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  #1  
Old 10-25-2009, 04:27 AM
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Default Art and Music

From the Can Simon play jazz? thread: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=54994

We were talking about Brian Eno's background and MFB said:

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Originally Posted by http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=625918;Mediocrefunkybea t View Post
Yes, he was, but that doesn't make him musically naive. Far from it. You ought to read the 'Ambient Manifesto' in the front of 'Music for Airports'. There are a number of other works out there, I have a compilation of musical writings for my degree and he is heavily featured. Art guys often understand music far better than musicians - they have the 'outsider edge' and a lot of the thought processes are the same, especially from an aesthetic standpoint. Stockhausen has his parallels with Picasso, Van Gogh with Debussy. The same idea, two different fields.
Interesting. I read about a old jazz drummer who was also an accomplished abtract painter. Journalists would sometimes ask him about what seemed like an odd mix of talents and he replied with something to the same effect as your above comment. They have the distance of lay listeners combined with an artistic sensibility.

Our singer is heavily into design - of anything, be it websites (his work), model making (not kits), painting, cartooning - and he's such a natural vocalist. He really "gets it", at least in his preferred genres. He's acutely aware of the stories music tells, how it takes the listener on a journey. I suspect that's heading towards what you're talking about when you said, "Art guys often understand music far better than musicians".
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:34 AM
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The difference being - as I see it - art exists for no other purpose than itself, whereas music is expected to entertain the masses. Artists usually have less restraints on their output. It really is as simple as that.

'Music was born free, and to win freedom is its destiny'. (Ferrucio Busoni)

'Free improvisation is almost by definition outsider music, opposed to capitalist business-as-usual. Improvisers want to explore the possibilities of the instant - in this space, using these instruments, with this audience (or lack of it)'. [...] Free Improvisation doesn't guarantee any particular sound or mood, it produces a question mark rather than a commodity.' (Ben Watson)

'Notation is to improvisation as the portrait is to the living model'. (Ferrucio Busoni)

Look up Laszlo Moholy-Nagy as well.
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Art and Music

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The difference being - as I see it - art exists for no other purpose than itself, whereas music is expected to entertain the masses. Artists usually have less restraints on their output. It really is as simple as that.

'Music was born free, and to win freedom is its destiny'. (Ferrucio Busoni)

'Free improvisation is almost by definition outsider music, opposed to capitalist business-as-usual. Improvisers want to explore the possibilities of the instant - in this space, using these instruments, with this audience (or lack of it)'. [...] Free Improvisation doesn't guarantee any particular sound or mood, it produces a question mark rather than a commodity.' (Ben Watson)
Plenty of music exists simply for itself, without regard to entertaining anyone.

And plenty of art exists for commercial purposes.
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:42 AM
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Yes, I can appreciate that. Absolutely. But when we talk about musicians, we're generally talking about commercially successful musicians, correct? When we talk about artists, they were not necessarily recognised in their lifetimes.
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:54 AM
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Yes, I can appreciate that. Absolutely. But when we talk about musicians, we're generally talking about commercially successful musicians, correct? When we talk about artists, they were not necessarily recognised in their lifetimes.
Often, but not always.

Of course, it also depends on your definition of "successful."

Many classical composers were indeed recognized during their life time, but their financial success was debatable. Plenty of modern commercials artists make a good living, but have no name recognition outside of their given field.

And then there are the sheer number of musicians who's records never turned a profit, or were only successful for a very short period of time, and all the bands out there who still have day jobs even though they have commercially available albums.
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:56 AM
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Mmm, what about art as a household decoration? Art (or music) to sell products? Magazines. Background music. Music therapy. Household effects (eg. vases). Entertaining kids. Both forms have many other uses in the day-to-day world.

Thing is, a lot of the music we enthuse about here is of the art-for-art's sake kind or acts as a conduit to hedonistic pleasures. Yet there are many performances created and performed for practical use.

The difference to me is the experience. Music is much more physically demanding (apart from e-ambience). It's based in time so it seems to have a "magic" effect on us because time is a very weird thing once you get down to Stephen Hawking's space/time ideas. Music is also usually much more social and often as a consequence more visceral.

As with music, most people enjoy the work of artists who have a strong sense of rthythm - the ability to draw sweeping lines with steady hand exactly where you want it. Picasso had one helluva groove :)

Both forms have a more heady appeal too - the design aesthetic and resonating with the times. That's why plenty of people enjoy Dylan, Eno(!), Ringo, Velvet Underground, The Sex Pistols etc etc

If I ever find the right people I'd be keen to play original music with a strong sense of symbolism, that tells stories, that has an edge. Not the standard edge-for-edge sake fare but edge that comes from real life. Pumping out standards might take advantage of the writer's great songwriting skills but I find a lot of it too twee by half after a while.

Question is, how can we apply that "outsider" sensibility of the artist to our music?

Last edited by Pollyanna; 10-25-2009 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:11 AM
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Be yourself in as honest a form as can be mustered
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:41 PM
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Polly, it comes down to naivete. I like to compose music as if it was the first time I'd ever composed anything. It's why I don't tend to compose with traditional instruments any more (my last composition was for 'people and microphone' - I'll talk about it with you, it is quite complex). I find being set free from the expectations of what people 'want to' hear is what sets this apart from more 'conventional' musical forms in which I KNOW I'm not a good song writer. I can occasionally write a pretty decent song, but I'm a much stronger composer - and I know that for a fact.

It also lets you get out a new canvas. Being an instrumentalist is great until you get bored of your instrument. I always get bored of instruments (except the 'Cello, which I absolutely adore) so I look for ways to 'get around' the expectations. If somebody picks up a Les Paul, I expect them to start playing Zeppelin riffs - but I don't want to hear that, I want to hear something different.

In my case, a bass guitar put through four stages of downward and upward pitch shifting. I think in colour and texture, not sound (I have mild synaesthesia) and in terms of motions rather than notes. Sometimes it literally feels like I am waving a brush over a canvas - and I LOVE that feeling. In fact, I love throwing brushes over canvases, I'm just not very good at it.

A lot of my work on this is on acousmastic listening. That is, when you can't see the source (Pythagoras lectured from behind a curtain for five years). In my case, I don't want my listeners to necessarily identify the source so that they become free of associations they may have with it. The listener becomes as naive as me.
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:49 PM
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Polly, it comes down to naivete. I like to compose music as if it was the first time I'd ever composed anything. It's why I don't tend to compose with traditional instruments any more (my last composition was for 'people and microphone' - I'll talk about it with you, it is quite complex). I find being set free from the expectations of what people 'want to' hear is what sets this apart from more 'conventional' musical forms in which I KNOW I'm not a good song writer. I can occasionally write a pretty decent song, but I'm a much stronger composer - and I know that for a fact.

It also lets you get out a new canvas. Being an instrumentalist is great until you get bored of your instrument. I always get bored of instruments (except the 'Cello, which I absolutely adore) so I look for ways to 'get around' the expectations. If somebody picks up a Les Paul, I expect them to start playing Zeppelin riffs - but I don't want to hear that, I want to hear something different.

In my case, a bass guitar put through four stages of downward and upward pitch shifting. I think in colour and texture, not sound (I have mild synaesthesia) and in terms of motions rather than notes. Sometimes it literally feels like I am waving a brush over a canvas - and I LOVE that feeling. In fact, I love throwing brushes over canvases, I'm just not very good at it.

A lot of my work on this is on acousmastic listening. That is, when you can't see the source (Pythagoras lectured from behind a curtain for five years). In my case, I don't want my listeners to necessarily identify the source so that they become free of associations they may have with it. The listener becomes as naive as me.
All very interesting mfb but i dunno if you realise this but i think there are a lot of people especially musically oriented people who think of notes as being colour and texture. I bet most of the people on here think of colours when you mention a particular note and a texture if you give them a particular timbre like a guitar sound or something. They even had it on an episode of QI. Syntheasisia is when you actually see the colours or words when you hear the music.
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Old 10-25-2009, 04:28 PM
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I started drawing when I was around 3 or something, and has drawn since then. I guess I have a talent for it, but I've sort of given up on becoming "Good" at it though, so I just make some random drawings when i feel for it. I also like to Photoshop, take pictures(and edit), compose, sound recording(for movie projects), acting and all of that jazz. It's nice to have other stuff to let out the creative flow. If this makes me understand music better? I don't know..
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:07 PM
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Stockhausen said about 9/11 that is was the greatest work of art the work have ever seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZpCV3IFkS4

Where does the insanity end? I loved Stockhausen so that quote ended it for me.

Wagner believed his music dramas were more real than life itself because where as any moment of any ones like would be here and gone, seeing his dramas would be a moment that would be continually shared by millions of people through history. That's where it began. :)

Polly, you should have been born in NY and grew up during the days of Lou Reed, Merce Cunningham, George Maciunas, Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Thurston Moore and Suzanne Vega.


The line between art and life is thin . In performance art it is even thinner. because it is a real experience, it is what is happening in your life when you see it. At some point doesn't one needs to separate fact from fiction and tv from reality?
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:05 PM
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also forgot to mention i do partake in a bit of drawing, not really that good but w/e. I'll post a few pics if anyone wants? Not that you probably do because it's terrible.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:45 PM
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I'm a visual artist and a jazz musician. I've even sold some of my works years ago when more fully obsessed with. When I have travelled in the past or the present I make a point of heading to every major gallery depending on the city or town to spend my off time taking in visual art from works of the great masters to surrealism to unknown works from very talented regionally known artist. Last trip to London I stayed for home base for further travels out of London at the London School of Economics which is DIRECTLY behind the Tate Modern. Hit it EVERY day and unearthed some new treasures I missed on each previous visit. Amazing place and collection!

As far as the musical side of it some of us got into into it and were attracted to the music first and play for the pure honest love of doing it and have fortunately {for some of us} been able to make a career out of doing it. Never got into it from a commerce geared mindset standpoint but its gone that way by hard work and a bit of luck which has been great.

Main difference between the two expressions is that one being the visual artist is a very singular on your own focused way of life involving the never ending process of observation/reflection and solitude coming through in the final artistic expression for any given medium of choice. For music its for me more about learning to develope relationships with others in a ensemble situation to get that certain level of artistic expression you want to achieve out. Both are independent forms of artistic expression but share some similarities at least for me such as form, composition, improvisation and taking risk and chances to name a few for the end work in either of the two expressions in question.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:55 AM
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Good to see the artists coming out of the woodwork!

MFB, interesting about the synaesthesia. It reminds me of an Evelyn Glennis.vid I saw recently. In her case, sound was felt through her body. With each of you there seems a stronger emphasis on sound and less on the lines played than with most people.

Odd that sound seems to be experienced more intensely when filtered though other senses. You'd think our ears would cover all the bases. It seems like a left brain / right brain thing. Maybe the other senses block some of the mental static?

Cartooning is my thing, which is reflective of my music choices. There's a certain non-sophistication that really does it for me. I like a few rough edges. It's as though, emotionally, I feel there's a law of diminishing returns after music or art becomes "slick enough". After a certain point, the focus on slickness overtakes the expression of that "inner stuff" that I enjoy most.

Same with cartooning. I'd take Gary Larson's Far Side over Rober Crumb any day, even though the latter is a far better artist.

Ken, the 60s would have been my thing. Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and The Beatles and Jimi and Janis and Ginsberg and the other crazy people. Not much quality control but a great vibe and some real creative gems. The noughties are a far more conventional, practical time. Maybe next decade will be the next exciting, creative time? (a girl can hope)

Thaard baaby and Eddie, so you can draw?? I knew you were good guys :)

One thing I like about 'toons is that at least my toons get published rather than langishing in rehearsal rooms and occasionally popping their little heads out into the real world - unlike my drumming.

It's fun getting some ridiculous idea and watching the idiocy blossom in front of you as you go. When I have a good thing happening I'll sit here creating some stupid drawing, chuckling away like a mad woman :)

However, as Stan said, there's direct interaction with music. Cartooning can't replace that. Also, the experience of sound and taking part in creating that sound is special. When it comes to enjoying a life experience safely (most times) and without insane personal complications (most times - lol) then playing music beats just about everything IMO
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:26 PM
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Thaard baaby and Eddie, so you can draw?? I knew you were good guys :)
Hmm well it's interesting you should say that b/c i do a bit of drawing, i used to only draw objects like cars but i've started doing people (erm, girls) more recently. I would say my style is more cartoony although i try to make it realistic as possible. I'll post a pic of my latest "creation" if you want but i kinda nuffed it up a bit.

As for "good guy" hmm erm yeah, okay...
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:56 PM
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Thaard baaby and Eddie, so you can draw?? I knew you were good guys :)
Hehe, I mostly do doodles and sketches, but sometimes I make these digital paintings in the spur of the moment. Like these



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Old 10-27-2009, 10:14 PM
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Right well i guess i might as well post my latest drawing. This is sort of what happens when you don't have a girlfriend. I sort of ruined the hair which i'm dissapointed with and the colouring is a bit juvinile. I'll probably stick this on my wall until i get sick of it. There's something fun about decorating your room with your own drawings.

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Old 07-14-2010, 09:15 PM
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Polly....if your a Hawking fan, then the name Feynman can't be a stretch.... Read, "Surley Your Joking Mr. Feynman"....his rebuttle to the way an artist see's a flower, as opposed to the way he see's it is interesting. Does an artist understand music, better than a musician?......depends purely on what you bring to the table to analyze the question....plus, you could be a horrible artist...LOL!!!
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Old 07-15-2010, 02:05 AM
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Here is an interesting interview with Duke Ellington where he gives his opinions on this subject, starting around 1:20 into the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9F_hRpwL4M
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:29 PM
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Wow, I missed those art offerings back when they were posted. Well done, Thaard and Eddie! Those pictures say a fair bit about each of you. For the record, if anyone wants to see my digital art then it's here. A lot of blended photos and e-drawing.

Brownie, I wouldn't say I'm a Hawking fan. Many years ago I brought A Brief History of Time with me on a holiday. Big mistake. Not something to read while lazing on the beach.

I think MFB's observation - Art guys often understand music far better than musicians - they have the 'outsider edge' and a lot of the thought processes are the same, especially from an aesthetic standpoint - makes sense to me. Sometimes we can get so close to the process that we can't see the forest for the trees, whereas an artist will look out for form and meaning.

Thx for the link, Michael. Yep, freedom of expression ... that's what we want.
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:46 PM
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Polly....if your a Hawking fan, then the name Feynman can't be a stretch.... Read, "Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman"....his rebuttle to the way an artist see's a flower, as opposed to the way he see's it is interesting. Does an artist understand music, better than a musician?......depends purely on what you bring to the table to analyze the question....plus, you could be a horrible artist...LOL!!!
Don't forget that Feynman was also a drummer, an amazing story teller (very funny), and one of the finest humans ever to grace this planet. "Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman" reads nothing like "A Brief History of Time" (which I've plowed through more than one...), and like Seinfeld, Surely You're Joking isn't really about anything!

Also by Feynman: "What Do You Care What Other People Think ?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character" is an equally excellent an entertaining read.
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:14 AM
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Don't forget that Feynman was also a drummer, an amazing story teller (very funny), and one of the finest humans ever to grace this planet. "Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman" reads nothing like "A Brief History of Time" (which I've plowed through more than one...), and like Seinfeld, Surely You're Joking isn't really about anything!

Also by Feynman: "What Do You Care What Other People Think ?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character" is an equally excellent an entertaining read.
Yep...a damm funny character, drummer AND half-decent artist to boot......EASY reading!!! The passage I was trying to reference was when he and an artist friend were arguing over who better see's the asthetic beauty of a flower.....the artist, or the goofy scientist??? His argument,.....not only could he appreciate the outer beauty, but also the inner workings...chemical reactions, cell interactions (the, "deeper" aspects that make the flower...a flower)..... things the artist was completely oblivious too....and as usual, he made you look sort of foolish in defending your own ignorance......indeed a curious character.
The older I get....the more I realize how one-sided most arguments/perspectives can be....the only thing I know, is that I know very little....and again, "does the artist see music in ways a musican does not?".....depends completely on what you have pulled from, in your life experience....the entire idea, to me, is absurd.

And PS...by today's standards, the very term, "artist" is an absurdity.......
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Old 07-16-2010, 03:40 AM
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Thx for the link, Michael. Yep, freedom of expression ... that's what we want.
No problem Pol. I always find it interesting to hear what the greats like Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, and Jimi Hendrix think about music.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:58 AM
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I guess I can still call myself a visual artist- I haven't been showing and haven't had a studio in several years, as music has crowded other things out. But I have a basement and storage unit full of paintings, so what the hell. From about 1995-2000 I made more much more money from them than I did with music. Now the main visual thing I do is photography- mostly B&W and toy cameras.
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Old 07-16-2010, 10:09 AM
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It seems we have a number of artists here, a few cartoonists, and there are plenty of graphic designers. Do you feel much connection between your art and music? In what way? Do insights that you have in one arena impact on the other?
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Old 07-16-2010, 01:10 PM
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There definitely is a connection:

You can relate...

...free jazz to abstract art...

...psychedelic art to acid rock...

...surrealism with psychedelic/early prog rock...

...cubism to techno...

...expressionism with symphonic black metal...

...hmm, I don't know what you could relate realism to?
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:23 PM
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It seems we have a number of artists here, a few cartoonists, and there are plenty of graphic designers. Do you feel much connection between your art and music? In what way? Do insights that you have in one arena impact on the other?
I aso do visual art (painting, photography and digital) and write fiction in addition to my musical activities. Because it's me (lol), I'm exploring the same kinds of ideas in all of them, they have the same "aesthetic" . . . I'm doubtful that the connection is more significant than that, though. It's just because of the way that I think about things, the kinds of things I'm interested in. What tends to be more different is my non-fiction writing, although there are still some commonalities, they're just more subtle.

I wouldn't say that ""Art guys often understand music far better than musicians" though (and I'd also translate that to, "Visual artists understand music better than musical artists"--musicians are artists, too).
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:27 PM
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Polly,

Remember the milk and diet threads. Now we know it really had to do with music and art. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTeLI...eature=related
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:50 PM
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...hmm, I don't know what you could relate realism to?
Really slick pop songs about lurve (real life stuff) played by session musos, BD.

Nice list, BTW.

Ken, I got a bit lost in the Stockhausen vid lol
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:41 PM
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Default Re: Art and Music

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post

Ken, I got a bit lost in the Stockhausen vid lol
That was the point. The man was nuts,.lol
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