Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Launching into the Counterstream

This morning I was contemplating whether to wait until XFM and Sirius merge before listening to any radio broadcasts. Just as I was about to swear off all radio until the arrival of TANDYStream, I received an announcement from the folks at American Music Center (along with a reminder to renew my membership) promoting the official launch of its new radio station, Counterstream Radio, this Friday, March 16, at 3pm EST.

The launch is paraded along various modems and wiretapping devices with a "conversation" involving the nonsense-syllables of singer Meredith Monk and the star-power of Icelandic seductress Bj§rk whose musical noodlings and unpronounceable instruments have attracted quite a following in certain circles.

The AMC announcement claims that this is the first time Monk and Bj§rk will meet in person – a boldfaced lie! Granted, Bj§rk’s Hollywood career is based on lies and deception, and Monk’s words (or nonwords) have to be taken with a grain of salt, but I find it difficult to imagine that Monk is mistaken in this interview when she claims that she and Bj§rk first met in May of 2005. Nevertheless, Bj§rk has been known to use a look-alike when required to attend more highbrow functions, and Ms. Monk may have been unaware that the person she was speaking to was actually Misako Uno (see photo).

But radio has always been about misinformation and soundbytes, and what better way to introduce so-called “eclectic” programming than to prance about without concern for the truth! After all, when a composer writes a piece of music, he does not consider whether or not his music is true. Perhaps “writes” is too strong a word for some of the Counterstream regulars like DJ Spooky and Kid 606, not to mention two hours of “jazz improvisation” every day. At any rate, truth is for accountants and statisticians, not composerly artists!

Well, I attempted to listen to Counterstream Radio’s programming this morning (which I suppose is “unofficial” until March 16 at 3pm), and let me tell you: I have never been barraged with so much unfamiliar music in my entire career as a Professor of Composition. I caught the last two minutes of Steve Reich’s Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organs, which was plenty of time for me to “get it," but after that piece, the playlist was comprised of music that I had never heard before! The single exception was the flittering cashmere-scarf-like music of the elegant elitist, Richard Danielpour. It was nice to see his sensibly named Urban Dances among such sophomoric titles as Journey Cake and Molto Moderato.

I’m not sure what Counterstream Radio’s policy is regarding submissions, but I’m planning to submit my entire oeuvre for their consideration and I’d encourage all fair and balanced composers to do the same!

NOTE: The first ten minutes of Counterstream Radio are free, but after that you must disable all virus software and firewalls and send an email to with your Social Security Number and last name. Pending approval, you will then be able to listen indefinitely, so long as you don’t shut down your computer in which case you have to repeat the procedure.


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