Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Old times' sake

A short review in Time Out of the reissue of early material by the wondrous Barbara Manning. Collecting Lately I Hear Scissors and One Perfect Green Blanket plus previously unreleased early songs, the new three-CD set is out on Rainfall, aka Pat Thomas (who used to run Heyday, the label that released these records to begin with). Listening to these CDs really brought me back to the late 80s/early 90s glory days of American indie rock—uncoincidentally, perhaps, also the time when I was settling in the US; the two remains inextricably linked for me. The difference between then and now isn't so much in the music per se (I hate it when people wax poetic about some glorified olden times when everything sounded better) as in the way we discovered it. The process required curiosity, determination, patience and a certain amount of detective skills. Perhaps it led to a different kind of identification with a band. It certainly made things more difficult for the bands themselves, at least in terms of pure logistics.

Elsewhere in TONY, you can peek at my slide show documenting the transformation of Avery Fisher Hall into a kabuki theater for performances by the Heisei Nakamura-za troupe. Their show three years ago was eye-opening (and eye-popping), so I'm looking forward to the new one. Especially since as far as what I've seen so far, Lincoln Center Festival 2007 is three for three. More on that in a further post.


Libby said...

If it's romantic to describe a past golden age of popular or altnernative music, isn't it also romantic to make the way music was found in the past sound heroic? After all, the world is more populous now, we are more aware of its diversity in terms of cultures, and now the technology has simply caught up with our knowledge, and our curiosity. We have an intelligence and method very much equal to most of our musical wants.

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

Oh yes, there are certainly advantages to the ease with which technology allows us to find new sounds. But I do believe that this change in the process with which we discover music has also had consequences on what music means in our lives (or the lives of some of us). There definitely was a "quest" aspect to the process of hunting down physical artifacts like a 45 single or fanzine, and it had a certain psychological impact. I would also disagree that technology has caught up with our knowledge and curiosity--quite the opposite, as too many times, it has stifled them.

Haruna said...

I'm very curious what you thought of Heisei Nakamura za (Kabuki).

Looking forward to reading your post.