Hans Morgenstern’s blog: the Independent Ethos
I hold a degree in print journalism from Florida International University and a Master’s degree in English with a certificate in Film Studies from the same university with many years of experience in the publishing world. I am a card carrying member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a voting member of the Florida Film Critics Circle. I have been writing about music in magazines and weeklies since 1992, when FIU’s student newspaper, “The Beacon,” published my CD review of Ween’s Pure Guava (that review will be reprinted here soon). My work has since appeared in the pages of various publications including:
- The Houston Press
- The Cleveland Scene
- The Miami New Times
- The Broward/Palm Beach New Times
- CMJ Music Monthly
- Jam Entertainment
- South Florida Music Spotlight
- Goldmine Record Collector’s Magazine
I am currently employed by a major independent TV news station in Miami as the producer for their news content on their web page. I’ve been writing and editing content for them since 2003. This blog is in no way affiliated with that objective, news-oriented site, so I will not mention its name. I hope to use this blog for keeping alive my long career as a culture critic and ultimately for thrill and fun. One of the perks is that I still receive free promotional items and tickets from studios and labels, and I may be reviewing and mentioning those on this blog (I have to state this per FTC rules).
My interests in music, like any true fan of recorded music, vary but skews toward the alternative rock world. The figurehead for my music tastes starts with David Bowie, and I plan to blog and reprint many articles about him here. I am a big fan of the early 70s progressive a.k.a. art rock scene, German Krautrock music of that same era, then the later postpunk movement in England, which also spawned Goth rock, industrial and the new romantics in 80s. I am also into the more contemporary scene of alternative music, including post rock, dream pop, electronica, ambient (which actually dates back to the mid 70s work of Brian Eno), shoegaze, twee and noise pop of the 90s and the Japanoise world of the same era that thrives to this day. The alternative world of the contemporary 2000s is more nebulous to me as far as subgenres, but I do like the pastoral chamber pop scene and current bands like Deerhunter, Broken Social Scene, TV on the Radio, Phoenix, the Antlers, (who all seem to harken back to shoegaze, postpunk and classic rock in their own ways), etc.
As of 2012 I am a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, an elite group of only about 20 working film critics in the state of Florida who adhere to a strict code of ethics. My film experience comes from a more academic background. I wrote my Master’s thesis on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and its subversion of the classical Hollywood cinema form (I’ll probably make that entire thing available here as well). I taught a film class on cinema and American Culture at Barry University for several semesters before I completed my Master’s degree. I also substitute taught a film and culture course at FIU and headed a study abroad course to the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic for the same university. During my studies, I also presented a thesis paper on Eyes Wide Shut on an academic panel as part of the university’s involvement with the Miami International Film Festival. I also spent several years working at the MIFF and the Miami Jewish Film Festival working as an assistant to the programming department at both festivals. My last year at the MIFF included coordinating and deciding on the short films program for the festival.
Why Indie Ethos?
Though, yes, I do interact with the corporate world of art (inevitable in this day and age– more than ever before) I wish to celebrate the independent ethos of artists in music and film who create art that pushes against the grain of corporate-subsidized popular culture. Granted, there do exist commercially successful artists worth celebrating who still get away with being creative while making a fortune, and there are also corporate-sponsored artists who the industry takes an honest chance on as originals and pioneers.
I will also not pretend that there is no social part of creating art. This cannot be avoided. I have always focused on the final product more than the creator, though I also would like to hear what the artist has to say about what they put into creating their work (there will be interviews on this blog both new and reprinted). Finally, I must point out that I do not believe the artist’s vision is synonymous with ultimate meaning, which I believe to be a highly subjective and personal experience. That said, I tend to favor the psychological implications of art, particularly in film (I like to call the movie screen a mirror).
Speaking of film, when it comes to movies, good old-fashioned celluloid is my preferred medium. I look forward to reviewing movies and will try to represent movies on such film, though far be it from me to not include DVD reviews, thanks to the limits of movie houses in my Miami hometown. Which reminds me, as far as listening to music, nothing rivals the warm sound of a clean slab of vinyl. I’ll be posting lots in regards to vinyl reissues, reviews and finds during record hunts.
Lastly, a statement about media I hope to share through this blog. I, by no means, intend to profit off any artist by sharing mp3s and videos, least of all contribute to the pockets of bootleggers, but I may cover both official and unofficial material, both in regards to music and film, for the sake of thorough representation and historical reasons and also to benefit the artists’ exposure. If anything I do share seems an offense to any artist or its sponsor, I will take it down, upon request.
You can contact me directly via email: indieethos(at)gmail.com with any leads you want to share. Studios, labels, bands are welcome. I happy to analyze vinyl records and/or promos. Those can be sent by mail to:
10500 SW 108 Ave. #B-306
Miami, FL 33176
Finally, you can also subscribe to alerts of posts here and get lots of bonus news on music and film by subscribing to my Twitter account: @Indieethos. I also have a Facebook page that I hope you will “like” and follow.
Remember, I take art seriously and can be critical. Art must move us forward and stimulate the intellect and the primal senses at the same time.