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Daring You To Step Outside

Weekly Radio Program Shares 'Strange and Beautiful' Music on WMNF 88.5 FM

By David Manson on December 11, 2012 2:51 PM step outside

In jazz lingo, “outside” improvisation is beyond traditional form and chord progressions, with sound and feeling emphasized over structure.  Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler and others were pioneers in this exploratory approach. 

Local radio brings these explorations to the airwaves with Step Outside, one of the longest running radio programs dedicated to fringe music in the U.S.  You can hear it every Wednesday evening from 9 to 10:30 p.m. on WMNF 88.5 FM.

ray and peterThe program originally aired as Sonic Irritations in November of 1988. For nearly 25 years, Ray Villadonga and Peter Tush have exposed listeners to what they call “strange and beautiful music,” featuring genres, artists and composers such as Sun Ra, Brian Eno, Jaco Pastorius, John Zorn, Arvo Part, Stockhausen, Charles Mingus, Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Ennio Morricone, This Heat, Fela Kuti, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Fred Frith, The Stooges, Faust, The Soft Machine, Tropicalia, psychedelia, Krautrock, prog, free jazz and much more. 

Over the years, Step Outside has steadfastly championed area new music organizations like BONK and EMIT, as well as area composers and bands.

Memorable programs include an interview with electronic composer Maurice Jarre, who told the story of introducing John Cage to Olivier Messiaen; the extended in-person interview with Adrian Belew; a two-hour phone conversation that became the sound diva Diamanda Galas show; and a four-hour program dedicated to the music of Joe Zawinul, upon his passing.

Step Outside is celebrating its 25th year milestone on February 13, 2013.  On that program, they will resurrect the infamous Gavin Bryars’ "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me" extended loop broadcast that has played annually since 2002.  Step Outside will also revisit older shows highlighting the interviews and focus shows from the SI/SO continuum archives.

Tune in for an unusual sonic experience.