At the Alemeda Festival in the Eighties, after a concert with John Cage, a ticket holder went backstage, there was a question & answer period,"dear Mr. Cage, you know anyone can do what you do, pluck a string, tap the piano body,what makes your work so unique?. . ." Cage responded, " . . .
I do it and you don't " those that claim this is not music, nor interesting, arbitrary, boring,no high levels of craft engaged,of sophistication, uninteresting etc, should see that modernity is over,or simply we are still realizing aspects of modernity transcended in its former life, as Jameson says someplace, modernity is about fixing a time, temporality,so everyone's modernity begins at different times,for many the music of Phil Glass is the Year Zero for the history of music, anything prior is marginal in importance. I think Gann looks much deeper the trajectories within the history of music and tries to find useful interesting contexts for which to write music. For context, form and concept is really all we have.Adorno said someplace that "Form" is the true test of longevity in music, what we shape and how we think about what we shape and give form to, is all we have in the neo-liberal order; and Gann's pieces here prooves that the agenda for music creativity should simply proceed,proceeding, keeping going, has an "ethics" about it, surrounding the subject with conviction; Gann's music prooves the late Deleuze in some respects that without the aid, the comfort of the "grand narrative" all creators do now is attentuate "fragments, particles" from the lifeworld unpretenciously, and meaning relevance can be found anywhere. I think in much of the music that gets promoted many times the concept is stronger than the actual musical results,especially within the "complexity" cadre, where the music resembles an elaborate elegant dinner setting where the food never comes; but in Gann's case he is a sensitive musician always looking at the real time realization of what his music does.
Keyboard timbres,electric,clavichords, and Discklaviers re-tuned or otherwise has become a sort of a signature focus of his work. His use of farfisa organs in his Eighties music for example has a kind a cheapness to it,a particle timbre from the American lifeworld that has a fascination, like it is an integral part of the meaning of the landscape itself with "greasy-spoon diners",or secondhand gift stores,the homeless panhandlers On another level the poverty/hypocrisy of ideology in American entertainment is another fragment we live with and make music with everyday. The "real" is always simple just that unless it undergoes fetishization, and how can we live without the fetish of the object.But we have become fixed on myth in some respects the glorification of "junkspace" as Rem Koolhaas might say. Gann doesn't quite go full-tilt in that direction for his work does not relish in the commonplace, it merely suggests it;He does believe in the power still of the musical genre,its form and accessibility of the character pieces as retaining substance. The Discklavier is also an uncharted genre, Srockhausen's latter klavierstuck #15 and 16 make use of it as well, but beyond that Gann has discovered a useful space here.
I found these pieces quite with the landscape,perhaps these works are telling us that this is reality, democracy is here and now, there is no future, or if there is one well create it. Certainly the influence of Nanacarrow is prevalent here, the early music automata of the Player Piano, another quite useful invention for the American social lifeworld, it was the focus the center for family entertainment, as the sheets rolling from Tin Pan Alley, WEll, here Gann explores the landscape with his own personal blends of Southwest culture.