Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-02-25

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Finally got a hold of Anthony Braxton's first opera release, Trillium R... full satisfaction!... every bit as compelling and, at times, downright weird as Trilliums E & J... The Steven Wilson remix of XTC's Black Sea is tremendous... the stellar work of drummer Terry Chambers benefits the most... More brilliance from Roscoe Mitchell, whose Discussions takes the clever tactic of rearranging trio improvisations (from the two Conversations albums) for large orchestra... I need to do some side-by-side listenings...

Playlist 2018-02-26:

*Anthony Braxton: Trillium R: Composition 162 - An Opera in Four Acts/Shala Fears for the Poor (discs 1, 2, 3, 4)
*Kip Hanrahan: 2012-08-28 Sardegna, Italy (CDR)
*Mark Helias Open Loose: The Signal Maker
*Matt Mitchell: A Pouting Grimace
*Roscoe Mitchell Discussions Orchestra: Discussions
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-29 “Leap at the Wheel” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-02-12 "Quit Looking (For Things That Are Missed)" (wav)
*Alexander von Schlippenbach: The Living Music
*Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio: Pakistani Pomade
*Matthew Shipp Trio: 2012-11-10 London (CDR)
*Spring Heel Jack: The Sweetness of the Water
*Cecil Taylor: 3 Phasis (side 2)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-02-12 NYC (CDR)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-05-08 Amsterdam (CDR)
*Ralph Towner: Diary
*Various artists: Blue Note Plays Bossa Nova (disc 3)
*Various artists: Creative Music Studio Archive Selections Vol. 1 (disc 1)
*Maxine Brown: Oh No Not My Baby: The Best of Maxine Brown
*Count Five: Psychotic Reaction
*Esquivel: The Space Age Sound of Esquivel (disc 1)
*Grateful Dead: 1972-04-17 Copenhagen (DVD)
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol. 2 (disc 2)
*Sonic Youth: Washing Machine
*Various artists: The Big Beat 1963)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label (disc 2)
*Various artists: Byrd Noise (CDR compilation)
*XTC: Black Sea (Surround Sound Series) (disc 1)
*Yes: Fragile
*Yes: 1974-11-20 NYC (CDR)

Reading List, Week of 2018-02-25

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Reading List 2018-02-26:

*Homer. The Odyssey (transl. Emily Wilson) (started)
*Paul, Pamela. My Life with Bob (started)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (started)
*Le Carré, John. Our Game (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Yet Another Bonus Playlist from the Magic Jukebox

Time for another random Magic Jukebox playlist, this time from late February 2018. Good listening!

1. Fred Astaire - Shall we dance?
2. Beach Boys - Funky pretty
3. Dusty Springfield - Don't let me lose this dream
4. Brian Wilson - Don't worry
5. Beach Boys - Little pad (backing track)
6. Stock, Hausen, & Walkman - Lighting up
7. Derek Bailey - After 5 weeks
8. B.J. Thomas - Coke commercial
9. Henry Cow - Viva Pa Ubu
10. D'Angelo - Brown Sugar
11. Flaming Lips and New Fumes - Girl, you're so weird
12. Joe Tex - Buying a book
13. Beatles - Kansas City/Hey hey hey (BBC)
14. Robert Johnson - Phonograph blues
15. James Brown - Prisoner of love
16. Beatles - Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite (takes 7 + 9)
17. Andrew Tibbs & the Dozier Boys - In a traveling mood
18. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Hey hey my my (live)
19. Negro Problem - Repulsion
20. Sun Ra - Groovin' high (live 1981)
21. Charles Mingus - My search
22. Naked City - The James Bond theme
23. Guided By Voices - Cool planet
24. Beatles - Because (Anthology)
25. Love - Seven and seven is
26. Prince - Girl
27. Frank Zappa - Naval aviation in art?
28. Elvis Presley - My baby left me
29. Duke Ellington - The lady who couldn't be kissed
30. Shirelles - Stop the music
31. Elijah & the Ebonites - Hot grits!!
32. Robert Wyatt - Grass
33. Booker T. & the MGs - Downtown
34. Ann Peebles - 99 pounds
35. Frank Sinatra - Memories of you
36. Tim Gane & Sean O'Hagan - La consecration
37. Beatles - Twist and shout (live)
38. Beatles - Matchbox (BBC)
39. Otis Redding - Shout bamalama
40. High Llamas - Doo-wop property
41. Parliament - My automobile
42. Hüsker Dü - Celebrated summer
43. Sun Ra All Stars - Over the rainbow
44. Beatles - Can't buy me love (live)
45. Little Booker - Doin' the hambone
46. Ikettes - The camel walk
47. Candi Staton - Mr. and Mrs. Untrue
48. Hatfield and the North - Let's eat (real soon)
49. High Llamas - Sailing bells
50. Deerhoof - Super duper rescue heads!
51. NRBQ - Here I am
52. Elder trio - 2012-06-29 track 1 excerpt
53. Minutemen - Jesus and tequila
54. Duke Ellington - Baby when you ain't there
55. Booker T. & the MGs - Ode to Billie Joe
56. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Beverly kills
57. Coleman Hawkins - Body and soul
58. Utopia - Everybody else is wrong
59. James Brown - I can't stand myself (live)
60. Sun Ra - Tiny Pyramids
61. Beatles - Good night
62. Billy Tate - Single life
63. Jimi Hendrix - Lover man (live)
64. Percy Sledge - Between these arms
65. Elvis Presley - Trying to get to you
66. Prince - I would die 4 U
67. Sam Cooke - Desire me
68. D'Angelo - Back to the future (pt. II)
69. Robert Wyatt: You you
70. Marvin Gaye & Mary Wells - Once upon a time
71. Deerhoof -  The forbidden fruits (live)
72. Fletcher Henderson - Bye and bye
73. Sun Ra - The shadow world (live 1966)
74. Charlie Parker - Quasimodo
75. Duke Ellington - Baby!
76. Zombies - I can't make up my mind
77. Duke Ellington - Ko Ko (live 1940)
78. Charlie Parker - She rote
79. Sam Cooke - Nothing can change this love (live)
80. High Llamas - Leaf & Lime
81. Frank Zappa - Unit 9
82. Animal Collective  -Natural selection
83. Robert Pollard - Western centipede
84. Exciters - Just not ready
85. Mothers of Invention - Anything
86. Invincibles - Heart full of love
87. Baby Washington - No time for pity
88. Martha Reeves & the Vandellas - Show me the way
89. Dusty Springfield - Willie & Carla Mae
90. Miles Davis and Gil Evans - The meaning of the blues
91. Chris Clark - Put yourself in my place
92. William Bell - A smile can't hide (a broken heart)
93. Cookies - I never dreamed
94. Beach Boys - Isn't it time
95. Joe Williams - It's raining again
96. Guided By Voices - Let's go (to war)
97. Steely Dan - Parker's band
98. Sun Ra - East of the sun west of the moon (live 1981)
99. Wendy Rene - Crowded park
100. James Brown - Make it funky (live)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-02-18


I'm a huge fan of drummer Greg Saunier... I recently saw Deerhoof (at Strange Matter, here in RVA), and what really struck me this time was just how out they took each song, keeping the outline of these jagged pop tunes but getting really, really abstract and free, with each song blossoming out to these really strange free areas, then, tight as a drum, back to the song like they'd never left it... a large part of this dynamic was due to Saunier, who strayed the earliest and the longest from each song's framework, with quite experimental drumming that more than bordered on the cacophonic... well, I just loved it... Saunier is also brilliant on two other recent outings, Big Walnuts Yonder, with he and Mike Watt making for a killer rhythm section behind Nels Cline and Nick Reinhart, and a foray into instrumental free jazz with Mary Halvorson and Ron MilesNew American Songbooks, Volume 1... I especially love their beautiful rendition of a Beach Boys favorite of mine, "Little Pad"... more, please!... Really enjoying working my way through the JSP Carter Family recordings... deep, haunting stuff... Also enjoyed revisiting some of the more recent albums with Rodger Coleman and some older improvs from New Ting Ting Loft... what's nice is that as time passes, it's harder to remember that it's me... that distance helps me hear it as a purer music, less colored by personal reflections...

Playlist 2018-02-19:

*Mendelssohn: Octet/Schubert: 'Trout' Quintet (Royal String Quartet/Psophos Quartet)
*Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 (BBC Philharmonic/Edward Downes)
*AMM: Fine
*Paul Bley: Ballads
*Paul Bley: Open, To Love
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Aphelion
*Rodger Coleman/Sam Byrd: Perihelion
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2015-05-15 Centennial Park Black Box Theater, Nashville (mp3)
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: Imaginary Vinyl
*Conjure: Music for the Texts of Ishmael Reed
*Billie Holiday: Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933–1944 (disc 3)
*Matt Mitchell: A Pouting Grimace
*Roscoe Mitchell: Songs in the WInd
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-08 “Optose” (mp3)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-22 “Contact Saturn (Checking on Ra)” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2017-10-09 "Fight Back in the Kitchen" (wav)
*Greg Saunier​/​Mary Halvorson​/​Ron Miles: New American Songbooks, Volume 1 (streaming)
*Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks (disc 1)
*Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa
*Tyshawn Sorey: That/Not
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-02-11 NYC (CDR) (disc 2)
*Various artists: Blue Note Plays Bossa Nova (disc 2)
*Eberhard Weber: Yellow Fields
*Big Walnuts Yonder: Big Walnuts Yonder
*Scott Brookman: Smellicopter Two
*Harold Budd/Brian Eno: The Pearl
*Carter Family: 1927-1934 (disc 4)
*Sugar Pie DeSanto: Go Go Power: The Complete Chess Singles 1961-1966
*Orckestra (Henry Cow + Mike Westbrook Brass Band): 1977-09-16 Milano, Italy (CDR) (disc 2)
*Robert Pollard: Lord of the Birdcage
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol. 2 (disc 1)
*Roxy Music: The Thrill of It All (disc 2)
*Sonic Youth: Dirty
*This Heat: This Heat
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music: Fifth a-chronology 1920-2007 (disc 2)
*Various artists: Bollywood "Music From the Third Floor" (CDR compilation) (disc 15)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Trager & Note Labels (disc 2)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label (disc 1)
*Yes: 1974-12-10 New Haven, CT (CDR) (disc 2)

Reading List, Week of 2018-02-18

Reading List, 2018-02-19:

*Le Carré, John. Our Game (started)
*Nabokov, Vladimir. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (reread/started/finished))
*Smiley, Jane. Ten Days in the Hills (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Playlist for Week of 2018-02-11

Irwin Chusid and MIchael D. Anderson over at Bandcamp have done it again... by "it" I mean an excellent job of re-releasing archival Sun Ra recordings... this time, they've vastly improved Taking a Chance on Chances, which up to now had only been available on seriously defective vinyl that rendered all subsequent derivations (vinyl rips, CDRs, traded files, etc.) as damn-near unlistenable... side 1, anyway... they found a tape source that's not distorted!!... remarkable... the strength of this LP for me lies in the two brilliant John Gilmore solos on "Lady Bird/Half Nelson" and "What's New"... there's a bonus unreleased track as well... highly recommended digital-only release!... The Art Ensemble of Chicago performances with George Lewis subbing for Lester Bowie are revelatory... Lewis fits right in, of course, and the band reaches new heights of... whatever it is they do... marvelous and sublime... Lewis is easily my favorite trombone player... I'm not typically fond of trombone per se, but George Lewis makes me rethink my reticence...

Playlist 2018-02-12:

*Boulez: Le Marteau sans Maître/Sur Incises (Ensemble Intercontemporain) (CDR)
*Grieg/Schumann/Chopin (David Finckel/Wu Han)
*Mozart: Introducing the Complete Mozart Edition
*Stockhausen/Donatoni/Ligeti/Berio/Kagel/Xenakis (Nieuw Ensemble 2011-01-20) (CDR)
*Susan Alcorn/Ingrid Laubrock/Leila Bordreuil: 2017-08-18 Brooklyn NY (CDR)
*Art Ensemble of Chicago with George Lewis: 1977-07-28 NYC (CDR) (disc 1)
*Anthony Braxton Quartet: Live at Moers Festival (sides 3, 4)
*Anthony Braxton Quartet: Twelve Compositions: Live at Yoshi's in Oakland,  July 1993 (disc 2)
*Kate Gentile: Mannequins
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-01 “Featherduster” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-08 “Optose” (mp3)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-02-05 "Is That Me?" (wav)
*Other Dimensions in Music: 2006-10-12 London (CDR)
*Greg Saunier​/​Mary Halvorson​/​Ron Miles: New American Songbooks, Volume 1 (streaming)
*Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks (disc 2)
*Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Sun Ra Exotica
*Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Taking a Chance on Chances
*Ralph Towner: Solstice
*Various artists: Blue Note Plays Bossa Nova (disc 1)
*James Brown: Get Down With James Brown! (Live At The Apollo Vol. IV)
*Carter Family: 1927-1934 (disc 3)
*Earth Wind & Fire: Gratitude
*Earth Wind & Fire: Raise!
*Jethro Tull: A Passion Play
*King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (40th Anniversary Series) (disc 1)
*Denise LaSalle: Here I Am Again
*Orckestra (Henry Cow + Mike Westbrook Brass Band): 1977-09-16 Milano, Italy (CDR) (disc 1)
*Ozric Tentacles: Jurassic Shift
*Annette Peacock: X-Dreams
*Roxy Music: The Thrill of It All (disc 1)
*Upsetters: Return of the Super Ape
*Various artists: Stax Revue Live at the 5/4 Ballroom
*Various artists: Rhythm and Blues Show at the Olympia
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation (disc 2)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Saadia Label
*XTC: The Uncollected (CDR compilation)
*Yes: 1974-02-26 Boston (CDR) (disc 2)
*Yes: 1974-12-10 New Haven, CT (CDR) (disc 1)

Reading List for Week of 2018-02-11

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Reading List, Week of 2018-02-12:

*Smiley, Jane. Ten Days in the Hills (started)
*Calvino, Italo. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (transl. William Weaver) (reread/started/finished)
*Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies (started/finished)
*Sorrentino, Gilbert. The Abyss of Human Illusion (reread/finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

New Reading Plan


It's time to update my reading plan for the coming year. Unlike some of my older reading plans, though, this year I'm going a bit vague. Oh, I do have some specific books in mind, of course, but overall I just have this vague sense of where I'm going, which is fine, and kind of exciting. I always leave things up to chance and whim anyway. So, no big list this time. Just some smaller lists.

Looking back at my plan from November 2016, I see that I got through about half my list of first-time reads, but only less than a third of my rereading list. Oh well! Things change.

I have compiled a long list of early modern dramatists and plays I want to get through (other than Shakespeare). I'm not going to recreate that here, but you will start to notice plays by Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, Beaumont and Fletcher, John Ford, Thomas Middleton, etc. etc. showing up on my reading lists. Of course, I will also persist in my rereading of Shakespeare, punctuated by random Shakespeare criticism. That's a given.

Pretty soon, after I get through the third Stormlight Archive book and the new Expanse novel, I will buckle down and tackle the Javier Marías trilogy Your Face Tomorrow. I want to continue my chronological reading of John le Carré novels (the next one will be Our Game). I'm going to reread Pynchon's Bleeding Edge and some more Jane Austen. I want to get to at least one Stendhal novel.

Eventually I'll tackle all of the Malazan series again (for the third time), but I was thinking I would wait until Esslemont writes the third book in the Path to Ascendancy trilogy (looks like Erikson's Kharkanas prequel trilogy is on hold, and there may be another trilogy coming, concerning Karsa Orlong).

There are also those super-long books I will eventually get through one way or another...

And that's my plan! (For now...)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-02-04

Props to a special "songbird," Nora Byrd... check out the wonderful set of mostly traditional Irish songs she recently did for the Chicago radio show The Craic... The Henry Threadgill listening thread continues, if a bit slowly... around this time period (2010) is when the live Zooid stuff starts to run together a bit for me... I find the released albums much more compelling... A snippet of the Miles Davis Fillmore East 1970 gigs came up on the Magic Jukebox, and it sounded awesome, so I dug out the box... it still amazes me just how much free/out stuff the band got into when Miles wasn't soloing... I'm also having a mini-Sonic Youth festival for myself, going through an album a week or so... amazingly strong body of work!... Tito Puente, on the other hand, makes for great cocktail music...

Playlist 2018-02-05:

*Beethoven/Fauré/Brahms (Gould Piano Trio)
*Haydn/Beethoven: The String Quartet (The Lindsays)
*Muhal Richard Abrams/George Lewis/Roscoe Mitchell: Streaming
*Art Ensemble of Chicago with Anthony Braxton & Frank Lowe: 1975-09-14 NYC (CDR)
*Daniel Barbiero & Ken Manheimer: 2018-01-27 Rhizome, Washington DC (streaming)
*Anthony Braxton Quartet: Twelve Compositions: Live at Yoshi's in Oakland,  July 1993 (disc 1)
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2017-12-27 Nashville (wav)
*Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore (disc 1)
*Jimmy Ghaphery: Songs for Cosmos (streaming)
*Barry Guy/London Jazz Composers' Orchestra: Portraits (disc 2)
*Roland Kirk Quartet: Rip, Rig, and Panic
*Roland Kirk: Now Please Don't You Cry, Beautiful Edith
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-01-11 “Lincoln Log Interval” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-04-04 “Ambiguity Promiscuity” (wav)
*Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2008-11-04 Köln, Germany (CDR)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2009-02-06 Middletown CT (CDR) (disc 2)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-02-11 NYC (CDR) (disc 1)
*James Blood Ulmer with The Thing: Baby Talk
*Nora Byrd & John Williams: 2018-01-13 "The Craic," Chicago (streaming)
*Carter Family: 1927-1934 (disc 1)
*Eddie Floyd: Soul Street
*Funkadelic: Reworked by Detroiters (disc 2)
*Grails: Doomsdayer's Holiday
*Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, & David Freiberg: Baron Von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun
*Denise LaSalle: Trapped by a Thing Called Love
*Denise LaSalle: On the Loose
*Richard Meltzer, Robert Pollard, Smegma, Antler, & Vom: The Completed Soundtrack for the Tropic of Nipples
*Ozric Tentacles: Eternal Wheel (The Best Of) (disc 1)
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol. 4 (disc 2)
*Sonic Youth: Sister
*Upsetters: Super Ape
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music: Fifth a-chronology 1920-2007 (disc 1)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation (disc 1)
*Various artists: 60 Second Remixes (CDR compilation)
*Yardbirds: Live at the BBC (disc 2)
*Yes: 1974-02-26 Boston (CDR) (disc 1)

Reading List, Week of 2018-02-04

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Reading List, Week of 2018-02-05:

*Sorrentino, Gilbert. The Abyss of Human Illusion (reread/started)
*Heywood, Thomas. A Woman Killed with Kindness (started/finished)
*Kirkman, Robert, et al. The Walking Dead (issues 107-110) (started/finished)
*Minot, Susan. Rapture (started/finished)
*Sanderson, Brandon. Words of Radiance (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Collective Improvisation and Structure

Very interesting thoughts on the dynamics of large-scale collective improvisation, from an interview by Jon Abbey with Keith Rowe and Radu Malfatti:
Abbey: ...for me, we've almost gotten to a point ... where I almost feel like it's impossible, or close to impossible, to make a great collaborative improvised record anymore. ... Of course, there have always been solo records, there's always been composed music, there's always been collective improvised music, there will always be all of them. It's a question of which are more interesting and which are actually doing something, and to me the balance there has shifted in the last few years. And I guess what I wonder about with your perspective, because this is my perspective: do you really think it's possible that an area like free improvisation which theoretically at least has an incredibly wide range of possibilities, I mean it's not jazz, where there are defined boundaries. So despite this seeming openness, do you think nevertheless that we've come to the end or are coming to the end of that era?
Malfatti: Well, first of all, I don't think so. But maybe the definition is to be questioned, but again, that's why I really don't distinguish between composed music and improvised music, because you have very boring composed music, obviously, and you have compositions full of cliches of the cliche of the cliche of the cliche, and you have that in improvised music as well. The most interesting part for me today is what are the three most important aspects in music, but not only in music, in different areas as well, is the material and the structure and the form. ...
But what do I do? I have a big space, and I decide I want to build a house in it. And then there are many possibilities, I can build 273 rooms, so every room is just a square meter or something, I can decide I want 3 rooms, or even just 1. So the form from the outside is still the same, but the structure is what you are doing. But for me it is like I have a sound, a note or whatever, a sound, and how do I structure it in relationship to the other sounds. So in that case, with a full understanding, I wouldn't be afraid at all to do a collective improvisation with 20 people, if those 20 people have a similar, not the same, but a similar concept of structuring. Which means, in other words, there is no single way of thinking, there is no "let's fill this space", there is no "what else can I do?", but for the sake of the overall building and produce your sound and willing to listen to the other sounds for half an hour maybe. And I don't feel the need, that there is something missing and I take the opportunity to be listening to other sounds, and this for me is what is very interesting in composed music if it has the same aspect. One building with one or two big rooms, instead of all the little cells in prisons, maybe even locked doors. 
So for me this is the most interesting part, and therefore I don't see a very big difference between improvised music and composed music, because in composed music you can arrange the sounds in a specific way. In improvised music you can as well, but you really need all the other people with the same understanding, the same feeling. But that's nothing new, because that always has been like that, even in free jazz or Dixieland, you need the people to produce a certain thing. So as I said, I think the main topic, the main interest, is the space and the structure of how to place rooms or commas or sounds. For me, this is the most interesting bit today.