[Marxism] Interstellar Glow Ways (Re: Music: Anti-War Funk!)

Jeff Rubard jeffrubard at fusemail.com
Mon Feb 9 17:25:28 MST 2004


> Message: 3
> Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 13:30:00 -0800
> From: Chris Brady <cdbrady at sbcglobal.net>
> Subject: [Marxism] Music: Anti-War Funk!
> To: marxism-digest <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: <4027FBD8.BBBB120F at sbcglobal.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>
> Anti-War Funk!
> this Friday night
>
> THE HISTORY OF FUNK
> 2 hours of funk & soul music
> played by DJ Rickey Vincent
> every Friday night 10-Midnight PST
> on KPFA 94.1 fm
> Berkeley, CA
>
> You can listen on line:
> http://www.kpfa.org/listen/
>
I suppose as part of this they're likely to have Sun Ra's "Nuclear War",
recently covered by Yo La Tengo (disclosure: I've never actually heard
either version, but the former is apparently quite nice), and this sets me
onto talking about Sun Ra's singles output (previously covered by YLT, and
in concert too: "I'm Going To Unmask The Batman" and the shorter version
of myth-science piece "Rocket #9").  These records are just like other
records you could buy at that time in the US (small-press releases quite
unlike the naive recordings Shadow makes available, which can be heard
from time to time on Pacifica and other fine public-radio programs), which
raises the question of why Sun Ra would bother to release them at all (as
liner notes for Evidence releases indicate the combo of that 'whack-dome'
was always in demand, never mind the later big band).

But really, they were released at a time of great variety in recorded
output: the unavailability of Sun Ra's Saturn records is famous, but the
story behind his "major" label ESP-Disk is rarely told today.  As I expect
some of you know, ESP-Disk was a label run out of New York featuring
practically unsaleable acts like the Fugs and Albert Ayler (!): the
promise of the label was that the artists were able to maintain complete
artistic control, i.e. that everything you heard on the record was put
there by the artist (compare with the phony crowd noises on *Got Live If
You Want It!*, unless you must keep a workable version of "Fortune Teller"
around).

But although this was not strange in the milieu of 60's New York, it
certainly would be today: it is hard to think of a comparable case in
music (major labels are continually in trouble with artists, and "fringe"
artists are continually in trouble with "indie" labels like Portland's
T/K) *or* other media: where is a US left-wing publication as fearless as
*La Prensa*, rather than new kids on the block turning 50 (*the Nation's*
"sly wink" at *Dissent*) with all that entails (?)  Why are new book
releases being channeled on beyond "Continuum problems"?  Why can you buy
a wide variety of Fela records at Borders but not on Amazon?  Really, we
are on beyond problems of "objective" media monopoly and although Pacifica
has famously had its labor problems I'm glad to hear that somebody's
excited about this prospect (although I don't keep up with radio
technology myself, I was once "...killing the radio industry?" with KBOO's
aid).

Jeff Rubard





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