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Lice in the Fur of the Big: The Joys of Concertzender

Lice in the Fur of the Big: The Joys of Concertzender

by Joan Harvey

The British Library

I not keep in mind how or once I discovered Concertzender.nl, an web radio station situated in Utrecht, nevertheless it has been with me by way of modifications in location, companions, by way of elevating a son: it has been with me from earlier than that they had an English translation on the web site and earlier than individuals from abroad might make donations, earlier than that they had an app. In response to the web site, “Thirty-four years ago, a group of music lovers shared the strongly felt urgency to create a sanctuary where everything revolves around music, music and musicians having the highest word, music in (almost) all its facets can be listened to as it is intended, no boundaries are drawn between genres and styles, almost every music lover comes into their own and no concessions have to be made to non-musical secondary goals.”

Max Roach. Modern Korean music. Digital feminine artists from round the globe. Artie Shaw. Italian “infernal industrial” band Satanismo. Schnittke and Ustvolskaya. “Theremin genius” Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman. Bach. Abbey Lincoln. Gregorian Chant. Songs by Kurt Weill. Music for the oboe household. Chanson. Motets. Makossa, the common city music motion initially from Cameroon. Mudhoney. Hummel. Liszt. Psychic TV. Frank Bridge. The Swans. Songs about refugees. Gogol Bordello. Bollywood Bhangra Disco Masala.

The is only a tiny fraction of the selection of music to be discovered on Concertzender. One click on opens up an enormous musical world.

There are 24 theme channels, plus an unlimited quantity of simply accessible archived packages. There are theme channels dedicated to the baroque, to industrial music, to exhausting bop, to ambient music, a number of for classical, a number of for jazz. There’s a people channel and a world music channel on which DJs play funky upbeat music nice for dancing and partying and doing the dishes. I don’t usually take heed to people music, however the people channel isn’t what one would anticipate. “This Folk it! can we better rename Folk it! extreme. We look for the—sometimes extreme—corners of the modern folk music. That apparently always includes a label. Literally and figuratively. Designations such as drone folk, rural folk, experimental folk, dark folk etc. And is it folk?”

I often skip the Gregorian Chant channel, however once in a while slightly uplifting monk singing is perhaps simply what the day requires. There are ambient and noise packages I often skip as properly, however for these composing music like this, it’s a cornucopia. A program referred to as Radio Monalisa options all feminine composers, not a simple factor to seek out different locations. Digital Frequencies has a present that includes digital feminine artists from round the globe. “A feminine dance in between dreamy vocal lines, radical sound poetry, rough field recordings and some catchy laptop music.” The present Framework options ambient music curated by visitor artists from round the world. One such is a set of “Earwigs produced by students at Taipei University.” Am I going to take heed to Taiwanese scholar earwigs? Nope. However by some means it’s nice that Dutch programmers have chosen to play them.

You need nothing however Bach and his influences—attempt No Day With out Bach. New classical music? There’s an entire channel dedicated to that. Experimental, ambient, avant-garde, industrial, and digital music? X-Rated is the channel for you. There are over 100 unpaid “passionate experts and specialists in all possible genres, with an ear for new music developments and emerging talent” who’ve packages on Concertzender, packages with fantastic names: Sonorous. The Backyard of Previous. Terra Incognita. Free Radicals. The Palace of the Melancholy. Portamento. Missa Etcetera. Krizz Krazz. Between Dream and Did (which different locations is translated Deed and typically Act). Roam the Baroque. Dr. Klangenden. Unknown is Unloved? Kairos. World Minerals.

Whereas for years I loved seeing how a lot sense I might make of the Dutch (and whereas listening, I nonetheless do), the web site now comes translated into English, which provides further, if unintentional, pleasures. I assume the translation is completed by a program, however it results in many pleasant puzzles. What, for instance is “That Chewing Gum Plate Feeling?” That is what a program referred to as The Palace of the Sorrow is described as offering, together with “cheerful melancholy.” Regardless of how lengthy I take into consideration a chewing gum plate it refuses to yield to my understanding. As a result of it’s half of the description of The Palace of Sorrow program, I collect it have to be one thing that causes a bit of sticky however rubbery unhappiness. Nonetheless, as a sense it evades me. And but the idea tickles the mind. As do descriptions of many of the packages, like the one that includes, amongst different songs, “beautiful cowboy sorrow about a love letter that is sent back unopened by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart, sitar artist Anton Karas and then also the Clark Sisters, the King’s Singers and poetic compellingness by actor Lee Marvin in ‘something’ what was meant as singing. In short, another Palace with the charm of a junk-room.”

Some packages have themes linking unlikely types of music collectively. Why, for instance, would you discover Frank Zappa and Franz Schubert and Dvorák on the similar program? As a result of it’s a present with the theme “The devil, demons and other rabble.” So Zappa’s “The Idiot Bastard” is linked with Dvorák’s “The Noonday Witch,” and Schubert’s “Erlkönig,” amongst others. One other programmer chooses the sounds of autumn, or somewhat the musical smells of autumn: “Not only in color, but also in smell, precipitation and extreme gusts of wind.” The songs have titles comparable to “With a Sort of Grace I Walked to the Bathroom,” “Sex with your Ex,” “Nude as the News.” Autumn, it appears, comes linked with nostalgic intercourse.

There’s one thing cheerful and joking about Concertzender—individuals who aren’t afraid of joyous melancholy, junk-rooms, and eccentricity. For instance, a tribute to a programmer, Jan Kruit, who lately died, mentions that he “had a typewriter on which the letter A was missing. He wrote it in manually, often with a red fine writer. That gave his production form cachet. The other program makers wrote their program design using forms and on the computer. If not Jan. We have never managed to get the standard production forms made in all those years.”

One other programmer writes, this time in English, for a present referred to as American Highways Rushhour: “Frederic Rzewski is a great composer, with an unforgivable personality. He’s one of the most difficult people I’ve ever interviewed: arrogant, complex, and irascible. Yet I have to grudgingly admit that his genius comes through, despite his personality and uncooperative grumpiness.” And I’ve to (much less grudgingly) admit I discover this bluntness refreshing.

Whereas one doesn’t discover a lot of what is taken into account regular modern pop music (the Pop channel has exhibits like Frank Zappa’s Moms of Invention between 1966 and 1969, or teams like Ulver, Prince Buju, and White Reaper), it’s also potential to seek out a lot of acquainted artists, and in addition many unfamiliar recordings by those self same artists. For instance, Vacation for Hipsters options jazz and blues from 1930-1960 and musicians like Charlie Parker, Artie Shaw, and Duke Ellington. On X-Rated I acknowledge some John Zorn, the Swans, Lustmord, amongst many I don’t know. A program referred to as New Music From the Final Century additionally has some artists I’m conversant in: Thomas Adès, Arvo Pärt, Okay. Penderecki, H. Gorecki. Some people packages supply “famous names like Bruce Springsteen, Ray Davis, James Taylor and the two duos Jagger & Richards and Lennon & McCartney. But also songs by lesser-known pop gods such as The Stranglers, The Dear James and Bad Company pass in a folky arrangement.” A program referred to as Mambo has one episode dedicated to Tito Puentes, one other to Bebo Valdes, one other to “Two elderly stars in New York: Candido & Graciela.” Between Swing and Bop options musicians like Drummer Max Roach and numerous greats like Coleman Hawkins and Clifford Brown. However a lot of Concertzender is made up of names I by no means come throughout, a lot of it unShazamable, and virtually by no means performed in America

Whereas there are not any particularly rap or soul channels, each varieties of music could be discovered on Solta a Franga, the upbeat dance channel, or Jazz Not Jazz, or a channel referred to as Crosslinks. There additionally are not any bluegrass or nation channels, however these might be discovered on the people listings. If you need non-Western music there’s Orient Categorical, which has conventional Arabic classical music, in addition to classical music from India, from Iran, from Egypt, from Azerbaijan. World Music consists of a lot from Africa and South America. On Cantina Brasil you’ll find a present dedicated to songs about soccer together with “O Rei Pele.” Exitos Musicales—Golden Age of Exotica has a present on Hawaiian Music with a household group together with twin brothers Nedward and Ledward Kaapana. There’s Yma Sumac. Mexican Music. Music from Surinam.

I’m removed from any sort of musical connoisseur, however my regular listening tastes aren’t notably mainstream, and run from Pigface to Schnittke, from Verdi to the Gossip, from Skip James to Bob Willis to Al Inexperienced to PJ Harvey to Guru. However to have my eyes opened to the vary of music I’m unfamiliar with has been to see (hear) the world in a special mild. The vary of music is so huge that it makes one understand how baby is aware of of the nice selection of human creativity. DJ Rafadelic on Solta a Franga selects Latin, Afro, Reggae, Bhangra and People releases from the previous yr. Between Dream and Act is subtitled From Romance to Twelve Tones: the Fin de Siècle. Jazz Not Jazz arrives “in search of obscure and innovative broken beat, funk, glitch, electro, hiphop, skweee and other.” A present referred to as Misplaced and Discovered XX is described as “A casual musical narrative that could end up in turbid, dark waters.”

Any listener can chart their very own path—most individuals will skip the huge half of what is obtainable, and nonetheless discover a lot to fulfill. Suppose you want opera: you bought it. However not simply one other model of La Traviata. As an alternative, how a few Historical past of the Opera in the 20th Century, starting with highlights from the yr 1900. Excerpts from Alexander von Zemlinsky (“Es war einmal”), Sergei Prokofiev (“The Giant”), Gustave Charpentier (“Louise”), Gabriel Fauré (“Promethee”), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (“The Tale of Tsar Saltan (Сказка о царе Салтане)”), Ruggero Leoncavallo (“Zaz”). Plus an inventory of different operas and operettas carried out that yr. Normal opera listeners might have heard of these composers, or know some of their works, however possibilities are usually not these specific ones, and never that they have been being carried out in 1900.

Alternatively, probably, you’re in post-Kurt Cobain grunge from 1995. From the present Free Radicals, right here you go: “Even though grunge was over the peak, there were still enough bands that kept the sacred fire burning, like Strobe, Thelonious Monster, Guzzard, Headcleaner and Seaweed. All relatively unknown groups that nevertheless managed to hit the right strings, just as well as Tad, Chokebore and of course Mudhoney.”

One other pretty factor about Concertzender is that there’s a lot to study from the program notes. I didn’t know Dave Brubeck was a scholar of Darius Milhaud. Or that the majority Paraguayans are bilingual and, in addition to Spanish, converse Guaraní. Or that earlier than Englebert Humperdink, who, I discovered from Eddie Izzard’s basic sketch, modified his identify (“’We’re going to change your name, Gerry! Who we got? Zingelbert Bembledack, Tringelbert Wangledack, Slut Bunwalla, Klingybun Fistelvase, Dindlebert Zindledack, Gerry Dorsey, Engelbert Humptyback, Zengelbert Bingledack, Engelbert Humperdinck, Vingelbert Wingledanck…’’ “No, no, go back one. Go back one.” “Engelbert Humperdinck. That’s it.”), there was an actual Englebert Humperdinck who lived from 1854 to 1921, and has a number of exhibits on Concertzender devoted solely to his music.

The place else would I hear an entire Residents live performance starting with “For Elsie,” an exquisite and unusual model of “Für Elise.” Or from the Ensemble Klang, a music referred to as “Cutest Little Arbritage.” Clearly spelled mistaken. However good both method. Concertzender gained’t take the place of Pandora or Spotify or Amazon Music or iTunes, or wherever you get your on-demand music, and but simply having one’s ears opened to the unimaginable vary of music out there’s value the time. I stay in the American West, nevertheless it’s on this station from Utrecht that I first heard Native American Jim Pepper’s “Yo Na Ha,” with its fantastic “Oh yes I love you Honey. I don’t care if you’re married, I will drive you home in my one-eyed Ford.”

One can study from Concertzender that music can odor like autumn. That we people are sure collectively in an enormous musical universe. That we all know so little of all of it. That there are specialists who work without spending a dime to share with us their passions. I’ll virtually definitely by no means take heed to the program on modern Korean composers, however somebody may. And it makes me understand I’ve by no means thought earlier than about Koreans composing trendy music, simply as most of the ideas of the world haven’t been thought by me. However a much bigger world is a bigger area for the thoughts to maneuver in. A much bigger area for the pleasure of the ears.

“We throw the bat into the henhouse and confront you as a listener with … the label MORC… the democratic, individual control, creative process and choices of the musicians are guaranteed at Morc. Morc is one of those lice in the fur of the big – do they still exist?” That is from a present on the People It channel. Most of us can solely aspire to grow to be lice in the fur of the huge, however in the meantime we will take heed to MORC label music, “a large spectrum of sounds and structures. From avant-garde to meditative drones, lo-fi pop and noisy electronics… very spontaneous, and slightly more dirty of sound.” Concertzender describes itself as a spot to seek out “special, unprecedented, vulnerable, disruptive or surprising music.” You possibly can take heed to Deutsch Nepal enjoying “Impassive Metal Sex.” Or 13th Century Liturgy. Or the Bollywood Beats. What are you ready for?

 

 

 

 

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