This is a nice response to “Experimental Music Since 1970.” We all have different words for the change James Saunders is discussing. Here he calls it “framing, embodying and repurposing the everyday to create tangible connections with the world.” In the book Jennie Gottschalk calls it “nonfictional” music. I tend to use the word “event,” especially with the sensibility George Brecht brought to it. But I think we’re all trying to describe more or less the same thing – the fact that experimental music is changing the relationship of music to the world.
We have to realize the enormous potential of this change. Getting a firm grip on what that change is might still not be possible, since we’re in the midst of it. But Jennie’s book helps us (along with, I might add, G. Douglas Barrett’s also just published, “After Sound,” and Joe Panzner’s “The Process That Is The World“) to get a much better picture of what’s going on.
It is not a story about artistic schools, named movements and main composers. It is a story about the tremendous diversity of approaches now being practiced. This diversity reflects the many different kinds of lives we lead in the world. No one person or small group of people could ever occupy more than a few positions in this vast network, with thousands of individual sources of energy. But those of us somehow engaged in it benefit, consciously or otherwise from the work and experience of others. This network is _thinking_. And it is thinking in a way that is hooked into the material substance of the world; attempting to change that world by experiencing it better, and passing that perceptual and conceptual growth on to others.
It is one of the most optimistic procedures in what in many other ways (especially environmentally and politically) is a dark time.