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Program 646: Experimental | Pop

KALW Broadcast Date: April 2, 2021 | Host: Mark Abramson

On program 646 of Music From Other Minds, we’ll start to explore the intersection between pop and experimental music. We begin with the work of composer Joseph Byrd, a composer and academic who studied under John Cage and Morton Feldman in the early 1960s. He participated in some of the Fluxus art experiments and then decided to form a rock band in the late ’60s which ended up being called The United States of America. We’ll play both his experimental work and a couple pieces from the rock band. After that we’ll play some classic 1960s weirdness by Frank Zappa, music from his albums Freak Out, We’re Only In It For The Money, and Lumpy Gravy. And we’ll listen to a long John Zorn piece called Godard that actually has a lot in common with Zappa’s Lumpy Gravy – in compositional approach if not it’s actual sound. We’ll finish up with some work by the 1970s experimental no-wave artist Lizzy Mercier Descloux, including a collaboration with punk poet Patti Smith.

Here’s that Frank Zappa link I mention during the program. It’s a clip from the The Steve Allen Show, broadcast in 1963.

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: The American Metaphysical Circus, The Garden of Earthly Delights
Composers: Joseph Byrd
Performers: The United States of America – Joseph Byrd, keyboards; Dorothy Moskowitz, vocals; Gordon Marron, violin; Rand Forbes, bass; Craig Woodson, drums; Ed Bogas, keyboards
Recording Title: United States of America (1968)
Record Label: Sundazed Records
Catalog Number: SC11124


Title: Animals, Water Music (for percussion solo and electronic tape)
Composers: Joseph Byrd
Performers: American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Recording Title: Joseph Byrd NYC 1960-1963 (2013)
Record Label: New World Records
Catalog Number: 80738


Title: The Chrome-Plated Megaphone of Destiny
Composer: Frank Zappa
Performers: The Mothers of Invention
Recording Title: We’re Only In It For The Money (1968)
Record Label: Zappa Records
Catalog Number: ZR 3837


Title: Who Are The Brain Police?
Composer: Frank Zappa
Performers: The Mothers of Invention
Recording Title: Freak Out (1966)
Record Label: Zappa Records
Catalog Number: ZR 3834


Title: Lumpy Gravy
Composer: Frank Zappa
Performers: Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra
Recording Title: Lumpy Gravy (1967)
Record Label: Zappa Records
Catalog Number: ZR 3836


Titles: Godard
Composers: John Zorn
Performers: Anthony Coleman – piano, organ, harpsichord, celeste; Carol Emanuel – harp; Bill Frisell – guitars, banjo; Christian Marclay – turntables; Bobby Previte – drums, percussion; David Weinstein – keyboards, computer; John Zorn – alto saxophone, clarinet, French narration; Luli Shioi – vocal; Wu Shao-Ying – narration; Richard Foreman – English narration
Recording Title: Godard-Spillane (1999)
Record Label: Tzadik Records
Catalogue Number: TZ7324


Titles: Chinatown, Shot in the Dark
Composers: John Zorn
Recording Title: Naked City (1990)
Record Label: Nonesuch Records
Catalogue Number: 79238


Titles: Birdy Num Num, Rosa Vertov, Morning High
Composers: Lizzy Mercier Descloux
Performers: Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Rosa Yemen, Patti Smith
Recording Title: Press Color Deluxe Edition (1979)
Record Label: ZE Records
Catalogue Number: ZE LP67


Titles: Elegy
Composers: Patti Smith
Performers: Lenny Kaye, guitar; Ivan Kral, guitar & bass; Richard Sohl, keyboards; Jay Dee Daugherty, drums; Patti Smith, vocals
Recording Title: Horses (1975)
Record Label: Arista Records
Catalogue Number: AL 4066

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