If there were a music version of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” it could very well be “Six Degrees of Carman Moore” since Moore—in a career spanning decades—connects to everyone from Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen to John Lennon and Aretha Franklin. And yet, many people are unaware of Moore, even within the contemporary music community.
During the heyday of the laterna, an early mechanical musical instrument popular in Greece in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, playing instrumental music and singing were gradually being supplanted by gramophones and radios in most households. It was the beginning of on-demand home listening and drastically reduced the amount of amateur at-home music making.
A couple of months ago, I came across a new disc devoted to Christine Southworth’s music with an immediately identifiable title, String Quartets. But after hearing the truly new sound world she created in her earlier disc—called Zap! Music for Van de Graaff Generator, Tesla Coils, Instruments & Voices—I was quite sure she’d create something totally unusual despite using the most popular instrumental combination in all of chamber music. She did not disappoint!
Who is Luke Cissell? It sounds like the name of a character from either a Louis L’Amour or Flannery O’Connor novel, or perhaps the protagonist in something published in Astounding Stories magazine. Fittingly, the press release that accompanied a CD of his music described it as “bluegrass on a distant planet.”
Most artistic endeavors in the 21st century have become completely blurry from both an aesthetic and an economic standpoint. I would argue that there never were only two “kinds” of music, but now the two larger umbrellas of “art” and “commerce” hold no water at all. I would also argue that the wall that divided the “two kinds of music” from one another were equally harmful to both sides.