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Avant-Garde rebuttle

Amb Trans DJ shows her respect to the genre’s controversial reception.

Last Friday morning, during my fourth show with Ambient Transience, I received my first real life hater-call on the request line.  Being the sensitive shmuck that I am, I couldn’t help but take it to heart.  “Can you, like, play something with lyrics?” — the young woman’s tone clearly indicated she was unaware of the simplistic beauty of early avant-garde musicians; she was not one to appreciate the pleasure in such repetition, as the avant-garde genre’s aim came to be.  So here’s my late and probably pointless rebuttal to my first complaint call.

Professor Pultz, my art history professor teaching art from 1945 to the 1980s, began playing Steve Reich’s “Come Out” at the start of class last Monday.  Although the majority of my classmates continued to chatter for the first three minutes of this looping sonata, I couldn’t help but become entranced by the repetition of words; each statement of the phrase “come out to show them” created a new beat, in turn building a unique momentum with each recurrence.

The artists of the identically named artistic movement intermingled with such musicians as Steve Reich, Terry Riley and John Cage, among others.  John Cage’s involvement in many of Robert Rauschenburg’s simple imprints represented the defined connection within the movement.  The influence of simplicity within ready-made objects, as utilized frequently with the avant-garde artists, compelled the music with little to no true musical elements to it.  Such movements encouraged its audience to look beyond what is bluntly put in front of us, and notice the beauty of everyday occurrences.

These mid-century musicians undoubtedly influenced my ambient saviour, Brian Eno, and his desire to find alternative forms of beauty in the most minimalistic fashion possible.  Eno takes avant-garde music one step further, by layering single tones to create his ambient complexity.

In conclusion, dear listeners, don’t take what you hear on my show at surface value, but please try to be conscious of what the lack of music really symbolizes, for the method of production for the music may prove to be more valuable than the music itself.

by alex case-cohen
tune in to ambient transience every friday morning from midnight to 2 a.m.