Program 651: Art-Pop-Art-Pop-Art
KALW Broadcast Date: May 14, 2021 | Host: Mark Abramson
The theme this evening is Pop Art, or Art Pop — music that could be classified as pop, but that is to some degree experimental as well. A couple of months ago I did a program that featured Joseph Byrd and Frank Zappa, and found the mix made a surprisingly good digression for Other Minds. Normally, we’d play you the work of composers like John Cage or Pauline Oliveros, but there’s some absorbing work where the popular meets the experimental, and that’s what we’re focusing on here…though I will be playing a piece by Gyorgy Ligeti during this program, to provide some context for Scott Walker in particular. Walker may be unfamiliar to many of our regular listeners. He started his career as a pop star, front man for a London-based group called the Walker Brothers, possibly modeled after the Righteous Brothers. Later in his career he developed a unique voice and disregard for convention that pushed his music to another level. It’s definitely not easy listening. His lyrics are impressionistic, hard to interpret, and can be disturbing, depending on your point of view. He arranges his compositions in “blocks of sound” rather than predictable verses and choruses, and changes in volume or intensity are often abrupt. Laurie Anderson’s music is more familiar to Other Minds listeners, and we’ve got 4 of her pieces programmed here. Other artists you’ll hear in this program are relative youngsters Colin Stetson and Lucrecia Dalt, experimental rock artist David Sylvian, Bay Area sound art collective Negativland, and we’ll have cameos from György Ligeti, Cathy Berberian and Bing Crosby.