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New York Noise



New York is a noisy place filled with subways, sirens, taxis, and incoherent crazy people yelling at you on the street. The city was even noisier for musicians living here in the 1980s, or at least that's the surviving narrative in cultural memory. This recollection is reinforced by a lot of so-called "downtown" music with influence coming from the crime, poverty, and urban decay that pervaded the city, especially its' downtown areas. These pieces created the musical record of New York in the late '70s and early '80s.

This episode is going to focus on noisy music that reflects a noisy world: a kind of one-to-one exchange. Though the metaphor may be sloppy, much of this music expresses a kind of energy that is definitely reinforced and made stronger by tough circumstances. We'll focus particularly on the universe of musicians surrounding John Zorn, including Zorn himself, and numerous collaborators: EYE, Ikue Mori, Fred Frith, Eugene Chadbourne, Mike Patton, and more, with a slight detour into No Wave artists such as Arto Lindsay and DNA.
 

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A show dedicated to the ephemeral: improvised music throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly the outer edges of the spectrum. Visions--spectral, cosmic, worldly and solitary--provide the musical inspiration for so many musicians, and improvisation has proved an excellent means of communication. This show will draw on several musical traditions, including Jazz, Western composition, and others from around the world to explore how improvisation functions, communicates, and generally kicks ass.
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