In the 1980s, apparently, Goethe Institute locally brought in Peter Brotzmann but alas I was a bit too young and uninformed and also unschooled to know about it, let alone attending the gig. Besides that, my experience, which I would safely account for the rest of my friends who were at least curious or even keen to find out more about Free Improv had virtually no contact point with it. When the music megastores (Yes, there once existed, in all their full glory, then) arrived here in the late 1990s, the few titles from AMM, Derek Bailey and Evan Parker available in those stores were our sole connection to the mainline of Free Improv. Hence the debate about to record or not to record, or record or live, and other permutations of arguments along those lines were non-consequential to us. We only had the records/CDs then to allow us the access to Free Improv. Is it the privileged vantage point of living in a developed country then which gave permission to such seemingly ideological discourse, well ,there is another potential can of worms waiting to be spilled.
But let me come back to Barre's tome. I love it so much that I am reading it the second time and I am seriously considering the third time round after I am done with the last page of my second run of it. So I hope the above scenario is self-evidenced enough.
Let me return to my friends and I on this island again.. Well, we did not have the chance to see Bailey, Parker, AMM live so what did or have we done? We tried and have tried to create our take or understanding of Free Improv here by playing it. Musician types and non-musician kind alike, events were organised and venues hijacked and we happily plinked, plonked and scratched away. It was like Punk, here at least.
What I like about Barre is his open-mindedness of his musical taste and non-preciousness in his writing. His cross reference to My Bloody Valentine, Merzbow, Alternative TV and many more which one would NOT expect in a book more on the jazz side of things on print connects me to him, thousands of kilometres away.
Perhaps there is the power of music and culture, after all.
Let us not forgetting the implicit and explicit community spirit and human interaction which have been so embedded in the making and perpetuating of Free Improv which Barre went at length to account and plot in the various chapters.
Idealism be damned, the world today needs more of that then the last century...
Go buy the book here and NOW, and no, I am not joking.