Comments by John Schaefer

Comment for "The Well-Rounded Radio Interview with Múm"

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Make room for Múm

I almost hesitate to make any critical statements about a program that is trying to expose public radio audiences to the music of Múm. Instead, I would prefer to simply praise the effort to expand the scope of music on public radio and leave it at that. However, I believe that this type of adventurous musical programming is so desperately needed that I will risk potentially distracting the ears of a few PD's in the hopes that this could become a stronger addition to my public airwaves.

Some folks in the radio world may look at a program like this and draw the rather myopic coclusion that a feature such as this "may be more useful to AAA stations and college stations which focus on contemporary music and approach it with a broad palate and wide musical view." To me, however, this seems a strong recipe for making sure public radio stations have no audience in the future. It's essential for stations to think long term in their programming and start cultivating younger listeners... maybe kids in college would be a good demographic to start looking at? I don't know... I'm not a PD...

Anyway, there are some very interesting sections of this interview and Kristín Valtysdóttir's scattershot English creates some downright dreamy poetic landscapes - not unlike the music of her band. Unfortunately, not all of this interview is interesting. I think it may be particularly challenging for audiences (arguably most audiences at this point) who have never heard of the band to stay focused on the piece as it is. What might make this piece even more challenging for random listeners is never really getting the opportunity to have a full composition from the band unfold in front of them - something that during the course of the 30m feature may have been quite helpful. I think an extremely strong feature would emerge from some careful editing and the addition of an opportunity for listeners to absorb an entire song. I think that something in the 7-12m range would be quite fantastic for most listeners, maybe something short enough to leave them dazzled by the combination punch of Kristín Valtysdóttir's statements and the generally mesmerizing style of Múm's music. To complete the 30m perhaps a seperate feature on other Icelandic music or an altogether different artist would make for a unique package... the billboarding of the next feature may also help keep listeners around if they aren't swept away by the lush sounds of this isolated quartet.

On a strictly technical note, there seemed to be some inconsistant monitoring of levels in the piece... nothing severe, but I did at times feel as though the music in the background was fighting with the interview. Additionally, the quality of the reviewers voice during the "Well Rounded Rave" segment sounded a little on the Radio Shack side of things to my ear. And, for the most part, I was a little confused at first as to what the segment was all about. It could probably benefit from a more expansive intro.

Overall, however, I think the most important suggestion I could possibly make to Mr. McEnerney would be this:

Please keep going! You're doing important work to expand the public radio audience and I for one greatly appreciate it.

Comment for "WNYC's Fishko Files: An Hour With Dave Brubeck"

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Review of An Hour With Dave Brubeck

Perhaps this program has already been picked up by all the stations out there across the land and my attempt to add a glowing beacon of hubbub to it is no longer necessary. In the off chance, however, that this is not the case, please allow me to gush about this fine use of air time.

This is an abundantly informative and friendly dip into the body of work of living Jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Sara Fishko (host) does a tremendous and respectful job of guiding listeners through Mr. Brubeck's illustrious past. There are plentiful breaks provided to allow us to soak up the specific recorded works being discussed and the selected passages are just enough of a sample for our ears to linger in without allowing the flow of the conversation to slip away.

There are some fascinating and enlightening moments in here which I am reluctant to spoil in this review for those who have yet to listen. I will share with you, however, what I feel is the underlying reason explaining how Fishko allows for these insightful thoughts to surface for Mr. Brubeck. I believe it comes from her completely honest and respectful approach with her guest. Brubeck seems so comfortable with the atmosphere she has created that I believe he feels he could share just about anything with her. Granted, the interview is conducted in his own home, where one would expect an obvious level of comfort, but even still, Fishko's warmth and well informed questioning sets the stage for Brubeck to unfold.

This is a delightful 59 minutes and I applaud the producers of the work for their efforts in sharing it. I only wish they could have come up with a more descriptive title for the piece... just kidding.