What is so refreshing about Lord Litter’s special on Gen Ken Montgomery and the early history of the Generator idea needs a brief introduction. I got it here. The words are by Adam Krause.
“â€œJust what was the Generator Sound Art Gallery, and why was it so special that someone would want to recreate it in an art gallery more than twenty years after it closed?â€
“Weâ€™ll need to go all the way back to 1962, when Philips introduced the cassette. Then weâ€™ll need to jump ahead to the early 1980s, when the advent of the first affordable devices for home recording and cassette duplication made the so-called â€œCassette Cultureâ€ possible â€” perhaps the first truly autonomous musical movement to appear after the invention of recorded music. In the cassette culture, home-recorded, hand-packaged, and selfdistributed cassettes were circulated through nebulous networks created and maintained by means of personal contact lists and fanzines. Tapes were traded more often than they were sold. It was an underground of obscure artists making and sharing music for the sheer joy of it.”
“This network of largely unknown artists was a wonderfully confusing mess, which, however wonderful it was, remained a confusing mess. Perfect musical matches stayed perfect strangers because they moved in different circles. And in order to enter any of these circles, one would need to know that there even were circles to enter in the first place. Cassette culture was unknown to all but the initiated few. While this enhanced its mystique, countless potential cassette artists never made a single cassette because they didnâ€™t even know there was such a thing as a â€œcassette artist.â€
“Gen Ken Montgomery created the Generator Sound Art Gallery, in part, to add structure to this nebulousness, and to make cassette culture more widely known and available. With Generator, Montgomery established a centralized location where the cassette artists he had connected with through mail, fanzines, and travel could perform and sell their work. At the same time, by opening a space for this purpose in his own neighborhood, he was able to use the works of these often international artists to engage with and strengthen his own local scene.”
So far Adam Krause.
After reading these lines, and also those that followed, I did a lot of thinking. First there is Ken Montgomery who, after having ‘read’ and understood the components of a movement, created a synthesis for his thougths and opened a physical space, which thus became a tangible, audible living place where people could meet, create, perform, listen and walk out.
This sounds a very simple thing to do. But it isn’t, because Montgomery succeeded in creating something from nothing. If you think a bit further away, it is exactly in this way that life on earth started: pieces of ‘dead material’ that formed RNA, the constituent element of all life forms.
And I am still thinking at the moment of writing on how the ‘Generator’ – idea could be transported to the 21st century. I will keep you informed. Meanwhile get a listen to this very special radio show, compiled and produced by Lord Litter.
Word to LL, and the Playlist + Links
Gen Ken Montgomery and Chris Penalosa at Trash Tone Berlin Studio / Interview
PART 1……Gen Ken talks about mainly then … the beginning, the history, Generator in the 80s/90s…and CONRAD SCHNITZLER…..
1. Anastasia Clarke & Sandy Gordon – The Mechanical Air – cassette
2. Charles Cohen – S 2 (excerpt) – Charles Cohen Live at the Generator 1989 – cassette
3. Conrad Schnitzler – 4 minutes – Various Artists / No Borders Compilation – cassette
4. Thomas Dimuzio – Window Music- I thought I saw a Monkey Outside the Window – At Russell Hedjuf’s Fucked-Up Circus – Intrinsic Air Balloons – Etc -Â Delineation Of Perspective – cassette
5. Gen Ken & Conrad Schnitzler – Cold Blacksmith
6. Gen Ken & Conrad Schnitzler – Sticks
7. Gen Ken & Conrad Schnitzler – Fourth Movement – Hearing the Call (excerpt)
8. Gen Ken & Conrad Schnitzler – Pictures
5 / 8 cassette – GENCON
CON-MYTHOLOGY #183 – 12 August 2016 20:00
An evening of audio and video celebrating Schnitzlerâ€™s life and work Gen Ken Montgomery, Wolfgang Seidel, Chris Penalosa and Doron Sadja. (Video)