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A Fireside Chat with Thurston Moore

By Published: November 29, 2003

TM: Yeah, it is not a passing interest. To me, it's been a real experiential music. People who devote themselves to playing free improvised music as a vocation, I have such admiration for. It's not a high profile genre of music. It's a very modest income for these people, but they're devoted to their work and what they do as musicians. I'm interested in creativity. I don't validate one thing more than the other as far as writing a bubble gum pop song or writing an improvised symphony by the Globe Unity Orchestra. To me, I can't really be judgmental about the value of either. I don't see any sense in having to collaborate the two ideas because that sort of does become a gimmicky, novelty thing and I don't really have any desire to clash genres. When I feel like I am playing in a free improvised music context, I don't feel like I am bringing punk rock or rock and roll or noise music into it. I feel like I am just bringing myself into it as a creative player, adhering to the context that I am in, specifically, which musicians that I am playing with. That's really interesting to me because I will play with Han Bennink and members of the Ex, who are much more European rock musicians who respond a lot to different avant-garde music and politically charged contexts as well. So I take all these things into consideration and I try to be as communal with it and respectful of everybody and creating a unified sound. I do study the philosophies of that music a lot. I like it. I think it is very positive and has a very human quality to it that I think is real enlightening. I find it to be very spiritual music. It can also be a drag. I've seen a lot of improvised music concerts that are a lot of grandstanding and there is a lot of narcissism going on and I recognize that immediately. That's why I think some players are generally acknowledged more than other players because a lot of it has to do with the personalities involved.

FJ: Why is this music important?

TM: I think it brings a certain kind of heightened spiritual energy from both player and listener. It is a shared positive intellectual experience, which I find to be really healing. It is all about sharing and to me, that is its main principal result. I just think it is more about having a good time.

FJ: What is your association with the BYG label and the Actuel series?

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