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As some of you may remember, the name of this new blog was also the name of the weekly column I wrote for about eight years in the print version of the Reader. I stepped down from that job a few years ago, making way for Bob Mehr's column, The Meter. This is a whole different can of worms, natch, but I'll still be chewing the fat about music--Chicago happenings will get plenty of attention, but there's a big world out there. Too often the American media don't bother looking beyond their own borders, which is a real shame.
I just returned from a trip to Norway, where I attended a music festival in Kongsberg. Before I went I knew that Norway, particularly Oslo, was one of the most potent and creative scenes for jazz and electronic and experimental music. My visit not only reinforced those feelings, but also made it clear that Norway is even richer than I thought. In the Country, Supersilent, Atomic, Hanne Hukkelberg, Ultralyd, Poing, Wibutee--names that are probably just gibberish to most of us--represent a mother lode of quality music-making, where players routinely erase the lines between jazz, electronica, experimental, rock, singer-songwriter turf, and contemporary classical. When a nation with a population that's slightly bigger than Chicago's can produce so much stuff, it's clear that we ignore the rest of the world at our own peril. OK, maybe peril is too strong a word. But if you dig music why limit yourself to what's nearby?
It's not a hypothetical question--join the conversation.