofsnow.com

The Move – Message From the Country

September 30th, 2010

Message From the Country was the 1971 parting shot from Brummie rockers The Move, something of a contractual obligation while the now three piece recorded the first ELO album. And as far as contractual obligations go, it’s a bloody good’un.

the move - message from the country album cover

Consisting of Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, this album, recorded for the band’s new label and EMI’s progressive wing, Harvest, saw Lynne move to the fore, sharing 50% of the songwriting, vocal and production duties with the The Move’s regular creative workhorse, Roy Wood.

As a band that’d travelled a musical path from Mod chic and pop, to psychedelic floweriness, through to some particularly weighty progressive rock, Message From the Country sees a return to the realms of the pop song, albeit in a somewhat progressive vein.

Not quite the best album The Move ever recorded (Looking On still pips it at the post), it does contain one of the best songs, if not the best song, to bolt from the stable of Birmingham’s finest. ‘The Words of Aaron’ is a post-psychedelic masterpiece from the pen of Jeff Lynne; a moody and enigmatic tune that features dual vocals from Lynne and Wood, suitably cryptic lyrics and the menacing intrusion of an electric bassoon.

Yes, an electric bassoon! Of all things!

But it isn’t just ‘The Words of Aaron‘ that make Message From the Country such a worthwhile cause. Throughout, The Move play like a band in their prime and the songwriting is top notch, this is despite their attentions having already moved onto the Electric Light Orchestra project. A more conscientious triumvirate of tuneful Brummies, you’d be hard pressed to find.

‘Message From the Country’, the opening track and Jeff Lynne’s meditative ode to impending environmental disaster, is another strong contender for the all-time greats vault, and nestled between these two fine songs is a collection of the diverse, the experimental and the downright bizarre.

The Bevan-penned Elvis pastiche ‘Don’t Mess Me Up’, gives Roy Wood the opportunity to roll out his best Presley vocals, which he’d go on to revisit for both the first and second Wizzard albums. Elsewhere, Bevan himself is given the opportunity to take lead vocals for the first time since ‘Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart’ on The Move’s debut album, this time with the Johnny Cash-flavoured ‘Ben Crawley Steel Company’. As in the case of his previous stint out from behind the drum kit, the results are – at best – interesting.

Such frivolities aside, the remainder of the tracks are all firmly on the right side of decent, with Roy Wood’s Middle Eastern tinged ‘It Wasn’t My Idea to Dance’, being a particular highlight. Even the daft as badger-buggery, music hall wheeze of ‘My Marge’ passes muster. That’s how good this album is.

But it doesn’t end there. The 2005 Harvest reissue of Message From the Country features eight bonus tracks, made up of the final singles The Move released (none of which feature on the original album), as well as three previously unheard session tracks. Nestled amidst these bonuses is the wonderful Jerry Lee Lewis-styled ‘California Man’, the final song recorded under The Move name. A raucous, 1950′s throwback of a rock ‘n’ roller, it serves as a more than fitting end to a cracking legacy, one which began with a very different line-up at Birmingham’s Cedar Club, six years before.

Likewise, Message From the Country is an enviable swansong from one of the great bands sitting on the 60s/70s cusp.

Message From the Country by The Move is reissued by Harvest and available to buy from Amazon.co.uk

Don’t just read and applaud. Subscribe to the rather splendid RSS Feed

album reviews, progressive pop crossover

Copyright © 2008-2010

Head Full of Snow

Read more at headfullofsnow.com

Inner Peace: Your Simple Guide

Amplify’d from balanceinme.com

Balance In Me

Simple balance for busy people

Inner Peace: Your Simple Guide

Posted on Balanced Lifestyle, Balanced Mind and Soul | September 29, 2010 | 1 Comment

This post was written by Anastasiya. Follow me on Twitter or StumbleUpon and keep your life balanced!

A smile is the beginning of peace.
– Mother Teresa

inner peace

Do you wish you were more peaceful inside? Maybe you need peace of mind when making an important decision. Maybe you need peace to help you get over things from your past. Maybe you need peace to get over anxiety and frustration that you are feeling inside.

If you do not feel peaceful inside then you are not balanced and you can’t find inner serenity until you make peace with yourself.

Just recently I had a small problem with my online business. My income has dropped and none of my new projects were doing any good. My first thought “Oh, no! What shall I do? What if my entire business falls apart? What should I do?” I had lost my peace of mind for a few days and I was frantically searching for solutions and working almost day and night (working during the day and dreaming about work at night, this is how bad it was.)

Nothing was bringing me any joy and of course my family was the ones who suffered the most in this situation. I am not even talking about my body that had declared a strike by giving me aches and pains in any possible part of it.

Thankfully this silly rat race lasted only for a few days. I remembered what is really important in my life and found my peace of mind again (and I am going to tell you how in a few seconds.)

  1. Realization
    First of all you have to realize that you have lost your peace of mind. Here are some of the most common examples (though there are hundreds more):

    • you start judging everybody else around you and finding faults in them;
    • being impatient and irritable all the time;
    • exploding over little things;
    • giving way to addictions and temptations: alcohol, drugs and even food (if the only thing that will give you temporary peace of mind is chocolate cake with a pint of ice-cream on top of it – you are in trouble);
    • start looking for peace in all the wrong places: selfishness, obsession with material values;
    • jealousy and envy starts eating you from the inside out;
    • you lose trust in everybody and in yourself;
    • you feel like you are walking on the edge of an abyss in the darkness and every step you make just brings you closer to falling.

  1. Find your core belief
    Like you probably know already I find my strength in my faith in God. I understand that not everybody shares my beliefs but this is the only path I am taking. So far every bad thing that has happened in my life has led me to something better that I was not even expecting (I know it sounds counter-intuitive.)
    Even if you are not on the same page with me about my beliefs I highly recommend that you develop your spirituality in general. Spiritual beliefs give you the answers to why something is happening and help you realize that you do not always have to be in control. The spiritual path is long and unpredictable, you never know where you will end up in the end (this is the exciting part of it.)

  1. For peace of mind resign as general manager of the universe. ~Larry Eisenberg
    If you trust only in yourself and act like you are the general manager of the universe then of course every little thing will tick you off.
    There are things that we cannot control and there are things that each of us are not very good at. There are situations when the only thing that can get you through is knowing that there is some divine plan and you are an important part of that plan.
    Learn to ask for help and support when you need them, admit that you are not a superhuman and accept yourself for who you really are. You are only responsible for being you and for doing the best you can with the amazing potential that you have.

  1. Live in the present
    Living in the present and practicing mindfulness does not mean that you throw away your past and completely ignore your future. It means that you savor your life right now and you are grateful for being alive today.
    One really good man was working all his life providing for his family and getting ready for tomorrow. He seemed like a really good guy: he worked hard, then he worked even harder, he saved a lot, he was extremely financially savvy, he made sure that his family had everything they needed. However all he could think about was how to grow his business so that he could retire at 65 and finally taste the good life. He died of a heart attack at 45. Do you think he knew what inner peace was? I bet he will never find out.

  1. Tame your ego
    Ego is like a horse. If you can learn to ride it then it will be your best friend. If you let it go wild – it will take off like a rocket and then destroy you somewhere along the road. People with overblown egos are not fun to be with, they are not respectful and they cannot be relied on. While that person can think that he/she is the center of the universe still deep inside this just a lonely lost soul. It is a soul that I am very sympathetic with.
    The other day I got a very rude and vulgar comment. I was expecting some controversy on my post The Question I was Scared to Ask and I like a smart debate with a respectful opponent. I have deleted the comment (actually three really long ones from one person) because I do not allow that kind of language on my blog. Anyway, I am not judging that person even though I completely do not agree with his opinion. But I could feel that this person didn’t have inner peace. Why? Only when you are scared to look inside of yourself you waste your time by finding faults or arguing with others disrespectfully. If I saw that guy/man in person I would just smile and walk away. This is the closest taste of peace I could give him.

  1. Clean up your life
    I can’t stress it enough how important it is to have a clean and balanced environment. People you communicate with, things you do in life, things you buy even foods you eat (read more on how to clean up your lifestyle.) Peace of mind is a very clean and pure state and it just cannot survive in a trash pit.

Peace of mind is not something you can buy or train for. It is a state of your soul that allows you to be the best human you can be (note: not a superhuman, there is a huge difference) and live a full life that you were meant to have. Do not let this world distract you and rob you off that wonderful feeling of inner calm.

Keep it balanced!

Read more at balanceinme.com

Charles Bukowski & Tanju Okan

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Charles Bukowski & Tanju Okan
allmechanic | March 04, 2009

Charles Bukowski And Tanju Okan….Same alcohol but different lives.

Contains Content From: Turkish Music – Türkçe Müzik

Tanju Okan – Dostlarım Download This Song: eMusic AmazonMP3 iTunes

Tanju Okan – DostlarımRead more at www.youtube.com

Roy & Cyril in New Orleans

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/FlaminGroovies/

Roy/Cyril Show Sunday Night@ One Eyed Jacks

Posted by: “geek020651”

Excellent show, with some tunes that caught everyone there by surprise.
Let’s do this list chronologically, since I really can’t remember the order everything was in, other than Second Cousin, Comin After Me, Scratch My Back started the show, Teenage Head and Slow Death ended the regular set, and encores were Dr. Boogie, Roadhouse & Jumpin In The Night.

From Sneakers – Golden Clouds

From Supersnazz – First One’s Free, Bam Balaam (!!)

From Flamingo – Comin After Me, 2nd Cousin, Sweet Roll Me On Down(!),
Childhood’s End (!), Roadhouse

From Teenage Head – Have You Seen My Baby, Teenage Head, Yesterday’s Numbers (CJ singing), Evil Hearted Ada, Dr. Boogie, Scratch My Back (TH outtakes) – with Lazy Lester on harp again, this time replicating Slim Harpo’s original intro.

Other – Slow Death, Tallahassee Lassie, Shake Some Action (CJ & Ira K. singing), and Jumpin IN The Night

18 songs in all.

Opening act The Jim Jones Revue was incredible! (and very loud) The A-Bones were The A-Bones….. .

Had a chance to talk with Roy briefly Friday night; finally caught up with Cyril tonight after the show. New Magic Christian CD single was available at tonight’s show. WIll have to wait til I get home tomorrow (actually later today) to play it.

On the walk back down Bourbon St. to my hotel at 2:30, was accosted by at least half a dozen potential “dates”, 4 of whom tried to fondle me……too bad I need some sleep before flying back north – John O.. 

 

http://wewantnothing.tumblr.com/post/1198867036/from-pat-collins-roy-cyril-re…

From Pat Collins: Roy & Cyril Rehearsing w the A-Bones at the hotel Thursday.

From Pat Collins: 

Roy & Cyril

Rehearsing w the A-Bones at the hotel Thursday.

T H E OTHER’S LANGUAGE: JACQUES DERRIDA INTERVIEWS ORNETTE COLEMAN, 23 JUNE 1997

http://itself.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/derrida-w-ornette-coleman/

http://itself.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/theotherslanguage.pdf

T H E OTHER’S LANGUAGE: JACQUES DERRIDA

INTERVIEWS ORNETTE COLEMAN, 23 JUNE 1997

TRANSLATED BY TIMOTHY S. MURPHY1

Translator’s note: The meeting between saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman

and philospher Jacques Derrida documented here took place in late June

and early July 1997, before and during Coleman’s three concerts at La Villette, a

museum and performing arts complex north of Paris that houses, among other

things, the world-renowned Paris Conservatory. Here Derrida interviews Coleman

about his views on composition, improvisation, language and racism. Perhaps

the most interesting point of the exchange is the convergence of their

respective ideas about “languages of origin” and their experiences of racial prejudice.

This interview was originally conducted in English several days before Coleman’s

concerts, but since original transcripts could not be located, I have translated

it back into English from the published French text.

Jacques Derrida: This year in New York you are presenting a program entitled Civilization2

what relationship does it have with music?

Ornette Coleman: I’m trying to express a concept according to which you can

translate one thing into another. I think that sound has a much more democratic

relationship to information, because you don’t need the alphabet to understand

‘This interview originally appeared in French in the magazine Les Inrockuptibles no. 115 (20

aout-2 septembre 1997): 37-40,43. All notes have been added by the translator.

2“Ornette Coleman: Civilization” was a series of concerts Coleman gave in mid-July 1997 under

the aegis of the Lincoln Center Festival ’97. It included performances of his orchestral work Skies of

America, trio performances with Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, who were members of his original

quartet, and a concluding performance by Prime Time, his electric group.

music. This year, in New York, I’m setting up a project with the New York Philharmonic

and my first quartet—without Don Cherry—plus other groups. I’m trying to

find the concept according to which sound is renewed every time it’s expressed.

JD: But are you acting as a composer or as a musician?

OC: As a composer, people often say to me, “Are you going to play the pieces that

you’ve already played, or new pieces?”

JD: You never answer those questions, do you?

OC: If you’re playing music that you’ve already recorded, most musicians think that

you’re hiring them to keep that music alive. And most musicians don’t have as

much enthusiasm when they have to play the same things every time. So I prefer to

write music that they’ve never played before.

JD: You want to surprise them.

OC: Yes, I want to stimulate them instead of asking them simply to accompany me

in front of the public. But I find that it’s very difficult to do, because the jazz musician

is probably the only person for whom the composer is not a very interesting

individual, in the sense that he prefers to destroy what the composer writes or says.

JD: When you say that sound is more “democratic,” what do you make of that as a

composer? You write music in a coded form all the same.

OC: In 1972 I wrote a symphony called Skies of America and that was a tragic event

for me, because I didn’t have such a good relationship with the music scene [ milieu

de la musique]: like when I was doing free jazz, most people thought that I just

picked up my saxophone and played whatever was going through my head, without

following any rule, but that wasn’t true.

JD: You constantly protest against that accusation.

OC: Yes. People on the outside think that it’s a form of extraordinary freedom, but I

think that it’s a limitation. So it’s taken twenty years, but today I’m going to have a

piece played by New York’s symphony orchestra and its conductor. The other day,

as I was meeting with certain members of the Philharmonic, they told me, “You

know, the person in charge of scores needs to see that.” I was upset—it’s like you

wrote me a letter and someone had to read it to confirm that there was nothing in it

that could irritate me. It was to be sure that the Philharmonic wouldn’t be disturbed.

Then they said, “The only thing we want to know is if there is a dot in that

place, a word in another”; it had nothing to do with music or sound, just with symbols.

In fact, the music that I’ve been writing for thirty years and that I call harmolodic

is like we’re manufacturing [fabriquions] our own words, with a precise

idea of what we want these words to mean to people.

JD: But do all your partners share your conception of music?

OC: Normally I begin by composing something that I can have them analyze, I play

it with them, then I give them the score. And at the next rehearsal [repetition] I ask

them to show me what they’ve found and we can go on from there. I do this with

my musicians and with my students. I truly believe that whoever tries to express

himself in words, in poetry, in whatever form, can take my book of harmolodic and

compose according to it, do it with the same passion and the same elements.

JD: In preparing these New York projects, you first write the music by yourself, and

then ask the participants to read it, to agree, and even to transform the initial writing?

OC: For the Philharmonic I had to write out parts for each instrument, photocopy

them, then go see the person in charge of scores. But with jazz groups, I compose

and I give the parts to the musicians in rehearsal. What’s really shocking in improvised

music is that despite its name, most musicians use a “framework [trame]” as a

basis for improvising. I’ve just recorded a CD with a European musician, Joachim

Kiihn, and the music I wrote to play with him, that we recorded in August 1996, has

two characteristics: it’s totally improvised, but at the same time it follows the laws

and rules of European structure. And yet, when you hear it, it has a completely

improvised feel [air]3.

3See Coleman and Kiihn.

JD: First the musician reads the framework, then brings his own touch to it.

OC: Yes, the idea is that two or three people can have a conversation with sounds,

without trying to dominate it or lead it. What I mean is that you have to be . . . intelligent,

I suppose that’s the word. In improvised music I think the musicians are trying

to reassemble an emotional or intellectual puzzle, in any case a puzzle in which

the instruments give the tone. It’s primarily the piano that has served at all times as

the framework in music, but it’s no longer indispensable and, in fact, the commercial

aspect of music is very uncertain. Commercial music is not necessarily more

accessible, but it is limited.

JD: When you begin to rehearse, is everything ready, written, or do you leave space

for the unforeseen?

OC: Let’s suppose that we’re in the process of playing and you hear something that

you think could be improved; you could tell me, “You should try this.” For me,

music has no leader.

JD: What do you think of the relationship between the precise event that constitutes

the concert and pre-written music or improvised music? Do you think that prewritten

music prevents the event from taking place?

OC: No. I don’t know if it’s true for language, but in jazz you can take a very old

piece and do another version of it. What’s exciting is the memory that you bring to

the present. What you’re talking about, the form that metamorphoses into other

forms, I think it’s something healthy, but very rare.

JD: Perhaps you will agree with me on the fact that the very concept of improvisation

verges upon reading, since what we often understand by improvisation is the

creation of something new, yet something which doesn’t exclude the pre-written

framework that makes it possible.

OC: That’s true.

JD: I am not an “Ornette Coleman expert,” but if I translate what you are doing

into a domain that I know better, that of written language, the unique event that is

produced only one time is nevertheless repeated in its very structure. Thus there is a

repetition, in the work, that is intrinsic to the initial creation—that which compromises

or complicates the concept of improvisation. Repetition is already in improvisation:

thus when people want to trap you between improvisation and the pre-written,

they are wrong.

OC: Repetition is as natural as the fact that the earth rotates.

JD: Do you think that your music and the way people act can or must change

things, for example, on the political level or in the sexual relation? Can or should

your role as an artist and composer have an effect on the state of things?

OC: No, I don’t believe so, but I think that many people have already experienced

that before me, and if I start complaining, they’ll say to me, “Why are you complaining?

We haven’t changed for this person that we admire more than you, so

why should we change for you?” So basically I really don’t think so. I was in the

South when minorities were oppressed, and I identified with them through music. I

was in Texas, I started to play the saxophone and make a living for my family by

playing on the radio. One day, I walked into a place that was full of gambling and

prostitution, people arguing, and I saw a woman get stabbed—then I thought that I

had to get out of there. I told my mother that I didn’t want to play this music anymore

because I thought that I was only adding to all that suffering. She replied,

“What’s got hold of you, you want somebody to pay you for your soul?” I hadn’t

thought of that, and when she told me that, it was like I had been re-baptized.

JD: Your mother was very clear-headed.

OC: Yes, she was an intelligent woman. Ever since that day I’ve tried to find a way to

avoid feeling guilty for doing something that other people don’t do.

JD: Have you succeeded?

OC: I don’t know, but bebop had emerged and I saw it as a way out. It’s an instrumental

music that isn’t connected to a certain scene, that can exist in a more normal

setting. Wherever I was playing the blues, there were plenty of people without jobs

who did nothing but gamble their money. Then I took up bebop, which was hap

pening above all in New York, and I told myself that I had to go there. I was just

about 17 years old, I left home and headed for the South.

JD: Before Los Angeles?

OC: Yes. I had long hair like the Beatles, this was at the beginning of the Fifties. So I

headed for the South, and just like the police, black people beat me up on top of

everything, they didn’t like me, I had too bizarre a look for them. They punched me

in the face and demolished my sax. That was hard. Plus, I was with a group that

played what we called “minstrel pipe-music,” and I tried to do bebop, I was making

progress and I got myself hired. I was in New Orleans, I was going to see a very religious

family and I started to play in a “sanctified” church—when I was little, I

played in church all the time. Ever since my mother said those words to me, I was

looking for a music that I could play without feeling guilty for doing something. To

this day I haven’t yet found it.

JD: When you arrived in New York as a very young man, did you already have a

premonition of what you were going to discover musically, harmolodic, or did that

happen much later?

OC: No, because when I arrived in New York, I was more or less treated like someone

from the South who didn’t know music, who couldn’t read or write, but I never

tried to protest that. Then I decided that I was going to try to develop my own conception,

without anybody’s help. I rented the Town Hall on 21 December 1962, that

cost me $600,1 hired a rhythm and blues group, a classical group and a trio. The

evening of the concert there was a snowstorm, a newspaper strike, a doctors’ strike

and a subway strike, and the only people who came were those who had to leave

their hotel and come to the city hall. I had asked someone to record my concert and

he committed suicide, but someone else recorded it, founded his record company

with it, and I never saw him again.4 All that made me understand once again that I

had done that for the same reason that I had told my mother that I didn’t want to

play down there anymore. Obviously, the state of things from the technological,

“See Coleman, Town Hall 1962

financial, social and criminal point of view was much worse than when I was in the

South. I was knocking on doors that stayed closed.

JD: What has your son’s impact on your work been? Does it have to do with the use

of new technologies in your music?

OC: Since Denardo has been my manager, I’ve understood how simple technology

is, and I’ve understood its meaning.

JD: Have you felt that the introduction of technology was a violent transformation

of your project, or has it been easy? On the other hand, does your New York project

on civilizations have something to do with what they call globalization?

OC: I think that there’s something true in both, it’s because of this that you can ask

yourself if there were “primitive white men”: technology only seems to represent the

word “white,” not total equality.

JD: You mistrust this concept of globalization, and I believe you are right.

OC: When you take music, the composers who were inventors in western, European

culture are maybe a half-dozen. As for technology, the inventors I have most

heard talk about it are Indians from Calcutta and Bombay. There are many Indian

and Chinese scientists. Their inventions are like inversions of the ideas of European

or American inventors, but the word “inventor” has taken on a sense of racial domination

that’s more important than invention—which is sad, because it’s the equivalent

of a sort of propaganda.

JD: How can you unsettle this “monarchy”? By allying your own creation with Indian

or Chinese music, for example, in this New York project?

OC: What I mean is that the differences between man and woman or between races

have a relation to the education and intelligence of survival. Being black and a

descendent of slaves, I have no idea what my language of origin was.

JD: If we were here to talk about me, which is not the case, I would tell you that, in a

different but analogous manner, it’s the same thing for me. I was born into a family

of Algerian Jews who spoke French, but that was not really their language of origin.

I wrote a little book on this subject, and in a certain way I am always in the process

of speaking what I call the “monolingualism of the other.”5 I have no contact of any

sort with my language of origin, or rather that of my supposed ancestors.

OC: Do you ever ask yourself if the language that you speak now interferes with

your actual thoughts? Can a language of origin influence your thoughts?

JD: It is an enigma for me. I cannot know it. I know that something speaks through

me, a language that I don’t understand, that I sometimes translate more or less easily

into my “language.” I am of course a French intellectual, I teach in French-speaking

schools, but I have the impression that something is forcing me to do something

for the French language…

OC: But you know, in my case, in the United States, they call the English that blacks

speak “ebonies”: they can use an expression that means something else than in current

English. The black community has always used a signifying language. When I

arrived in California, it was the first time that I was in a place [ milieu] where a white

man wasn’t telling me that I couldn’t sit somewhere. Someone began to ask me

loads of questions, and I just didn’t follow, so then I decided to go see a psychiatrist

to see if I understood him. And he gave me a prescription for Valium. I took that

valium and threw it in the toilet. I didn’t always know where I was, so I went to a

library and I checked out all the books possible and imaginable on the human brain,

I read them all. They said that the brain was only a conversation. They didn’t say

what about, but this made me understand that the fact of thinking and knowing

doesn’t only depend on the place of origin. I understand more and more that what

we call the human brain, in the sense of knowing and being, is not the same thing as

the human brain that makes us what we are.

JD: This is always a conviction: we know ourselves by what we believe. Of course in

your case, it’s tragic, but it’s universal, we know or believe we know what we are

through the stories that are told to us. The fact is that we are exacdy the same age,

we were born the same year. When I was young, during the war, I never went to

France before the age of 19,1 lived in Algeria in that era, and in 1940 I was expelled

5See Derrida.

from school because I was a Jew, as a result of the racial laws, and I didn’t even

know what had happened. I only understood very much later, through stories that

told me who I was, so to speak. And even regarding your mother, we know who she

is and that she is a certain way only by means of narration. I’ve tried to guess in

what era you were in New York and Los Angeles, it was before civil rights were

granted to blacks. The first time I went to the United States, in 1956, there were

“Reserved for Whites” signs everywhere, and I remember how brutal that was. You

experienced all that?

OC: Yes. In any case, what I like about Paris is the fact that you can’t be a snob and a

racist at the same time here, because that won’t do. Paris is the only city I know

where racism never exists in your presence, it’s something you hear spoken of.

JD: That doesn’t mean there is no racism, but one is obliged to conceal it to the

extent possible. What is the strategy of your musical choice for Paris?

OC: For me, being an innovator doesn’t mean being more intelligent, more rich, it’s

not a word, it’s an action. Since it hasn’t been done, there’s no use talking about it.

JD: I understand that you prefer doing [faire] to speaking. But what do you do with

words? What is the relation between the music you make [fakes] and your own

words or those that people try to impose on what you make? The problem of choosing

the title, for example, how do you envision that?

OC: I had a niece who died in February of this year and I went to her funeral, and

when I saw her in her coffin, someone had put a pair of glasses on her. I had wanted

to call one of my pieces She was sleeping, dead, and wearing glasses in her coffin. And

then I changed the idea and called it “Blind Date.”

JD: That tide imposed itself on you?

OC: I was trying to understand that someone had put glasses on a dead woman….

I had a little idea of what that meant, but it’s very difficult to understand the feminine

side of life when it has nothing to do with the masculine side.

JD: Do you think that your musical writing has something fundamental to do with

your relation to women?

OC: Before becoming known as a musician, when I worked in a big department

store, one day, during my lunch break, I came across a gallery where someone had

painted a very rich white woman who had absolutely everything that you could

desire in life, and she had the most solitary expression in the world. I had never been

confronted with such solitude, and when I got back home, I wrote a piece that I

called “Lonely Woman.”6

JD: So the choice of a title was not a choice of words but a reference to this experience?

I’m posing you these questions on language, on words, because to prepare

myself for our encounter, I listened to your music and read what the specialists have

written about you. And last night I read an article that was in fact a conference presentation

given by one of my friends, Rodolphe Burger, a musician whose group is

called Kat Onoma. It was constructed around your statements. In order to analyze

the way in which you formulate your music, he began from your statements, of

which the first was this: “For reasons that I’m not sure of, I am convinced that

before becoming music, music was only a word.” Do you recall having said that?

OC: No.

JD: How do you understand or interpret your own verbal statements? Are they

something important to you?

OC: It interests me more to have a human relationship with you than a musical

relationship. I want to see if I can express myself in words, in sounds that have to do

with a human relationship. At the same time, I would like to be able to speak of the

relationship between two talents, between two doings. For me, the human relationship

is much more beautiful, because it allows you to gain the freedom that you

desire, for yourself and for the other.

(Recorded by Thierry Jousse and Genevieve Pereygne.)

6On Coleman, Shape; also available in the box set Beauty is a Rare Thing.

WORKS CITED

Coleman, Ornette. Beauty is a Rare Thing: The Complete Atlantic Recordings. Santa

Monica: Rhino, 1993.

. The Shape of Jazz to Come. New York: Atlantic, 1959.

—. Town Hall 1962. New York: ESP, 1963.

and Joachim Kiihn. Colors: Live from Leipzig. New York: Harmolodic, 1997.

Derrida, Jacques. Monolingualism of the Other; Or, the Prosthesis of Origin. 1996.

Trans. Patrick Mensah. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998.

T H E OTHER’S LANGUAGE: JACQUES DERRIDA INTERVIEWS ORNETTE COLEMAN, 23 JUNE 1997

http://itself.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/derrida-w-ornette-coleman/

http://itself.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/theotherslanguage.pdf

T H E OTHER’S LANGUAGE: JACQUES DERRIDA

INTERVIEWS ORNETTE COLEMAN, 23 JUNE 1997

TRANSLATED BY TIMOTHY S. MURPHY1

Translator’s note: The meeting between saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman

and philospher Jacques Derrida documented here took place in late June

and early July 1997, before and during Coleman’s three concerts at La Villette, a

museum and performing arts complex north of Paris that houses, among other

things, the world-renowned Paris Conservatory. Here Derrida interviews Coleman

about his views on composition, improvisation, language and racism. Perhaps

the most interesting point of the exchange is the convergence of their

respective ideas about “languages of origin” and their experiences of racial prejudice.

This interview was originally conducted in English several days before Coleman’s

concerts, but since original transcripts could not be located, I have translated

it back into English from the published French text.

Jacques Derrida: This year in New York you are presenting a program entitled Civilization2

what relationship does it have with music?

Ornette Coleman: I’m trying to express a concept according to which you can

translate one thing into another. I think that sound has a much more democratic

relationship to information, because you don’t need the alphabet to understand

‘This interview originally appeared in French in the magazine Les Inrockuptibles no. 115 (20

aout-2 septembre 1997): 37-40,43. All notes have been added by the translator.

2“Ornette Coleman: Civilization” was a series of concerts Coleman gave in mid-July 1997 under

the aegis of the Lincoln Center Festival ’97. It included performances of his orchestral work Skies of

America, trio performances with Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, who were members of his original

quartet, and a concluding performance by Prime Time, his electric group.

music. This year, in New York, I’m setting up a project with the New York Philharmonic

and my first quartet—without Don Cherry—plus other groups. I’m trying to

find the concept according to which sound is renewed every time it’s expressed.

JD: But are you acting as a composer or as a musician?

OC: As a composer, people often say to me, “Are you going to play the pieces that

you’ve already played, or new pieces?”

JD: You never answer those questions, do you?

OC: If you’re playing music that you’ve already recorded, most musicians think that

you’re hiring them to keep that music alive. And most musicians don’t have as

much enthusiasm when they have to play the same things every time. So I prefer to

write music that they’ve never played before.

JD: You want to surprise them.

OC: Yes, I want to stimulate them instead of asking them simply to accompany me

in front of the public. But I find that it’s very difficult to do, because the jazz musician

is probably the only person for whom the composer is not a very interesting

individual, in the sense that he prefers to destroy what the composer writes or says.

JD: When you say that sound is more “democratic,” what do you make of that as a

composer? You write music in a coded form all the same.

OC: In 1972 I wrote a symphony called Skies of America and that was a tragic event

for me, because I didn’t have such a good relationship with the music scene [ milieu

de la musique]: like when I was doing free jazz, most people thought that I just

picked up my saxophone and played whatever was going through my head, without

following any rule, but that wasn’t true.

JD: You constantly protest against that accusation.

OC: Yes. People on the outside think that it’s a form of extraordinary freedom, but I

think that it’s a limitation. So it’s taken twenty years, but today I’m going to have a

piece played by New York’s symphony orchestra and its conductor. The other day,

as I was meeting with certain members of the Philharmonic, they told me, “You

know, the person in charge of scores needs to see that.” I was upset—it’s like you

wrote me a letter and someone had to read it to confirm that there was nothing in it

that could irritate me. It was to be sure that the Philharmonic wouldn’t be disturbed.

Then they said, “The only thing we want to know is if there is a dot in that

place, a word in another”; it had nothing to do with music or sound, just with symbols.

In fact, the music that I’ve been writing for thirty years and that I call harmolodic

is like we’re manufacturing [fabriquions] our own words, with a precise

idea of what we want these words to mean to people.

JD: But do all your partners share your conception of music?

OC: Normally I begin by composing something that I can have them analyze, I play

it with them, then I give them the score. And at the next rehearsal [repetition] I ask

them to show me what they’ve found and we can go on from there. I do this with

my musicians and with my students. I truly believe that whoever tries to express

himself in words, in poetry, in whatever form, can take my book of harmolodic and

compose according to it, do it with the same passion and the same elements.

JD: In preparing these New York projects, you first write the music by yourself, and

then ask the participants to read it, to agree, and even to transform the initial writing?

OC: For the Philharmonic I had to write out parts for each instrument, photocopy

them, then go see the person in charge of scores. But with jazz groups, I compose

and I give the parts to the musicians in rehearsal. What’s really shocking in improvised

music is that despite its name, most musicians use a “framework [trame]” as a

basis for improvising. I’ve just recorded a CD with a European musician, Joachim

Kiihn, and the music I wrote to play with him, that we recorded in August 1996, has

two characteristics: it’s totally improvised, but at the same time it follows the laws

and rules of European structure. And yet, when you hear it, it has a completely

improvised feel [air]3.

3See Coleman and Kiihn.

JD: First the musician reads the framework, then brings his own touch to it.

OC: Yes, the idea is that two or three people can have a conversation with sounds,

without trying to dominate it or lead it. What I mean is that you have to be . . . intelligent,

I suppose that’s the word. In improvised music I think the musicians are trying

to reassemble an emotional or intellectual puzzle, in any case a puzzle in which

the instruments give the tone. It’s primarily the piano that has served at all times as

the framework in music, but it’s no longer indispensable and, in fact, the commercial

aspect of music is very uncertain. Commercial music is not necessarily more

accessible, but it is limited.

JD: When you begin to rehearse, is everything ready, written, or do you leave space

for the unforeseen?

OC: Let’s suppose that we’re in the process of playing and you hear something that

you think could be improved; you could tell me, “You should try this.” For me,

music has no leader.

JD: What do you think of the relationship between the precise event that constitutes

the concert and pre-written music or improvised music? Do you think that prewritten

music prevents the event from taking place?

OC: No. I don’t know if it’s true for language, but in jazz you can take a very old

piece and do another version of it. What’s exciting is the memory that you bring to

the present. What you’re talking about, the form that metamorphoses into other

forms, I think it’s something healthy, but very rare.

JD: Perhaps you will agree with me on the fact that the very concept of improvisation

verges upon reading, since what we often understand by improvisation is the

creation of something new, yet something which doesn’t exclude the pre-written

framework that makes it possible.

OC: That’s true.

JD: I am not an “Ornette Coleman expert,” but if I translate what you are doing

into a domain that I know better, that of written language, the unique event that is

produced only one time is nevertheless repeated in its very structure. Thus there is a

repetition, in the work, that is intrinsic to the initial creation—that which compromises

or complicates the concept of improvisation. Repetition is already in improvisation:

thus when people want to trap you between improvisation and the pre-written,

they are wrong.

OC: Repetition is as natural as the fact that the earth rotates.

JD: Do you think that your music and the way people act can or must change

things, for example, on the political level or in the sexual relation? Can or should

your role as an artist and composer have an effect on the state of things?

OC: No, I don’t believe so, but I think that many people have already experienced

that before me, and if I start complaining, they’ll say to me, “Why are you complaining?

We haven’t changed for this person that we admire more than you, so

why should we change for you?” So basically I really don’t think so. I was in the

South when minorities were oppressed, and I identified with them through music. I

was in Texas, I started to play the saxophone and make a living for my family by

playing on the radio. One day, I walked into a place that was full of gambling and

prostitution, people arguing, and I saw a woman get stabbed—then I thought that I

had to get out of there. I told my mother that I didn’t want to play this music anymore

because I thought that I was only adding to all that suffering. She replied,

“What’s got hold of you, you want somebody to pay you for your soul?” I hadn’t

thought of that, and when she told me that, it was like I had been re-baptized.

JD: Your mother was very clear-headed.

OC: Yes, she was an intelligent woman. Ever since that day I’ve tried to find a way to

avoid feeling guilty for doing something that other people don’t do.

JD: Have you succeeded?

OC: I don’t know, but bebop had emerged and I saw it as a way out. It’s an instrumental

music that isn’t connected to a certain scene, that can exist in a more normal

setting. Wherever I was playing the blues, there were plenty of people without jobs

who did nothing but gamble their money. Then I took up bebop, which was hap

pening above all in New York, and I told myself that I had to go there. I was just

about 17 years old, I left home and headed for the South.

JD: Before Los Angeles?

OC: Yes. I had long hair like the Beatles, this was at the beginning of the Fifties. So I

headed for the South, and just like the police, black people beat me up on top of

everything, they didn’t like me, I had too bizarre a look for them. They punched me

in the face and demolished my sax. That was hard. Plus, I was with a group that

played what we called “minstrel pipe-music,” and I tried to do bebop, I was making

progress and I got myself hired. I was in New Orleans, I was going to see a very religious

family and I started to play in a “sanctified” church—when I was little, I

played in church all the time. Ever since my mother said those words to me, I was

looking for a music that I could play without feeling guilty for doing something. To

this day I haven’t yet found it.

JD: When you arrived in New York as a very young man, did you already have a

premonition of what you were going to discover musically, harmolodic, or did that

happen much later?

OC: No, because when I arrived in New York, I was more or less treated like someone

from the South who didn’t know music, who couldn’t read or write, but I never

tried to protest that. Then I decided that I was going to try to develop my own conception,

without anybody’s help. I rented the Town Hall on 21 December 1962, that

cost me $600,1 hired a rhythm and blues group, a classical group and a trio. The

evening of the concert there was a snowstorm, a newspaper strike, a doctors’ strike

and a subway strike, and the only people who came were those who had to leave

their hotel and come to the city hall. I had asked someone to record my concert and

he committed suicide, but someone else recorded it, founded his record company

with it, and I never saw him again.4 All that made me understand once again that I

had done that for the same reason that I had told my mother that I didn’t want to

play down there anymore. Obviously, the state of things from the technological,

“See Coleman, Town Hall 1962

financial, social and criminal point of view was much worse than when I was in the

South. I was knocking on doors that stayed closed.

JD: What has your son’s impact on your work been? Does it have to do with the use

of new technologies in your music?

OC: Since Denardo has been my manager, I’ve understood how simple technology

is, and I’ve understood its meaning.

JD: Have you felt that the introduction of technology was a violent transformation

of your project, or has it been easy? On the other hand, does your New York project

on civilizations have something to do with what they call globalization?

OC: I think that there’s something true in both, it’s because of this that you can ask

yourself if there were “primitive white men”: technology only seems to represent the

word “white,” not total equality.

JD: You mistrust this concept of globalization, and I believe you are right.

OC: When you take music, the composers who were inventors in western, European

culture are maybe a half-dozen. As for technology, the inventors I have most

heard talk about it are Indians from Calcutta and Bombay. There are many Indian

and Chinese scientists. Their inventions are like inversions of the ideas of European

or American inventors, but the word “inventor” has taken on a sense of racial domination

that’s more important than invention—which is sad, because it’s the equivalent

of a sort of propaganda.

JD: How can you unsettle this “monarchy”? By allying your own creation with Indian

or Chinese music, for example, in this New York project?

OC: What I mean is that the differences between man and woman or between races

have a relation to the education and intelligence of survival. Being black and a

descendent of slaves, I have no idea what my language of origin was.

JD: If we were here to talk about me, which is not the case, I would tell you that, in a

different but analogous manner, it’s the same thing for me. I was born into a family

of Algerian Jews who spoke French, but that was not really their language of origin.

I wrote a little book on this subject, and in a certain way I am always in the process

of speaking what I call the “monolingualism of the other.”5 I have no contact of any

sort with my language of origin, or rather that of my supposed ancestors.

OC: Do you ever ask yourself if the language that you speak now interferes with

your actual thoughts? Can a language of origin influence your thoughts?

JD: It is an enigma for me. I cannot know it. I know that something speaks through

me, a language that I don’t understand, that I sometimes translate more or less easily

into my “language.” I am of course a French intellectual, I teach in French-speaking

schools, but I have the impression that something is forcing me to do something

for the French language…

OC: But you know, in my case, in the United States, they call the English that blacks

speak “ebonies”: they can use an expression that means something else than in current

English. The black community has always used a signifying language. When I

arrived in California, it was the first time that I was in a place [ milieu] where a white

man wasn’t telling me that I couldn’t sit somewhere. Someone began to ask me

loads of questions, and I just didn’t follow, so then I decided to go see a psychiatrist

to see if I understood him. And he gave me a prescription for Valium. I took that

valium and threw it in the toilet. I didn’t always know where I was, so I went to a

library and I checked out all the books possible and imaginable on the human brain,

I read them all. They said that the brain was only a conversation. They didn’t say

what about, but this made me understand that the fact of thinking and knowing

doesn’t only depend on the place of origin. I understand more and more that what

we call the human brain, in the sense of knowing and being, is not the same thing as

the human brain that makes us what we are.

JD: This is always a conviction: we know ourselves by what we believe. Of course in

your case, it’s tragic, but it’s universal, we know or believe we know what we are

through the stories that are told to us. The fact is that we are exacdy the same age,

we were born the same year. When I was young, during the war, I never went to

France before the age of 19,1 lived in Algeria in that era, and in 1940 I was expelled

5See Derrida.

from school because I was a Jew, as a result of the racial laws, and I didn’t even

know what had happened. I only understood very much later, through stories that

told me who I was, so to speak. And even regarding your mother, we know who she

is and that she is a certain way only by means of narration. I’ve tried to guess in

what era you were in New York and Los Angeles, it was before civil rights were

granted to blacks. The first time I went to the United States, in 1956, there were

“Reserved for Whites” signs everywhere, and I remember how brutal that was. You

experienced all that?

OC: Yes. In any case, what I like about Paris is the fact that you can’t be a snob and a

racist at the same time here, because that won’t do. Paris is the only city I know

where racism never exists in your presence, it’s something you hear spoken of.

JD: That doesn’t mean there is no racism, but one is obliged to conceal it to the

extent possible. What is the strategy of your musical choice for Paris?

OC: For me, being an innovator doesn’t mean being more intelligent, more rich, it’s

not a word, it’s an action. Since it hasn’t been done, there’s no use talking about it.

JD: I understand that you prefer doing [faire] to speaking. But what do you do with

words? What is the relation between the music you make [fakes] and your own

words or those that people try to impose on what you make? The problem of choosing

the title, for example, how do you envision that?

OC: I had a niece who died in February of this year and I went to her funeral, and

when I saw her in her coffin, someone had put a pair of glasses on her. I had wanted

to call one of my pieces She was sleeping, dead, and wearing glasses in her coffin. And

then I changed the idea and called it “Blind Date.”

JD: That tide imposed itself on you?

OC: I was trying to understand that someone had put glasses on a dead woman….

I had a little idea of what that meant, but it’s very difficult to understand the feminine

side of life when it has nothing to do with the masculine side.

JD: Do you think that your musical writing has something fundamental to do with

your relation to women?

OC: Before becoming known as a musician, when I worked in a big department

store, one day, during my lunch break, I came across a gallery where someone had

painted a very rich white woman who had absolutely everything that you could

desire in life, and she had the most solitary expression in the world. I had never been

confronted with such solitude, and when I got back home, I wrote a piece that I

called “Lonely Woman.”6

JD: So the choice of a title was not a choice of words but a reference to this experience?

I’m posing you these questions on language, on words, because to prepare

myself for our encounter, I listened to your music and read what the specialists have

written about you. And last night I read an article that was in fact a conference presentation

given by one of my friends, Rodolphe Burger, a musician whose group is

called Kat Onoma. It was constructed around your statements. In order to analyze

the way in which you formulate your music, he began from your statements, of

which the first was this: “For reasons that I’m not sure of, I am convinced that

before becoming music, music was only a word.” Do you recall having said that?

OC: No.

JD: How do you understand or interpret your own verbal statements? Are they

something important to you?

OC: It interests me more to have a human relationship with you than a musical

relationship. I want to see if I can express myself in words, in sounds that have to do

with a human relationship. At the same time, I would like to be able to speak of the

relationship between two talents, between two doings. For me, the human relationship

is much more beautiful, because it allows you to gain the freedom that you

desire, for yourself and for the other.

(Recorded by Thierry Jousse and Genevieve Pereygne.)

6On Coleman, Shape; also available in the box set Beauty is a Rare Thing.

WORKS CITED

Coleman, Ornette. Beauty is a Rare Thing: The Complete Atlantic Recordings. Santa

Monica: Rhino, 1993.

. The Shape of Jazz to Come. New York: Atlantic, 1959.

—. Town Hall 1962. New York: ESP, 1963.

and Joachim Kiihn. Colors: Live from Leipzig. New York: Harmolodic, 1997.

Derrida, Jacques. Monolingualism of the Other; Or, the Prosthesis of Origin. 1996.

Trans. Patrick Mensah. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998.