The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


Why you should hear our performances live, at least once

I shouldn't need to write this, but every time we play (maybe 15
times this year or so in NY or Bklyn), our friends never come;
we feed off the gratitude of others, transitive friendships and
appreciations that keep us going.

I've gone to other people's work in the past, but it's made no
difference. I've watched other people's tapes, read other
people's books, and we perform more or less isolated. I borrow
from dancers, Europeans, jazz audiences, new music audiences -
but my acquaintances, almost never. I can think of twice that
friends have shown up.

Perhaps there's a surfeit of rehearsal tapes, experimental
works, that I put up at ESP or my own website. But as tonight's
recording shows, everything is missing: we play off echo, off
architecture, off pacing, positioning, movement - what comes
through is a pale and illicit shadow, unless we've gone through
a recording studio (and it's others who buy our records for
that matter).

I wouldn't mention this, but it's constantly disenheartening:
we had an audience tonight, but in terms of my New York friends,
it was really the other performers who brought the people.

I can only conclude, I'm not really that good, that as I've
said before, I play out of tune, too furiously, too stupidly,
for others to pay attention to the noise. WFMU's played us but
obviously that can count as error; more to the point is my
father's last comment on my music - that I have no sense of
rhythm but just go foomf foomf foomf all the time.

Anyway I put up a relatively poor recording tonight; I did my
best, but the echoes at Churner and Churner - which sounded
beautiful in situ - made a mess on the recording, which only
dealt with point sources.

And apologies for this; I'm tired of feeling unsupported, and
sometimes it's only through occasions like this that I find
out I have few friends in the city, thank god good friends
elsewhere in the country and abroad, but nothing that might
be called neighborly, or boro-wide. I'll just end by saying
you missed something terrific, but with all the culture on-
going in New York, it really doesn't matter all that much.

This ends my little neurotic piece, while despair and pills
will follow me to sleep.

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