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February 10, 1995 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-10

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 10, 1995

There is no 'Problem' with Seam's music

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By Andy Dolan
Daily Music Editor
Every once in a while, a band
comes along whose music is so deeply
honest and emotionally powerful that
attempts to slap a convenient label on
their music just seem like a waste of

time. Chicago's Seam are one of these
bands. You could probably come up
with a clever name for their rough-
edged, guitar-heavy yet serene style,
which incorporates a perfect balance
of so many musical elements, but
when the music is as interesting as
Seam's, why would you even bother?
"As a rock band, I think the harder
you work at trying to do new things
within the established aesthetic that you
have as a band, the longer you'll have a
useful life," said Seam's songwriter
and vocalist /guitarist, Sooyoung Park.
"If there's anything I've realized over
the years it's that you have to live with
the records you make, and you have to
put a lot of importance on it."
Up to this point, Seam have re-
leased two albums that display both a
progression as well as a solidifying of

their sound, with their exciting debut,
"Headsparks," and their most deeply
emotional work, "The Problem With
Me." They have also just finished
their third LP, which will be released
in June. They've clearly gone through
several changes throughout their al-
bums, but one of the most consistent
elements in their music is Park's
highly personal lyric-writing style.
"If there's any generalization I can
make about (my lyrics), it's that they're
always about me, and things that hap-
pen tome," Park said. "A lot of songs on
that album dealt with discovering what
was really me, having grown up in West
Virginia, like how much southern cul-
ture had become a part of me, and yet
not really feeling embraced by it as a
person of color, and not being African-
American. And some songs on the new
record are about making the transition
of moving from where I'd lived all my
life to Chicago, and things I've noticed
about Chicago."
"There's some really personal
songs, and things that are painful to
talk about, and things I would never
say to anyone that I reveal in these
songs, which is kind of a weird thing
about touring and making music, the
way you're admitting all this stuff to
total strangers ... I feel like I've been
robbed of a voice, and this is just the
way I do it, for better or for worse."

Of course, Park puts just as much
importance on the instrumental side
of Seam's music, which tends to al-
ways surprise the listener with its
wonderful combinations of so many
conflicting ideas. Songs like "Rafael"
and "Bunch," which begin their sec-
ond album, kick off with calming,
simple guitar melodies which tear into
almost painful blasts of equally-me-
lodic noise. And songs like
"Something's Burning" mix raw-
sounding guitars with atmospheric
washes ofsound. Sooyoung explained
that these combinations are all part of
his songwriting scheme.
"As far as songwriting goes, I think
a lot about balancing as many things
as possible with a clear simplicity. If
you listen to any of our records, espe-
cially our newest one, you can see
that we think a lot about varying tem-
pos and keys of songs."

"I just don't want to make one-
dimensional records," he continued,
"It's important for us to think about a
record as a whole. I think about it
song by song when I'm writing it, but
when you put a record together, we
think of how to balance the loud and
the soft, and mid-tempo songs with
fast or slow songs. I guess if there's
anything that describes it, it's that it
has a little bit of everything!"
As a band, however, Park explained
that Seam's new album represents some-
thing of a crossroads for them. "The
songs (on the new album) are more all
over the place, but there are some things
that sound more like the first record, as
well as some things that are moving in
the direction that we started with on
'The Problem With Me,"' he said.
"I know that I'll continue to write
songs and want to play music prob-
ably for the rest of my life," he said.

r+ A

Most of these people are no longer in the band, yet Seam remains cool.
"But you run into a point as a band for it isn't as good as it could be!"
where you have a conflict as to whether But, like any great band, Seam
or not you want to make a living doing would much rather spend their time
it, which prohibits you from living a makingmusic and not worrying about
lifestyle with any kind of stability. At the future. "Our goal is just to write
this point we haven't committed ei- good songs and make good record
ther way. Having been in bands for a Park said. "That's all that really mat-
long time now, I guess my patience ters in the end."

' .

ACLU president defends pornography with new book


By Kirk Miller
Daily Books Editor
She is the first woman president of
the ACLU in its history (and the
youngest), has held 30 interviews last
week, served on the board of directors
for numerous human rights organiza-
tions, wrote or co-wrote three books
being published this year, and has had
been talking nonstop about pornogra-
phy for three months.
You heard right, pornography.
Nadine Strossen is charming, bril-
liant and not too busy to take up the
issues of sexual expression in her new
book "Defending Pornography," a
wonderfully written critique of pro-
censorship Big Sister feminists like
OnS aea .i et -Matinees - Mon - Fri
24 hriNF"444-4024, Now se

our own Catherine MacKinnon. As
the subtitle suggests, it's notjust about
defending erotic material but a ques-
tion of "free speech, sex and fight for
women's rights."
Strossen has taken time out of
her hellish schedule to go on a book
tour and preach the civil liberties
gospel; her stop here last Friday
was just one in 200 college cam-
puses she's hit in the last two years.
With the proliferation of women's
studies classes and creation of its
own cottage industry, Strossen
thinks this is the time for her book to
reach the "next generation."
"The pornography issue had been
skewed to the pro-censorship side,"
she explained during a phone inter-
view last week. "Although to be fair it
is because of absence of material, and
that's one reason I wrote the book."
While MacKinnon and Andrea
Dworkin have suggested pornogra-
phy is "a form of gender inequality"
and a form of "forced sex," Strossen
uses a step-by-step method to show
how pro-censorship "Mac
Dworkinites" have helped to con-
struct constitutionally unsound and
dangerous limits to free speech in
their crusades against sexual expres-
Besides the wave of censorship
and popularity of MacKinnon (who
has refused to debate Strossen and
actively avoided her), Strossen
shows how pro-censorship feminists
have a distrust of sex for women
(labeled "antisex") and inadvert-
ently led to removals of safe sex
posters and art masterpieces like de
Goya's "The Nude Maja" from pub-
lic areas. Along the way, it hasn't

really reduced violence against
But Strossen thinks she and the
pro-censorship forces share a simi-
lar goal. "I do believe we all are
equally committed to reducing and
eradicating violence against
women," she admitted. "Ironically,
one of the most effective things
they've been able to do is use the
First Amendment to show and dis-
play their views."
However, she is worried that
MacDworkinites have come to be
seen as the spokespeople for all
feminists. "For me, anyone who is
committed to equality, dignity and
autonomy for women deserves the
label (feminist)," she explained.
"We can strongly disagree, but share
the same goals." She also suggested
using "humanist" to further expand
the goals and ideals of the move-
ment to include men.
But more on pornography:
Strossen takes the one extra step from.
defending pornography to listing posi-
tive reasons for its existence and popu-
larity. "People can play into fantasy
or look at a picture of something they
wouldn't choose to do in real life,"
she said.
"That gets back to my problem
and challenge of defending sexual
expression." she continued. "But
people don't want to talk about sex.
There is a vast consumption of por-
nography out there."
Another problem for the ACLU
has been the broad definitions of
what constitutes harmful "pornog-
raphy" in this country, which has
led to wide-
spread disagree-
ment and several
c our t ch at- t
lengs.S The "I
know it when I
see it" attitude is
still prevalent
among some,
Strossen pointed.'
out, as well as
some other du-
bious distinc-
tions. .
"'It's safe for Nadine Strossen f

me, it's OK for me, but it's dangerous
if they watch it,"' she characterized
the double standard of some pro-cen-
sorship forces. "There is always fer-
tile ground in this country (to prr
ecute) and sexual expression is F
ways in danger. Politicians gravitate
toward it."
Although Strossen has been con-
centrating on pornography for a few
months, she is also hard at work on
works about hate speech and has chaired
several discussions and forums, includ-
ing one now-obligatory one on the O.J.
Simpson trial. Plus, she does have ajob,
and as president of the much-maligl*
ACLU she is quick to rush to its de-
fense, including from detractors who
claim the organization has lost its way.
"I hear that a lot," she admitted. "It
reminds me of Ronald Reagan saying
'I like the way America used to be.'
The ACLU has always neutrally de-
fended civil liberties, regardless of
ideology and politics. At any stage in
history we're taking positions t
seem totally out of the mainstream,
but within a certain amount of time it
will become the accepted position."
As the country lives for the next
two years in a much more conserva-
tive political environment, Strossen
hopes some good will come out of it.
"I hope people really take part and
live out, ironically, as the antipornog-
raphy feminists have," she said
"There is a Supreme Court edict
appropriate response to speech you
disagree with, and that's to answer
back ... free speech, protest. They
have the right to counter-speech and
it shows how effective it can be."

University of Michigan
School of Music
Friday, February 10
Faculty Recital: Erling Blondal Bengtsson, cello
Bach's complete suites for solo cello, part 1 (the scheduled
Beethoven program has been postponed).
" SuiteNo. I in G Major (BWV 1007)
" Suite No. 2 in D minor (BWV 1008)
" Suite No. 3 in C Major (BWV 1009)
Recital Hall, 8 p.m., free
Symphony Band and Concert Band
H. Robert Reynolds, Gary Lewis, and Dennis Glocke conduct the
first of this year's events celebrating the centennial of William
Grant Still (1895-1978).
" William Grant Still: "Fanfare for the 99th Squadron" and
"Summerland," from Three Visions
" Morton Gould: Ballad, American Salute
" Works by Vaughan-Williams, Copland, Tubb, and Rogers
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m., free
Thursday-Sunday, February 9-12
Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor
Theatre and Drama Production; John Neville-Andrews, director
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.: Sun., 2 p.m.
Tickets: $16, $12, students $6 (764-0450)
Sunday, February 12
Virginia Martin Howard Lecture Series
Lawrence Libin (Frederick P. Rose Curator of Musical Instru-
ments, Metropolitan Museum of Art)
"Musical Instruments in Western Culture"
Faculty Recital: Fritz Kaenzig, tuba, and Anton Nei, piano
" Leslie Bassett: Song and Dance for tuba and piano-premiere
" Donald H. White: Sonata for tuba and piano
" Halsey Stevens: Sonatina for tuba and piano
" Music of Gabrieli and Schumann
Recital Hall, 5 p. m., free
Faculty Recital: Erling Blondal Bengtsson, cello
Bach's complete suites for solo cello, part 2 (the scheduled
Beethoven program has been postponed).
" Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major (BWV 1010)
" Suite No. 5 in C minor (BWV 1011I)
" Suite No. 6 in D Major (BWV 1012))
Recital Hall, 8 p.m., free
Tuesday, February 14
Michigan Chamber Players
Michigan music faculty perform:
" Telemann: Quartet in d (Leone Buyse, flute; Harry Sargous,
oboe; Richard Beene, bassoon; Anton Nei, harpsichord)
. Schulhoff: Concertino (Leone Buyse, flute; Yizhak Schotten,
viola; Stuart Sankey, double bass)
" Brahms: Piano Trio No. I in B (Anton Nei, piano; Stephen

ights Catherine MacKinnon in print.

KUUMBA & UM Major Events/Div. of Student Affairs Present



1:30 4:30 8:00 11:00 1:30 4:30 7:00 9:30 11:45
It's Back !!! - February 17 & 18
Rocky Horror Picture Show
1:30 Sat and Sun only -11:00& 11:45 Friday & Saturday Only
Falstaff thinks he's a lady-killer.
The wives know he's a fortune-hunter.
The rest is a riotous comedy.
The Merry Wives of Windsor
by William Shakespeare

"Combined the best elements
of the world of music and
The Washington POSE
"The course of his career
conforms to the ideal of the
Renaissance man, one who is
fluent in several Arts"
"A virtuoso guitarist"
Intemational Herald Tribune
"He's an original: a cornposeri
performer who turns every-
thing he has heard, African
and Alien, into something
entirely individual."



Tickets available at the Michigan Union Ticket Office and all Ticketmaster outlets.
Charge by phone 763-TKTS.


U U - -. ~ "' E~WW3 ~r- ~

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