Friday, January 26, 2018

"Dancing About Architecture": from the album Days of Future Past 42nd Street

Dancing About Architecture: from the album Days of Future Past 42nd Street
8 minutes 14 seconds.

The title comes from the quote
"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
Laurie Anderson, Steve Martin, Frank Zappa, Martin Mull,
Elvis Costello, Thelonius Monk, Clara Schumann, Miles Davis, George Carlin and several other people
have been credited with concocting this extraordinarily popular and enigmatic simile.
The first cite known to The Core appears in a magazine dedicated to the history of rock and roll
called “Time Barrier Express”. The September-October 1979 issue contains a profile of the group Sam & Dave by Gary Sperrazza in
which he
discusses the interplay and rapport of the duo [TBEM]:

All quick, very natural, and captured on vinyl. It’s so hard to explain on paper, you’ll just have to find
the records and listen for yourself (because I truly believe — honest — that writing about music is, as
Martin Mull put it, like dancing about architecture).

The second earliest cite was found by Mike Kuniavsky who presented
a pointer to its location in a comment. In December 1979 “Arts Magazine” published an article about the painter Michael
Madore by the critic Thomas McGonigle. The saying is attributed to Martin Mull; however, the domain of the quotation
is knowingly transformed to painting. Even in 1979 McGonigle refers to the expression as a “famous dictum” [AMTM]:
So with Madore we have the classic situation: no limits, thus all limits, or to slightly alter the
famous Martin Mull dictum: Writing about painting is like dancing about architecture. Based on current evidence The Core
believes that Martin Mull is the most likely originator of this expression. It is not clear how Gary Sperrazza and
Thomas McGonigle heard or read about the quotation. Mull did release several albums combining comedy and music in
the 1970s. He also appeared in the television soap opera parody “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”, and the talk show
parody “Fernwood 2 Night” (later renamed “America 2-Night”). It is possible that he used the phrase in one of these
venues, or perhaps he said it during a stage performance or interview. Researchers have been attempting to trace this
well-known saying for many years. It is a recurrent topic in discussion forums and on mailing lists. Alan P. Scott was
the key pioneer in this endeavor, and he has created a wonderful webpage that records his gleanings and includes a
comprehensive list of people that have been credited with the quotation [APSM]. The clever maxim was probably not created
ex nihilo. The Core has found similar expressions that date back to 1918. There is a family of related sayings that
comment about such difficult exertions as: writing about music, talking about music, writing about art, and talking
about art. This backstory helps to illuminate the aphorism, and it begins with a remark involving “singing about

The earliest statement that The core has located that discusses the inherent difficulty of writing about music and
compares it to singing about something is dated February 9, 1918 in the New Republic [NRSE]:
Strictly considered, writing about music is as illogical as singing about economics. All the other arts can be
talked about in the terms of ordinary life and experience. A poem, a statue, a painting or a play is a representation
of somebody or something, and can be measurably described (the purely aesthetic values aside) by describing what it
represents. In 1921 the remark reappears in the form of a sphinxlike simile. The format of the comment uses the word
“like” once and the word “about” twice. This conforms to the most common modern template.

"So anywho, I don't remember where I first heard it" I said. "I have been working the theme in my head for a decade and I always felt that it was not only possiblebut was the real deal, and my final say is on the Iao Core album "Days of Future Past 42nd St."
The opening and closing riff is Brainstorm, a classic Hawkwind song from the 1970's. When the Edobot sequence begins I
overlayed three lead guitar tracks that fugue through the song, all on my Stratocaster, one with E-Bow driven melodic spray

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