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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #150
Episode No. 150 Celsius
David Gunn
Putting a hundred and fifty episodes of anything into perspective, let alone a radio program which purports to track down new music like a Mongolian restaurateur goes after kibble wieners, is a bit like putting penny loafers on a 12-ton draft horse named Earl during a lunar eclipse -- an analogy that will make sense only to those regular listeners with severely sloping foreheads. In an artistic universe rife with the musical equivalents of pear halves in lime gelatin, it's always refreshing to find that new tune that stands out like an invigorated hemorrhoid over the smooth baby bum of compositional mediocrity. For 149 episodes and counting, we at the Bazaar and former Sesquihour have tried to present those throbbing musical masses of dilated veins in a format which is entertaining and instructive. We'd originally hoped that the shows would generate some semblance of profitability, too, but the aesthetic climate here on Earth would have to swing some 175 degrees Celsius to the left before dime one could be entered into the profit column. Not that we're so caught up in the downsizing of our checking accounts as a result of various radiophonic expenditures that we can't appreciate our product. Sometimes, when the algorithm of a tune is right, the atmosphere around it becomes charged with a kind of nervous, sentient electricity, causing alert listeners to keen along in subconscious parallel fifths. That's when we know we've done our job matched the right composition to the right moment in the time-space continuum.

Today, for example, given the sesquicentenical nature of the show, it would make sense to play the first 149 episodes sequentially and, if possible, simultaneously. But, as many of you know, we've been there, done that, got the embroidered antimacassar with the scratch & sniff potpourri panels. Likewise today, due to the plethora of 20th century compositional giants who chose to die on this date, logic would dictate that we devote more than a token nod of the severely sloped forehead to the powerful opening chords of Ferde Grofé's inimitable "Atlantic Crossing" -- a place where we haven't been, nor, due to the inexcusable unavailability of this tune, are we soon likely to -- coupled with Kurt Weill's opera buffo, "The Rise and Fall of Mahogany Acres" -- the story of a housing development that goes belly up in an Arizona swamp, mixed with the haunting B sharp minor sensibilities of Stefan Wolpe's Le Flambeau Oriange, a piece as far removed from polite conversation as is a snow cone from a Zapatista medicine man's ceremonial headdress.

We could do all of this and more, but instead have chosen to observe the sesqui-show, that is, the 150th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, with decorum and discipline. No guests, no sleight of hand musical prestidigitations, no Mario Castelnuovo-Tabasco, not even a Mega-Besto compiled from the first 29 Best of the Bazaars, although a reasonable facimile will inevitably appear. No, today we're simply on our own, working without a net, or any of the other Kalv-kateers -- the "we" consisting of two parties vigorously endeavoring to stay out of perspective, the one who is apparently succeeding so far of whom is Kalvos.