K7G+ - November 21, '87EV to April 16, '89EV - as edited by John Berndt

(excerpts from various "improvisations" that the editor was involved in during this time - includes participation from Something That Dissolved the Shadow of Something That Was Next to Something That Burned Twice, Once {same personnel as a suspiciously similarly named band in the above entry},Volunteeers Collective I , & many more..) - $6.00 - (90 minutes)


[this is an edited intro of sorts to the "Gajoob" #s6 & 7 sections - for the complete texts, link to Review(s)-K7L.html]

From: "Gajoob" #5 - early '90 - us@

bryan [the editor of Gajoob]-


At any rate, here are 2 newer releases that have broader appeal insofar as they're more "musically" inclined - perhaps you'll like them more.

you'll note that the 2 tapes might seem to be the same if you look at them superficially - the story behind this is that both my friend & collaborator , John Berndt, & I were planning on making tapes of selected excerpts from various improvisations that we'd done solo or collectively over the past couple of years so we each decided to edit our tapes from material from the same period without letting the other know what we were choosing so that we could surprise each other with the contrasts between our respective products & so that i could make available 2 subtly inter-related tapes, a thorough perception of which would require attention to nuance - this is deliberately heightened by the packaging's having an identical cover (except for the slightly differing spines) - of course, the actual contents of the tapes are quite different from each other - additionally, our selections differ - as do our ways of treating them, etc..

best wishing wells,


baltimore, md

bryan responds


It's also interesting to note, that while the tapes you recently sent me have infinitely more personal appeal, they will cause me to reflect and ponder to a much lesser extent than "Hearing Double in Lacquerland" did and does.


From: "Gajoob" #6 - fall '90 - us@


112187 to 041689 As Edited By tac

112187 to 041689 As Edited By John Berndt

GAJOOB: These two tapes are, basically, improvisation without form. The idea behind these was to take the same master and have the two persons involved edit it separately. Hence, the two tapes. Berndt has a stronger sense of building the mix up from something less, i.e. flow. He also gets the mix humming into a sort of frenzy at times that I didn't get from tentatively's mix. It's guitar based instruments and drums playing just for the sake of playing (and not together), performing a veritable mish-mash of convulsing phrases. No cohesion. There is really no apparent purpose here[?!]. SOUND: fair.



From: "Gajoob" #7 - summer '91 - us@

Bryan [the editor of Gajoob & author of the above review]-

As for your review of November 21 '87EV to April 16 '89EV (2 versions: 1 edited by John Berndt and one edited by me): I tend 2 wonder whether u'r deliberately provoking a response from me - given that I wrote a long letter d fending Hearing Double in Lacquerland after u wrote a substantially negative review of it but didn't bother to write any words of explanation (even though u requested them) in advance of ur reviewing these 2 K7s, perhaps ur xpressed dislike of K7G and K7G[+] (or, at least, what seems 2 me 2 b dislike) represents ur sly way of getting me 2 write something about them after all..... I doubt it really, but, if it's "true", it worked. Fortunately, ur review is short - so i might not spend tooooo much time writing this reactionary letter. you begin w/: "These two tapes are, basically, improvisation without form." - to quote briefly from the enclosed 'OFFICIAL BUSINESS" booklet (written by me 2 xplain the playing of my current group): "Given the premise that all actions perceived within a linear (ie: past to present to future) time span have a history which influences, and therefore structures, their future (ie: the "cause and effect" theory - ultimately disposable, but, herein temporarily accepted) then the distinction between "composition" and "improvisation" is of a usefullness limited to relativity issues (ie: a certain number of elements are restricted consciously by consensus prior to the playing in contrast to the infinite field that they help frame within the restrictions taken somewhat for granted (eg: the range of the instruments, the language, etc..) etc.., etc..) ie: whether a playing is called a "composition" or an "improvisation" is determined by how many "pre-determined" elements the observor identifies in contrast to how many "un-predetermined" the observor identifies. If the observor is of the mindset to declare that all elements (or, at least all "significant" elements) are "pre-determined" then, to that observor, the playing is a "composition", etc.., etc.." A point of this quote is that there is "inevitable" form. 2 many, the phrase "improvisation without form" is redundant insofar as for "Improvisational Core" players (as you put it) aka "free form improvisors" the transcendence of a pre-determined form is 1 of the most challenging goals. As such, to those theorists, the only true improvisation is, bt definition, without form. Given that I'm trying, somewhat unsuccessfully as usual, to keep this short enough to insure that u'll print it all, I'll move on 2 something else. The 2 tapes aren't from the same master. John & I agreed to assemble the edits from all the "improvisation" that we'd participated in during the same time period. "because" "improvisation" was newer & more exciting 2 John at this time, he had more basic material 2 work from than i did (ie: he'd "improvised" more). We'd both been a part of 2 groups: "Something that Dissolved the Shadow of Something that was next to Something that Burned Twice" and "Volunteers Collective I". It's from these 2 groups that the overlap material comes. my edit has 2 selections (out of 14) not from those sources and John's has 9 (out of 24) not from them. As for John's getting "the mix humming into a sort of frenzy at times that I didn't get from tentatively's mix": i can more or less agree w/ that. There r 2 fairly common "schools of thought" amongst "improvisors": 1 that recordings of "improvisations" "shd" b presented w/o any post-event recording manipulation (other than, perhaps, excerpting) in order 2 preserve the event-based integrity of the playing (and, in some cases, 2 clearly show the virtuosity) and another "school" that regards the post-playing manipulation of the recording 2 b a continuation of the playing, etc. i've previously published K7s of "live improvisation" wch i've altered w/ multitracking and speed changes, etc.. - as such, i wanted 2 release a tape w/o such effects. John approached it from a different angle, choosing 2 alternate between diferent speeds (in 1 section) and usually selecting shorter bits than i did 2 create quicker changes than actually occurred in "real time". As for its being "guitar based instruments and drums playing just for the sake of playing (and not together)": to some people it might b noteworthy that of the 5 guitars used all but 1 have rare characteristics: 2 r made especially by Neil Feather, 1 has an exceptionally long neck, and 1 has the strings strung in a deliberately "odd" order 2 force the player to play abnormally (ie: the widths of the strings don't progress in graduated order). the liner notes were 2 minimal 2 xplain all this so i don't blame u 4 not picking up on it. what the liner notes did mention r the following other instruments: Recombinate Electronics (ie: rewired conventional electronics, etc..), A Black Box with a Value >10, E.H. Digital Delay, Mutron III, Octave Divider, Phase Shifter, Alto and Soprano Sax, Radio, Tapes, portable booed usic busking unit/philosopher's union member's mouthpiece(s)/blatnerphone(s)/hallucinomat, trumpte, balloons, paper bags, baby, (oops! i neglected 2 mention 2 other guitars: John Sheehan's "horn guitar": a guiatr body covered w/ horns w/ pickups inside them for creating feedback, and another storebought variety guitar used by VEX in Scotland), Muson, loop tapes, pan of meat, SPX-90, Magic Fingers bed unit, Ring Modulator, etc.. you're "right" though: it is mainly guitar and drums based.

For many years, I've concentrated almost exclusively on using non-traditional sound sources. 1 of the pleasures that i got out of playing w/ "S.t.D.t.S.o.S.t.w.n.t.S.t.B.T.,o." and "V.C.I" was in re-involving myself w/ the kind of physicality specific 2 traditional instruments. i mainly played the drums (as I still do in my current group) wch i found 2 b fun exercise. "playing for playing's sake" (2 paraphrase u) is, indeed, another pleasure 4 me - it's somewhat amazing 2 me that u seem 2 find this objectionable - haven't enuf people theorized endlessly about the value of play in and of itself as a process of liberation and stimulation 4 u 2 find playing 2 b of importance? i'm going 2 try 2 bring this 2 a quick close: "No cohesion" and "no apparent purpose" r ur concluding remarks. i think that if u had more familiarity w/ the theoretical basises of most "Improvisational Core" playing u wdn't have wondered what the purpose was. do u question the purpose of all (m)usic? is ur perception of the purpose of punk music rooted exclusively in the content of its lyrics? therre were many intra-theoretical purposes uppermost in the minds of all the players presented during all the playing (much of wch has already been touched on in this letter). Ironically, 2 both John and myself, we consider both of the tapes 2 b our "pop stuff" - ie: we consider the vernacular 2 b so obvious in it that commentary doesn't seem necessary. Most of the playing strikes us as being of less interest than what we usually creat precisely "because" of the obvious rock and free jazz formatting. hence, it's funny 2 us that u find the playing 2 b "not together" since so much of it is, at least, rhythmically co-ordinated in a simple way. Whatever.


Baltimore, MD

Bryan's response:

Perhaps what I was picking up on when I described the playing as "not together" was your lack of interest in this style of music. I am not at all against playing for the sake of playing. It's fun. It's satisfying. And there's some sort of sense of danger or the unknown when you're playing with other people. But the act of listening to someone playing for the sake of playing - especially when it's completely second-hand (via tape), without the added atmospheric content of the room, etc. - is an altogther different entity, and since I happened to be reviewing a tape and not the concept of improvisational playing, I simply wrote about what the lsiening experience of this tape was like for me. Don't get me wrong - I am not invalidating the recording of improvisational playing; but you must understand that froma listening standpoint only there must be some sort of spark in the performance that translates through the speakers and into someone's livingroom, bedroom, etc. The listener can never be feeling the same emotional pulls as you, who will remember things such as what the room you were performing in smelled like, the jokes you told between sets, the interruptions, the twistes cords and the drive home. All the listener has to go on is whatever is tweaking his speakers - and any incidental information you choose to supply via accompanying notes and whatnot. It takes a lot of work to translate your experiences to your listeners via only sound. That's why the best improvisational players spend a lifetime perfecting it. Living it day in and day out. Just so they can translate a little bit of their souls to s fortunate listener.

It remains that, for me, the tape was not engaging, and that is what I related in the review.


John Berndt responds (unpublished)

Dear Gajoob,

In response to your unfortunately joint review of "November 21, 1987 to April 16, 1989, as edited by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE" and "November 21, 1987 to April 16, 1989, as edited by John Berndt", the review seems so off base to me that I have to clear up a few things. Firstly, how dare you compare my tape to the one edited by t,ac - the assumption that the two tapes "have something to do with one another" is a perfect example of the kind of absurd philosophical abstraction that music journalism should have long ago progressed beyond. tENT's tape, as far as I understand it, was structurally organized around the geometries of the Riems Cathedral, with us improvisors spelling out a tweny page descriptive manuscript converted from the French into a semi-deterministic sound notations, faithfully played, but with a few embellishments (perhaps your "mish-mash"). This all comes out of his immense (Catholic) religiosity, something I was reacting to in the editing of my tape, and something which I'm sure he would strongly deny....

My tape was conceived as a critical reaction to this Archetectonic Theosophy of Mr. cONVENIENCE's, in which I pereversely de-structured his recordings by recreating them to the note with the same players, only isolating them in different rooms (hence the appropriateness of your comment about the players being "not together") to create miniscule timing differences. My tape was edited with slightly different selections to throw the unwary listener off, and cut based on the length of songs on Barry White's first album. I like to think of it as "The destruction of Riems Cathedral".

Why, you might ask, was none of this evident in the notes that came along with the tape? Obviously, our ability to perceive structure is based on a narrow vernacular of structure-conventions, and unfamiliar structures inevitably seem like no strcuture. Why spoon-feed when dealing with structures as basic o western society as Riems? And who wants to get sued for copyright infringement by Barry White's publishing company?


John Berndt

PS: As of Jan 1, 1990, I ceased to produce audio recordings, or do much else, in support of the International Art Strike.


[The following review by Mike Hovancsek was a review of the tape in question & a tape that wasn't intended to be reviewed that was simply sent to the editor of EMI (Bart Hopkin) for his listening ple(r)asure ("The Official May 18th & 19th Open House in the Garage Solo Quartet" b/w "The Official June 9, 1991E.V. Electronic Cottage Doormats"). Because the reviewing of this latter was an accident, reference to it in the heading is deleted here.]

From: "Experimental Musical Instruments" - Vol VII #4

- January '92 - us@


NOVEMBER 21 '87E.V. TO APRIL 16 '89E.V.

Try not to be confused. tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE is a person. He likes to use bulky, tedious titles and minimal liner notes to keep his listeners in a perpetual state of confusion. These two tapes (along with several others not reviewed here) are the product of tENT's work with various other like-minded musicians. Both tapes include a myriad of unusual instruments and sound sources including self-built effects boxes, rubberized drum kit, guitar with a telephone bell attached to it, amplified canned foods, and a guiatr played with a "magic fingers" massage unit. Cello, synthesizer, bass, sax and other more conventional instruments are used as well.

The sounds these musicians produce is often harsh, chaotic, and hard to follow, ranging from a-rhythmic barrages of sound to chunks of nervous, rigid rhythms. At its weakest moments this music can sound like a recording of the world's longest sound check. At its best it is a free form journey into unusual and difficult sounds.

Novemeber 21... is a more technically advanced recording than The Official...John Berndt edited November 21... so that it is more varied and less self-indulgent, excerpting improvisations to more appropriate lengths and creating rapid transitions between pieces. In addition, the recording quality of November 21...is much clearer, allowing the listener to follow the development more easily.

For more information on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE see EMI volume VI #1.


to V.C. home page - to S.P.C.S.M.E.F home page - to N.A.A.M.C.P. home page

to A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..

to Widémouth Tapes home page - to Widémouth Tapes Catalog - to Usic Essays home page

Last Updated:

The reviews are not necessarily copied verbatim from the original. Usually, small apparent typos are corrected & obsolete addresses are removed. In some cases, I may choose to leave misspellings, misinformation, etc intact to demonstrate how sloppy the reviewer is. Of course, there may be times when the original packaging was confusing (deliberately or otherwise) which may effect the reviewer's comprehension. The more recent the tapes are, the less likely this is to be the case. Most of the recent tapes provide fairly extensive liner notes. In some cases, reviewers whose native language isn't English may be writing in English anyway for the sake of 'internationalizing' their reviews. Obviously, this may lead to what strikes native English speakers as 'bad' English. Hopefully, equally obviously, this should not be interpreted as a lack of intelligence in the writing. Editorial notes may be inserted into the reviews in [brackets]. In many instances, I (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE) replied to reviews that I disagreed with strongly. These replies are included here. In some cases, I may add additional retrospective comments.