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Soul Sok Séga

Various Artists, Strut Records, 2016, LP or CD The geography of African diaspora music is most often thought of in trans-Atlantic terms: blues and jazz, soca and reggae, rumba and lundu. With a nod to North African styles on the Eurasian shores of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, the limits of cultural influence are sealed. But we often forget that the traffic in humans also went east, with slave communities on Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Agaléga, and beyond. These Indian Ocean islands are distant from the current of world events, and even far from seafaring routes. Nevertheless, historical African, European, Chinese, Arab, and Hindu communities have formed and, over the centuries, culturally synthesized Séga music is the … [Read more...]


March 10th saw REDCAT present another innovative, mixed-media performance by the Canadian artist Eve Egoyan. The evening featured three ingenious, interactive videos and four contemporary piano pieces entitled Earwitness "an umbrella name for projects conceived by Eve Egoyan that explore a hybrid art form, where sound and visual elements become equal creative partners". The concert was an exploration into auditory insight and visual complexities. A serious and prolific pianist, Egoyan commissioned all four of the selections heard at REDCAT. Ten of her eleven released CDs contain modern music written by an international array of living composers. Her remaining disc is devoted to Erik Satie's century-old miniatures , predecessors … [Read more...]


CITY OF LIGHT: MESSIAEN WITH THE ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY, LA Phil GreenUmbrella, Feb. 2, 2016 — The Los Angeles Philharmonic is honoring French composers this Spring in a "City of Light" concert series. In a related Green Umbrella presentation on February 2nd, a sold-out, Disney Hall audience was mesmerized by a multi-media performance of Olivier Messiaen's ethereal music. The late composer's 90-minute "Des Canyons aux Etoiles" (From the Canyons to the Stars) was played with admirable clarity by visiting members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, guided by its energetic conductor, David Robertson. Enhancing the modern, near-mystical score was a visual celebration of the music--projected photos, videos and special lighting … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – A Graphics Composition

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ's Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher —   Prolegomenon, Part One, Part Two, Part Three Generously shared, below are selections from Bruce Licher's personal archives of his graphic design and letterpress art. . Flyer for the event at the Los Angeles Museum of Art for the performance on November 8th, 1980, featuring Bridge, Neef, Arrow Book Club (Urinals-related experimental rock combo), films by John Talley-Jones, Brent Wilcox and Bruce Licher, along with metal performance Front cover of a fictitious NEEF LP created by Bruce Licher in a silkscreen printing class at UCLA Slash magazine review of Project 197, along with an ad … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – Part 3

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ's Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher  — Prolegomenon, Part One, Part Two, A Graphics Composition   Aram Yardumian: It’s hard for me to talk about the films without having seen them—I realize there is a  Sordide Sentimental video version of your work, it's difficult to find, but I’m interested in how you think the films fit into your overall aesthetic trajectory. Bruce Licher: Early on in my college days I was really fascinated with the industrial aesthetic. I was interested in Throbbing Gristle and the others, but more than that it was the old factories and there was just an aesthetic about that. I think a lot … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – Part 2

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ’s Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher —   Prolegomenon, Part One, Part Three, A Graphics Composition   Aram Yardumian: After Neef, Project 197 and Bridge really took a very different direction, musically. What do you remember about this ‘transition’? Neef, "The Mean Free Path", Neef cassette, 1979   Bruce Licher: Neef was very collaborative and improvisational. Project 197 was my attempt at doing my own, well, project. I asked a couple of guys to come in, but most of the music on that was mine. Mark and Kevin added the drums and percussion. Brent Wilcox handled all the recording. Bridge just came out … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – Part 1

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ's Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher — Prolegomenon, Part Two, Part Three, A Graphics Composition Aram Yardumian: Yours is a very intricate history, especially once all the editions of the records are considered. How did it all begin? Bruce Licher: When I was in college I had started going to see punk bands at the various clubs in Hollywood, and then eventually the earliest of the post-punk bands. It was really exciting, and there was a part of me that wanted to be part of that, too, so that's why I started to create music. But it was funny, even when I was going to see the punk bands in the clubs I kept thinking, well, I don't know … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – Prolegomenon

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ's Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher — Part One, Part Two, Part Three, A Graphics Composition We are still tabulating the effects of the post-punk era on popular culture. Still drawing lines all over the genealogical surface, still overestimating Talking Heads, and still letting many of the real geniuses remain countersunken in the clutter. Mark E. who? Birthday what? If it’s less about aggressively capturing specific textures and more about tearing open the net wide enough for yet another generation of customers to swim in, the real innovators were too obsessed with the art to care. Among the many creative thunderclaps that burst over southern California in the … [Read more...]

Refugee Redux

Neelamjit Dhillon Quartet & Isaura String Quartet: Komagata Maru, REDCAT, Nov.24th The stories of people migrating from place to place on our planet are as old as the human race. Through ancient history, bible tales, perhaps immigrant narratives of our own families, we know that individuals, tribes, even entire populations of towns and countries can move--or be moved—to new, faraway places. Reasons for packing up and leaving are diverse: wars, weather, a need for food and water, religious beliefs, better-paying jobs, et al. Sadly, fear or hatred of The Other—humankind's ingrained "us versus them" mentality—has often complicated and at times thwarted migrations. This is not new. Today, refugee camps around the world are filled with … [Read more...]

Voices in Time and Space

The Lost Recordings of Kesarbai Kerkar — Kesarbai Kerkar passed away on 16 September 1977 at the age of 85. She never knew that the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched on the 5th day of same month, carried a gold-coated copper phonograph record with samples of her voice, as recorded in April 1953: ‘Bhairavi Hori – Jaat Kahan Ho’. It was the only Indian music the Voyager contained. By the time Kesarbai died, she had long forgotten about her own disc recordings and no longer listened to them. Her dispute with HMV—for releasing her work without approval—had culminated in letters to Gramophone Company and radio stations requesting they not sell or play the records. Thus, the discs were not known to many, even in India. It is then … [Read more...]