Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SIGNAL TO NOISE #'s 44, 46 and 47 (magazine)

Y'know, even here in the late oh-oh's it's kinda funny when you think of all the on-line info on whaddeva subject imaginable that is available with the mere peck of a key, but even with computers all over the place and people meeting through internet and instant messages and all that fun stuff there's still plenty of all-important information out there that you can only get through the "old fashioned" way...newspapers, books, gossip and of course magazines like SIGNAL TO NOISE. I found three issues of this periodical in my mailbox only a week or so back, and since then these SIGNAL TO NOISEs have not only been my constant toidy/pre-beddy bye time reading material but a constant source of information that's keeping me glued to the best innovation past/present like nothing in recent memory. Getting these recent SIGNAL TO NOISEs reminds me of the time my mother, in an attempt to wize me up a bit so I wouldn't be too much of a cube, got me a subscription to DOWN BEAT thus opening my mind to things like the AACM and Ornette a lot earlier'n had I just waited for Bill Shute to tell me about all this avant garde noise years later when it would've made much less of that all-important personal impact!

For those of you (like I was) who aren't exactly inna know, SIGNAL TO NOISE is a mag that's devoted to "experimental and improvised music" but don't let that scare you anti-intellectuals off. Actually this mag covers a wide range of exciting musical vistas (I swiped that from Robert Christgau, neet hunh?) that pretty much overlap with BLOG TO COMM's own rather "horse-blindered" tastes so expact some of the swing in with the incomprehensible. Of course not everything in SIGNAL TO NOISE is gonna light a fire under my well-acne'd behind nor do all of the writers measure up to my own lofty standards of addled gonzoism (in fact, none of the writers measure up to any standards of addled gonzoism that I can discern), plus I STILL can't handle the whole glossy paper/fancy layout of these post-seventies professional magazoons one bit but it's sure neat to once again read about all of those mad free jazzers and improv artists from the past who are not only stil active but back inna day seemed like such forward-thinking fellows and, come to think of it, still stand as some sorta standard bearers especially in an age of rot like the one we still live in even after all these years.

Believe-you-me, there is a lot in these pages that probably won't interest you especially if you have been weaned on the current state of rock criticism thud, but if you're the kinda guy who was wondering what everyone from Roscoe Mitchell to Steve Reich (and other sixties soundscapaders you probably discovered around the same time I did) are up to these days then SIGNAL TO NOISE will come in more than handy. And yeah, if you're the kinda kiddo who also snapped up the first few Soft Machine albums at flea markets and have some curiousity regarding the latest appearance of Ornette Coleman (while the rest of the media, music and otherwise, seems to be blocking out this very important slice of news even harder than they try to ignore Ron Paul) then maybe this 'un is also just for thee. And even if the cover features don't exactly appeal to your own garage-bred sense of mid-Amerigan trash, there certainly will be something in everything from the record review section to even the ads that'll be dragging up memories of experimental bliss past faster than you can say Luciano Berio! Sheesh, maybe if you look hard enough you too will find something about those great free jazz players who were thrilling us all at the CBGB Lounge freeform shows before it all moved to Jimmy's a couple years back.

OK, if you're still not satisfied, just think of it as MOJO for the brainy kids in school, but you can understand it too. Anyway, a nice li'l surprise in my otherwise drab existence...d'ya think I should be nice and send 'em a few BLACK TO COMM back issues in exchange for these rags? I mean, perhaps the editors could use a laugh or two!


Anonymous said...

Do you look at Wire, from England? I was just thinking the other day that I could totally root for Signal to Noise over the Wire. One reason would be it's semi-local (Vermont) origins. Another would be it's lower pretentiousness level. It's origins are a little more on the hippy-jam band side of things, and the writing is probably not as good but the stench of dirty hippy isn't as bad as the stench of a rotting soul. I am more likely to dig a little more of Wire's content but STN is who I'd back in a fight. Nice to see a plug here for what used to be a semi-local rag round these parts (Upstate eastern NY). Pax, Phil D.

Anonymous said...

what's wrong with issue 45?

Christopher said...

I dunno what's wrong with #45! It just wasn't in the package I received!!!

signal to noise guy said...

Chris, you're awesome. Thanks for the very kind words. I dig your 'zine, and now your blog, hence the care package. Keep up the great work and drop me a line sometime!

pete grrrrrshon
publisher, STN