My bookshelf includes a March 1991 issue of Wire magazine, inherited from Gino Robair. He’d organized a special show memorializing the Dark Circle Lounge, his weekly concert series at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco. The show doubled as a reunion/party for the creative-music community, and it was amazing fun. To go with the nostalgic theme, Gino was handing out memorabilia — he’d cleaned out his garage or something, maybe — and that’s the one he put into my hands.
I throw away magazines all the time — I have to, to keep the Hoarders cameras away — but I’ve kept this one. I wasn’t into creative music in 1991, and to read about Evan Parker and Myra Melford’s 1990s work from a then-contemporary perspective feels special.
Plus, the issue has a very cool review of Torture Garden.
You know that one, right? It’s hyperactive tour de force album from John Zorn’s Naked City, flooded with jump cuts and short, short, short songs. Here’s an excerpt of Mike Fish’s review:
- Rejected by major click Suck this, you hapless click Impression that Zorn is trying a tad too hard to be a blood brother with those disaffected rock zombies who created hardcore in the first place, while he was off doing weird sh*t with Chadbourne and all those click Sumptuous click Nice sweet person like Frisell doing click Excerpts from a teenage operatic nightmare, maybe, with added click Favourite title: probably the winsomely detailed “New Jersey Scum Swamp,” unlocking click In an MTV world, there’s click
I especially love the Frisell bit. My sentiments exactly, once I found out just who Bill Frisell was.
Anyway, my recent mention of the Antheil/Naked City link is what nudged this memory into the open. And it’s funny how some things never change: One of the magazine’s feature articles is about the scarcity of venues for improvised music!