Second Inversion

A few years ago, Seattle’s classical music station, King FM, went public and is now a not-for-profit enterprise.  Commercial free, community supported, and still running strong.  Er, that rocks.

Almost three years ago, with the motto, “Rethink Classical”, they added to their charter an on-line radio station called Second Inversion.  You can listen to them streaming, read their blogs, and see what they’re all about on at .  They also have a YouTube station , and I’m sure they have a foot print in other media.

I discovered them by picking up a business card they’d placed at a local record store.  Key point:  while you ignore as much noise as possible, never ignore a free opportunity to learn something new.  There’s a fine line there somewhere.

Seattle record stores always have free shit laying around near the exit – CDs, posters, flyers, cards, newsletters; generally, stuff.  (Is this true in other places?  My excursions in England have failed on this point.  Portland, sure, lots of stuff.  Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco: I can’t remember.  Other?)

The idea for Second Inversion is to re-imagine what classical music can be.  This includes re-interpreting 250-year-old pieces using different arrangements, different instruments, different combinations, or different tempos.  It includes using a full orchestra to play rock and roll.  It essentially includes doing anything you can think of when considering “classical music”.  The results have been outstanding.  I can list the reasons why I don’t listen to Second Inversion more: 1) I still have a day job, 2) there’s so much other stuff going on, and 3) I’m a rocker at heart.

I want to be clear, I love classical music.  I’m not terribly knowledgeable, but I love the stuff.  I’ve enjoyed going to the symphony a few times and listening to various things from time to time.  Classical music doesn’t need help; I like it the way it is.  Still, it’s always, always, a great thing to re-imagine what could be.  And thus we have Second Inversion.

My entire mindset is supportive of what these folks are trying to do.  For this post, I wanted to share some of my favorite finds from this virtual station; I’m interested if other people see connections between this project and more typical popular music.

Andy Akiho and the Friction Quartet with steel pan

Joachim Horsley — Beethoven In Havana

Passenger String Quartet — Mozart/Nirvana Mashup


To close, this concept isn’t new to me.  I’ve been a big fan of John Cale for a very long time.  His adaptation of Dylan Thomas poems to an orchestra is well known and has been a personal favorite.  From The Falkland Suite.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Moreover, here is a sample of his musical scores for the debut of two Andy Warhol films, Eat and Kiss.

Movement 3 [from Kiss]


© Community Noise 2017.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Photo credit Ram Mallari Jr.; see Steampunk Tendencies on FB.


Published by

Community Noise

Interested in music. Most of my personal catalogue is indie bands, and punk, but also avant garde, blues, Motown ... almost but not quite, anything. I am now learning much about classical and contemporary works. I'm looking for people to share music, new and old, and looking for new avenues to discovery new music. Come with me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s