penny lain
Sandy Bull, a Master of Musical Fusion With Open Ears, Dies at 60 By JON PARELES 4/14/01 for NYT

"Sandy Bull, a guitarist, composer and improviser whose extended fantasias merged American folk styles with jazz, classical and world music, died on Wednesday at his home in Franklin, Tenn. He was 60.

The cause was cancer, said a friend, Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Mr. Bull came out of the folk revival of the 1950's and the early 60's. But while many of his contemporaries were trying to recreate backwoods American styles, Mr. Bull turned his ear to the wider world. During his career he performed not only on acoustic and electric guitars, but also on electric bass, piano, banjo, oud, sarod and pedal steel guitar. His instincts, and his fondness for the drone at the basis of many music styles, led him to what would later be called fusion or world music.

Mr. Bull was born in New York City and grew up in Florida, living with his father after his parents separated. He briefly studied drums and got his first guitar when he was 8. His mother, Daphne Hellman, is a harpist whose repertory spans jazz and classical music, and he began living with her in New York when he was 11. He listened to Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Pete Seeger, and as a teenager he took banjo lessons from Erik Darling of the Weavers.

By the late 1950's, Mr. Bull had begun a peripatetic career as a performer. In 1959 he played on the streets in Paris, where he first heard Algerian music.

While studying music at Boston University in the late 1950's, he performed at Boston and Cambridge clubs, sitting in with singers including Joan Baez. In New York in the early 1960's he worked around Greenwich Village at the Gaslight, Folk City and the Bitter End.

His music was constantly broadening. He heard Lebanese music in a friend's jewelry shop on Macdougal Street in the Village and the Indian sarod on an album by Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan.

Mr. Bull recorded his first album, "Fantasias," for Vanguard Records in 1962. It included arrangements of classical pieces by Carl Orff and William Byrd, gospel and Appalachian tunes and an extended piece based on Indian tunings; the band featured the drummer Billy Higgins, who had been working with Ornette Coleman. Mr. Bull's next album, "Inventions," included Bach, Brazilian tunes and Chuck Berry's "Memphis." Mr. Bull also became a disc jockey for a radio program called "Music of Man" on WNCN-FM in New York.

Mr. Bull moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1963 and shared an apartment with Hamza El Din, the Nubian oud master. In the late 1960's Mr. Bull spent time in London and in Egypt, where he performed on Radio Cairo. But by the end of the 60's he had become addicted to heroin, a habit he finally broke in 1974. He re- emerged playing oud at shows in Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975, and he studied sarod with Mr. Khan in 1976.

But from 1972 to 1987 he could not get a recording contract. "Some label people wanted me to play the way I'd done on my first two albums," he said in an interview with Folk Roots magazine. "But I was always trying to do something a little different, change, try different approaches. I didn't want to repeat myself."

He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1980's. His 1988 album, "Jukebox School of Music" (ROM), included salsa-flavored tunes and programmed keyboard parts. His "Vehicles" in 1991 featured the Senegalese percussionist Aiyb Dieng.

Mr. Bull moved to the Nashville area in 1992 and in 1996 started his own label, Timeless Recording Society, which released "Steel Tears," the first album to feature his singing. He had surgery for lung cancer in 1996. In 1998 Vanguard released a compilation album, "The Vanguard Sessions." Mr. Bull had been working on an album of instrumentals, including solos for oud, sarod and electric guitar and a piece with percussionists from the Tito Puente Orchestra.

He is survived by his wife, Candy; a daughter, K. C.; two sons, Jesse and Jackson; a sister, Daisy Paradis; a brother, Digger St. John; and his mother."
Golden door closed.
The new Ellis Island Records site opened yesterday, but I haven't been able to get in yet. May try changing my name to Vilsonsku.
How those internet rumors get started.
(I was looking for a quote from Sheridan, honest.)
In local news, Steve Parrino opens at Team Gallery on Thursday 4/19, and Lisa Beck is in a group show currently at Feature (no link yet).
modern art: folly for advertisers?
20010413 nytimes:
Steve DiBenedetto
Steve DiBenedetto makes splendidly gnarly, infernally incandescent paintings. The six medium- size, semiabstract canvases in this excellent show may be appreciated purely as rich essays in painterly improvisation.

Brushing, troweling, scraping, scumbling and gouging, the artist creates topographies of nonstop tactile and chromatic intrigue. Areas of thick, striated impasto border on sections of translucent color; patterns of woven or braided lines incised into the paint are irradiated by crepuscular light. In places, fine doodling looks like the work of an obsessive madman, while other areas suggest a formalist experimentalism like that of Terry Winters or Thomas Nozkowski.

Emerging to varying degrees of visibility are Ferris wheels, helicopters and octopuses. A Jungian analyst might view these round, spoked images as mandala-form archetypes of wholeness and unity. The first two, however, are manmade, mechanical objects — emblems of rational, Apollonian order wrested from the Dionysian depths where the octopus lives. The last, a sinuous, luxuriantly painted beast, clings to a web of brown lines against a background like hot, yellow sunlight in "Psychoptor." In "The Greedy Hippie," mudslides of murky doodling engulf from above and below a luminous, rainbow- hued Ferris wheel.

The id and the intellect, then: the octopus gives Mr. DiBenedetto's painting its sensuous, instinctual flow; the Ferris wheel its playful formal wit.
i wanna be sedated.
In following Bill's billiken link I was not entirely suprised to find that one of my favorite childhood places, Seattle's Ye Olde Cruiosity Shop had a role in clarifying the origin of the good luck charm.
The site is a bit goofy on my browser because of all the Java but some may find it worth the poke around.
Especially you James Ensor fans, this is the sort of souvenir shop he lived and worked in.
favorite charity at this moment
camera obscura rooms
Our friend Ruth Root has a show opening tonight at Andrew Kreps gallery 518 West 20th Street.
La revue art-language


Art & Language Press a été fondé à Coventry en Angleterre, en novembre 1968 par Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin et Harold Hurrell. Le premier numéro de la revue est auto publié en mai

1969. Il comprend la participation de Sol Lewitt, Dan Graham et Lawrence Weiner.

De 1969 à 1985 : la revue est composée de cinq volumes chacun de 4 numéros sauf pour le dernier (trois) . Une nouvelle série d'art-language est publiée depuis 1994.

La revue fonde l'identité d'Art & language par de là les conflits individuels.

Elle rend compte d'un principe initial et initié pendant environ 25 ans, l'autocritique. Il en découle rétrospectivement une logique de déploiement.

Le champ référentiel est la philosophie analytique.

La relation entre l'art et la théorie. Qu'est ce qu'un objet théorique ? qu'est ce qu'une méta théorie ? Qu'est ce qu'une pratique de second type ?.

Robert Smithson
i should be happy i get to go to French Guiana for two weeks but i cant help but think of how in some whys it will be a sad trip--taking a river (tourist) cruise to visit some indian tribes (they dont let you all the way into the deep interior), seeing first hand thier lost of ancient ways--maybe its because i finished "Tales of the Shaman's Apprentice" or that i spent much time in the early 80's partying in Venezuala just a few 100 miles away instead of seeing first hand one of the last holdout's of ???? (the first McDonald's arrived this year) well there is a Creole/Amerindian etc food fest in one town while i am there:>)
Seems to me like the posting frequency is going up a little bit around here. Remember, if you are signed in, and the new post tracking system is driving you nuts because you can't or don't want to keep up - you can turn it off for certain pages in your preferences (link on the left of the home page - and I'll add my standard disclaimer about the interface being horrible and also how much better it will be very soon.) Also, if you like the tracking, but just want to get caught up in a single swoop, just go to clear.php3 and it will zero all the counters for you.
I Live In Weird New Jersey.
I had not heard too much about the upcoming mega-movie AI (Kubricks last project, now taken over by Spielberg) until a few days ago. Now the hype machine is being severely cranked up, and it appears to be one of the more delicate, involved, and downright clever hype machines in movie history. This is making the Blair Witch stuff look positively old school.

Apparently, if you download the movie trailer, and watch it way too close, you might "notice the second frame of credits is 'Sentient Machine Therapist-Jeanine Salla'. Searching for this on leads to a plethora of pages seemingly outlining some fictional murder mystery having to do with robots." Except all of these pages are part of the promo machine. Some seem like real corporate pages, some seem like very personal sites, some seem like, well... see for yourself (click on that google search and start digging.) It's a whole world. Very very nice.

For the very lazy, just go here, where Ain't It Cool News wrecks the fun by pointing you to the highlights.
The Origin of the Billiken
Zig-Zag Man
The Gates of Paradise by David Daniels


[more good concrete+sound poetry tips from k.goldsmith]