Required Reading, vol. 37

Carbondale’s wonderful weekly “Nightlife” newspaper has a great little interview and write-up about “Sounds Like Radio,” in the April 1-8 edition. Be sure to clip it out and keep it in your wallet, for easy reference.

Or, read it right now:

Dave Armstrong, sometimes known as DaveX, will begin a new experimental-music program on Saturday nights / Sunday mornings at 3 a.m. on WSIU 91.9 FM. The show, Sounds Like Radio, will debut Sunday, April 4 at 3 a.m. He will continue to host It’s Too Damn Early on WDBX 91.1 FM, though the second program will allow him to send each show in slightly different directions.

“Although it may be difficult for casual listeners to tell, I actually cover a rather wide swath of experimental music on It’s Too Damn Early,” Armstrong tells Nightlife. “Now I can divide it up a bit, and bring some more focus to each broadcast. Besides, they’re both great stations, and I love being able to be part of each….

“Although there may be a bit of crossover at times, the general idea will be to present the more academic wing of experimental music at WSIU,” Armstrong continues. “Although there’s always some crossover, this would cover the more rigorously composed pieces of electroacoustic music, avant-garde works, or simply those that require more unpacking and intellectual effort on the part of the listener. Of course, that just gives me even more room for going further out with the WDBX broadcasts– more noise, dada, outsider works.”

Another difference: Armstrong will prerecord the WSIU show, but broadcast the WDBX program live.

“Pre-recording shows offers me a completely different set of opportunities, which I’m also pretty excited about,” Armstrong says. “Live shows gives me a flexibility that I love, but prerecording might let me go completely baroque in the studio.”

As Armstrong implies, the works he plays on his shows are often challenging for listeners– while they certainly are not noise, they are not always music per se, either, but varieties of audio art. Enjoyment and appreciation often requires a different listening mentality, he says.

“I’m a big advocate of active listening,” Armstrong says. “After nine years worth of late-night phone calls [at WDBX], I know that a lot of listeners still consider experimental music as either unwanted noise or as a sort of sonic wallpaper. It’s understandable, but intellectually lazy. If there’s anything to jettison, it’s the concept that music has to be anything more than those sounds you choose to focus upon as music. Frankly, I just hope some new people check out my broadcasts. I may not want the Little Grand Canyon in my yard, but I’ve gone to see the place– it’s an amazing part of Southern Illinois, and an offbeat treasure– same as my shows.”…

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