Bracket Bracket #7
I once went to a
John Cage concert
at Northwestern University. Thinking that only a few aficionados would care enough to attend, I arrived just a few minutes before the performance was to begin. To my chagrin, the small chapel where the concert was scheduled was filled to capacity. People outside were pressing their faces against the stained glass windows trying to see through the feet of saints. Luckily I noticed, off in the distance, a group of eight saxophonists proceeding single-file toward the chapel.
I was reminded of a trick a friend had shown me for sneaking into rock concerts: The day before the show, he would go to a music store and rent, with an option to buy, their finest guitar -- the sort of axe that would make any guitarist drool. Taking the guitar, he would go early to the concert, waiting outside the stage entrance until he saw the band approaching for the sound check. He would fall into line behind them as they went through the backstage door, like Dorothy sneaking into the Wicked Witch's Castle. Usually he got through the outer door before the security guard grabbed him. He would then flip open the guitar case and say something like: "1964 Stratocaster Elite, one of only 45 made that year."
Critic and

Bruce L Jacob writes:
"I want to write more music than what I have time to write. To this end, I've represented my personal composition methodology in a set of algorithms which my computer uses to write music for me. Since I do not have time to listen to everything the system creates (not all of it is good), I also developed a set of filters that 'listen' to the music and grade it."

Hear what that sounds like.

The band's guitarist would turn, drool appreciatively, and give my friend a stage pass. If my friend was lucky he would also sell the guitar. So he got a free concert ticket and sometimes a couple hundred dollars profit from the sale of the fancy guitar.

So, as the saxophonists made their way toward the chapel, I quietly followed. I had no instrument case, but for a Cage concert, that wasn't necessarily important. Fortunately, security is much more lax at a contemporary music concert than at a rock concert. I slipped inside with the musicians and hid behind some curtains.

I got to see the whole concert from back stage. Every once in a while I had to look busy when the real stage hands gazed in my direction.
About half-way through the concert, the eight saxophonists with whom I had entered climbed onto the stage to perform a 1952 Cage composition. The musicians and their eight baritone saxes lined up side by side. Some of them licked their lips, others twisted their mouthpieces. A balding conductor stood before them with a wry smile and raised his baton (which appeared to be pocked by teeth marks). He looked briefly at Cage, who was in the audience, and then at his wristwatch.

On the downbeat
all eight saxophonists remained quiet.
The piece:
(which is 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence)
had begun.

I saw a picture of two galaxies colliding and decided it might be interesting if the same thing happened with two tandem Ferris wheels.

Rock 'n' Rant

What is it with rock & roll?

What is the problem?

Why is there no real growth?

How can songs written 40 years ago still be popular music?

In the first half of this century, every half-dozen years, a new popular style would arise. Something truly new. New melodic forms. New rhythms.

In the last half of the 20th century, nothing but rock. Same chords. Same instrumentation. Same beat. Same vocal style.

When are we going to have a true
in popular music?

Fun Frolic

If somebody speaks in a dream, this dream is true.

Pearls are symbols of a flood of tears

A 9th-century Byzantine take on what dream symbolism means:
The Dream Book of Astrampsychos

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Sonnet 29 of William Shakespeare

Note: I'm moving this thing to the address:
because the old address with "[]" is highly upsetting to some email packages and search engines. So if you have bookmarked [ ] in the past, please change your bookmark to the new address. Thanks.

The past is nearly as good as the present.
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Outroduction to Bracket Bracket
Bracket Bracket is Paul Smedberg's irregular web column. Irregular in content, irregular in timing. If you fall within the range of lightly to thoroughly amused by [ ], please provide your email address and I'll send you a short, cryptic and obtuse notification when there's a new column.

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–Paul Smedberg

Make/modify the big beat with these two percussive programs that use the Shockwave plug-in.

Primus Drums
A drum kit you play with your computer's keyboard. Numbers give you riffs, letters give you individual drums and cymbals. It feels kind of klutzy at first, but with 3 minutes of practice you might be able to find a groove.

In their own words:
"950k of floating multi-jungle backbeat chiller fillers patching the pauses between your surf site sojourns."
Free download from modified frequency.

Their US$27 CD-ROM inflicts megatons of techno-rave zounds which you can customize with your own .WAV files. It makes the little hammers, anvils and stirrups dance around inside your head.