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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution
The 12-Ton System
Bon radio. In the early part of this century -- though not so early as to be an offshoot of the
School of Chaos, which remains unsuitable for discussion on this program -- a Teutonic
familial unit consisting of Herr und Frau, gave birth to a soft and tiny bipedal component
which squeaked. Flabbergasted at their fecundity -- both vow they had never touched one
another below the latissimus dorsi -- they hired themselves out as consultants to Masters
and Johnson and are now excused from the story. The residual component, on the other
hand, swelled, bulged and grew into a teenager named Arnold, who continued to squeak.
Chemical tutors plied the protuberant lad with anti-weight loss coagulants and non-fat
palindromains, but still his midriff jutted to abnormally distended proportions. And still
he squeaked. Because the sounds had a sing-song, theatrically amelodic quality to them,
neighbors referred to him as "ein musikalische Gequiek," or, le flamb ...
I mean, a musical Gequiek. A Greek physician in the employ of P.T. Barnum
implanted first one, then six additional faulty thyroid glands into Arnold's capacious torso,
further causing his girth to increase. Then one day, Arnold had a vision. He was in Paris
with Louise Mandrell and Buckminster Fuller 207 years ago attempting to gain an
audience with Ossip Zadkine -- whose name at first meant nothing to him. Following one
wacky mishap after another, he wound up storming the Bastille Jail with the Aaron
Karamazov Brothers. A sneak attack had been planned, but Arnold's incessant squeaking
gave them away. In response, the prison employees hurled tons of rocks and drywall down
onto the ill-equipped protesters, many of whom abandoned their cause -- which was never
clear in the first palace -- on the spot. Arnold, however, was suddenly struck by an idea.
Accomplices swear they actually saw a light bulb go on above his head! Mythologists
contend it was a fluorescent bulb, especially unusual for the 18th century. His idea was
for a new form of musical composition which abandoned traditional scale systems and
established instead a series of notes whose order depended upon the relative weight of the
attendant chords and performers. Because of his circumstance in front of the Bastille
constantly being peppered by heavy debris, he called his method the 12-ton system, or
le flambeau oriange. Arnold eventually revised his music system, slimmed down to
a svelte 160, and moved to Los Angeles, where he died 45 years ago today of a Sweet
& Low overdose.|
The skirmish at the Bastille, on the other hand, put a match to the fuse of the French Revolution, the theme on today's 60th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this portion of which is brought to you by the apparent differences between an aesthetic, such as artistic squalor, and anesthetic, such as sodium nitrate, both of which can be sampled this week during fundraising on Vermont Public Radio, but we'll refrain from doing so at the impending behest of our first caller to 454-7762, where we hope, for the next two hours, anyway, to parlay sound into matter into light into peat ad infinity until it doesn't in and of itself matter any longer, and without which there could be no further Kalvos.