The Fiery Furnaces’ Matthew Friedberger “Responds” to Beck’s Harry Partch Tribute | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 28th, 2023  

The Fiery Furnaces’ Matthew Friedberger “Responds” to Beck’s Harry Partch Tribute

Matthew Friedberger Still Isn't Amused...But We Are

Nov 19, 2009 Beck Bookmark and Share

Yesterday, we reported about Beck’s song-tribute to avant-garde composer, Harry Partch. Reportedly spawned The Fiery Furnaces’ Matt Friedberger’s insult-by-proxy of Radiohead’s tribute to British World War One veteran Harry Patch (Friedberger: “Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists.”) the song features what Beck’s website calls, “Partch’s 43 tone scale, which expands conventional tonality into a broader variation of frequencies and resonances.” The statement was a clear echo from Friedberger’s original statement where he scoffed, “How’s the song? Is it 48 notes to the octave?”

As the kids say: Pwned!

Today, Friedberger fired back. In a Courtney Love-worthy diatribe on his Myspace, he said the following:


Somebody (he didn’t want his name mentioned (though he did want his new, great band, Circle of Buzzards plugged)) told me that Beck posted a song about Harry Partch on the internet.

A virtual response, therefore.
But doesn’t this imaginary feud demand imaginary responses? And therefore, imaginary response songs? Shouldn’t we step—isn’t now the time to ascend—from the merely virtual to the boldly imaginary?

When I made up my imaginary Radiohead song about Harry Partch (in full knowledge that there was no Radiohead song about Harry Partch, regardless of whatever Dave H. said to people before he talked to me (I love you, Dave)), and was sharply critical of it, I certainly didn’t imagine my endeavors in this regard would engender such a response. How tremendously for the best it has all turned out to be.

How fruitful an imaginary song proved in practice! So as we all move forward, shouldn’t we admit that posting songs on the internet—being virtual, in other words—is so last year? So to speak. Isn’t that what every music management company intern from Northeastern recommends that bands do? That can’t be right.

I propose nothing less than the liberation and use of only our imaginations for the direct purpose of, not just pop music writing, but pop music production and distribution. And subsequent, now imaginary, blog discussion.

Won’t these imaginary songs sound sweet? I imagine they will. Think how adaptable to changing tastes and fashions they’ll be. And how many billable hours of intellectual property disputes they’ll cause! This thought-experiment rock is no doubt the breakthrough the industry professionals have been waiting for.

The music industry has already gone to the imaginary model in many respects. Bands—at least smaller bands—only get to make imaginary livings. (To say nothing of bands that imagine they are playing rock music by pressing the space bar on a laptop and hitting a floor tom. I am saying nothing about that.) Of course many fans—and fans are always the most progressive element of the rock music community—have long since gone to the imaginary model. They must really be imagining things to admire the music acts they do.

Let’s all follow their lead!”


(via Pitchfork)



Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.