It's seldom I see pre-avant garde classical music on a WFMU playlist, so I look twice on spotting it. Bob Brainen played "Jeux" by Claude Debussy next to "Shadows Breaking Over My Head" by the Left Banke., Maybe my surprise is uncalled for. True, modernist influences flooded into 1960's rock (Varese-Zappa, Stockhausen/Reich-Can.) But Bob's segue reminds us that bands like the Left Banke, Beatles, Beach Boys and Zombies built much of their music using the symmetrical, melodic structures of 18th and 19th century composers. Listen to Jesse on The Fro Show playing a Tim Smolen mix Brian Wilson's "Smile Part 1," stirring together Bach and Americana, from Wilson's 1966 sessions with Van Dyke Parks, not released until Wilson redid the project in 2004.
Does remixing a song make the remix the composition of the remixer? It's subjective, but on the Long Rally, Scott McDowell used "You're Nogood," a 1967 piece where Terry Riley manipulated tape loops of a Harvey Averne song. 1960's experimentation is modern practice. Buy records, chop and alter, and, many would argue, you have your own music. We can listen to Billy Jam on Put The Neddle On The Record playing DJ Shadow's "Number Song" which Shadow made by layering about a dozen records he found on vynal binges. Or! we can listen much closer to home--Wednesday morning, 3am, to hear Nat Roe. Here's his Tightknit R&B Cutups mix. DJ's use everything. Just watch one shop at the record fair later this month, and if he or she is buying a Disney record from 1962, you may hear a millisecond of it in a show or mix, coming soon.
Segueing, composing, some sets meld so well together as one piece, the line is blurred, On Nickel And Dime Radio, Small Change opened one with a set that started with Weldon Irvine and included Chris Joss, Lightenin' Hopkins, and Can. Small Change's trademark dance hall electronic siren, forward moving momentum, and thundering, noise-added transitions make this set dominate with amazing continuity,. Is it composition? Does it matter? This is a radio dance party for post graduate music heads, not an egghead seminar. You decide for yourself, but while doing so, don't forget to embrace visceral free form joy.