Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Unstuffing Classical Music.

Or as I like to call it, reverse-taxidermy. Something clearly needed in the classical music scene, unless we want to preserve the music like a misguided owner preserves their dead dog. Its all so stuffy, no excitement- and the greatest thrill outside of the music is the occasional cough in the audience. Every once in a while you'll get a real hacker, and all you can do is wait in anticipation for them to be ok again. No dancing in the aisles, no boos or hisses, rare are the cheers, just smugness.

But I digress. There’s a real problem with all this, and that is the expectations of the audience. Many who show up for classical music concerts, I don’t doubt, are not there because of some sincere love for the art, but because its so high-class to go. Dress up all fancy and parade around, listen to the old masters in complete silence and seriousness. They like it stuffy, that’s what they're there for, if it didn’t have the reputation, they wouldn’t be there.

So we're a little stuck then, as these misguided fellows probably have some money in their pockets and purses. The orchestra cant change it up, the taxidermists would cry foul and maybe revoke their memberships and all that, so what do orchestras do? they appeal to these people. They accept the image as there remains no financial alternative.

But i propose that we give our orchestras two faces: The old, lifeless face to appeal to our wealthy taxidermists- and a fresh, invigorating concert- maybe with, *gasp*, new music as part of the repertoire: 20th century to contemporary. This is the only pragmatic(?) solution i cant come up with. I wouldn’t mind opinions on this one (and i love opinions).

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the orchestra leaders really love it stuffy, and obviously these generalities wont apply everywhere.

27 comments:

Lynn S said...

Reverence is not stuffiness. And I'm not wealthy. And I like new music. (Some of it)

M. Keiser said...

Reverense is all fine and good, but why should we be so solemn? A Beethoven or Ives would want us to actively engage the music. Im not saying we need to be running around the concert hall- but the penguin-suit seriousness is aggrivating. Its about an art, not how you dress or present yourself.

I dont mean to suggest that all concert goers are wealthy. No no, there are us poor college students!

Lynn S said...

When I go to a concert I wear clothes suitable for working in an office or going to church and many of the people around me are dressed more casually. I see lots of jeans. Only a few people are really dressed up. I find nothing aggravating about seriousness, just the opposite. It aggravates me that so many people have an aversion to dressing up and being serious. People don't even dress up to go to church anymore! The classical concert hall is the only place left where it's still okay to be serious. When that changes, as I'm sure it will, I'll quit going.

I don't go to concerts all that often anyway because of the cost, the long distance I have to drive and the fact that no one will go with me.

patty said...

I'm on the stage, so I'm in black no matter what. (I'm fine with that; I don't like having to think about what to wear!) I'm FINE with whatever anyone in the audience wants to wear (as long as everyone has had a shower recently!). I find, in fact, that many of the more casual dressers are the more serious listeners.

When I say "serious listener" I'm not saying that the person has a scowl on his/her face, or sits in some formal way ... but that the individual is actually *listening* to the music. A number of people aren't listening as much as "being" while at a concert, or so it appears. And some sleep, of course.

The ones that dress the finest are often there to be seen and heard themselves; they often aren't there to hear. Such is life.

I do think that we could use two series of concerts. And maybe, for those more contemporary concerts that (should) contain new music, perhaps lower prices since those usually attract the younger and somewhat poorer folk. I dunno, though ... it's an issue a lot of people have pondered for a long time.

M. Keiser said...

Its so nice to hear your opinions! i thank you for putting time into this.

Lynn S- What is it about casual dress that is aggravating to you? Why? This is essentially about values, and since i do not place any particular cultural value on clothing, i cannot agree. Again , its Not about undermining the art, which is what a concert about, but the opposite! its about elevating the art above that which is not relevant, that which gets in the way of the art. Seriousness will always exist, because it is an art, but the degree in which it is exists is what i find disagreeable.

Patty- thanks for your comments. I happen to be one of those casual dressers and the origin of my post is from this kind of scenario. I noticed the exact same thing. There were people all dressed up with bored looks on their faces during a Mozart concerto, but personally, i was excited to hear it! One good friend of mine, i love her all the same, dressed up and scolded me for my jeans and tee shirt- but i know her very well, and she knows nothing of music. She was probably bored, but at least she got to dress up all fancy.

MikeZ said...

Originally (as orchestra players know), they all dressed in black for anonynity - one orchestra, one sound.

Then, somehow - at least in this country - symphonies (and operas) were attended by the well-off, and came to be a social occasion (probably, as in Europe). So the audience naturally dressed up.

One can take casual dress too far. The way somebody dresses shows how they think about themselves (as in the old saying, "clothes make the man").

Not many concert-goers nowadays go to the extent of tuxedos, nor does anybody expect them to.

I would expect them, however, not to show up in jammies and flip-flops.

I like Patty's coments (good to hear from one of the orchestra). Some orchestras are starting to move in the direction of the audience - the conductor might talk a bit about the music; here in Southern California, a prominent radio personality is conducting a concert, with a lot of discussion.

Bernstein was probably the guy who started that, with his TV series of the 50s or 60s.


We could start a long thread on why people don't listen to classical music. My feeling is that it's because nobody hears it while they're growing up, and schools have dropped it entirely.

If all you hear is rap and hip-hop, classical music is going to be strange and weird. And it doesn't rattle your teeth (well, maybe Stravinsky...)

M. Keiser said...

Mikez- again, thanks for the input.

I disagree about casual dress. I do not believe that the way someone dresses necessarily shows how they think of themselves. I know for myself, and several others, that there is very little value, aside from pure pragmatism, applied to clothing. I certainly do NOT think of myself with my clothing. No, the way someone dresses shows how they think about Clothes!

Personally i wouldn’t be upset if someone showed up in jammies and flip flops. I wouldn’t, as i like to keep pajamas clean, so they dont go everywhere.

Its good to hear that some conductors give a talk as part of the performance. After all, all art is about ideas, and how can you express ideas if you dont speak up?

Bernstein was a great musician, he is a real inspiration for people like me.

There were some comments a friend made to me years ago about classical music. "how can you call a piece of music by just a number? thats crap, why dont they just give the pieces titles, not numbers"

Classical music, much of it, anyway, is far more abstract than Popular music, which is always "about" something, and always has a title that usually says something about the content of the piece. The fact that you can just call something Symphony #4 really offends people, who just aren’t used to that. Sad.

Lynn S said...

I really don't think it matters all that much what people wear to go and sit in the dark and listen to music. What aggravates me is the attitude that there's something wrong with being serious, that you can't possibly be enjoying yourself if your being serious, and thinking there's something pretentious about wanting to dress up for an event and people acting like it's so horrible to be expected to dress up once in a while. That's what aggravates me - the attitudes.

On "why people don't listen to classical music". As someone who didn't start seriously listening to classical music until I was in my mid to late 30s, I think I might have some insight into that. I think the biggest reason is social. Most people start out listening what their parents listen to then listen to what their friends listen to and as adults continue to listen to something very close to what they grew up with. I was always sort of interested in classical music, ever since hearing bits of it in cartoons and other things. I really can't say why I waited so long to start listening or why I finally did start. At first I just bought a few CDs but didn't get very far with that. It took a radio station and a message board to boost me toward the level I'm at now.

M. Keiser said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
M. Keiser said...

Lynn- On the seriousness issue, i dont mean to attack the fundamental seriousness, so to speak, of a concert hall, like i said before, its an art, and so being serious will always exist to a great degree, (so long as we appreciate art) So of course i don’t think there is something necessarily wrong with being serious- i apologize if you got that impression.

But what i disagree with is all the artificial , or unnecessary seriousness that goes along with so many concerts. Its an art-performance after all, not a fashion show.

Just remember that the desire or pressure to dress-up for an event is a social construction. Its not a natural, or innate reaction, but one thats been created by society. It serves a symbolic purpose (of displaying wealth, traditionally) and what i refuse to value is that symbolic purpose. I see no reason for it. Its sacrificing my comfort for the sake of conforming to a behavior that i dont think is even relevant to art. I find it, in fact, distracting to art.

Now today many see dressing up as a sign of respect. I will conform to that notion at, say, a funeral, because you will note that the purpose of a funeral is to pay homage to the dead. If I were to dress casually, that is, comfortably, I would be perceived as not respecting the dead. Since this is very adverse and would draw attention in a horrible time, I conform to that standard.

A concert hall is not a funeral, and if I draw attention because of my dress, so be it. But its not something Im trying for, however. I am also paying due respect to the musicians by clapping heartily at a good performance, being there and listening, and appreciating their work and dedication. So why should I make my hours less comfortable, conform to a standard I can not value?

I apologize for the length of this (and any possible mistakes), but I do love a hearty debate of sorts, keeps the mind active! I hope that explains my reasoning.

And on the music issue, I have to agree with you. One of my friends was stuck in the music of the 60s and 70s until she was in the 8th grade (then she discovered modern popular music). That’s simply because its what she grew up with, as her parents were fans of 70s music. Personally I was exposed to classical music at an early age, as long as I can remember. My brother, 6 years older, was playing Mozart sonatas at 8. It was the first music I ever memorized.

Lynn S said...

I don't understand why people always associate seriousness with death and gloom. ("A concert hall is not a funeral") Being serious makes me happy. :-)

Anyway, it might not be a bad idea to have two kinds of classical concerts; there are two kinds of classical music. Actually there are many more kinds but, generally, there's serious classical and light classical, the latter consisting of movie music, crossovers and a few popular (mostly short) works. I've always thought of light classical as being to classical music what pop music is to rock and roll. Serious rock and roll fans look down their noses at pop music but pop music fans can hardly tell the difference between the two and don't understand what the serious R&R fans are making such a big deal about. I used to be one of the what's-the-big-deal kind of pop fans but since I've gotten into classical I sort of understand a little better and actually regret never being a very serious rock and roll fan.

There's nothing wrong with light classical (or with pop music) but what I wish people who are trying to "lighten up" classical music would realize is that you are trying to take away a set of traditions that are extremely important to some of us. You would not do this to any other group. You would not suggest, for example, that country music fans dress and act more like city folks; you would not suggest that Native Americans give up their traditional fesitvals, so don't suggest that serious classical music fans should change something they love.

Sorry if I seem like some kind of crazy crusader but I guess that's exactly what I am.

Anonymous said...

The author's comments are so vague it's hard to know how to rebut them, though they surely need rebutting. The question is, what is a concert about? Are you there to listen, really listen, to the music, or to watch the musicians jump around on stage and otherwise pump the audience up(as at a Springsteen concert? Nothing against Bruce, I like a lot of his music, but are they really listening at one of his events?) I don't find it "stuffy" to have the focus of a concert be on the music itself. I do agree that there should be more new music played, as as well as commissioned (the Phialdelphia Orchestra has a good track record for commissioning new pieces.) There was far more good concert music written in the 20th century than concertgoers are ever given a chance to hear. John Salmon

M. Keiser said...

Lynn- Is it just the mood of seriousness, or the serious appreciation of music that makes you happy?

Personally, i dont usually like (at least for extended periods of time) "light" classical. Its a good paralell between the pop and rock genres, except rock is pretty much popular music (most of it).

They already have "pop" concerts (with strauss and offenbach et al.) and im not advocating light classical performances, but a more light-hearted atmosphere with the performers and conductor. There should be a flexability in a concert, a willingness to engage with an audience, whether your playing a bartok string quartet or a beethoven symphony. I understand i havent really outlined anything too clearly up till now- but i never figured i'd really have to. (as i never expected so many responses!) but im happy to clear up any vagueness in my post.

Anyway, with the two concert idea, what i mean is that the "lighter" concerts would not be playing music any less serious, but that there would be a dialogue between performers, conductors and the audience. Go to a jazz concert to see what i mean. Its much more lively and spirited. Much less afraid to be casual.

I dont think you're crazy, either. No worries.

John Salmon- I completely agree that my post was vague, i knew it when i did so, because, honestly, i didnt figure it'd mean anything to anyone. Im very happy to see that im mistaken.

Again, i dont mean to undermine to concept of really listening , to a work at a classical concert, but, what I said above, its about making the actual performance less stuffy- creating a more informal, yet more informed approach.

Art is about ideas, but rarely do we express them in a concert with anything other than a dry, personality-less program (which then usually doesn’t do the ideas justice). Let a conductors enthusiasm come forward, let the musicians enthusiasm come forward, and lets enjoy great works of art!

Thanks to both of you, again for putting your thoughts forward!

Anonymous said...

I agree that there should be interplay with the audience at classical events, as well as for other non-pop, "serious" music such as jazz. You mentioned the more relaxed atmosphere at jazz concerts and while the atmosphere can be "lighter", it often isn't. There are more than a few jazz band leaders who don't say a word to the audience which is paying for their supper. It isn't that big a deal to say, "This is Caravan, Juan Tizol wrote it for Duke Ellington, a million people have done it but you're about to hear the best version ever!" Or, it would be great fun to have a stern looking, tuxedoed conductor say, "Vivaldi's puppy had just died when he wrote this. See if you can hear a plaintive little puppy bark sound in the second movement." Music at its best is, yes, serious art, but it should be entertainment also. You know Bach was having a blast when he played his improvised cadenzas at concerts-by the way this type of limited improvisation should be brought back to classical-it would be a definite increase in the fun factor. John Salmon

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's really about the clothes. If it were, then the relaxed standards, which some welcome and others don't, might have arrested or even reversed the steady decline in concert attendance and sales of classical recorded music. But the decline continues (though I guess it might be even more drastic if audience dress codes were enforced, by convention or otherwise.)

I contend that the reference in some posts to childhood experience is the real key to this. Lynn S. came to classical music as an adult, and this does happen sometimes, but most people will find it difficult to appreciate *any* complex, highly professionalized music (Peking Opera, classical Indian raga, etc.) without some training and early exposure.

The person who was annoyed by classical music nomenclature (opus nnumbers etc.) is probably used to music that has *lyrics*--a lot of people who only know pop genres refer to every piece as a "song," regardless of whether anyone is actually singing, because pop is overwhelmingly made up of songs. But of course sung classical music is usually known by titles--no one would call "Don Giovanni" by its Köchel number, though I've no doubt it has one. The objection to using opus numbers expresses unfamiliarity with instrumental music--again, ultimately traceable to a lack of music education.

Finland has, by all accounts, a thriving culture of concert music, embracing major orchestras and recitalists, community orchestras and choruses, a lively new-music scene etc. This is supported--and I think this is crucial--by heavily subsidized music education starting in kindergarten and extending through college, and including practical music-making as well as listening. Bernstein understood this--that's why he gave so much thought to his Young People's Concerts. If we want a classical music audience, we need--as a society--to invest in creating one; expecting it to develop unaided is like expecting to have a modern health care system without medical schools.

Lynn S said...

-- "Is it just the mood of seriousness, or the serious appreciation of music that makes you happy?" --

Both. It's hard to explain. There are different kinds of seriousness, of course, and it's not all good but when it is good it's more satisfying, somehow. Hmmmm... that's not really what I want to say. For now I'm stuck; but I am enjoying this 'serious' discussion. :-)

Anonymous said...

I do think it's a hard line to draw. This is serious music, in every sense of the word, and it deserves appropriate treatment as such. Yet I think of someone like Dizzy Gillespie, whose humorous stage presensce won him more than a few fans. Here was a virtuoso-level player, a man who was largely responsible for creating (along with Charlie Parker) an entire style of modern art music, yet he didn't take himself so seriously that he was above making silly jokes on stage. (My fav was his "let me introduce the members of the band" bit. After he said this, he'd walk around the stage introducing the drummer to the bassist, the sax player to the guitarist, etc.) John Salmon

Anonymous said...

I also heard Dizzy announce that "Now we'd like to play Duke Ellington's immoral 'Caravan.' " Yes, that's spelled right.

But bebop also requires a knowledgeable audience (I posted the comment above mentioning Bernstein, Finland etc.) Even at its peak it was always a coterie music.

M. Keiser said...

Apologies about the slow response. I’ve been very busy and very tired today.

John Salmon- I totally agree.. And music shouldn’t be a chore, I agree, it should never be something to stifle enthusiasm. A degree of improvising would definitely be fine in my book. Liszt used to always improvise in his concerts (and in fact, a degree of improvisation was common in concerts up until the 20th century. Liszt often improvised in other peoples works (and when Chopin heard Liszt improv in a section of one of his works, he got pissed, but it wasn’t uncommon)

Today, such a thing would be unheard of. My only concern is that improvisation may be a lost art in classical music, so the musicians just might be capable to improvise.

Anonymous 1- I agree that clothes aren’t the key factor in the decline in classical music concert attendance, but I believe it is the atmosphere created by the formal dress that turns a lot of people off to the music.

I would completely agree with you that a lack exposure to classical music from a young age is a part of the negative trend in classical music. Music education is something that should definitely get into the school curriculum in the younger grades, before they‘re old enough to hate school, maybe. Good to hear about Finland- which reminds me of that Monty Python song… “Finland Finland Finland, the place where I want to be” I’ve known they have a marvelous music program. Good for them! It must be a source of pride to know that Sibelius was a wonderful composer!

Lynn- the enjoyment of the mood of serious is something worth investigating. So much in this world is love and loathed because of positive or negative association and not because of its true substance. Im also enjoying this discussion, quite a bit!

John- Good story about Dizzy Gillespie. You will notice that many musicians have a good sense of humor and fun. I suppose its a fine line, but there are all types of shades and degrees in the world, and its possible to mix a warmth and excitement in the concert hall with an authentically artistic approach.

Anonymous 2- That’s what so great about jazz, is that its both sophisticated and fun, it can be truly something artistic and at the same time have a liveliness and vigor which isn’t found in today’s classical music concerts.

im very tired (so please excuse the mistakes), but very grateful to have so many comments and thoughts, thanks again to everyone who’s posted.

lynn s said...

Maybe "seriousness" isn't exactly the right word - not exactly the wrong word but not precise enough. What I worry about losing is the dignity and decorum of classical concerts.

It would be great if conductors (and composers if they're available) talked to the audience and a touch of humor or lightheartedness wouldn't necessarily be out of place, depending on the music. This can easily be done without disrupting the dignity of classical concerts but when people start talking about changes I automatically worry that they will go too far.

M. Composer said...

I've been following this discussion for a while. Very interesting.

I think what we have here is a clash of generations, to a certain degree. The fact is that young people M.'s age don't care so much about appearances, and why should they. They should feel no pressure to dress a certain way to go to a concert. Actually, M., I think you're probably fine; dress however you want. No one is judging you, and if they are, well that's their problem. When you say "expectations of the audience", I think it might be an expectation that you're perceiving because of the fact that, yeah, most people do like to be presentable when they go out.

I'm in my late thirties, and I'm with you, M. -- I just wear what I'm wearing, and don't think about it much. But you know what? Most people my age and older don't consider it dressing up. I think Lynn touched on this. It's just that people like to be presentable when they're in public, whether it's a nice restaurant or even a basketball game. Some younger people may dress up a little, because they're not used to classical music, and are a little intimidated by it. But you're not intimidated by it, so don't sweat it.

Still, I do wish that people would not approach classical music (and other "high art") with such seriousness. People should just relax and appreciate it for whatever it has to offer, whether it's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima or the Dance Suite from West Side Story.

Finally, the "artificial, or unnecessary seriousness" M. refers to is actually brought about in large part by orchestras and other presenters themselves in their marketing materials, and even their programming, which is a bit of a shame. But some orchestras reach deep into the community they're in with their marketing message (Oakland East Bay Symphony, for example), and the audiences love them for it.

M. Keiser said...

Lynn- Dignity exists in the music itself, if it is truly art. Dignity exists in the expression of ideas and concepts, of moods and ideals. There is something very noble inherent in the self-expression of an art-work, such as a symphony or a concerto, (or a painting or a sculpture) what have you.

I understand the desire to keep things orderly and focused during a concert, as they have very specific purposes. But all those performers up there, from the conductor to the timpanists, they have passions, they have enthusiasm for what they are doing (otherwise, why would they do it?) and if that exuberance exists, why should we stifle it with formality?

Its totally natural to fear the worst- but don’t let that fear overcome all your tolerance for change.

M Composer- It may be true that there is a clash of generations, like you said, to a certain degree, but its not all of it. Im sure there are plenty of folks my age (in fact I can think of some) who would probably oppose my ideas.

I bet its also true that “dressing up” is relative to different age groups, and that’s an excellent point! I hadn’t considered that, and Im sure it factors in as well. I’m glad that you approve of my casual dress.

Approaching art with an overly serious attitude can be unnecessary and even inappropriate sometimes. The dadaists don’t want us to be humorless when we read their nonsense poetry or their ready-made art. The “seriousness” exists in the art itself, in the fact that it is an idea, a communication of some sort, therefore we cant take it as frivolous , or meaningless, but we should not invest an absurd degree of formality into it.

I know that some orchestras take strides to offer up some really stuffy performances just for marketing’s sake… certainly not for art’s sake! I don’t know anything about the Oakland Orchestra, what do they do to market themselves?

Thanks again to both of you for posting!

Anonymous said...

See this author's post on Peter Shikele (sic). http://suburbanscene.blogspot.com/2005/09/seriously-pdq-bach.html

I would like to have seen a joint concert with Schikele and Spike Jones. That would've been the event of a lifetime. What was the old line-you can fake being serious (and fake being "important"-posers such as Cage are everywhere), but you can't fake being funny. Other musicians especially good at putting humor into music-Basie, Monk, and of course the master Victor Borge. John Salmon

Jennifer Grucza said...

Classical concerts don't feel stuffy or stifled or particularly serious to me. And the only concerts I dress up for are those where I'm playing (I'm a non-professional violist). Is it really that serious when you go to the movie theater and sit quietly as you watch the film? Personally, I don't want to hear people shouting at the screen, moving around in their chairs, or talking to each other while I'm watching a movie, and the same thing goes for listening to music at a concert. Rock concerts are different, because the music is at such a deafening level that you can't hear anything else anyway. During intermission at a classical concert, I'm not sitting somberly. I'm chatting with my friends, talking about how the music sounded, about the dress the soloist was wearing, about work, about anything. I don't see what the big deal is.

M. Composer said...

In reference to M.'s request for more info about the Oakland East Bay Symphony's marketing....

Take a look at the Oakland East Bay Symphony's web site (can't do new window - come back to M.'s site!), particularly their mission statement. Also, notice Michael Morgan's stance, and what he's wearing in the picture at the upper left. It's all very friendly and inviting.

Dave Pask-Hughes said...

I must draw your attention to a performance I went to last year here in the UK. It was essentially a joint concert between the London Sinfonietta (playing pieces by 20th Century composers such as Cage and Reich) and a couple of electronica acts on the record Label Warp Records (namely Squarepusher and Jamie Lidell). In order to maintain crossover appeal, the London Sinfonietta performed versions of Aphex Twin's music (for those who do not know, he is another Warp Record signee). Admittedly, I am personally not a classical music 'fan' in general and the concert itself was tailoured towards the electronica audience more than the classical audience (winning a number of converts to 20th century classical music). However, it definately attracted me to minimalism and, since then, have purchased a number of CDs of Reich's works especially.

I unfortunately cannot remember the name of the event, but it was definately an experience that proves that classical music (20th century at least) can be exciting and can both draw inspiration and attract supporters from diverse sources/audiences.

M. Keiser said...

John Salmon- it’s a good quote about being serious. One of my favorite quotes is victor borge. “she was six feet tall… lying down” And lots of composers wrote humorous works- Haydn, Beethoven, Rossini, Debussy, Shostakovich.

Jennifer Grucza- The parallel to a movie theatre is a good one, because in both- those attending are not supposed to talk (at least not much). However, the movie theatre is very different in its context and purpose, and it does not require the individual to “dress up”.

During intermission I try to do the same, I chat with friends, but there is always this quiet whispering that goes on in the background. Im not a loud person, but Im usually the loudest part of the concert intermission- I talk normally, heaven forbid.

Its likely that there is a more relaxed atmosphere at the concerts you attend, or you may be used to the formality, but either way, its down right stuffy at the concerts I‘ve attended. The attitude and the scowls I’ve received for dressing in jeans and tee shirts. Its obnoxious.

M Composer- I like what I see on their website! Its seems like the orchestra does all the things I wish others would do- and I think this its as much a necessary flexibility as an authentically artistic gesture, if that makes sense.

David Pask-Hughes-

That’s awesome, and the point of a lot of post-modern stuff was to break down barriers between genres and art forms. A lot of “indy”… (what else can I call the stuff that isn’t quite popular but not quite.. Uh “classical”?) …stuff, what have you, can come very close to a lot of contemporary music. Phillip Glass’ Hero’s Symphony might interest you, if you like that Bowie song, or just in for something different all together. I regret I haven’t explored as much “indy” stuff as I like- I plan on fixing that soon. I’ve heard a lot of so -called “experimental music” on the BBC radio- stuff which is so incredibly tame, I really don’t know how they could really call it “experimental”. My understanding is still pretty limited, but I don’t know how I can sift out the crap from the jewels when im purchasing a CD.

Anything you can suggest to me for listening? Im really open to suggestions.

Thanks again, everyone, for the comments!