Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

On Fine Art and the Political


The Fine Arts express the apex of civilisations. Traditionally, they were created to give expression of power and grandeur enjoyed by princes, kings and emperors, and all who sought to place themselves at the pinnacle of the societies they subjugated and conquered in order to provide a mirror for themselves and with which to dazzle their subjects.  Received religions employ the Fine Arts as a means to glorify their dogmas.

Such work is flaunting of wealth and power.

With the rise of the bourgeois in Europe, these newly enriched people adopted Fine Art forms for their own purposes in a like manner but, instead of employing writers, scribes, artists, composers and performers as servants, a professional class of Fine Artists emerged whose books, visual output and performances were paid for by their purchase by these newly enriched classes. Their wealth was not such that they could emulate the higher classes in this show of wealth. With the purchase in large numbers of these forms

The rise of the novel and its sisters in the late eighteenth century signalled the beginnings of this movement away from court retinues of art producers. The popularity of these forms ensured that a professional class of artists could support themselves. At least those who caught public attention and tastes.

At the turn of the Nineteenth Century writers turned away from the staid domestic forms  that writers had previously been producing and stove into new territories. The Salon des Refusés and the Vienna Secessionists made a clean break from the established forms of the Visual Arts. Sergei Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky, Léon Bakst and the Ballets Russes did a similar thing with Rites of Spring. Alongside this was the fervid art emerging Post 1917 Russia and some Easter European states.

With the rise of American Expressionism and the infiltration of Freud into the written form this move from Fine Art being the preserve of the elite was complete.

~

After a career of some 50 years as engineer I enter the Fine Arts realm with fully formed ideas and preoccupations. What I lack are the skills and techniques to express these. The present therefore is an exploration among the various art forms to find those that best express these.

One of these forms is the political. Few artists have succeed in incorporation the polemic into the visual form such that the product an be rightly viewed as Fine Art. William Kentridge is the sole artist I am aware of who successfully manages this feat.

With Picasso’s Guernica is the sole painting that achieves successfully political expression as a form of Fine Art. Should Picasso have created no other work this work would have ensured lasting fame.

With Guernica Picasso’s depiction of the suffering of the inhabitants of a single town he has created a work which stands for all time and acts as a universal to speak so eloquently of the sufferings and loss brought about by the ruthlessness of war, whatever the cause. Few can seek to emulate him for the achievement of such a work is so difficult: to transform the particular into the universal. Future generations need not know of the background to the painting. It is not necessary. The work speaks for itself.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 28 May, 2017

 

 

Filed under: Current Events

Frank Zappa – Hot Rats 1969 – update


Suffice to add to the previous blog entry, this is one exceptional recording. Whoever put it up knows what they are doing. If you didn’t give it a listen to do so or do so again and listen more closely.  You will be rewarded.

It is perhaps the best recording I have heard so far of all the music I have heard on YouTube. Superb.

Malcolm D B Munro
Saturday 27 May, 2017

 

Filed under: Arts, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Frank Zappa – Hot Rats 1969


Frank Zappa – Hot Rats 1969

Malcolm D B Munro
Wednesday 24 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Jean-Michel Jarre – The Concerts in China original album 1982


Jean-Michel Jarre – The Concerts in China, original album 1982

Introduction
Side One
Side Two
Side Three
Side Four

Label:
PGP RTB ‎– 3220117, Polydor ‎– 2612 039
Format:
2 × Vinyl, LP, Album
Country:
Yugoslavia

Credits

Composed By, Producer, Synthesizer [Fairlight, OBX A, Taurus, AKS, VCS 3, Electroharmonix Micro Synthesizer], MIDI Controller [Laser Harp], Organ [Eminent, Elka], Drum Machine [Lynn Drum], Mixed By – Jean-Michel Jarre
Coordinator [Musical Instrument Coordinator] – Pierre Mourey
Design [Cover] – Kate Hepburn
Mixed By [Assistant] – Pierre Mourey
Other [Odgovorni Urednik] [Responsible Editor] – Stanko Terzić
Other [Recenzent] [Reviewer] – Svetolik Jakovljević
Percussion [Electronic], Electronic Drums [Simmons Drums] – Roger Rizzitelli
Photography By [In China] – Marc Garanger
Photography By [Inner Sleeve] – Red Saunders
Recorded By – Patrick Auffour
Recorded By, Mixed By – Rene Ameline
Synthesizer [Moog Liberation, Prophet 5, Korg Polyphonique, Kobol], Organ [Eminent] – Dominique Perrier
Synthesizer [RSF, Yamaha CS 60, ARP 2600], Sequenced By [MDB Polysequencer], Drum Machine [Korg Rhythm Boxes] – Frederic Rousseau
Notes
Regular cover (without golden/silver star).
Released in a gatefold sleeve with picture inner sleeve
Another issue with “Zlatna” golden star on front sleeve was also released.

I had not realised how much I enjoyed it. Years ago when that blight. CD’s. came in I sold my vinyl records, a huge collection. Not a wise move. I also owned a Cassette version. The cars I had in South Africa at the time had cassette players in them. Somehow there is an extraordinary pleasure to listening to music in the car. On long trips. Both in South Africa and here in the United States as an engineer I often worked some ways from urban areas and had to travel daily to the place of work. Also, in South Africa I did a lot of site work requiring sometimes a four hour drive. So there you are, alone in the car driving through beautiful scenery. Whether driving to and from a workplace or to and from a site the majority of times traffic was light which meant that you had more the less the road to yourself.

I mention above the blight of CD. They are the enemy of good music. The music recording sounds thin and metallic. This is particularly true of classical music recordings.

Now with You Tube there are fine, warm recordings and those putting up tracks or albums on You Tube often take the greatest care to produce the best of sounds.

For some reason live concert recordings sound better but that might be a preference. On the other hand, musicians, band members, play much more spontaneously. You are not listening to some take chosen from 16 or 20 takes or a spice of several of them. Most bands seem constrained in the study.  This is not always true, Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes have a tremendous ease and relaxation about them. Not all bands are charts driven but for those who are I think that they want to produce the best music they can to hit the charts.

I don’t know about you but I prefer original records. Somehow rerecordings by the artist mess with earlier work. It is rarely better and should one listen to these latter efforts one is irritated and miss the original with its greater nuances. Such is the case with the China Concerts from China. I don’t think Jarre has enough to do to be spending wasted time with his previous work. If it is splendid in the first place for heaven’s sake leave it alone.

What I think makes this album so pleasurable in the first place is that Jarre was the first rock musician to play in China and moreover he was there at the invitation of the Chinese government. I think he was inspired by the importance of the occasion and also acting as an ambassador of his native country. Most of the tracks are live recordings. Clever also splicing the Chinese sounds and voices. Quite clever. The stereo is also excellent.

With no prospect of CD improving in the future it is not surprising that vinyl should remerge. Despite all the cracks and pops and hiss the music is analogue and not digitally recorded which makes all the difference. You see this when you get a computer speaking to you when calling some place on the telephone despite the fact that they are recordings of human voices they sound like computers.

Ah, the joys of the digital world. 

Malcolm D B Munro
Wednesday 24 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Tea and Symphony – An Asylum For The Musically Insane, 1969


Tea and Symphony – An Asylum For The Musically Insane, 1969 

01. Armchair Theatre –00:00
02. Feel How So Cool The Wind –03:57
03. Sometime –07:20
04. Maybe My Mind (With Egg) (Jeff Daw) –11:36
05. The Come On –15:24
06. Terror In My Soul (Jeff Daw, Nigel Phillips) –19:59
07. Travelling Shoes (Fred Neil) –26:11
08. Winter (James Langston) –30:42
09. Nothing Will Come To Nothing (Nigel Phillips) –34:02

Personnel:
– Jeff Daw – lead guitar, flute, triangle, vocals
– James Langston – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, kazoo, bells, cymbal
– Nigel Phillips – drums, recorder, mandolin, organ, piano, vocals
+
– Mick Hincks – bass (05)
– Bob Lamb – drums (05)
– Clem Clempson – lead guitar (05)
– Ron Chesterman – bass (07)
– Gus Dudgeon – percussion, producer

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 22 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Lowercase Noises – Migratory Patterns


Lowercase Noises – Migratory Patterns

I seldom comment on the music I put up but I would like to with this particular set of pieces. Music speaks for itself and doesn’t extraneous verbal detritus.

So much of the music of these bands and individuals sounds very little different one from another in this particular field of music. Many are good, some excellent, which why they go up here should I know or learn of them. Many are not distintive enough to merit going up. I will listen to them but I would prefer to grace, if that is the right word, my site with music that stands out and you will enjoy.

I write because one particular track stands out; that is Farewell. One of those tunes  that sticks in the mind, a catchy tune. It is also warming to know that some of the artists of these largely monotonal works can actually play instruments and not simply play with knobs.

1. Song For No One 0:00
2. Persistence 5:01
3. Depths 13:32
4. Migratory Patterns 18:25
5. Farewell 26:19

Since I am writing let me add that I draw the greatest satisfaction from seeing visitors to the site and followers of it choosing to listen to the music I put up. I am moved to a substantial degree that there is an audience for it. The popular I can understand but the more obscure, that is most gratifying. I don’t mind if only a single person listens to a piece or set of pieces; one more person than me has listened.

I never get tired of saying thank you to all of  you.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 22 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

The lower reaches of You Tube (with a plum, Handel: Lascia ch’io pianga (Rinaldo); Voices of Music with Kirsten Blaise, soprano, added)


In a search for music neglected but deserving of a wider listenership I have plumbed the areas of You Tube where few have gone, for example, pieces have gone up which have previously only had 57 views.

But this morning I reached bottom. No views. Now to be fair the videos have just gone up. But the stuff, hardly to be called music, is unredeemingly awful. We shall not be visiting this particular corner of the digital universe again.

But, here is the plum, a link which deserves far more visits:

Handel: Lascia ch’io pianga (Rinaldo); Voices of Music with Kirsten Blaise, soprano

Malcolm D B Munro
Saturday 20 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

George Frederik Handel – Ritorna Oh Caro from Rodelinda; Voices of Music, Tess Mattingly, soprano


George Frederik Handel – Ritorna Oh Caro from Rodelinda; Voices of Music, Tess Mattingly, soprano 

Malcolm D B Munro
Friday 19 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

George Frederik Handel – Lascia ch’io pianga, from Rinaldo; Voices of Music with Kirsten Blaise, soprano


George Frederik Handel – Lascia ch’io pianga, from Rinaldo; Voices of Music with Kirsten Blaise, soprano

Malcolm D B Munro
Friday 19 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Lucette Bourdin – A Warm And Glittering Look


Lucette Bourdin – A Warm And Glittering Look

Malcolm D B Munro
Friday 19 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

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