Friday, November 25, 2016

RIP Pauline Oliveros

" Oliveros was and continues to be an enigma (she is still active at 76), an openly gay feminist black belt who has developed theories of holistic musical appreciation (“deep listening”) that incorporate mandala-like levels of concentration and subscribe to an improvisational populism that makes every person who can push a button, as well as every leaf rustling through the wind, into an avant-garde musician."- review from PM a few years back

I had the great pleasure of performing a few times at the Deep Listening Space, a supremely undersold nub of refuge in Upstate NY. When the HvEXAS guys started hosting noise shows in the area, I don't think we even knew it existed. We eventually got an intro by way of our sort of scene father figure in Al Margolis (If, Bwana/Sound of Pig/Pogus) who worked there occasionally and also on Oliveros's record label "Deep Listening".

What we really respected about Oliveros, and what we tried, unsuccessfully to a degree, to duplicate in HvEXAS's shows and later with the earliest days of the FDH record label, was that aforementioned populism.  Atonal and avant-garde music under her theoretical tutelage was really not meant to be the restrictive, isolating, and obtuse, as it had been forever classified.  This same spirit was alive in the noise scene, with its borrowing of basements and budgets from hardcore punk, where many of its expats had gathered from. The music didn't have to dumb down, but it also didn't have to sneer its nose up.

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