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September 23, 1993 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-23

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, September 23, 1993

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By CHRIS WYROD
The dissolution of the USSR brought forward a
plurality of social voices previously stifled under
the blanket of unification. Yet, polarized by the
violence of ethnic factionalism, the Western world
seems reluctant to hear their stories and see how
disparate groups survived and interacted under of-
ficial suppression.
Over the last decade, Russian expatriate and
record producer Leo Feigin has been struggling for
the recognition of Russian new music. Despite
Soviet recording restrictions and deaf Western ears,
he smuggled out underground tapes of Russian new
music and began releasing them on his own British
label, Leo Records. "Sentenced to Silence," his
release of saxophonistAnatoly Vapirov and pianist
Sergey Kuryokhin brought home the hegemonic
restriction of counter-current music in the USSR.
The album's title refers to Vapirov's politically
motivated two-yearjail sentence in 1982.
From these fledgling recordings, Feigin has con-
structed an impressive educational and essential
historical document. As the most thoroughly re-
searched and uniquely assembled musical textbook
of Russian new music in the 1980s, the mammoth
eightCD collection is named "Document."

The broad spectrum of recorded music and
extensive discussion of the social context in the
set's companion booklet make "Document"
unique. Mostcritical and scholarly analyses genrify
music, confining it to regionalisms and focusing
on peculiarities. But the booklet doesn't overlook
the ongoing discourse, the subtle streams of vari-
ous cultural influences that are interwoven into a
fluid amalgamation of something entirely new.
The flexible and reflexive nature of Russian cre-
ative-experimental music proves to be an espe-
cially apt medium for conjoining neologisms with
established musical repertoires and age-old aes-
thetics.
"Document" serves as a testament to the diver-
sity tenuously united and officially suppressed by
the Russian government. The music is not subject to
the lifeless homogeneity of "official culture"; in-
stead it is music on the fringe of society, embracing
both peripheral Western creativity and marginalized
ethnic music.
The haunting composite composition by Dearly
Departed unites the enduring strength of Russian
folk songs with the social bankruptcy of Commu-
nismin the'80s. Moving from revived polyphonic
chant, through hurdy-gurdy folk song, to free im-
provisation, the piece tracks the progression of

Documenting the end of an epoch

Russian music and then retraces its steps as if in
bewilderment.
The vocalists provide some of the most dynamic
and intriguing aspects of the whole nine and a half
hours of music. Bringing their own musical heritage
into the foray, the sonic agility of Gypsy Valentina
Ponomareva and Tuva (eastern Siberia) native
Sainkho Namchylak is daunting. Ponomareva's fa-
cility with every imaginable voicing would humble
both MariaCalasandDiamandaGalas. Namchylak's
antiphonal throat singing and animal calls provide
Trio-O with more improv fodder than they could
possibly blow.
Yet, the majority of the music represents the
struggleofasociety trying toexist in umm i udstofan
intolerant system. Orkestrion ' iux ot SLalingi ad's
city sounds with reactiona v pocti epuuiizes the
simultaneous affinity an( vd' ::any
Russian creative musicians ..,h-
erland. ("Like every isolated Ru ,tansm, I
long ago constructed my very oumusm in
the middle of the blossoming heea t ii e
The depth and variety of tinm . sauu use
CDs hacked away at the official myth or .et
homogeneity. As ahistorical encapsulation of sc Le
of the most dynamic Russian music of a decade,
"Document" elucidates how the end of the '80s
became the end of an epoch.

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r Chinese Cuisine
cr~qate ~I'rn

0

Questions of summer linger into September

Four months ago, my vision of the
impending summer read like a travel
brochure - a great trip with all of its
interesting pitfalls and sideshows. But
alas, the bulk of my summer was spent
inAnnArborand, therefore, my vision
crashed and burned.

All combinations served with: Steamed rice, egg
roll, and hot tea*
A. Peking Spicy Beef
Tender sliced beef with Chinese vegetables in spicy hot sauce
B. Hunan Vegetable Delight
Assortment of vegetables stir-fried in Hunan spicy sauce
C. Sweet & Sour Shrimp
Crispy, breaded shrimp with sweet & sour sauce
D. Spicy Chicken
Tender chunks of chicken in Szechuan Hoisan sauce
E. Hot & Spicy Pork
Shredded pork with shredded vegetables in chili pepper sauce
F. Chicken with Black Bean Sauce
Tender chicken breast stir-fried with vegetables in black bean sauce
*Hot tea for dining room only
VISA 1201 S. University"
Open 11am until 10pm
For reservations or carry-out call 668-2445

Summer was supposed to be the
time. It was supposed to be my time.
My time to invite to the philosophical
table those nagging questions that al-
ways seem to show up at the most
inopportune moments. Instead it seemed
like one long, darkintestinal track with
blockage that I nicknamed Art Fair.
There you have it. Mental deterioration
made as easy as pie. A stupor, if you
will. Still there were questions. Ques-
tions ranging from the inane to the

sublime to the ridiculous. Here goes.
Why are there so many damn coffee
shops in Ann Arbor? I mean, do we
really need this much caffeine? Are
they really the local shrines to the intel-
lect that they are made out to be? And
for that matter, should a town that is so
small have so many one way streets?
Why are artists lives almost always
deemed as tragic?
Why dopeople speak as if everyone
wants to hear their conversations?
Why in the hell were we inundated
with an onslaught of Dazzey Dukes? I
mean, did we really have to lend the
breath of life to such a degrading and
insulting song?
Why does the Red Hawk Bar &
Grill have stalls for the physically chal-
lenged located down a long flight of
stairs, yet has no other means of get-
ting to them? Need I bring the result-
ing scenario to life?
Why is sorority rush reminiscent
of lemmings shuffling toward their
inexplicable deaths by walking over
some cliff? Wouldn't itbe nice to have
cliffs in Ann Arbor?
How often is that one brain passed
amongst these lemmings? And is it's
vocabulary limited to "like-Oh-my-
god" and "tee-hee, giggle"?
"90210."The pain persists. Why?
ArtFair. Is itreally artand is it really
fair?
Why does McDonald's ask young
Blacks to aspire to be just like Calvin,
the hip-hoppin', burger-flippin'

buppie of the fast food world? Do
young Blacks really need these im-
ages? (I started out on fries and in a
few years, with luck and persever-
ance, I'll be on the front register.)
Speaking of infinitely influential
yet socially irresponsible organiza-
tions, does anyone find it scary that
MTV has become more than a music
video channel? Does anyone think
that without their Rock the Vote (yes,
it's cool to vote, but don't change the
channel huh huh huh huh) campaign
no one between 18 and 25 wouldhave
voted?
Will I be able to find a job after I
graduate? Should I perhaps take back
what I said about McDonald's?
Why do people cruise up and down
South U. for hours at a time? Are they
incapable of finding any parking spaces?
Why aren't there more emergency
telephones around campus?And when
you do see them why are they in the
really well-lit areas? And why is there
one directly across the street from the
campus police station?
Why do today's bands think that
being subversive means being loud and
obtrusive? Can they not understand
subversion can also be an art of subtlety
and content, not always of form?
Why do skateboarders do their deeds
in areas where they know they'll get
caught? Could the repeated contact with
cement have anything to do with this?
Why do people think I am down
with the whole peace, love and retro

thing because I have dreads? A white
middle class phenomena = akid from
the inner city; peace and love? Really?
Why is it that I have to explain what
it means to be Black to somebody?
When did I become an authority?
Why is Malice Green a martyr?
Why can't we separate the man from
the wrong committed against him?
Why aren't police officers given
psychological therapy?
Why can't we all get along?
What the fuck was going through
Rodney King's head when he said that?
\ hy is it that being seen with non-
Blacks by otherBlacks sounds an Afri-
can death-knell yet there is no unity
between Blacks on campus?
Why doesit seem "in" tobe Black in
America? Does that make me a nov-
elty? Will I now need a pair of tap
shoes?
With the cavalcade of new Black
films, is blaxploitation in effect again?
Why do people dictatehow I should
write my column?
Does the Trix rabbit realize he's
twice the size of those stupid kids?
Why are Pumas back in style?
Will our generation ever get past
the ambiguity and develop an iden-
tity? Will I be worshipped and adored
by millions? Or will I be dragged out
and burned at the literary stake?
WillIever do another column like
this? Probably not.
Will these topics ever grace these
pages again? Ya' damn skippy.

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