Al Margolis’s Clamorous Niche

Al Margolis

[April 2001. Originally appeared in La Folia 3:3.]

Okay, so originally I was thinking of writing some reviews.

But I just finished reading a Sunday NY Times article about that kid, Jonathan Lebed, who made $800,000 on Internet stock trading (hey, kid, send some of what the SEC left ya to Pogus). And the SEC came down on him for “manipulating the market.” This gets me to thinking. Maybe it’s time to “manipulate” the cd market. I run a small label, Pogus — getting kind of redundant hearing that, isn’t it? In general, it’s tough out there if you’re not selling commercial music. That part I am not complaining about. And while it is probably not ethical for me to write about cds on my own label, obviously trying to “pump up the sales” (expletive dismembered) — come on, let’s see the SEC stop me! Ha!

But there is something I do find of interest, and in a matter of full disclosure, this is one of my peeves, never mind pet. Having too many of cats, I do not want to claim more dependents. Anyway, to get back to my peeve, some of the Pogus discs (Oliveros, Lindblad) have done quite well, and some have fallen completely flat. Is it because the composers have fallen off the map or that the lps they made never became collectors’ items, and thus the clamor is not there? I mean, Leo Kupper (Pogus has put out two excellent cds of his electroacoustic music) only had an lp on Igloo and part of an lp on the Deutsche Grammophon Avant Garde series. Kenneth Gaburo had a couple of well received electronic lps, but my disc of his 10 tape pieces has not done anywhere near what I thought it would given the push these days for electronica. Maybe I’m just bitching and moaning. But then there’s the new David Rosenboom cd of electronic works (ok, to be fair, that one’s just out). Maybe I have bad taste? Always possible, and you notice I hadn’t brought my own discs (If, Bwana) into the discussion, well, not till now. Talk about bad taste! But when you run your own label, you can do what you want.

So, to sum up, those are all great cds and you should buy buy buy! What better investment, particularly with the market down. Yours anonymously,

“Sal” Margolis

[Editor’s Note: Al/Sal need not have apologized for discussing his own label, Pogus. Nothing could please us more than to have the proprietors of independent labels use La Folia as their forum. We hope in future to find Al covering the kinds of releases that would inspire most of our contributors, Steve Koenig excepted, to hit — nay, slam! — the stop buttons on their remotes.]