Posts Tagged: Seth Colter Walls
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The Awesome Treasures of Anthony Braxton's Music Club

A series on the stuff that delighted us on the Internet this year.

There was something atypical and fun in Monday's New York Times: a review of a concert that happened over the weekend in… Washington, D.C. Staff critic Acela-hopping to the latest jam at the Kennedy Center is not common, as Times critics have all they can cover here in town, usually.

But the reason for last weekend's exception was plenty good, as recent MacArthur Award winning pianist Jason Moran had invited the great (and also MacArthur-winning) avant-music legend Anthony Braxton to present a band that included Braxton’s former student, the guitarist (and Awl favorite) Mary [...]

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Philip Glass Live, Steve Lehman Covers Coltrane, 'Black Radio,' And New Music from Anna Clyne

Philip Glass “may well be the Rossini of his century,” the critic, composer and scholar Kyle Gann wrote—back in a previous century. That analogy, he went on, was a useful way of thinking about the prolific minimalist, who “had an electric impact on the masses but only a portion of whose music seemed worthy of study by intellectuals.” This was the case, Gann added, despite the fact that “much of Glass’s best music has been underrated by disappointed former fans who have ceased to listen closely.”

Intellectuals that can’t bother to listen closely: so problematic! If any among their number wandered into the Park Avenue Armory last Saturday to [...]

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Writing Good

Here is a very large list of last year's notable music writing, some of which may seem familiar to those of you who have been with us for a while.

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The 6.4 California Earthquake of July 1, 1911 at 100

This morning, as I was walking down the street—on one of those uber-hyphenated strolls that freelance journalists colorfully like to describe as the "are-you-kidding-I-can't-afford-to-take-a-cab" variety—I momentarily tripped across a small fissure in the concrete. And then I got to thinking about the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Calaveras fault in California, back on July 1, 1911. Today, were that earthquake still alive and happening, it would be 100 years old. What a grand old dame it would be! I decided to put on my imagining hat.

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Class Fictions, Reality Poetics And Zany Sex At Tribeca

When living as young and less than comfortable in New York, adoption of a willed ignorance regarding some class distinctions is in order. You naturally choose your own "can't-care" moments, but at some point, simply everyone breaks. Also: few can keep up with each and every conversation anyway; choices must be made regarding which ambient fashion truths to blow past and ignore.

That in mind, step this way with me. When I was a rice n' beans-subsisting college kid, it could have been a function of my fancy-meter's needle constantly skipping in the fritzed-out red zone of class detection—but I simply had no idea at all that the Tribeca [...]

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People Who Danced Onstage at Madison Square Garden on Saturday While Prince and Sheila E Played 'A Love Bizarre'

● ?uestlove ● Dr. Cornel West ● Naomi Campbell ● Tavis Smiley

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On Sorkin, On Strindberg

One of the pleasures to be found in Aaron Sorkin's writing is how utterly unburdened it is with the weight of meta or pomo or, really, post-anything. He's terribly, incurably Romantic. And if you don't want epically smug, pro-elitism rants, precious literary references or the big syrupy love notes between professional narcissists, it's not as though you can ever claim you weren't warned in the first five minutes of whatever you started watching.

Even if you managed to overlook how every hyper-articulate character he's ever created on his own–whether on "Sports Night" and "The West Wing," or in The American President–has not only taken a dim view of the [...]

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100 Fantastic (Not Best!) Songs From 2012

Hello and welcome, once again, to "End of Year List" season. Are you ready to hear from all of the critics you can even moderately stand to hear from during normal months? There will be pride, understand. There will be brand-management. It will feel a little obtrusive and overmuch. It will be natural to respond with some weariness—with a flick of the wrist as if to say "check please" and the concomitant desire to call the whole thing off and tune back in at some point during 2013.

Resist it.

You should resist the urge to unplug until 2013—when the world will be not quite so followish-ly Gangnam in [...]

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100 Great (Not Best!) Songs of 2011

This is not a “best of 2011” music list. I didn’t hear or read or see all the music this year. Did you? Perhaps after consulting with a suitably large staff, a publication could reasonably claim to draw a box around, say, the best music of the year. I tend to count myself rarely satisfied with these attempts, though, even if I'm consulted. How about you?

No, don’t even start, as I’ve seen every single one of you beefing on Twitter about a subjective list. You weren’t wrong to do so! Lists are always wrong. It’s a part of their power, this axiomatic guarantee of failure. A list might “start [...]

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Show Good

Awl pal Seth Colter Walls REALLY LIKES Robert Wilson's new production of The Threepenny Opera over at BAM, calling it "at once the most satisfying and disturbing music drama I have ever seen presented on a New York stage."

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Rap After Odd Future: Action Bronson is Magical

Seth Colter Walls: Hi Cord Jefferson! Is there any new rap music that you have thoughts on or that you like especially? And if you say "Tyler" or "Odd Future," I will stab you in your esophagus!

Cord Jefferson: Ha! Yes, I feel like I've said all I need to say. Everybody's said all they need to about Tyler and Odd Future.

Seth: Oh, they will pull you back in before long, I'm sure. But yes, let's talk Rap A.T. (After Tyler.)

Cord: Within the past two weeks, I have developed a deep, deep obsession with a rapper out of Queens called Action Bronson. I'm more excited about [...]

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Boob and Penis Drawings, Doll Houses, Bright Fire and the "Unspeakable Home"

Mary HK Choi: Hi Seth! How are you feeling today?

Seth Colter Walls: both within and without the state of being connected / the Internet makes me feel online

Mary: Of course this is where you begin. I'd have started with the Saint Joseph Domaine Laurent Betton with the peppery finish that we murdered last night at Bar Boulud.

Seth: Oh sorry, HK, my mind is still a touch scrambled from the last of the three short "operas" we saw last night. As you know, the libretto for the last one was written by Samuel Beckett. The rhythms are still a bit in my head. But let's start at [...]

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The David Foster Wallace Files

Awl pal Seth Colter Walls put in some serious time scouring the David Foster Wallace archives in Austin. There's a gallery of some of Wallace's notes and annotations here, and, for Infinite Jest fans, a collection of deleted scenes here.

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Get Yer Tickets: Magnus Lindberg's Heavy Metal at the New York Phil

Attention all European music-scribblers who are guests in this country: this is how you composer-in-residence. Finland's Magnus Lindberg, currently posting up for his second season with the New York Philharmonic, has just raised the bar by taking the band to a Staten Island salvage yard in order to look for the metal scraps that will be used in the local premiere of his early masterpiece "Kraft," which you should really consider going to see this Thursday, Friday or next Tuesday. (Student rush: just $12.50!)

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Why Does Vinyl Sound The Best? A Chat With A Musician Who Knows

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I have a confession: I don’t think I can rightfully be counted as among the new wave of vinyl fetishists. Sure, I own a turntable, like any proper trend-piece-generating/hating Brooklyn-residing arts-interested person, but I don’t listen to as many releases as possible on it. Sometimes, twirling around a piece of audiophile-approved, 180-gram, 12-inch plastic, before commencing with the nervous hovering of the tone arm whilst wondering if the needle needs replacing, I'm as apt as anyone to think: “oh for the love of Steve Jobs, let’s just press a button marked [...]

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'Satyagraha' and Occupy Lincoln Center, Last Night

The biggest opera house in the United States concluded its performance on time last night, at 11:15 p.m. Many of the nearly 4,000 people in attendance at the Met lingered in their seats for a bit, the better to praise the cast, orchestra and conductor—as well as to see if Philip Glass would take a curtain call. A number would have heard that the composer of Satyagraha, an opera about the life (sorta) and philosophical lineage (more consequentially) of Gandhi, was meant to have already spoken, at 10:30 p.m., to the Occupy Lincoln Center group just outside. When Glass did at last appear on stage, he was met with a [...]

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Laura Dern Is Our Only Hope For Bringing David Lynch Back

The first in a series on collaborations that we now take for granted but initially made little sense.

Fans of David Lynch are accustomed, by now, to the half-decade wait. It took five years after Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me unjustly bombed out of theaters in 1992 before we received Lost Highway. Later, once Mulholland Drive completed its strange, tortured path to realization—from stillborn network teevee pilot for ABC to a New York Film Festival premiere!—Lynch’s IMDB page indulged another similar gap when it came to feature-length projects. That streak of inactivity was only broken when INLAND EMPIRE smeared its digital abstractions and idiosyncratic willfulness (all-caps title included) across [...]

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Steve Reich, "WTC 9/11"

"Nearly 40 years after the hidebound boos that greeted Reich's Carnegie debut, in 1973, with "Four Organs," the critical consensus has long been settled. The composer–one of America's original sonic minimalists–is capital-I Important. That his music will survive him is beyond question. Also not up for debate is whether Reich stands as an indispensable part of New York's musical firmament, as he is a touchstone for post-rockers, avant-turntablists and myriad stylists currently plowing the hybrid, compound-noun genre fields still yet to be blog-hyped (or even named)." —Awl pal Seth Colter Walls reviews Steve Reich's "WTC 9/11," a "15-minute piece for three string quartets and pre-recorded voices."

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Larry Polansky Is Making Hardcore Beats

Last week, while on a walk to visit some Seattle fishmongers, I spent a few minutes watching an elderly Indian man playing sitar at the corner of an intersection. Any pair of lay ears could perceive the old musician was talented, and so he had an appreciative crowd, despite this being a fairly cold sort of January morning. I remarked to a friend that no one was likely confused or intimidated by the genre definition of the music he was playing. Even though it was happening on the street, it was clearly a formal music: not meant for dancing or soundtracking a TV show or casually accompanying any other [...]

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Russ Feingold At Rest

There will be plenty of political eulogies forthcoming on behalf of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Anyone Who Cared About the Influence of Money in Politics and Oh Sure, Civil Liberties, Too). This won't be one, precisely—or at least not a eulogy on behalf of his politics. If you were forced to adopt the standard pose of a central-casting "secular progressive," sure, you'd admit Feingold's defeat hurts more than most of the others dealt out last night by the hydra-headed beast that was Congressional Bloodbath XXVII: The Inchoate Reckoning. (Republicans won the anti-banker vote? [Whistles, moves on.])

But let's think about Feingold for a moment, instead of ourselves.