Author Topic: Phil Minton  (Read 5614 times)

Gregory Torso

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2020, 11:34:47 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?

Why do you care though? Why is he a 'cunt'? He looks like he's having a grand old time. It's just someone expressing themselves, I really don't get the level of anger it seems to be causing. Sorry, I just get really annoyed when words like 'pretentious' are thrown around, or accusations of only liking something as part of an in-joke or a prank. Leave him be (for what it's worth I didn't think it was very good either, although I liked the video with the little kid on piano).

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2020, 12:20:03 PM »
I would be interested to know what you mean by substance in the context of free improvisation.

It sounds shit, basically. There's not a lot to admire other than the technique, it's like someone doing a showreel of all the things they can do while doing nothing with them, other than randomly displaying them. So you can see that the guy obviously has pipes, but what he's doing with them sounds shit, it's not something I can get enjoyment out of listening to. And I don't really see many other people talk about how this stuff sounds, it's all about the techniques and the theory behind what they're doing etc and that's when it all becomes a bit chin-strokey to me and I lose interest.

Just out of interest, that video with the guitarist, if you were told that that wasn't free improv, that it was in fact a meticulously rehearsed performance with every yelp and pick scrape thoughtfully placed, would that effect or change your enjoyment at all or would it still be a performance you could enjoy? Are you enjoying the product of free improv, or just enjoying the fact that they are doing free improv, if you know what I mean.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2020, 12:49:03 PM »
That ain't art, it's just a messy bed!

the

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #33 on: July 14, 2020, 12:49:14 PM »
If your topmost criticism of a musician is 'I'm suspicious of their audience' then it should be obvious that you're not on very stable ground.

From the initial vids posted, I clicked through to find vids featuring a band, to get more of a handle on what's going on. It's much clearer with those videos that the musicians are being impulsive and trying to move about without cliché, removed from the constraint/comfort of rules and structure. It's clear that they're not just smashing about or taking the piss.

As a sound/performance/flight-of-fancy it doesn't speak to me - but from the musician's point of view, if you're a seasoned lifelong instrumentalist, I can understand the desire to get back to a place where music is impulsive and exploratory. Where you're no longer operating the levers of the machine with total confidence and efficiency.

It's easy to get locked inside the perspective of recorded music, of rehearsed performance. Before all of that there's the point of creation, where you make music out of nothing. So why can't you create music on the spot and why can't you surprise yourself and others around you at the form that that takes.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2020, 01:09:38 PM »
It sounds shit, basically. There's not a lot to admire other than the technique, it's like someone doing a showreel of all the things they can do while doing nothing with them, other than randomly displaying them. So you can see that the guy obviously has pipes, but what he's doing with them sounds shit, it's not something I can get enjoyment out of listening to. And I don't really see many other people talk about how this stuff sounds, it's all about the techniques and the theory behind what they're doing etc and that's when it all becomes a bit chin-strokey to me and I lose interest.

If you don't like then fine, but your judgement appears to go further. Like I said in my earlier post; this is not music you can passively listen to; it's designed for active participation (although it can work as background music once you're tuned in to its frequency). I can understand a lot of people are not used to the music they are listening to expecting anything of them, but that's how you get into something like this.

Quote
Just out of interest, that video with the guitarist, if you were told that that wasn't free improv, that it was in fact a meticulously rehearsed performance with every yelp and pick scrape thoughtfully placed, would that effect or change your enjoyment at all or would it still be a performance you could enjoy? Are you enjoying the product of free improv, or just enjoying the fact that they are doing free improv, if you know what I mean.

I think there'd be clear signs that it was composed, even if the actual performance fell to improvised sections. Peter Brotzmann leads "free improvisation" groups where there is structure and composition marking out the movement through the piece. Barry Guy works like this too. I suppose you could confound everyone by trying to compose something that sounded like pure free improvisation but there would be little point and zero excitement for the participants. It's like a sport they're playing, so whilst you might train and talk of strategy, it comes down to initiative on the day.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2020, 01:48:22 PM »

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #36 on: July 14, 2020, 03:48:01 PM »
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.

I've seen him live a couple of times, and he's a fairly well respected free improv vocalist as far as I know.

I don't have any problem with this, it's not for everyone sure. But it's not even that out there in terms of that scene. There's plenty of humor there too, it's not a stuffy art wank thing. Once I saw him accompanied by a guy playing a balloon filled with air and it was enthralling, and this was not a performance to a bunch of pseuds either, it was mostly people unfamiliar with free improv at all let alone Minton, there was some bafflement and a few titters but most people enjoyed the performance and the subtlety of the interplay between the two improvisers. I do think this music tends to work better live with an audience forced to listen actively.

This is just ignorance really, it's like showing a clip of a rapper and going 'He's just talking! That's not music'

Edit: I see NoSleep has set out the case rather better, but the point stands.

There's a million things you can point to in music as being absurd or ridiculous, but many of them are still plenty enjoyable.

The first time I heard Merzbow as a teenager I thought it was pretentious joke music made to annoy people, I had similar opinions about modern art etc. (I was wrong on both counts) 'I don't like it so it's not proper music' is not a very useful criticism to make and something people should grow out of.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 04:03:21 PM by thugler »

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #37 on: July 14, 2020, 04:12:25 PM »
I prefer his early work as a plasticine carpenter.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #38 on: July 14, 2020, 04:30:13 PM »
See, I love Merzbow, but there's a significant portion of his early stuff which just sounds like he's thrown a bunch of pots and pans down the stairs (and I'm certain on at least one of his albums, that's what he did). Listening to the "Merzbox" podcast confirmed that I wasn't just being a dick, people immersed in the noise scene felt the same way. Yet he's also made stuff of an extraordinary quality.

Every sound out of Minton's mouth (that's not "songs", which are merely fine) sounds like worse than the worst bits of Merzbow, like someone having a joke about experimental music. But I'm repeating myself now, so I'll shut up.

sardines

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #39 on: July 14, 2020, 07:33:05 PM »
This discussion feels as dated as Guardian commentators jumping on DJ/electronica articles and saying just people pressing play on their laptop, innit?


the

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2020, 08:01:49 PM »
This discussion feels as dated as Guardian commentators jumping on DJ/electronica articles and saying just people pressing play on their laptop, innit?

Although that lukewarm take periodically respawns on here too. Going for the same distrust/deception angle as this.

chveik

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #41 on: July 14, 2020, 08:04:10 PM »
I don't have a problem with free improv myself, it's just that sometimes it doesn't really work.

Shaky

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2020, 01:54:01 AM »
I don't have a problem with free improv myself, it's just that sometimes it doesn't really work.

This. Maybe Phil just needs to get some new noises.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2020, 06:23:44 AM »
I don't have a problem with free improv myself, it's just that sometimes it doesn't really work.

Doesn't work for you. Minton is a great performer.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2020, 06:24:28 AM »
This. Maybe Phil just needs to get some new noises.

He already has more than any other singer I can think of.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2020, 06:44:16 AM »
I should post a video of me trying to play Angel Of Death on guitar while trying to sing at the same time, it sounds exactly like the video in the OP, you'd love it. I'm not sure how the solo goes so there's lots of free improv going on and it sounds like a giant shitting an orchestra down a flight a stairs.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2020, 07:00:05 AM »
And what would that demonstrate?

Chriddof

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2020, 07:19:07 AM »
I'd just like to say here that despite what I wrote earlier, I have no objection to him doing his thing and his work existing - it's just not for me, because it gives me this visceral feeling of second hand embarrassment when I listen to it. The man himself seems unconcerned about that kind of reaction, and clearly many others seem to get something out of it, so fair enough. While I do like free improv in general, I do have a bit of a problem with some forms of vocal improv and also some sound poetry stuff, and this for me falls into that awkward category. But again, I don't want to yell at people over it. It's my problem if I don't like it.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2020, 08:36:34 AM »
Maybe Phil just needs to get some new noises

He's making all the right noises. But not necessarily in the right order.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2020, 09:39:28 AM »
I'd just like to say here that despite what I wrote earlier, I have no objection to him doing his thing and his work existing - it's just not for me, because it gives me this visceral feeling of second hand embarrassment when I listen to it. The man himself seems unconcerned about that kind of reaction, and clearly many others seem to get something out of it, so fair enough. While I do like free improv in general, I do have a bit of a problem with some forms of vocal improv and also some sound poetry stuff, and this for me falls into that awkward category. But again, I don't want to yell at people over it. It's my problem if I don't like it.

Feel the same way about vocal improv. I also have an adverse reaction to skronking sax most of the time (not always). Any other crazy fun sounds though - bring em on.

And skronk and growl and yelp all you like if that's your thing.

Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #50 on: July 15, 2020, 10:39:04 AM »
If was to sit outside any of your houses at 7pm on a Wednesday evening and made the exact same noises as the video in the opening post. It is most likely the Police will be called and I will be moved on. If I persisted every week at 7pm, I could be repeatedly charged with a public order offence and possibly sectioned under the Mental Health Act. However, if I was to do the same thing in an Art Centre every week at 7pm to a small audience of berets and soul patches, I will be hailed as a misunderstood, humorous and expressionist artist who the masses sonic palette are not open minded enough to appreciate.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #51 on: July 15, 2020, 10:42:58 AM »
If you could do the exact same noises you'd be quite an accomplished vocalist but more than a little derivative.

Cuellar

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #52 on: July 15, 2020, 10:50:31 AM »
If was to sit outside any of your houses at 7pm on a Wednesday evening and made the exact same noises as the video in the opening post. It is most likely the Police will be called

Think they've got a vocalist already sorry

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #53 on: July 15, 2020, 10:54:11 AM »
Think they've got a vocalist already...

...who squawks like a parrot.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #54 on: July 15, 2020, 10:58:01 AM »
It's when music has to stop being described as 'music' and described as 'art' that makes me wary. Also, whenever this type of music is being discussed, humour is always mentioned and yet there's a complete lack of it from anyone talking about it or from any of the performers. Just lots of people taking themselves very seriously.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #55 on: July 15, 2020, 11:01:09 AM »
Is music not art, then?

Also, whenever this type of music is being discussed, humour is always mentioned and yet there's a complete lack of it from anyone talking about it or from any of the performers. Just lots of people taking themselves very seriously.

Please point to some examples.

The Mollusk

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #56 on: July 15, 2020, 11:04:33 AM »
If was to sit outside any of your houses at 7pm on a Wednesday evening and made the exact same noises as the video in the opening post. It is most likely the Police will be called and I will be moved on. If I persisted every week at 7pm, I could be repeatedly charged with a public order offence and possibly sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

I mean, how is that different from performing any other sort of music under those circumstances though

rue the polywhirl

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2020, 11:05:45 AM »
New poll suggestion - Who is better? Phil Minton or The Police? Or would they be better if Phil Minton was fronting The Police.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #58 on: July 15, 2020, 11:07:24 AM »
Is music not art, then?

It is, but it's generally only stuff that's not strong enough to get by on the 'music' tag that gets described as 'art'.

Please point to some examples.

Most of your posts and most of the videos posted in this thread.

NoSleep

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Re: Phil Minton
« Reply #59 on: July 15, 2020, 11:07:47 AM »

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