by carl wilson

Trampoline Hall Chopped'n'Screwed


Highlight moment from last night's Trampoline Hall: After lecturer Otino Corsano's entertainingly meandering talk on the Statue of Liberty, someone in the audience asked what one would build as the Canadian equivalent. Otino rambled a bit and came around to this answer: The Canadian Statue of the Liberty would also be the Statue of Liberty, except that it would be so small you could hold it in your hand, and everybody would have one. (I love the idea that the Canadian symbol would just be an American symbol put through a kind of scale/attitude warp - it sums up reality in this country nicely.) ... And maybe she'd be black (as is falsely rumoured to have been the original French intent, a rumour the lecturer seemed to have swallowed - although it's possible there was an abolitionist subtext to the image, the model seems to have been caucasian.) (Mind you, the statue's original colour was a dark copper-brown.)

Second highlight: Steve Kado arguing with a classical musician in the audience during the Q&A; for the "Slowness" lecture about which form of music was slower - classical or Dirty South hip-hop: "Emerson Quintet? That shit is fast! Glenn Gould playing Bach is punishingly fast," Steve says. "But crunk is so slow!" (The lecturer, an elementary school French teacher who plays rap en français for her students, asked, "Does the Dirty South do anything in French?" which was endearing. Steve answers, "Uh, no, they're a region of the United States.") Even before this came up I had scribbled on a piece of paper the question, "Is 'screwed' cough-syrup-drinking-style hip-hop a musical parallel to the 'slow food' and 'bonjour paresse' movements?" Of course, it's lazy-like-a-fox music, the slow homicidal threat, Bre'er Rabbit acting slow but actually thinking fast. But it could be read as an economically disenfranchised community's protest against the maddeningly impossible cultural pressure to hurry-up-and-succeed, hold three jobs, etc etc. ("Idleness is not a vice but a sign of intelligence.") I might write more about this one. However, in defense of the poor beleaguered classical musician, who just wasn't as funny or, um, quick as Steve, he was talking about duration rather than tempo - it takes more slowness to sit through and absorb 45-minute piece, he was saying, than a four-minute single. (Okay, but what about an album?)

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, September 20 at 12:30 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (8)



I'm even sorrier now that I had to miss Trampoline Hall this month. I like that line about the Canadian Statue of Liberty so much I'm making it my new sig quote.

Posted by Nadia on September 21, 2005 5:26 PM



My gut reaction was also, yeah, definitely the short stories would take more sustained concentration to read, since, as you suggest, Carl, you constantly have to reorient yourself to a new story's premises, imagined world, narrative strategies and rhetoric, etc.

But the more I think about it, I'm not so sure, and I think I could be talked out of that.

Certainly a mediocre novel is harder to slog through than a mediocre collection of short stories, I think, if only because with the stories you have the novelty (and sense of new hope) to liven things up every 25 pages or whatever.

But one thing that works against the book-music comparison is that you tend not to experience a 250-page book in the same way you experience a 60-minute record -- that is, all at once. I read a whole lot, and I almost never read a book in one sitting (and when I do it would have to be an unusually short book) -- which I suspect is true of most people these days. Whereas it's much more feasible to sit down and listen to an hourlong album.

As for whether a collection of songs or a long piece takes more work to absorb, call me counterintuitive, but I might be inclined to say the latter.

Of course, it depends on what your definition of "absorb" is, but if you're dealing with a record that has, say, two 20-minute tracks, you're going to arrive at a sense of the overall record's general contours much more quickly than you would if it had, say, 10 four-minute tracks.

(Unless, of course, those two 20-minute tracks are crazy Fiery Furnaces-style medleys, in which case we're essentially back to a 10-track record.)

Whether "a sense of the general contours" also carries through into "fully absorbing" is up for debate, of course.

Posted by DW on September 21, 2005 4:53 PM



Obviously, although it was pretty darn obvious the person in the audience wasn't talking about LaMonte Young (I mean, he actually identified himself as a "classical" musician - I haven't heard anyone do that in yeez!). But hip-hop contains all kinds of tempos too, from Bomb Squad to DJ Screw. Forget crunk & let's talk about screwed tracks. And I'm more interested in this long-pieces-versus-albums issue - which one takes more work to absorb...

Posted by zoilus on September 21, 2005 9:46 AM



not that it really matters at all for a discussion that probably wasn't super duper serious, but of course "classical" music is much much slower and much much faster than dirty south HH in the tempo sense of slow! I mean, "classical music" contains everything from 20th century drone type shit (LaMonte Young or something like that) to hyper crazy fast virtuoso violin type stuff (Paganini etc.)

Posted by shudder on September 21, 2005 2:14 AM



With respect, I think that Steven Kado is crazy. While crunk is a music of slowed-down sound, it does not feel slow to me in the least (esp. if we compare it to something like Feldman or Tavener).

Posted by Sean on September 20, 2005 6:50 PM



Did the Emersons add a cellist?

Posted by jimmy on September 20, 2005 3:53 PM



Is this a trick question? Because my reaction is totally, "The short stories." A novel builds up momentum while short stories require you to enter into a little world, build up, reach climax, denoue (or whatever the verb form of denouement is), and then start over again. But i tend to think 45-minutes broken up into four-minute chunks is easier to listen to than a sustained 45-minute piece, because your ears/brain get little breaks. Doesn't seem like the two work the same way to me. What do others think? (Isn't the fact that books of short stories sell less well than novels, while albums of short songs sell better than extended suites, some kind of clue?)

Posted by zoilus on September 20, 2005 3:46 PM



As for whether it takes "more slowness" to sit through and absorb a 45-minute piece than an album of four-minute songs, think about it this way: You have two books, each 250 pages long. One is a novel, the other a collection of short stories. Which takes more sustained concentration to get through?

Posted by J.D. Considine on September 20, 2005 3:34 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson