Team Sports Interview

July 29th, 2012 |  Published in Articles

shitinthewoods by Ian Watson

shitinthewoods by Ian Watson

Team Sports, who we first featured in August ’11, are pretty much everything that Bang the Bore are about – they don’t wait around for someone to recognise them but quietly and autonomously get on with it. They’re also one of the bands we’re really excited about seeing at this year’s Supernormal festival, curated in part by BtB.

Their outdoor gigs, gorgeously filmed by Nic Finch/ Chamelonic, are pretty inspiring – taking in and playing with the natural soundscapes in obscure countryside locations. Excitingly, their answers eschew the improviser’s tendency  towards being enigmatic or taciturn and they proved to be exceptionally erudite and entertaining interviewees.

BTB: What brought you all together?

Ian Watson: It was a conversation between Matt Lovett and I at a party at Nic Finch’s house (who filmed our recent outdoor excursions). I had become interested in building oscillators and simple electronic instruments, Matt had been exploring free-drumming. For a while we jammed together in an artist’s studio, then an artist-run warehouse. From the outset the spaces we occupied were not necessarily chosen for acoustic properties, although we did have a few studio-based jams. We played a few gigs in Bristol and Cardiff, and after a few months Jimmy Ottley joined us on cello.

I knew Jimmy from seeing him play. We first came together as a trio at either the Chapter Arts Centre as part of Matt’s ‘Rove’ series of weirdo/improv concerts or at Dempsey’s pub in Cardiff as part of a jazz-themed evening.

[Ian’s art peppers this interview and is available here]

Matthew Lovett: I’ve played improvised music of various sorts for a while, after having played in rock bands when I was younger. I studied jazz for a while before moving into electronic music and contemporary classical. I was pushing and pulling music apart in various ways, starting with the double bass, then no-input mixing desks, microphone feedback, Max/MSP, prepared electric guitar until finally performing with things like mic’d up cooking utensils, stones and bits of paper.

When Ian and I met I had been scratching my head trying to work out what improvising was all about. Having been playing a bit of drums, I thought a duo with him would be a good way of starting something new. What was great about Ian was that he had a really fresh approach to playing and thinking about sound. He wasn’t encumbered by a lot of musical / historical baggage that a lot of other players can be. He was also up for using sound, music and improv as a way of framing a project. Ian’s interest in field recording, coupled with the reading I was doing on subjects such as posthumanism, embodied cognition and consciousness, helped to kick-start the thought process that led to Outdoor Sports/Team Sports.

After doing a few shows as a two-piece I wanted to add another sonic element, and Jimmy’s cello made for a extra voice that didn’t compete with what we were already achieving. When you listen to those early ‘indoor’ performances there’s a great sense of interplay and counterpoint between the three voices. Sometimes it’s nicely AMM-esque in that you don’t know who’s doing what; at other times each sound speaks individually and you can hear the whole thing shifting and churning around to accommodate new ideas and material.

BTB: What first turned you on to experimental and improvised music?

Ian: I don’t consider myself a musician, really. My creative attention was focused on drawing and painting as a kid, then later with film-making and video. However, I grew up with an older step-brother who played and recorded music, as well as a younger brother who played guitar in thrash metal bands. I remember messing about with guitars and an MS-10 (I think) in the 80′s, then later being shown how to use Cubase on the Atari ST in the late 90s. My interests converged around 2000 – I bought a digital 8 track and discovered circuit bending and other cheap electronics as a way of making ‘soundtracks’ to films I couldn’t afford to make.

I wasn’t in any bands until I was almost 30, when I played processed guitar, tapes and feedback for The Sound of Aircraft Attacking Britain (SAAB). It was fun and silly and I took it all way too seriously. I still record with Richard Bowers who was the main SAAB guy, mainly whilst drinking coffee and watching B-Movies which is far more relaxed. Oh, and we use computers these days which is far more dignified!

BtB: Is there any link between your activity as a visual artist and how you respond to location and environment in Team Sports? How did playing outside conventional venues become a consideration?

Xulsigiae tape cover by Ian Watson

Xulsigiae tape cover by Ian Watson

Ian: In my work as a visual artist I try to recreate environments which, in teenage life, are used out of necessity to escape – areas like woods, building sites, abandoned spaces. This tends to involve a lot of photography, collage, pre-drawing or painting and the majority of time is spent in a small room rather than capturing nature directly.

For our first few indoor gigs as Team Sports it was natural for us to play away from a stage, largely due to the venues being gallery spaces or just being overcrowded. This quickly became very attractive to us.

During a week long residency at Chapter we showed our first, private forays into the outdoors. We took over parts of the building that weren’t designed for performance, such as a stone stair-well (amazing sonics but probably unbearable for the audience!), the landing outside a lift near the theatre foyer, a busy courtyard on match day and the main entrance to the bar. There may have been a danger of this being confrontational or perhaps distracting from what was, for us, about enjoying the sound of those spaces. We were fortunate in that, being an arts venue, we just got a little bit of heckling from boozy punters. Plus we were joined by Frog King for one of the sets!

The move outdoors initially came from a conversation I had with Matt about something I wanted to submit to Nodar in Portugal: a series of improvisations in the wilderness which captured and used nature as part of the body of the music. I was working with field recordings in my own pieces and wanted to expand on that. This didn’t happen for various reasons, but as I mentioned my ideas to Matt it became clear that he was thinking along similar lines as part of his PHD thesis. When Jimmy became involved he was keen to give it a try too – I think he had played outdoors before with another band.

It was really good to move out of the studio for 4am jaunts to the woods. We weren’t searching for gigs or waiting around to ‘do something’. It felt great because the three of us wanted to do it because of a sense of fun and wanting to learn. Outdoors, we work alongside the environment, whereas indoors we tend to play against one another and the audience.

Matthew: For my part, there were a few other things going on which came from reading and thinking about other approaches to music. I know I always run the risk of sounding too much like a theory head, but when Team Sports – and particularly Outdoor Sports – occurred, they were a way of exploring and fusing a certain set of ideas that I was looking at. I’d got to a point of taking apart improvisation bit by bit as a means of exploring what it could do and what is was for – partly as a result of attending, running and playing a lot of improv gigs over a 3 – 4 year period, and partly as a result of teaching improv to people that had no experience of that approach to music making. Part of the original drive for me in Team Sports was ‘how would playing music on an instrument that I had no real background or training in (i.e. the drumkit) allow for a certain set of musical processes and outcomes?’. So Team Sports from the start was a kind of experiment in what making music was all about.

From there, my various interests in the Situationist International – in particular their ideas about drifting through their environment and about an individual’s relationship with their environment in a more philosophical sense – started to come together in a way that could work for music. Ian was talking about the environment in terms of teenage escape routes, as that kind of JG Ballard approach to looking at the urban landscape from a very different perspective than most people normally do. That really connects with that Situationist sense of drift, of turning away from a normal use of something – whether that’s the capitalist cityscape or a live musical performance – and repositioning the performance away from a standard performer-on-stage / audience-passively-watching set up. We did a couple of shows at which that happened organically. Ian and I were talking about site specific events – I remember him telling me about attaching contact mics to his window to record the sound of rain fall – and it became obvious that the next step was playing outside. Jimmy had been already doing some free improv busking and so in a sense, he was already light years ahead.

In posthuman philosophy, a lot is made of the idea of ‘fuzzy humans’, where the boundary between humans and their environment is shown to be increasingly blurred. This informed my thinking when I was pitching Outdoor Sports to arts festivals – the way in which the environment becomes a kind of unconscious score for a musical performance. It wasn’t so much about seeing a tree or listening to the sea and thinking ‘right, let’s make a sound that goes with that’, more a musical performance would be shaped and defined by the situation that it was performed in. I guess you could say that for any performance, but Outdoor Sports became a way of making those connections more obvious.

So much of what we do, if we’re playing or improvising music – particularly in terms of training – is about responding to visual or auditory stimuli. But when we played at dawn in the woods there was a moment when the sun really came through and it got me thinking – suddenly there were all these other things going on to do with smell, warmth, change in air quality, the ability to see as opposed to just a change in what you were looking at, and a real shift in the sonic environment as the birds started singing. That was one of those lightbulb moments, when you suddenly have a whole new bunch of realisations and reference points for what you’re doing. There was an echo of that when we played up on the Sugar Loaf; there was more a sense that I was ‘playing the environment as a score’ due to the incredible smell from the bracken and the gorse. It got me thinking, ‘how do you play music to a smell?’ and ‘what is that going to sound like?’

I’ve listened to a fair amount of field recordings, and heard people using them in various way. Obviously, the big one that sets most people off is Chris Watson’s work, but then there are a few things on Touch that explore that process in different ways – Jacob Kirkegaard’s ’4 Rooms’ was a big one for me, where he’s layering recording in an Alvin Lucier way, and then Matt Davies (who used to run a great night in Bristol called Audible Fields) had been using field recordings to improvise with. And then you’ve got people like Pauline Oliveros and John Butcher who are playing with the particular sonic properties of an environment in order to achieve a set of musical results, in terms of things like echo and note duration. In a way, Outdoor Sports was a lot less disciplined than any of that – for me it was the result of thinking ‘let’s play on a beach and see what happens’. But when I listened back suddenly there was this other kind of thing where the environment became an intrinsic part of the musical experience, whilst the music we had played kind of faded into the background. I suppose that’s all very John Cage and R. Murray Schaefer, but I think what was really refreshing was that from starting out as a quasi / mock scientific experiment to see what would happen, suddenly there was this invented new environment that sort of launched off from where we had started to make this other thing that I really hadn’t expected.

BtB: These are two really interesting questions: ‘What can improvisation do?’ – ‘what does it mean for people?’ What kind of conclusions have you reached?

Ian: Playing improvised music does things for me that normal company with other people doesn’t. I find the intensity of making the group play ‘work’ to be an uplifting and rewarding experience. Judging from friends’ reactions and the faces of people watching us I think it can be surprising and enjoyable for some other people too.
That said, I have sat through plenty of performances that aren’t surprising or enjoyable, which generally makes me try to identify what I need from a show. Even if I don’t like something I tend to feel glad that people want to share these moments with others.

What does it mean for people? Personally it means freedom and sometimes a bit of frustration.
I hope it is refreshing to people. I’m often surprised by the positivity we get from people at shows. The other side of that I’ve seen people who look irritated but I think that’s a good thing too, so long as they go away with an awareness that this stuff happens.

Jimmy Otley: I’d certainly go along with what Ian said in terms of surprise and enjoyment, and then for me there’s something about improvising that allows you to investigate experience – like Jacques Attali said, music is a tool for understanding. There’s that great thing that happens with improvisation that somehow freezes time and creates a new kind of time. What’s interesting for me about the Outdoor Sports experiment, it took that feeling of warping beyond a conventional gig situation and started to throw it against the world outside of music. As a musician, improvising definitely forces me to rethink my musical toolkit as it were – strategies that might work in other musical contexts may no longer have so much value, whereas things that wouldn’t usually be used musically suddenly became incredibly important. From a listener’s perspective I think (and hope) that experiencing improvisation does create a new experience of time passing, but that it also allows for a refreshed experience of people communicating with each other. I think whether it’s a solo or a group improvisation there’s that feeling of using music to create a language, to make sense.
As for ‘what does it mean for people?’ – I do think there’s that extra dimension that’s about the thrills and spills of a very abstract improvisation where people are left scratching their heads thinking – ‘I’ve no idea what that was, but it’s just blown me away’. Which was the kind of thing we had after the Swn gig last year – where there were some people watching who weren’t massively familiar with improv.

The other side is the recontextualisation of the familiar that improvising can do – when maybe the sonic materials aren’t too difficult for a listener to get alongside, and the experience really comes from hearing how musicians work through and make new combinations out of what they know. For both of these examples there’s a sense of exceeding some kind of limit, so whether you’re watching someone who has hardly any technical skill at all, or you’re witnessing a virtuosic performance, one of the things that really captivates the audience is the performer’s ability to take all the things they can do and find a new way of making music, of transcending their own limits. Otherwise I’m not sure it’s really improvising, it’s just playing at improvising, and I’ve a feeling that people can spot when that’s happening.

Ian Watson - Cormorants

Ian Watson - Cormorants

BtB: Tell us more about Nic Finch – how did you hook up with him?

Jimmy: Nic – the mighty Nic Finch – he’s like a myth in his own lifetime. Nic is one of those incredible people who just has a go at anything and then does it really well – so he’s a graphic designer and web designer who’d studied Fine Art, plays drums and cello, makes videos, does a bit of VJing for live bands, does a bit of coding and has a regular DJ night at one of Cardiff’s hipster venues – so he’s just the sort of person to turn to to think about visuals.

Matthew: The [Team Sports] conversation started in terms of wanting to film the outdoor performances and Nic came on board to help make that happen. Since then, he’s come out with us on a number of occasions and he’s great for talking through ideas. He’s also been working with me on another project that looks at the relationship between improvised sounds and improvised visuals, which we’ll be performing at Supernormal in the summer.

BtB: Matthew – you’re part of two groups at Supernormal this year – Team Sports and the Society is Possible performance – could you explain a little about the differences and similarities between the two? There’s obvious similarities in terms of ‘re-enchanting’ sonic environments… They both seem like different answers to similar questions.

Matthew: In terms of the difference between the two projects, you’re right to pick up that they’re both responses to a certain set of issues
For Team Sports, the initial burst came from that idea of what engenders improvisation, how can we measure its success – in aesthetic terms? or interpersonal dynamics? What really triggered it for me was listening to and watching people improvise that hadn’t ever improvised before, didn’t have particularly great technical fluency on their instruments and to a great extent didn’t really understand what they were doing. It occurred to me that some of these people did suddenly reach a certain point where what they were doing was as powerful, authentic, moving, engaging etc as what a virtuoso player was achieving – that they’d entered improv-space. And I think that had more to do with commitment to the process, to a willingness to be open to the demands of the moment, and to exceed their own abilities and expectations of themselves, rather than with being a particularly good musician in the conventional sense. So that’s where playing the drums came in for me – it was a way of opening up that process / moment for investigation.

Team Sports then morphed into Outdoor Sports which then added the environmental dynamic – I was quite taken with posthuman theory at the time, it seemed like a really refreshing way to think about experience and what it means to be a human. So books like Rob Pepperell’s ‘The Posthuman Condition’, Roy Ascott’s ‘Telematic Embrace’ and Joachim Berendt’s ‘Nada Brahma: The World Is Sound’ sent me off on this path where I was looking at how the human becomes a fuzzy-edged entity and that in a very practical sense what’s around us really seeps in and melds with what we are. I found that a really important thing to consider as a musician – in some ways it’s obvious, but in other ways there’s a very rich seam of potential there for bringing the practice of making music into a different light. From my perspective as an improviser, particularly one who works almost exclusively in group situations this sense of the sonic, physical (although these are aspects of the same thing) and interpersonal environment, seeping into us and informing / incepting musical choices at a pre-conscious level became fascinating. I think that as improvisers we can train ourselves (or be trained) to respond to certain things in a very conventionally ‘musical’ way, but then this posthuman perspective kicks in and suddenly you realise that there’s all this other stuff going on that you’re not aware of.
Outdoor Sports for me was a way of exploring some of those ideas – in one sense it’s a bit of a one-liner, but it helped to bring a lot of those extra-conscious ideas to the surface, to see whether those kinds of things can be harnessed. Obviously, the great thing about using improvisation as a means to explore ideas is that you get to make music with brilliant people along the way, and so although there’s all this stuff going on in the background, actually what’s happening are some incredible musical experiences and hopefully great bits of music are being made in caves, on the beach, in the woods, in a field, in a car park etc.
As for Society Is Possible, that title comes from Jacques Attali’s book ‘Noise: A Political Economy of Music’ – which was written in 1977 and still totally blows me away in terms of how visionary it is. Attali talks about so many things in that book, but one of the things that has always stayed with me is the way he describes music as a tool for understanding – which again seemed obvious to me in terms of using improv as a means to explore ideas (as well as make music…). So the Society is Possible thing kind of hijacks Attali’s much more erudite sense in which the formal mechanics and autonomous nature of music as a definable and identifiable entity demonstrates that organisation, structure, social order etc become possible.

Detail of LP inner by Ian Watson

Detail of LP inner by Ian Watson

What we’re doing with Society is Possible is bringing in a visual language and making the improvisation work across sound and sight. I was interested in the way in which as musicians we might change our focus from a macro to a micro structure within an improvisation – for example, an improvisation might range from a very dynamic and diverse collective sound mass to a much more focussed working through of a rhythmic or melodic pattern or even more fragile sonic material – and whether that could be translated into a visual language. From there, can we then set up an interplay between sight and sound, so that both are informing each other – in a sense what we’re talking about is either a piece of music with a graphic score that keeps adapting in response to the music that it triggers or an improvised soundtrack to a film that becomes improvised itself in response to the music.

There are other ideas flowing in there as well, in the sense that music and image makes for something that can be a lot more accessible to an audience than listening intently to a purely sonic improvisation – David Stubbs talks a lot about the disconnect between contemporary art and contemporary music in ‘Fear of Music’, and so Society is Possible is, in that sense, also another one-liner that simply explores the relationship between audience and improvisers – it’s a way of bringing those improvisational dynamics into a context that perhaps is more familiar, as there’s certainly a lot of live soundtracking that’s going on at the moment
It’s interesting thinking about all this stuff within the context of this interview – because it starts to look like there was some sort of plan, which there really wasn’t!

There’s only one film of Society is Possible online – it ends up looking like a movie soundtrack piece because the batteries ran out in the other camera, but it gives you a sense of the developing AV dynamics.

BtB: I’m interested in your thoughts on improvised music as a tool to explore philosophy. Do you have any examples of specific philosophical ideas you have elucidated through improv and how the act of improvisation enabled the exploration?

In terms of the specific ideas, what I’ve been working on recently is Deleuze and Guattari’s image of the Refrain from A Thousand Plateaus and the sense of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation that this process brings about. I was interested in the way that this process could be explored in terms of improvisation, and one of the things that came out of that was the sense in which improvisation destroys music. What I mean by that is the way in which, in order to properly function as improvisation, then the act of improvising must mean that music must break down – otherwise it can’t be defined as improvisation as such. There are a number of conceptual tools that Deleuze and Guattari bring into play, one of which is this idea of the ‘probe-head’, which they say functions at the ‘cutting edge of deterritorialisation’. It occurred to me that an improviser is a little like this probe head, in that he or she is effectively deterritorialising music through the act of improvisation – making music something that it is not, in order to produce an improvisation.
The main idea was to go beyond that usual point of departure where improvisation grows out of music, and look at the way in which, for an improvisation to really function as improvisation, that music has to break down. At the moment, that feels like a way of setting up some sort of demarcation between an improvisation that really is an improvisation, and an improvisation that has all (or some) of the trappings of an improvisation, but is really not – either because the improviser is on autopilot, or the process is more like playing with aesthetics, than fully engaging with that process of improvising.

Some of that goes back to my early interests in an improvisation carried out by someone with very limited technical skills and one carried out by a virtuoso, where the former is actually the more interesting and satisfying, and me wanting to get hold of some rationale for that.

Alain Badiou, yesterday

Alain Badiou, yesterday

At the moment, I’m reading some of Alain Badiou’s work, as well as a few things connected with the Speculative Realist movement, where a number of theories are being put forward for the way in which absolute entities exist independently of human perception – although that’s a massive simplification!

The basic proposition which interests me is the difference between a Deleuzian approach to thinking about experience where whatever happens (for example an improvisation) comes into being as a result of pre-existing factors (for example, musical structures, sounds etc), and a Badiouian / Speculative Realist approach, where an improvisation would come into being as a result of factors that are external to a world that is already comprehended. Badiou talks about Serialism in this way, where that new framework for musical organisation didn’t necessarily grow out of a pre-existing set of musical norms, but was a fundamental rift that opened up an entirely new conception for music. Badiou’s term for this kind of occurrence is ‘the event’, and again it led me to thinking that improvisation functions in this kind of way. There may well be musical performances that sound like improvisations, but are in fact facsimiles, so again what is it that’s happening that makes an improvisation ‘an improvisation as such?’ At the moment, Badiou’s intuition for something coming in from the outside, or what [speculative realist philosopher] Quentin Meillassoux refers to as ‘the Great Outdoors’ seems to be opening up possible avenues for exploration. The sense in which improvisation allows for an engagement with a form of radical exteriority is pretty interesting, so I’ll see where that takes me over the next couple of months.

BtB: I’m interested in how the idea of the ‘avant-garde’ quickly gets consolidated into general musical narratives. Something like how formerly radical music pops up in the background of adverts or Hollywood films. Arguably, improvisation often sees itself as perenially avant-garde – do these ideas of de/reterritorialisation challenge such those ideas within improvisation?

Is the ontology (‘being’) of improvisation (as such) a private exploration; what tools do improvisers have to explore improvisatory ontology?

Matthew: I think the interesting thing about Deleuze is that he’s always in this in-between state. For me, that in-between state, if you’re going to go for it has to be as relevant and as meaningful now, as at any other time – in other words, we need to be able to articulate a similar set of goings on for musicians such as John Cage and Edgard Varese as we do for Chris Martin or Will I Am. My instinct is that the same goes for amateurs and virtuosi, and although some of these things became clearer to me whilst working with / observing amateur musicians, I’m no less interested in virtuosic players. Think about Scott La Faro or Gary Peacock – stylistically, they’re very similar players, and they shared a similar set of musical collaborators in the early 60s – (i.e Bill Evans / Paul Motian and then Scott La Faro plays with Ornette Coleman, whilst Gary Peacock plays alongside Albert Ayler) but I find Gary Peacock a much more interesting player – why should that be? Is Gary Peacock tapping into something that Scott La Faro isn’t? Mind you, I’m probably just about the only bass player who thinks that…

Ian Watson Goat's Head

Ian Watson Goat's Head

I don’t really see improvisation as challenging orthodoxies as such. I always have to be careful of getting carried away by the myth of modernism in that for sure, Schoenberg did some interesting things, but in many ways Satie, or Ives or Henry Cowell are more interesting and actually more challenging. Not through a sense of dissatisfaction with or a desire to challenge – more through a sense of responding to a particular impulse and following that idea through. I think it’s a bit of an Occidental myth that modernism started and then stopped, that we’ve somehow come to the end of that process – again, that’s where I see the Speculative Realist perspective as being useful, in that it steps outside of the modernist-postmodernist stalemate and says that there’s another set of considerations that have been ignored. A bit like when Steve Reich just simply refused to be interested in anything that Schoenberg, Stockhausen or Boulez had written.

Yes, there’s a sense of historical locatedness in terms of the way in the industrial revolution precipitated a certain set of processes and ideas, but I don’t think that that fissure or break, is necessarily any more or less significant than any future fissure or break. I like that idea of personal modernisms, maybe there is a certain attachment that people have to certain things that have triggered certain major historical events – whether that’s the wheel, weaponry, fire, language, the internet, the printing press, the train, the car, aeroplanes… but my feeling is that those are still in a sense coincidences or contingencies – otherwise you’d have to get all ‘end of history‘ about it, which again leads back to postmodern depressiveness.

I think the interesting thing that Speculative Realism allows for is a sense of rather than trying to imitate / simulate something else, it’s about the unique process of an improvisation itself. That’s what I get from Deleuze and Badiou’s thinking that’s more convincing than Baudrillard’s* way of looking at things – that an improvisation exists on its own merits and succeeds because of the improviser’s ability to actualise a particular set of virtual intensities or bring into existence a certain event.

[*Part of the interview which was edited out talks about Baudillard’s idea of the ‘simulacrum’, which in this context means the idea of the ‘improvisation which has all the appearances of an improvisation but isn’t’, as discussed above]

Of course any musician who’s learning how to improvise does so by copying the sounds, techniques and ideas of other people, but I think this is where the simulation argument falls apart, because where Baudrillard gets hung up on copies layering over copies and everyone getting confused by this proliferation of copying, Deleuze and Guattari bring a much more useful perspective into play when they talk about how everything / everyone only ever responding to images (rather than the ‘real thing’) – the plant isn’t aware of the ‘real’ nature of sunlight, it simply uses its version of sunlight in order to grow etc.

So that’s why I wouldn’t say an unsatisfactory improvisation is simply a simulacrum – because I don’t think there’s a universal model necessarily for what a ‘true’ improvisation is. I guess that’s one of the real aims of my research, to get to the bottom of that problem, and find a way of articulating whether there are universal conditions for improvisation, or whether each much by judged completely on its own merits.

As for the improvisatory ontology point, my simple answer is that musicians are making use of a whole range of Deleuze-style virtual tools – the sounds of their instrument, techniques, musical structures, genres – all the reference points that any musician would have, but then I think you also have added in the individual’s component parts as well. This is obviously where the discussion can easily stray into psychology – which is where I’ve found a few blind alleys myself – but this is where Badiou and Meillassoux’s work on ‘the outside’ or ‘the great outdoors’ is really interesting and again useful. I think the traditional line with music is to see musical ability as something tied to the attributes of a particular person – which is where the psychological angle comes in, i.e. if we look at all the potential variables of music and then look at all the potential variables of a particular person, then we might get another John Coltrane or someone similar – and that traditional model that takes the potentials of music plus the potentials of a person to create a great piece of music / improvisation tends to be where the argument always gets to. But that’s what Badiou and Meillassoux (and Deleuze from a different direction) are interested in getting beyond – they’re looking for that outside element that is both somehow part of a given situation (the existing musical and personal variables) and also not part of that situation. So when Badiou is talking about the Event, I’m seeing that as the satisfying improvisation – the improvisation that really is an improvisation, because it brings into being a dynamic set of responses. Again, that’s why I would say that it’s not about making a simulacrum, because it either is or it isn’t an improvisation.

BtB: Ok, for a closer – top 3 …

Matthew: Top three breakfast cereals?

1) Almond Oats and More.
2) Jordans Country Crisp with rasberries.
3) Sugar Puffs.

Ian: Top 3 comics:

Charles Burns – Black Hole
Daniel Clowes – Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron
Joe Daly – Dungeon Quest (series)

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July 29th, 2012 | by | Published in Articles