Review: AVANT ROCK: EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC FROM THE BEATLES TO BJÖRK

Share this:Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0

AVANT ROCK: EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC FROM THE BEATLES TO BJÖRK
BILL MARTIN

Open Court Publishing
Street: 02.01.00

Bill Martin is a bass player and a philosophy professor at DePaul University who examines the “way out” music of the past 50 years and tries to put in theoretical frame-work using the thoughts of intellectual heavies such as Derrida and Deleuze. If you needed more proof that the music-obsessed are nerds, here it is. It is interesting, though, as he traces his timeline. He gives a nod to classical and jazz embodied by the likes of Stravinsky and Ornette Coleman, but he really gets excited when he talks about John Cage and his blurring of the line between music and noise. His other assertions include that Yoko Ono is cool (I agree) and that the Beatles kicked the door open of what rock ‘n’ roll could be. Of course the Velvets are there and Hendrix and he mentions punk, post-rock and postmodern stuff too, but he really gets excited when he pimps prog-rock in all its permutations. King Crimson and CAN are cool, of course, but he goes a little overboard when writing about Yes. In fact he wrote an entire book about them (Music of Yes). He does have cool ideas about what makes avant-garde geniuses like Jim O’Rourke, the fifth member of Sonic Youth, tick. But, this book was written a couple of years ago, so he lavishes on Björk’s mediocre Vespertine when the more recent Live Box and Medulla would correlate more closely to his ideas. –MC Welk