Culture and politics after the net

Mute magazine hosts an article on modern music by Ben Watson.

Just when I thought ‘contemporary music’ should be renamed ‘missed opportunity’, I came across the music of Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana-Maria Avram, two composers from Bucharest in Romania. Despite support from the Romanian government, they’ve made little impact on the pusillanimous music scene in the UK, and it’s been left to the usual malfunded outsiders to support them. Over the last few years, London Musicians Collective (as was) and Resonance FM have organised concerts for them at Conway Hall. The Avram and Dumitrescu CDs on their own Edition Minuit label are distributed by ReR Megacorp in Britain and in the rest of the world by the network of ‘avant’ labels which drummer Chris Cutler has assiduously knitted together over the last three decades. The fact that Tim Hodgkinson (along with Cutler a member of Henry Cow in the early-’70s) is actively involved with Dumitrescu/Avram – playing bass clarinet in their ensemble, contributing his own pieces – shows that I’m not alone in considering their music as the ‘rebirth of avant garde‘.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The iO Quartet performs Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana-Maria Avram in New York

From Brooklyn’s West Nile, coming May 16:

iO Quartet performs Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana-Maria Avram
with interludes by Mario Diaz de Leon and Doron Sadja
curated by Mario Diaz de Leon

“The music of Iancu Dumitrescu explores the ultimate sense of sound guiding the listener through new spheres of sonic adventure, a kind of cryptic music…”
Robert Zank, Edition RZ , Berlin

The New York based iO String Quartet perform the works of Romanian composers Dumitrescu (b. 1943) and Ana-Maria Avram (b. 1961). Their work of the last 30 years often finds favor with fans of noise and drone oriented music, given it’s focus on raw intensity and uncovering inner worlds of sound. iO recently performed this music on the Spectrum XXI European tour, where they worked daily with the composers, and performed as part of the 20-person “Hyperion Ensemble” (Bucharest). A rare opportunity to hear these amazing works in the USA, in the intimacy of West Nile – Brooklyn’s donation based center for experimental performance and art.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Three New Releases on Planam

Charlemagne Palestine
Image via Wikipedia

Planam offers some new recordings:

DENDOSHI: Dendoshi 2 LP
“Dendoshi is Keith Connolly (No Neck Blues Band), Raymond Dijkstra (Asra), Dave Nuss (No Neck Blues Band) and Timo Van Luyk (Af Ursin, In Camera). Dendoshi: ‘he who comes to propagate the ceremony’ or ‘missionary’ (Japanese). There had actually been a previous incarnation of Dendoshi (hence Dendoshi 2), which was a large group performance in New York which concentrated on elucidating the memories of a dead tree which had been re-contextualized as a sculptural exhibit. Some thematic reference: The name ‘Dendoshi’ originates from the work of Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa, whose films also inspired the content of the first performance. When the opportunity presented itself for Connolly, Dijkstra, Nuss and Van Luyk to come together to make a session, it was the perfect opportunity to realize Dendoshi not as a one-off performance on a theme, but as a recurring ritual in development. The resulting music widened the conceptual reflection of the band, bringing to mind the history and ideas of Franz Mesmer. Mesmer, the 18th century Austrian spiritualist healer, was among the first to put forth the theory of what he termed ‘animal magnetism,’ regarding a universal fluid which permeates all matter and can be influenced by the will, not dissimilar to some of Eliphas Levi’s concepts. What seemed to set Mesmer apart was an attention to mood and atmosphere, an aesthetic component to what were scientifically quite dubious theories, which lent his work an aura of portent — thus the parallel with the music captured as Dendoshi 2. Reflecting the qualities that all four musical sensibilities had in common, the album is a statement upon the ephemeral nature of atmosphere and will, and the relation of reverie to oblivion as opposed to ecstasy. The symbol, or mark on the front cover created by Connolly came intuitively and without revision. Its applied function is that of distinction rather than that of protection or as a seal. It was first applied to the photograph by Clarence H. White form 1904, where the first resonant depiction or personification of reverie and oblivion as applied to Dendoshi was found. By applying the mark, Connolly is ceremonializing the image, thus rendering it distinct from its original form, not as an appropriation, but as a recognition. The other images followed, and each of them were recognized instantly without having to search. The last was Vermeer’s image from Van Luyk’s basement, and upon receiving this, the series of 4 inserts was complete. There is a trace of fear and a sensation of suspended time in these images which suits the music very well. Edition limited to 300 copies with a gold cover.”

“Entering their 20th year of existence, the GOL orchestra, together with the label Planam, celebrates and starts a new program of collaborations: the Gollaboration series. Musique Directe shows the band facing the leaders of Rumanian spectralism, Ana-Maria Avram and Iancu Dumitrescu. Electric and intense spontaneous experiments, on the edge of electroacoustic music and primitive avant-garde. Live recordings in Marseille and Paris with the participation of Ansamblul Hyperion members Petru and Matei Teodorescu on one track. GOL was formed in 1988 in Paris by Jean-Marcel Busson, Frédéric Rebotier, Ravi Sharda and Samon Takahashi. The quartet embodies, within a post-Dada spirit, a lost rural tradition. GOL plays flute, horns, guitar, violin, toys, self-manufactured instruments, tapes, turntables, voices, various percussion instruments and electronics, an appropriateness of both traditional string instrument and handmade low fi equipment. GOL’s first LP, issued in 1993, compiles their first items (’88-’92) based on vinyl-record scratching, tape cut-ups and acoustic instruments. The issuing of this LP was followed by a 9-year hibernation. Since 2002, the band is back together to pursue its common research and play together with instinct and invention. Their music, electroacoustic-oriented, is partially improvised and partly tense. At the time of a collaboration with Rumanian composer Iancu Dumitrescu, GOL developed a score system renowned as ‘layer’s leaf .’ Through this system, they could elaborate a hybrid music between orchestral conduct and free interpretation of movements. Edition limited to 300 copies, also including the improvisation sketch for ‘Musique Directe V’ (not on the record).”

GOL & CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE: Pandamoniahbleeummm!!!! LP
“Entering their 20th year of existence, the GOL orchestra, together with the label Planam, celebrates and starts a new program of collaborations: the Gollaboration series. Volume 2, Pandamoniahbleeummm!!!! marks the encounter with Charlemagne Palestine, pioneer of strumming music and piano maximalism, in the St. Eustache Church in Paris, known for its world famous church organ. The following battle, in the form of a long incantatory improvisation, Charlemagne Palestine playing the church organ and GOL doing the electronics, bass, guitar, and the flutes part, combines many attributes of a pagan ritual. Edition limited to 300 copies, also including a large insert with liner notes and great graphics by Jean-Marcel Busson who also designed the front and back cover.”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]