WVEW’s Poor Choices

On Saturday, just after 1 PM, WVEW played a very long selection of dissonant vocal noise that could not be called music in any way.

I tolerated it for 10 minutes, and then complained to the disk jockey, who thought my assessment of it as “noise” was just an opinion.

It’s not for listening, It’s not for dancing. It’s not for thinking. The only purpose I can come up with is drowning out anything else.

I am now listening to WKVT.

I am quite tolerant of what goes for music these days, acknowledging that such as Rap and Hip Hop are legitimate, though I don’t enjoy them.

I can’t think of a better way to drive listeners away from what otherwise would be a community asset.
What the hell is going on?

Comments | 26

  • It's their show

    Tom, you seem to be under the misguided impression that WVEW programs what is played. This is incorrect. Each dj plays/does what they want. It’s kind of the point of community radio. As in anything else, you are free to not listen to what a dj selects, but to condemn the station for what a dj plays is completely missing the point of why WVEW even exists.

    • Venting.

      I understand all of that. I am just venting. I listened to it as long as I could, hoping it would end. I would have changed the station earlier, but I was too lazy to get up, and, as I said, I expected it to end.
      I never heard “It’s Gonna Rain” before, and I assure you I’ll turn it off if I ever hear it again. It may be a very famous piece of experimental composition, but it’s still annoying as hell.
      Even Justin Bieber can’t be as bad as that was.

      • I didn't bring up experimental music nor the Bieb

        But since you’ve laid him at my doorstep, I can tell you that in my opinion screeching tires with an overlay of nails on a blackboard and car alarms are easier to listen to than Justin Bieber.

        • It's all explained below

          Submitted by cgrotke on May 25, 2013 – 11:50pm. # One is all?


          Submitted by Tad Montgomery on May 26, 2013 – 1:59pm. # Famous Punk Music

  • Unlistenable Noise

    If one person doesn’t like a DJs music, should the DJ be allowed to have a show? and should the station be declared unlistenable because one person didn’t like 10 minutes of music that they heard? Sorry, but I really like noisy pop and noisy music generally. If you didn’t like what you heard on Saturday on WVEW, you should have heard what they were playing on WZBC in Boston every night under the moniker of “No Commercial Potential.” I used to joke that that show should have been called “Unlistenable Noise” but it was also my favorite radio station because I liked all the other music I heard on it.

    I love diversity in music, and the ability to hear lots of different styles and artists, including new music that pushes my boundaries. If you limited me to the endless repetition of Eagles et. al. of KVT, I would go crazy from boredom. I’ve heard all that and I want new music that I haven’t heard before.

    Also, as Annikee points out, on WVEW, you’ll hear a new style every one to two hours. Tonight, we listened to two hours of 1920s thru 1940s dance music, and it rocked. 😉

    For the record, I’ve been kind of enjoying the Saturday line-up but I have no idea what you heard in the ten minutes you listened this weekend.

  • One is all?

    I’d also take issue with criticizing the entire organization based on the contributions of a single person.

    BCTV, WVEW, and iBrattleboro ALL get criticized for “allowing” something that someone else doesn’t want to see, hear, or read.

    I think our community is much better off to have all three forms of community media, and we benefit from the wide range of voices and views if we choose to.

    Because there is so much, not everything will appeal to everyone and that’s fine.

    One of the things I like about WVEW is that the passion of the DJ is allowed to shine. Their expertise is shared over the airwaves, and listeners get to listen, but also learn. Jazz, classical, reggae, children’s music, humor, folk songs, show tunes, indie rock, and more. A free music education.

    And, for the record, I’d probably enjoy 10 minutes of someone intentionally trying to annoy me musically much more than 10 minutes of, say, Justin Bieber. Bieber would might cause my brain to fall out. But that’s just me.

  • Unlistenable music -- 100 years ago

    One hundred years ago this week, a ballet premiered that changed the art world. ‘s Le Sacre du Printemps — — was first seen by the public on May 29, 1913, in Paris. As the orchestra played The Rite’s swirling introduction, the audience at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées began to murmur. Then the curtain opened.

    Dancers dressed in folkloric costumes began to move unpredictably to the pounding chords. In the theater, the rumbles grew to pandemonium — hoots and jeers, arguments and even fistfights between traditionalists and modernists in the audience. It became difficult to hear the music.

    [read more]

    • What a Riot

      Though the work caused a riot that lasted several days, Stravinsky went on to become one of the most celebrated, well-known composers of the 20th century. His music has been loved by millions of people and has continued to influence hundreds of composers.

  • Famous Punk Music

    Tom — what you were complaining about was a show put on by the Future Collective, an art collective here in town that holds ideals that I think you would appreciate:

    And the best I can tell the music you complained about is actually a very famous piece of experimental composition. Here’s a write-up about it:

    It’s Gonna Rain
    From Wikipedia

    It’s Gonna Rain is a minimalist musical composition for magnetic tape written by Steve Reich in 1965. It lasts approximately 17 minutes and 50 seconds. It was Reich’s first major work and a landmark in minimalism and process music.


    The source material of It’s Gonna Rain consists entirely of a tape recording made in 1964 at San Francisco’s Union Square.[1] In the recording, an African American Pentecostal preacher, Brother Walter, rails about the end of the world,[2] while accompanying background noises, including the sound of a pigeon taking flight, are heard. The piece opens with the story of Noah, and the phrase “It’s Gonna Rain” is repeated and eventually looped throughout the first half of the piece.

    For the recording, Reich used two normal Wollensak tape recorders with the same recording, originally attempting to align the phrase with itself at the halfway point (180 degrees). However, due to the imprecise technology in 1965, the two recordings fell out of synch, with one tape gradually falling ahead or behind the other due to minute differences in the machines, the length of the spliced tape loops, and playback speed. Reich decided to exploit what is known as phase shifting, where all possible recursive harmonies are explored before the two loops eventually get back in sync. The following year, Reich created another composition, Come Out, in which the phrase “come out to show them” is looped to create the same effect.

    The work is in two parts of roughly equal length, the first using the “It’s Gonna Rain” sample as mentioned above, the second using a separate section of the speech with short phrases cut together and the resultant pattern then phased as in the first part, but with additional tape delay to create a more processed sound.

    During a lecture at the Long Now Foundation, electronic musician Brian Eno cited It’s Gonna Rain as his first experience with minimalism and the genre that would come to be known as ambient music.[3]

    Richard Maxfield first used a recording of an American preacher in his 1960 tape composition “Amazing Grace.”


    Folks can hear the piece, accompanied by a deeply moving video montage, here:

  • It's Gonna Rain

    Oh, my God! You criticized the radio station for playing the composition, “It’s Gonna Rain”, by Steve Reich? He’s one of our greatest living American composers! That was one of his early tape pieces from 1965. Considering the title, it seems fitting that they played that piece on a rain-drenched Saturday!

    Other major works by Reich include “Music for 18 Musicians”, “Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ”, “Tehillim”, and “Vermont Counterpoint” (for electric guitar and pre-recorded electric guitar).


  • You Could Make Your Own Choices

    The program Tomaidh heard, “The Future Collective Presents”, is moving as of tonight (Sunday 26 May 2013) to a new timeslot on Sundays from 10pm to 12midnight. Grey Goose and his guests are often very adventurous in their selections.

    WVEW-lp is a low power (100 watts), non-profit radio station whose mission is to give media access to members of our community. Tomaidh, for instance, could now apply for the timeslot The Future Collective is giving up, Saturdays from 12noon to 2pm. We’d train him to engineer his own show, and provide what help we can to make it the program he envisions.

    We do have a few daytime slots available. Anyone interested can find out more (or contact us) through our website . While you visit, if you like what we do (even though you may not like a particular program’s choices) please consider making a donation via PayPal or a debit card – Thank You!

    (disclaimer: stevil is Steven Twiss who is the station manager over at WVEW-lp.)

    p.s. When I read Tomaidh’s post, my first thought was also the Stravinsky piece. I had no idea its’ anniversary was at hand. Thanks for posting that info, SK-B!

    • A correction

      Oops. My mind and my life seem to have been taken over by auto correction. Which I don’t think is even offered here on iBrattleboro, so maybe it’s just early onset senility. But I see I erred in naming the Future Collective Presents host – I should have written “Wild Goose”. My apologies.

      • Edition

        Steve –
        An author can edit their posts in the New & Improved iBrattleboro.

        • Edit

          Thanks, Tad. I thought I read that I could now edit after posting, but I couldn’t figure out where I would have access to do that, and I didn’t have time to go look for the answer. I don’t get here very much these days, I just happened to have looked in at the right time to see this thread.

          Best wishes to all & etc.

  • Unlistenable Noise

    Hi All,

    I was the one to play Steve Reich’s piece, “It’s Gonna Rain,” which so seriously offended the original poster. It is great to hear everyone’s responses and thoughts about this issue.

    If anyone is interested in continuing this conversation about the far limits of music and exploring when are where the line get’s blurred into unlistenable noise, you should tune into The Future Collective Presents . . . at it’s new time! Sundays from 10:00 to midnight!

    I might even play some Justin Beiber!

    • Offended?

      Point of information: I was annoyed, not offended.
      As far as this form of experimental music, I feel the experiment has failed.

      • Annoyfended

        Tom, I think if I had stumbled upon the same music randomly, as you had, I would have been annoyed, too, and my sensibilities might have been offended. But I didn’t listen to it until after much of this thread had been put up, and I heard it within the context of knowing Wild Goose and the Future Collective, having learned the historical/artistic significance and watching the amazing video that accompanied it. I found the combination terribly disturbing and compelling. The audio and visual tracks are a scathing indictment of war, especially nuclear weapons.

  • Simple as Bach

    Chris & Lise — I’m delighted at the iBratt quote of the week that happens to be up as this discussion has unfolded. Exquisite planning on your part, once again, I’d say.

  • A fellow DJ responds

    Three things came to mind upon reading this post:
    1. I get amused when people say things like “I am a tolerant person” to preface something of which they are intolerant. It’s like when you hear someone say “No offense, but…” and you know you should brace yourself for a coming insult.
    2. I’m no aural masochist, but I soundly believe the best DJs are those who make us turn the radio off or down every now and then. being a DJ is an art form of its own right, and it’s not just about pushing “play” on a turntable or CD player. It’s about finding the link between songs, or finding interesting sounds to share, and sometimes it makes a statement and other times not. But it should never be banal…unless it’s trying to be banal, perhaps as an artistic statement about mediocrity. The best DJs are artists and not all art is meant to be likeable. Sometimes it has to challenge and annoy. And sometimes it just has to be a fun dance party. The great thing about art is that we get to choose to participate or not. Change the channel, but don’t condemn an entire station, or the show, just because you don’t like or understand the track. That’s just…well…intolerant.
    3. I am bummed I missed the broadcast. I am a recent convert to Steve Reich’s music and I find it fascinating and, in particular, I find “Drumming” and “Music For 18 Musicians” to be soothing, especially while I am writing. The repetition is good for my chattering mind. One of the most beautiful musical experiences I’ve had was seeing the latter piece performed at one of the recent Bang On A Can Marathons in NYC.
    Anyway, this lengthy response is basically to offer support to Wild Goose, to WVEW and my fellow DJs, and to genre-busters everywhere.

  • Credit where Credit is due

    WVEW had a great documentary on at 10:30 this (And many more) Monday Morning(s) called “The Secret of the Seven Sisters”, on how the oil companies met in secret in the 1920s and how a secret pact formed a cartel that controls the world’s oil.
    Throughout the region’s modern history, since the discovery of oil, the Seven Sisters have sought to control the balance of power.
    They have supported monarchies in Iran and Saudi Arabia, opposed the creation of OPEC, profiting from the Iran-Iraq war, leading to the ultimate destruction of Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
    The Seven Sisters were always present, and almost always came out on top.
    Since that notorious meeting at Achnacarry Castle on August 28, 1928, they have never ceased to plot, to plan and to scheme.
    It will be on every Monday for quite a while.

    • Refreshingly Abnormal

      Tomaidh, it’s interesting that you switched from ‘VEW to ‘KVT.

      I went the other way.

      The music ‘KVT FM plays became boring and repetitive to me back in the 70’s when it was relatively new but immediately got played to death.
      Age has not improved it, in most cases.

      The beauty of WVEW is its completely unscripted, unpredictable, wackiness.
      You are going to get a Future Collective Presents, or a Deacon Dan (and his lovely wife, Wilma) or a DJ Karen, with her unique style – or Mama & Monkey (no joke).
      These shows can not exist anywhere in the commercial universe which ‘KVT inhabits.

      Listening to Future Collective (which I do whenever I can) is like exercise for the ears.
      It is hard.
      You have to think and be open intellectually, which as we get older can be difficult (not that youth is any guarantee of intellectual openness).
      Listening to SunRa or Ornette Coleman is always a challenge. I find Mozart challenging in a different way. His compositions are pleasant enough, but my ears don’t always pick up the underlying musical structure – probably easy enough for a student of classical music, which I am not.

      Back to my point: the value of WVEW is in its lack of musical limits. If you like ‘KVT there’s a good chance you’ll like DJ Cam (Wednesday afternoon’s, 1-3) and probably others. It takes a little longer to get to know than a formatted station, but well worth it!
      Don’t give up yet!

  • Great thread, as a DJ and a

    Great thread, as a DJ and a WVEW board member I’m glad to see people discussing WVEW in such a positive (and negative) light.

    Two standout comments:

    1) Original commenter saying “but I was too lazy to get up.” That made me LOL big time. We’ve all been there. Too lazy to get up but motivated enough to leave a message here. Love it.

    2) “The beauty of WVEW is its completely unscripted, unpredictable, wackiness.” We need to put that on the website testimonials 😉

    Changing up my playlist for next week’s All Mixed up show (Tuesday’s 11am-noon). It’s going to be Justin Bieber remixes, a couple of Slayer B-sides and several blocks of complete silence interspersed with babies crying. Thanks for listening 😉

  • It’s Gonna Rain – Redux

    Tonight @ about 7:30, the Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald again treated us all to Steve Reich’s masterpiece. I still find it annoying, but my roommate Jake (entirely unprompted by myself) went ballistic. Entranced by Brother Walter endlessly repeating the words “It’s Gonna Rain”, he started growling, and then ran aimlessly from room to room barking at the top of his lungs. I guess he didn’t like it either.

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