Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Review: Randy Nordschow at The Stone

As per my professorial review policy, I now present a pre-emptive review of Randy Nordschow’s concert at New York City’s most disorganized downtown venue, The Stone, Thursday night, July 20th, at 8pm, at Avenue C and 2nd Street. No subways stop anywhere near this dangerous part of town.

You can be sure that Nordschow’s music will appeal to the heroin addicts and male prostitutes of Alphabet City. In the past, he was secretive about his musical background, and his need to refer to himself not as a composer but as a “composer/sound artist” indicated a certain lack of formal training. But now, according to the Curriculum Vitae shamelessly posted on his website instead of his publisher's website, Nordschow studied with Pauline Oliveros at Mills College. As we all know, Mills College is a women’s school, so unless Mr. Nordschow used to be a woman, it is not possible for him to have studied there. And even if he did, Pauline Oliveros doesn’t teach in person any longer; she teaches via iChat. She may have her fancy webcams and digital streaming devices, but she can’t possibly know whether or not her students are taking adequate notes in class. Then again, Ms. Oliveros has never really cared about notes, has she?

At any rate, Nordschow also claims to have studied with Alvin Curran, the most famous composer of synthesizer music for exercise videos from the 1980s. Curran’s most famous piece, Music on a Long Thin Wire, was commissioned by Richard Simmons before MIDI was invented. Everyone knows that you don’t really study with Alvin Curran so much as argue with him. The man has such a hot temper that he dismisses any student who has ever used the Windows Operating System. Curran has been known to spend an entire semester of lessons arguing with his students about how Windows has corrupted their creative spirits.

Well, let’s say that Nordschow did in fact semi-participate in the virtual lessons with Oliveros and survive the diatribes of Curran. The music that he writes is not even really music. Rather, it’s “multi-media” music. Apparently young people are no longer satisfied with one medium. They must have their theatrics and DJs and psychedelic videos. Nordschow, never one to question young people, gives them what they want with his piece Guaranteed Answered Prayers, mocking the rituals of devout religious Americans by drowning the audience in “miracle spring water.” In addition, air guitarist Marco Cappelli converts one of Nordschow’s “multi-media” pieces into actual music; and pianist Jenny Lin performs the composer’s realizations of one of Beethoven’s unfinished moonlight sonatas.

The evening promises to entertain on many different levels at once, at least for the first one or two minutes of each piece. But don’t blame me if I walk out the door and turn to heroin and prostitution before the concert’s over.

At 10pm, you can catch the "composer" Judy Dunaway performing music on her drug balloons (see photo).


Anonymous Prof. Giorgio Armani, distinguished composer said...

Well hear hear, most esteemed colleague, I would never have dreamed I would one day find a factual error in your reports! It is perfectly well known that the actual composer of "Music on a Long Thin Wire" was Prof. Calvin Klein.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Professor Heebie McJeebie said...

Dear Readers, please forgive Prof. Armani. His attempt to skew the facts is intended to (mis)credit his competitor, Prof. Calvin Klein, with the creation of one of the most mind-numbing examples of LSD-music ever recorded.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Milton Babbitt said...

I regret to say that I cannot take you weblog seriously as you have chosen a font that is inappropriate for serious academic publication. In fact, the font is so cheerful that I initially mistook it for a Lutheran church bulletin.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Prof. Heebie McJeebie said...

Herr Doktor Babbitt,

To my knowledge, I have not been using any "fonts" on this blog.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Jack DeMolay said...

So you felt the east village was dangerous? Shit.... it hasn't been the way you are describing it in 20 years.... docker-wearing yuppies everywhere now.... but wait, if you actually felt threatened....then maybe you are a square

5:09 PM  

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