|What you need to know is that after this CD was recorded,
apparently unproblematically, an almighty e-mail brouhaha erupted over what it should be called, what the cover should be, who should write the notes and so on. That nine people couldn’t decide on some post-production details wouldn’t be worth mentioning if the discussion hadn’t raised difficult questions about the music making itself: specifically, about the different meanings that musicians claim for their musical activity, and about their different attitudes towards the marketplace.
Since money, there hasn’t been a form of music that has existed outside of economic concerns. Even a musician-run label concerned with commercially marginal music must produce things that look like tokens of big business, things which have those same signs of commerce concentrated into a little box and booklet: group names, album titles (and the accompanying liner notes) are essentially an index of a music’s display-rack existence (and the display-rack’s promotional corollary). These purely practical
considerations can be transparent if you want them to be, symbols of music’s de-ephemeralisation before its dissemination; but if you worry about it enough, ephemerality, music’s existence outside linguistic, commercial or any other sort of representation becomes the very reason for its being. Put that way, it may be that discursive representation of music is redundant; maybe even the best music critics can only trade in tautology, while the worst will surreptitiously seek some kind of legitimacy for their ideological and material interests. It’s always struck me that the liner notes Leonard Feather wrote for the great Blue Note albums were pretty good examples of the attempt to construct critical meanings by reference to
commercial realities. “So-and-so’s playing here”, he might have suggested, one hand leafing through the pages of jazz’s history and the other through the Blue Note catalogue, “owes a lot less to the Gillespie model than on his previous outing (BLP 1538)”. In this way, criticism produces canons like chickens lay eggs (and with the same teleological imponderability); further, on the Venn diagram of chicken and critic, the intersection of economic interest is pretty big, if you get me.
1. (-n) 1 (-t) (12.45)
2. tone (-n) (05.24)
3. non, et (04.48)
4. (-n) o (-n) et (03.48)
5. (-n) onet (08.12)
6. tenon (07.25)
7. n (one) t (08.01)
8. no (net) (07.32)
9. to ne n (06.14)
10. ten:on (9.37)
Tracks 1-7 recorded at Gateway Studios, Kingston-upon-Thames on 19 October 2002; other tracks recorded at Goldsmiths' College, London on 25 January 2003.