I just got a very nice message from our old and long-unseen friend Greg Lyon, early modernist, wry North Carolinian, and above all, hip priest. Greg DJ’d a freewheeling and brilliant radio show at WPRB in Princeton, with just the kind of style-exploding relish for beauty in any shape, spectrum or conformation that this blog exists to celebrate. The show, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, has moved, along with Greg, back to his hometown of Asheville. I’m glad he’s still on the air.
Adrienne and I owe Greg thanks for our evenings sprawled on the couch at his place, his lanky self hunting for one recording after another. Years of exploring have followed.
More recently, when half of Live Labs was in the Smith Tower, I met someone named Ari Lazier. He seemed interesting and wry in a strangely familiar sort of way; we started talking. At some point he picked up my iPod and began scrolling through the music with mounting surprise. “You’ve got lots of good stuff on here!” Meaning: The Fall, Peter Brötzmann, Art Bears, Can, Bob Log III. It turned out that Ari had put in time at WPRB too. So! There’s a school of at work here, and its fingerprint is this particular constellation of often great, sometimes odd, usually obscure music, interlinked by the eclectic listening culture at WPRB. Then, like dandelion seeds, the WPRB crowd drift here and there, to New York or Asheville or Seattle, bringing their musical DNA in their record collections and iPods, ready to infect the curious. Ari introduced me to some new things too, many of which were lovely, like the haunting Fushitsusha, and Terry Riley’s Rainbow in Curved Air (the title alone is a gem). Some were so pretentious that I couldn’t make up my mind about whether they sucked or not, as I’ll now attempt to illustrate xkcd-style:
Greg, I’ll post some discoveries from the past seven years soon. You’ll probably already know about them all, but a student can always dream of surprising the old master.