Author Topic: Phil Minton  (Read 5605 times)

Phil Minton
« on: July 13, 2020, 12:26:38 AM »
Someone linked this cunt on Facebook. He plays festivals and serious jazz clubs. How can anybody take this shit seriously? Just look up his millions of videos on YouTube, it sounds like a bloke having a breakdown. It's even worse when there's apparently some serious musician jazz bassist or guitarist accompanying him, they sound they're playing total random wank too. Is this some kind of elaborate prank?

I can listen to Captain Beefheart doing acapella. This is just shite though.

Shaky

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2020, 12:49:12 AM »
Christ, that's.... incredible. I want to thank you for improving my day!

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2020, 01:12:54 AM »
Think this video on Facebook was the one I got linked, it's the perfect introduction of wanky shit jazz bass and mental dolphin rape grunting.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2020, 01:23:32 AM »
I have fought against the "I could do that" response to experimental music before, but...it really does feel like the sort of thing that would've been rejected by the Jazz Club segment on "The Fast Show" for being too silly.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2020, 01:27:13 AM »
I know, but he's got LOADS of videos of gigs he's doing at festivals and proper jazz clubs. Are there a load of proper Pseuds sitting there basking in its apparent brilliance and clicking their fingers along, or are they only doing as a pisstake? As much as I hate the human race and but think they can do better, I think it has to be the former.

Chriddof

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2020, 01:52:14 AM »
I clicked on the link expecting something that was quite weird but was still something I liked, and... no. It wasn't. I just watched a bit at the start where an office worker appeared to be doing an impression of Gollum from LOTR coming to the realization that he would quite fancy a wank, and then I had to close the window out of second hand embarrassment. Experimental music is definitely harder than it looks.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2020, 02:16:58 AM »
Gollum gasping for a wank is an appropriate notion, but it's more the point there's a load of jazz musos ferrying this cunt about to gigs hither and thither and it's like a dolphin being dildoed up its blowhole with Eiffel Tower. Are there people who actually like this? It seems so from the amount of gigs he gets.

chveik

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2020, 02:21:27 AM »
well he's played with some genuinely good free improv musicians so I dunno, it's hard to tell.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2020, 07:29:26 AM »
How is it hard to tell?

Phil Minton is a great singer and trumpet player who is at home in settings as various as folk, jazz, prog, rock, and features more range in a single song than some people manage in their entire careers. In those videos linked there is some incredible vocal technique and range on display. Sorry you don't like it but why start a thread about your own ignorance?

And who says you have to take it all "seriously"? There's a lot of humour, playfulness and theatre involved in performing free improvisation as well.

Here he performs the traditional song The Cutty Wren with pianist Veryan Weston:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyJ3m-vmVN0

And performing with Mike Westbrook's Uncommon Orchestra (he's been a member of Mike Westbrook's bands since the early 70's):

https://youtu.be/RjDhq6XYi_A?t=1434

And performing a Lindsay Cooper composition with John Greaves:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pXPk6Qz1-8
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 08:12:11 AM by NoSleep »

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2020, 08:47:04 AM »
I bet this guy has a brilliant Best Of Vol II. I particularly like all his Variations On A Theme Of Charlie Says.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2020, 09:39:03 AM »
They are dubbing the applause on surely? If I heard this without any video, I would not be surprised to hear this is a toddler bashing randomly on a piano https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyZbcwiRd20

Phil Minton sounds like the name of an area sales rep for a flooring company who covers the South. Based just outside Milton Keynes, he covers as far west and Bristol and as far down as the Isle of Wight.

NoSleep As the boards Jazz expert, I think there is unlikely to be any discussion on the technicalities or his vocal talents in this thread.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 10:35:27 AM by Special K »

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2020, 09:51:26 AM »
If I heard this without any video, I would not be surprised to hear this is a toddler bashing randomly on a piano https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyZbcwiRd20

That's fucking brilliant. Reminds me of a story a friend told me of visiting Keith (RIP) and Julie Tippett's place and their toddler was playing similarly on the piano, so Keith stepped up and turned it into a duet.

Cuellar

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2020, 10:15:12 AM »
Love this, especially the first video in the OP. The very fact that he looks like a middle manager having a breakdown elevates it to art, in my opinion.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2020, 03:45:36 PM »
He's the real deal. Runs (or ran) the Feral Choir too. I wouldn't listen to it myself personally but he's still an artist.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2020, 03:59:25 PM »
Question for the OP, is it the context and presentation any part of what made you think Minton was a pseud cunt, or is it just the fact he sounds like gollum gasping for a wank? I sometimes wonder how stuff like this would be received differently if it was more vaudeville, costumes, weird backdrops etc 

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2020, 04:47:17 PM »
How is it hard to tell?

Phil Minton is a great singer and trumpet player who is at home in settings as various as folk, jazz, prog, rock, and features more range in a single song than some people manage in their entire careers. In those videos linked there is some incredible vocal technique and range on display. Sorry you don't like it but why start a thread about your own ignorance?

And who says you have to take it all "seriously"? There's a lot of humour, playfulness and theatre involved in performing free improvisation as well.

Here he performs the traditional song The Cutty Wren with pianist Veryan Weston:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyJ3m-vmVN0
This is, to be fair, completely different to the videos posted above. He wasn't just making a bunch of awful sounds over the top of that piano accompaniment. Well, up to the 4 minute mark, when he goes off the rails again.

And performing with Mike Westbrook's Uncommon Orchestra (he's been a member of Mike Westbrook's bands since the early 70's):

https://youtu.be/RjDhq6XYi_A?t=1434

And performing a Lindsay Cooper composition with John Greaves:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pXPk6Qz1-8

The opinion of other musicians on him matters not one jot. His whole thing just sounds unpleasant to me (and, clearly, at least a few others). Hopefully you know I've listened to a lot of free improv and experimental stuff, so I think I have a pretty high tolerance for stranger sounds, but I can't stomach this. When he's not "singing", it sounds completely indistinguishable from someone taking the piss. To me, anyway.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2020, 05:05:10 PM »
He's doing the vocal equivalent of a saxophonist (say, Peter Brotzmann) playing free improvisation, in his free vocal adventures. He's not alone in this field either, as you'll find Maggie Nicholls, Julie Tippett and Dagmar Krause taking a similar route (albeit in their own way).

I can't see the problem, as all music stems from the human voice, and the human voice would have existed before there was music. Before you can understand the words other human beings are speaking, you can tell by the sound of their voice how they feel; and that's the beginnings of music. What Minton is doing turns that into artistic expression. I really don't get the "just isn't music" approach some people have engaging with this. It isn't like just anybody could do this (even if you imagine you could). I've heard the same said on these boards of guitarist Derek Bailey and saxophonist Anthony Braxton, both of whom are similarly musical gods.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2020, 05:13:54 PM »
And I can't see the point of starting a music thread to say "this is shit" about an artist you've not yourself bothered with before. OP has mainly only contributed to a thread about Oasis before now to give some context of their musical interests.

The Mollusk

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2020, 06:27:01 PM »
I’ve made plenty of posts/threads hyperbolically condemning stuff before but have been perfectly willing to hear people explain it from another perspective. What’s the difference between that and starting a thread about “an artist you’ve not yourself bothered with before” which has blown you away and lead you to wish to shower them with praise? You could equally find yourself on the receiving end of someone telling you “actually you’re wrong, they’re shit and here’s why”. Starting a thread is opening a discussion, after all. I’d rather come here and see both sides of the coin about a clearly divisive artist with their own dedicated thread than bother with a lot of the other dreck clogging up this boring subforum over the last few months.

Anyway, my opinion: the stuff linked in the OP is shit.

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2020, 06:27:18 PM »
And I can't see the point of starting a music thread to say "this is shit" about an artist you've not yourself bothered with before. OP has mainly only contributed to a thread about Oasis before now to give some context of their musical interests.

I wasn’t aware of this guy before so at least that’s worth something in defence of the thread.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2020, 07:26:48 PM »
And I can't see the point of starting a music thread to say "this is shit" about an artist you've not yourself bothered with before. OP has mainly only contributed to a thread about Oasis before now to give some context of their musical interests.

Oh, so it's not about the subjective opinion, it's the about the person expressing it, then? I did mention listening to Beefheart acapella in the OP, I listen to a lot of improvised music and am a musician who improvises myself, makes fuck all difference to my 'appreciation' of a bloke who sounds like DJ Spike Milligan going mental in a dustbin. (two comedy references in one there, folks!)

I posted the clip because I found it laughable and it amused me that a bunch of jazz pseuds would find it entertaining, I find it pretentious drivel. Of course there's always the argument about what is art, at which point in a gradient does noise become music etc etc, you can intellectualise it a thousands ways, it doesn't stop me finding it of no artistic merit whatsoever. If he can actually sing in a more 'traditional' manner I can see why you can say it's his artistic choice to sound like a baby discovering the ability of speech. As far as 'range' goes, it mainly seems to flit between Tom Waits-style glottal grunting and Roger Whittaker bird whistles, doesn't seem very like much of a range to me*. If there's an audience for it, great, I don't have a problem with that. I just couldn't imagine there was one for the kind of material I posted in the OP (even the guitarist in that sounds fucking dreadful) and people just sit through it because its 'experimental' and grin and bare it to get to the more 'trad' stuff. I've seen No Sleep try to justify it existence, which is fine, but do you actually like the stuff in the OP.. do you put that on like Enya during a nice soapy bath? (I bet you do, you dirty old bollocks)

*The only interesting thing I did pick up a was a slight bit of harmonic, a bit like Tuvan throat singers achieve, or the bloke who did Popeye (Jack Mercer) but he didn't really do anything with it.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2020, 07:29:30 PM »
I wasn%u2019t aware of this guy before so at least that%u2019s worth something in defence of the thread.

Nor was I until coming home last night, tucking into a few beers and it being posted on my Facebook feed. I just thought it was funny enough to pass along, which indeed it seems it was. That's how internet memes work. Maybe I should have posted it in the Funny Youtube videos thread or somewhere else instead of starting a music thread about it and it wouldn't have started so much argument, but I was drunk and looking for the original clip I saw which wasn't on Youtube, or at least I couldn't find it, before finding a publicly available Facebook version of it I could share later in the thread.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2020, 08:15:15 PM »
I posted the clip because I found it laughable and it amused me that a bunch of jazz pseuds would find it entertaining, I find it pretentious drivel.

What's a jazz pseud? What's the music pretending to?

Why do you assume that people who like his improvisation style "take it seriously" and don't also see the funny side? Free improvisation, by its nature I suppose, has its share of performers that employ humour in their performances. It is in part absurdist and early adopters like Derek Bailey who had emerged from performing as standard musician at the London Palladium, as the guitarist in Morecambe & Wise's band, Winifred Atwell, etc, was revelling in being far away from "all that", playing something the music business could not get a marketing handle on; music that literally runs away from being in any "style". When critics complained to Peter Brotzmann that his music was only noise, he produced Machine Gun with the declaration, "No, this is noise."

Phil Minton's probably happy that his music will piss some people off.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2020, 08:15:47 PM »
The problem for me with those vocals is that it's all technique and no substance. Although if you told me that that was the first time that guitarist in the OP has ever picked up a guitar, I would believe you.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2020, 08:25:16 PM »
He does sound pretty bad, Minton.

chveik

  • I feel like swimmin' in rat piss
Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2020, 08:37:14 PM »
What's a jazz pseud? What's the music pretending to?

Why do you assume that people who like his improvisation style "take it seriously" and don't also see the funny side? Free improvisation, by its nature I suppose, has its share of performers that employ humour in their performances. It is in part absurdist and early adopters like Derek Bailey who had emerged from performing as standard musician at the London Palladium, as the guitarist in Morecambe & Wise's band, Winifred Atwell, etc, was revelling in being far away from "all that", playing something the music business could not get a marketing handle on; music that literally runs away from being in any "style". When critics complained to Peter Brotzmann that his music was only noise, he produced Machine Gun with the declaration, "No, this is noise."

Phil Minton's probably happy that his music will piss some people off.

thinking that Phil Minton is shit doesn't necessarily undermine the whole point of free improv. I can see the intent but Brotzmann is so much better than him. you're not the only person listening to this sort of music here so there's no need to patronize us.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2020, 08:41:18 PM »
I'm not patronising anyone. Free improvisation has room for both Brotzmann and Minton. I probably do love Brotzmann's music a little bit more but it isn't a competition. Then again I probably listen to Mike Westbrook's band more than Brotzmann's and Minton is always to the fore in the Westbrook band, albeit jazz (but even then, can include a collaboration with Henry Cow or include some Brecht or folk songs) rather than free improvisation.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2020, 07:46:24 AM »
The problem for me with those vocals is that it's all technique and no substance. Although if you told me that that was the first time that guitarist in the OP has ever picked up a guitar, I would believe you.

I would be interested to know what you mean by substance in the context of free improvisation. Free improvisation has always been about listening on the part of players, it's a musical chess game but often avoiding an overriding arc or game strategy. The players will undermine attempts at direction (which usually rely on repetition), preferring to keep things in the moment and surprising. Also, I'd say in this case, the two players are technically on the same page. John Russell is exploring the sounds that can be found from a guitar in way that a beginner would have no knowledge of; he isn't merely stumbling across things.

You have to listen to free improvisation as if you're participating. Nothing's being laid out for you as in other music forms; you have to make an effort to join in, even as a listener.

A really good way to get into free improvisation is to try it yourself; it's probably more fun this way than listening to others to begin with. Definitely a sport that invites participation.

It's probably why Stewart Lee enjoys free improvisation so much, as he tries to do this with his own material; relying on the audience to put things together themselves in order to find the humour in what he's concocted. He gives you the recipe but expects you to prepare and cook it yourself; which ultimately makes it of more value than if he had delivered a simple gag.

Cuellar

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2020, 10:59:51 AM »
And it's surprisingly close to his 'Ricky Gervais trying to say the unsayable' routine

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2020, 11:03:12 AM »
This is just this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wcq3VAKjTp0

But of course, if it's jazz then it's better than anything and I just don't get it maaaan.

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