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Watch Moogfest kick off with epic 50-hour livestream, lineup – minus men

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Events,Scene | Wed 6 Dec 2017 6:20 pm

Women and transgender artists have too often seen their work in electronic music pushed to the margins. Moogfest’s launch this year puts them first.

Moogfest this year promises to have the mix they’ve been brewing in the latest editions: part music festival, part conference, with music and music technology meeting up with larger themes around science and innovation. The difference is, instead of the presence of female and transgender artists being just another box for curators to tick — “hey, look, we booked some women” — here, they’re leading the announcement. That includes both a 50-hour livestream of back-to-back sets from a pretty amazing and diverse set of artists, plus the first wave announcement of artists.

Here’s Madame Gandhi explaining the idea:

The result is a mixture of people you know really well (legends like Suzanne Ciani, Moor Mother) alongside a lot of artists who are almost certainly new to you – particularly as they’ve been drawn from disparate genres and geographies. Indeed, these are the kind of people who have been quietly pushing music in new directions, but who might get lost in the fine print of music programs, or pushed to the side in music headlines. In fact, I think the upshot is a potential victory not only for gender equality, but for independent and out-of-the-mainstream music, too. And knowing CDM readers, irrespective of your gender, I think that’s a value you’re likely to enjoy seeing represented.

As Ciani tells The New York Times:

For Ms. Ciani, the theme for Moogfest 2018 is only natural. “Women have long been intimately connected to electronic music, perhaps because it offered a path outside male-dominated conventional music worlds,” she said. “What has changed is an awareness of women in the field historically as well as a huge influx of contemporary talent.”

Moogfest Shines a Spotlight on Female, Nonbinary and Transgender Musicians

To that I’d add that it’s worth noting that the “influx” and “contemporary” parts are also closely tied to international artists. Our own CDM contributor will have a conversation with a fellow Romanian woman in the Bucharest scene for one link to that; I’ve also had conversations recently with a some Iranian artists about the situation for women making music there (and the resulting international scene as they travel), and … well, look down the list of countries below.

Moor Mother, the ground-breaking experimental project of Philadelphia’s Camae Ayewa, is one of many people deserving of first-wave headliner recognition – and now getting it.

We’ll have some interviews with artists shortly, so Moogfest’s lineup is your gain, wherever you are.

To watch the livestream:

You can watch from anywhere beginning at 12pm ET on Wednesday December 6 until 2pm ET on Friday December 8.
http://AlwaysOn.Live

Or watch here:

I’m also cross-posting to our CDM Facebook page.

The beginning is – starting very radical, in a nice way! Unfortunately, upstream bandwidth / encoding looks … very choppy. Hoping some of the artists sort that out better. (This is a real roadblock of livestreaming, but that’s a topic for another time.)

Livestream artists:

Admina
(Bucharest, Romania)
Adriana T
(Athens, GA, USA)
Alissa Derubeis
(Asheville, NC, USA)
Amy Knoles
(Valencia, CA, USA)
Ana Paula Santana
(Guadalajara, Mexico)
Andrea Alvarez
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Annie Hart
(Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Awaymsg
(Durham, NC, USA)
Aseul
(Seoul, South Korea)
Bells Roar
(Albany, NY, USA)
Caz9
(Dublin, Ireland)
Club Chai (8ULENTINA & FOOZOOL)
(Bay Area, CA, USA)
Despicable Zee
(Oxford, UK)
DJ Haram
(Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Dot
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Ela Minus
(Bogota, Columbia)
Elles
(London, UK, USA)
Emily Wells
(New York, NY, USA)
Fari B
(London, UK)
FOSIL
(Chile, Santiago)
Galcid
(Tokyo, Japan)
Jil Christensen
(Durham, NC, USA)
KALONICA NICX
(Bandung, Indonesia)
Kandere
(Melbourne, Australia)
Katie Gately
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Kim Ki O
(Istanbul, Turkey)
Lauren Flax
(New York, NY, USA)
Lilith Ai
(London, UK)
Lucy Cliche
(Sydney, Australia)
Lya “Drummer”
(London, UK)
Madame Gandhi
(New Delhi, India)
Mileece
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Moor Mother
(Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Nazira
(Almaty, Khazakhstan)
Nesa Azadikhah
(Tehran, Iran)
Nicola Kuperus
(Detroit, MI, USA)
Nonku Phiri
(Johannesburg, South Africa)
OG Lullabies
(Washington, DC, USA)
OTOMO X (Fay Milton & Ayse Hassan)
(London, UK)
PlayPlay
(Durham, NC, USA)
Pulpy Shilpy
(Pune, India)
SARANA
(Samarinda, East Borneo)
Sassy Black
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Stud1nt
(Asheville, NC, USA)
Sui Zhen
(Melbourne, Australia)
Suzanne Ciani & Layne
(Bolinas, CA, USA)
Suzi Analogue
(Miami, FL, USA)
Therese Workman
(New York, NY, USA)
Vessel Skirt
(Hobart, Tasmania)
Zensofly
(Durham, NC, USA)

Of course, even better than live streaming is – being there in person. (No buffering issues! Or… if there are, seek medical attention!)

Here’s the first-wave lineup announcement, including a couple of friends (and a couple of idols)!

Amber Mark
Annie Hart
Armen Ra
Aurora Halal
Bonaventure
Carla Dal Forno
CEP (Caroline Polachek)
Caterina Barbieri
DJ HARAM
Ellen Allien
Emily Sprague
Fatima Al Qadiri
Fawkes
Gavin Rayna Russom
Helen Money
Honey Dijon
Jamila Woods
Jenny Hval
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Karyyn
Katie Gately
Kristin Kontrol
Kyoka
Lawrence Rothman
Madame Gandhi
Maliibu Miitch
Midori Takada
Nadia Sirota
Nicole Mitchell
Noncompliant
Pamelia Stickney
Sassy Black
Shanti Celeste
SOPHIE
Stud1nt
Umfang
Upper Glossa

The post Watch Moogfest kick off with epic 50-hour livestream, lineup – minus men appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Rapping the News in Senegal

Delivered... Aisha Deme | Scene | Wed 15 Nov 2017 7:00 am

Since 2013 the Senegalese news show «Journal Rappé» merges rap with daily news. The concept of the two hip hop pioneers Keyti and Xuman is innovative and creative, as our authors think. The means of parody has thereby become a crucial piece: powerful aesthetics whereby the artist goes even further into the derision of national polictics. A commentary from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Journal Rappé (Music) and Xuman (Video): «Formidable comme Karim Wade» (Senegal 2014)

In Senegal, hip hop is a sentinel for the social and political interests of the people. It does so via committed activism, the actions of its participants on the ground, and what it does best: the music and its messages. From «Fass», a popular area in Dakar, Xuman is one of the pioneers of this movement, a key player for over twenty years, and quite popular among Senegalese youth. His success comes from his dedicated activism, his eloquence in denouncing a perverted system, his brilliant capacity to describe the society, and his distinctive way of doing it all with humor, subtlety and fine details of his own.

Appropriating the Political Debate

With such an explosive cocktail, the hip hop star initiated the «Journal Rappé» (JTR) in April 2013, with another hip hop pioneer Keyti. JTR is an innovative and creative concept in which the two artists produce a show that covers a selection of national and international news. Born on YouTube with no sponsors, and before being aired on the second TV channel in Senegal (2STV), the JTR has gained the support of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and has been launched in the Ivory Coast in 2015. Institutional politics in Senegal generally don’t aim at laying the ground for an informed political debate; rather, they are more preoccupied with and focused on partisan interests. As such, the JTR uniquely fills in a considerable gap between the official politics and a great part of the population by providing a fun and alternative political reflection. Appropriating the political debate and informing the broader population through distinctive critical lenses, it renders public debates accessible, especially to the youth (in Senegal and abroad) that are huge hip hop lovers.

The Derision of National Politics

Xuman’s parodies have become crucial pieces of the JTR: powerful aesthetics whereby the artist goes even further into the derision of national politics. This episode is about Karim Wade, the former President Ablaye Wade’s son who, appointed «super minister» by his «powerful» father, was recently sentenced to six years in prison for wrongfully acquired properties. Xuman couldn’t have chosen a more powerful song than the one of Stromae to tell the story of a «fallen prince», to whom the father dreamt and literally planned to offer the country on a silver platter. It was unthinkable for son and father that one day the people could hold him accountable. His astonishment, his unconsciousness, and his arrogance, are wonderfully staged in this parody, a parody that is just formidable!

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Jenny Fatou Mbaye & Aisha Deme: «Xuman: Mocking the Powerful»
> Jenny Fatou Mbaye: «Five Video Clips from Senegal»
> Georg Milz: «Politrap aus dem Senegal»
> Maxime Pasques: «A ‹Formidable› Hype in Brussels»
> Wanlov The Kubolor: «In Ghana, Stromae Wouldn’t Be Lonely»

Xuman: Mocking the Powerful

Delivered... Jenny Fatou Mbaye | Scene | Fri 10 Nov 2017 7:00 am

With his rapped news show «Journal Rappé» (currently in its fourth season) Senegalese hip hop pioneer Xuman mocks the powerful. In this clip from 2014 he used the famous hit «Formidable» by Stromae and turned it into a parody on a fallen local politician. Our two authors consider that as «a thoughtful critique of the persisting disconnect between people and their governing representatives». A commentary from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Journal Rappé (Music) and Xuman (Video): «Formidable comme Karim Wade» (Senegal 2014)

How can popular music move citizens in an aesthetically appealing, though still critically engaging way? Parodia: Greek term for a counter- (para) song (oide). To resonate with the general public’s sense of humor, satiric imitations need familiar references. The recipe that Senegalese rapper Xuman uses in this parody is a mix of global sounds with a discursive and body performance distinctively situated in time and place. Hence he resorts to the musical product by the internationally-acclaimed Stromae: the métisse figure of pop music, an unintentional subject of African pride, a reflection of its diaspora and composite European heritage. Stromae’s song in particular, whose video clip went viral, shows him wandering and drunk, lamenting the loss of his girlfriend. The soundtrack is popular and its chorus is now familiar to many (see here and here).

The Fall of Karim Wade

But for a parody to be effective, the context must be recognizable. Appropriating the global hit about a fallen man, Xuman polemically references a quite local and specific reality: the one of a fallen political prince (we still have those on our dear continent!) on his way to his trial for «wrongfully acquired properties» during his mandate as minister under his father’s presidency. The performer uses past events in his discourse: Karim Wade’s fall was real, and the ingratitude and lack of understanding from Senegalese people, as well as the jealousy of a previous political opponent – now president – are the reasons behind his descent. Dressed up as a businessman after a nightlong party, with archival footage surrounded by Wade’s «great works» (hotels and roads), Xuman humorously mocks the once-upon-a-time political heir, blaming Senegalese people for forgetting about him and what he accomplished for Dakar: the city «looked like trash and, thanks to me, it’s more beautiful now.» They should not have judged him on the amount of money he spent, for «what matters is the result» and as such, he should be rewarded. The fallen prince, son of a presidential king, was wonderful, formidable, but misunderstood, as the parody ironically states.

Film still from Journal Rappé (Music) and Xuman (Video): «Formidable comme Karim Wade» (Senegal 2014)

Denouncing Political Legitimacy and Accountability

Xuman’s performance shows how humor is key here. He is fun to be serious, light to be deep, and through the joking about the absurdity of that delusion lies a thoughtful critique of the persisting disconnect between people and their governing representatives. The powerful aesthetics of a satiric video clip – it’s a wonderful parody – effectively denounce derailed political legitimacy and accountability.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Jenny Fatou Mbaye: «Five Video Clips from Senegal»
> Georg Milz: «Politrap aus dem Senegal»
> Maxime Pasques: «A ‹Formidable› Hype in Brussels»
> Wanlov The Kubolor: «In Ghana, Stromae Wouldn’t Be Lonely»

Xuman: Mocking the Powerful

Delivered... Jenny Fatou Mbaye | Scene | Fri 10 Nov 2017 7:00 am

With his rapped news show «Journal Rappé» (currently in its fourth season) Senegalese hip hop pioneer Xuman mocks the powerful. In this clip from 2014 he used the famous hit «Formidable» by Stromae and turned it into a parody on a fallen local politician. Our two authors consider that as «a thoughtful critique of the persisting disconnect between people and their governing representatives». A commentary from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Journal Rappé (Music) and Xuman (Video): «Formidable comme Karim Wade» (Senegal 2014)

How can popular music move citizens in an aesthetically appealing, though still critically engaging way? Parodia: Greek term for a counter- (para) song (oide). To resonate with the general public’s sense of humor, satiric imitations need familiar references. The recipe that Senegalese rapper Xuman uses in this parody is a mix of global sounds with a discursive and body performance distinctively situated in time and place. Hence he resorts to the musical product by the internationally-acclaimed Stromae: the métisse figure of pop music, an unintentional subject of African pride, a reflection of its diaspora and composite European heritage. Stromae’s song in particular, whose video clip went viral, shows him wandering and drunk, lamenting the loss of his girlfriend. The soundtrack is popular and its chorus is now familiar to many (see here and here).

The Fall of Karim Wade

But for a parody to be effective, the context must be recognizable. Appropriating the global hit about a fallen man, Xuman polemically references a quite local and specific reality: the one of a fallen political prince (we still have those on our dear continent!) on his way to his trial for «wrongfully acquired properties» during his mandate as minister under his father’s presidency. The performer uses past events in his discourse: Karim Wade’s fall was real, and the ingratitude and lack of understanding from Senegalese people, as well as the jealousy of a previous political opponent – now president – are the reasons behind his descent. Dressed up as a businessman after a nightlong party, with archival footage surrounded by Wade’s «great works» (hotels and roads), Xuman humorously mocks the once-upon-a-time political heir, blaming Senegalese people for forgetting about him and what he accomplished for Dakar: the city «looked like trash and, thanks to me, it’s more beautiful now.» They should not have judged him on the amount of money he spent, for «what matters is the result» and as such, he should be rewarded. The fallen prince, son of a presidential king, was wonderful, formidable, but misunderstood, as the parody ironically states.

Film still from Journal Rappé (Music) and Xuman (Video): «Formidable comme Karim Wade» (Senegal 2014)

Denouncing Political Legitimacy and Accountability

Xuman’s performance shows how humor is key here. He is fun to be serious, light to be deep, and through the joking about the absurdity of that delusion lies a thoughtful critique of the persisting disconnect between people and their governing representatives. The powerful aesthetics of a satiric video clip – it’s a wonderful parody – effectively denounce derailed political legitimacy and accountability.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Jenny Fatou Mbaye: «Five Video Clips from Senegal»
> Georg Milz: «Politrap aus dem Senegal»
> Maxime Pasques: «A ‹Formidable› Hype in Brussels»
> Wanlov The Kubolor: «In Ghana, Stromae Wouldn’t Be Lonely»

A Bad Copy of Serbia

Delivered... Shonegrad O'Connor | Scene | Wed 1 Nov 2017 7:00 am

«Esi Mi Dobar» by Serbian rap group Bad Copy tackles issues of contemporary Serbia head-on by providing us with an image of contrast and contradiction. The 2013 video resembles a moussaka dish: a layer of meat, a row of potato, a layer of meat, covered with… more potato. It is simple and easy to swallow, but you need to have a stomach for it. A commentary from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Bad Copy (Music) and Djolodjolo (Video): «Esi mi dobar» (Serbia 2013)

Kotez, the location of the shooting, is the actual neighborhood where two of three members of Bad Copy live. The gipsy cardboard houses and the kids you see in the video are true and real. The trashy paintings showing politicians and folk singers are the same as you see on every wall here. Fake tattoos and handmade vehicles are an everyday thing too. These elements from daily life receive new meanings when shown in the video. Director Djolodjolo plays with the imagery of gangsta rap as well as with the exotic Balkan representations of Emir Kusturica movies, and he comments ironically on everyday politics in Serbia. The effect is striking: seeing cute poor kids carrying big guns around and acting cool is a message that is very disturbing when true (remember the movie City of God that was shot in the favelas in Rio De Janeiro), but it is also a laughing matter when looked at as fiction. So what Bad Copy do is create drama where there was none in the beginning.

Form without Function

«Esi Mi Dobar» (How you doin’?) is a shout-out, a greeting, that usually carries absolutely no weight or meaning. Now take that and put it in the ghetto, add kids with guns, SWAT teams and wannabe gangsters. You get a sort of philosophy that relates not only to local politicians and turbo-folk musicians featured on the graffiti stencils, tattoos and t-shirts, but it speaks to a global phenomenon as well: form without function. Everyday talks and political promises without substantial content. Love songs of despair and lives full of disappointment, all empty and unfulfilling.

In hip hop today, most performers try to present themselves as macho and over-masculine in an attempt to disguise their own sexual and lyrical insecurity. Bad Copy has always seemed different: In «Esi Mi Dobar» they criticize Serbia, but also themselves – they are a Bad Copy of Serbia. It is a statement of the marginalized and it is nothing at the same time. It is an ode to simplicity, both in life and music, but also, it is only hip hop. Raw and uncompromising.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Shonegrad O’Connor: «Sarcastic Rap Experiments from Belgrade»
> Vladimir Lenhart: «Bad Copy: Serbian Satire»

Haftbefehl: Scheine statt Pumpgun

Delivered... Marcus Staiger | Scene | Fri 27 Oct 2017 6:00 am

Überall Geldscheine. In rauen Mengen. Hip-Hop Videos greifen gerne auf dieses Gestaltungsmittel zurück (wie zum Beispiel bei diesem Klassiker hier). 2014 machte der deutsche Rapper Haftbefehl mit dem Video zu «Ihr Hurensöhne / Saudi Arabi Money Rich» von sich reden. Ein Video der Superlative, nicht nur was das Produktionsbudget betrifft: Bis heute haben es über vier Millionen User auf YouTube angeklickt. Das Video selbst zeigt einmal mehr fliegende Moneten, orthodoxe Juden im Alkoholrausch und eine Muslima in Luis-Vuitton-Burka. Es provoziert und hinterlässt Fragen. Wir haben Rap-Experte Marcus Staiger gefragt, was er von diesem Video hält. Aus dem Norient Buch Seismographic Sounds (hier bestellbar).

Filmstill aus Haftbefehl (Musik) und Chehad Abdallah (Video): «Saudi Arabi Money Rich» (Deutschland 2014)

Was bleibt, wenn man das Video des deutschen Rappers Haftbefehl zu seinem Song «Saudi Arabi Money Rich» gesehen hat, sind Ming-Vasen, die von Models in Coco-Chanel-Hasskappen zertrümmert werden, Champagner, der aus Gartenschläuchen spritzt, eine Muslima, die eine Luis-Vuitton-Burka trägt, orthodoxe Juden, die im Rausch auf einem stillgelegt Flughafen Burn-outs veranstalten und ein echtes Krokodil – Lacoste lebt. Offensichtlich geht es hier um Luxus und Geld. Geld, das vereint, auflöst, zersetzt, zusammensetzt, in einer wegwerfenden Geste verachtet wird und doch so offensichtlich im Vordergrund steht. Der internationale Hedonismus macht sie alle gleich: Die Muslime und die Juden, die tennisspielenden Millionärstöchter und goldbehängten Schwarzafrikanerinnen. «Saudi Arabi Money Rich» zeigt, worauf es ankommt in dieser Welt. Das Video ist ein Schlag in die Fresse der bildungsbürgerlichen Gesellschaft, die hinter ihrem plumpen Materialismus immer noch behauptet, dass es um mehr gehe als ums schnöde Geldverdienen.

Eine Low-Budget-Produktion?

So offenherzig im Video über Geld und imaginären Reichtum schwadroniert wird, so bedeckt geben sich die Akteure hinter den Kulissen. Die Produktionsfirma des Clips wollte aus Rücksicht auf die Geschäftspartner nicht sagen, wie viel Geld sie für das Video ausgegeben hat. Konkreter wurde die Plattenfirma Universal, bei der Haftbefehls Album Russisch Roulette erschien und die Videoclip und Produktion des Albums finanziert hat. Neffi Temur, Senior Director Urban A&R/Marketing bei Vertigo/Capitol, gab an, dass «Saudi Arabi Money Rich» mit 5’000 Euro der teuerste Einzeltitel des Albums gewesen sei, da dieser vom deutsch-afghanischen Erfolgsproduzenten Farhot produziert worden sei. Für den Videodreh habe man mit der Produktionsfirma einen Paketdeal für sämtliche Clips des Albums ausgehandelt. Den Anteil für das Video zu «Saudi Arabi Money Rich» schätze er auf 45 Kilo, was ausserhalb der Musikbranche so etwas wie 45’000 Euro bedeutet. Noch vor einigen Jahren hätte diese Summe keine weitere Beachtung verdient und wäre als Low Budget verbucht worden. Seitdem sich die Kosten für Musikvideos aber im freien Fall befinden, gehört «Saudi Arabi Money Rich» definitiv zu den teureren Produktionen.

Die Jagd nach dem Stoff, um den sich alles dreht

In diesem Video dampft Haftbefehl die Welt, wie sie sich ihm darstellt, auf das Wesentliche ein und erklärt, wie Integration tatsächlich funktioniert – mit einer Menge lila Scheine. Statt mit der Pumpgun will er sich den Zugang zur Upper Class mit Geld erkaufen. Woher die lila Scheine dafür kommen, ist allerdings egal. Dabei zeigt er an jeder möglichen und unmöglichen Stelle, wie sehr er auf das Papier, das für ihn die Welt bedeutet, scheisst. Wieso, ist doch nur Geld, und die Scheine regnen achtlos vom Himmel. Was Familie Quandt? Was Familie Mohn? Was Familie Porsche und Piech? [1] Wer sind diese Familien? Ich ficke sie! Hier kommt Baba Haft, ich gehöre dazu, und wenn ich so viel Zeug von dem habe, das ihr Geld nennt, dann müsst ihr mich akzeptieren, ihr Pisser – ein Gedanke, so richtig wie falsch. Denn natürlich gehört der Mann aus Offenbach nicht dazu, egal wie viel Dom Pérignon er verspritzen lässt und egal wie viel Markenware im Video gezeigt oder zerstört wird. Ein paar lila Scheine zu besitzen, ist eben noch lange nicht gleichbedeutend damit, Eigentum sein Eigentum zu nennen, und dennoch bringt das Video eine ganz andere Wahrheit zum Vorschein: Viel weniger als das Haben ist die Jagd nach dem Stoff, um den sich alles dreht, das verbindende Element.

«Wie der Hirsch schreit nach frischem Wasser, so schreit seine Seele nach Geld, dem einzigen Reichtum», schrieb Karl Marx über die Geldversessenheit der Bourgeoisie. Ein Prinzip, das unterschiedslos auch auf Rüstungsproduzentinnen, Diamantenhändler, Bankangestellte, Drogeriefachmarktverkäufer oder kleinkriminelle Drogendealerinnen anzuwenden ist. «Saudi Arabi Money Rich» macht Schluss mit dem guten Gewissen der Klassengesellschaft, macht Schluss mit der bürgerlichen Vorstellung von Moral und beschränkt die Botschaft unserer Gesellschaftsordnung auf das, was zu hören ist, wenn man genau zuhört: Setz dich durch! Rücksichtlos! Und fick deinen Illuminatentrip!

Anmerkung

[1] Familien mit grossen Vermögensanteilen und Einfluss in Deutschen Industrie- und Medienkonzernen.

Dieser Text wurde zuerst publiziert im zweiten Norient Buch «Seismographic Sounds». Ein Klick auf das Bild verrät mehr.

Weiterlesen im Internet

> Toni Lukic: «Haftbefehls ‹Saudi Arabi Money Rich› ist die perfekte Provokation» (Noisey)

Bad Copy: Serbian Satire

Delivered... Vladimir Lenhart | Scene | Wed 25 Oct 2017 6:00 am

What might look exotic is bitter reality. In a shanty town in Serbia kids play with big guns for the camera. Three rappers enjoy doing nothing and show off with drugs and alcohol. The 2013 video «Esi mi dobar» by Serbian hip hop group Bad Copy is a persiflage on postwar Serbia where the true gangsters are not getting caught and no one seems to care. A commentary from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Bad Copy (Music) and Djolodjolo (Video): «Esi mi dobar» (Serbia 2013)

«Stop, I say stop it boy, you’re doin’ a lot of choppin’ but no chips are flyin’.» (Foghorn Leghorn)

The Song «Esi mi dobar» (Doin’ ok? or Are you good, mate?) comes from the frustration of being born and living in Serbia. Ordinary life sucks here, but people keep asking the same rhetorical question – «How are you doing?» – millions of times a day, when nothing is alright. Serbian hip hop group Bad Copy counter-attacks with idiotic, absurd but funny answers: «I’m doing ok like Bruce Wayne’s batman, I’m doing ok like president Toma’s diplomas.» To beat the lethargy of the everyday, Bad Copy adds verses about what makes the little man in Serbia ok – «I’m doing ok like it was payday; I’m doing ok like the full bottle; I’m doing ok when I’m not leaving the hood.»

Film still from Bad Copy (Music) and Djolodjolo (Video): «Esi mi dobar» (Serbia 2013)

Flea Markets instead of Shopping Malls

The hood is clearly at the center of this narration: the setting of the video, story, slang, jokes, values, and lifestyle. Hoods, I believe strongly, represent how people live in a country. Flea markets and not shopping malls are the true mirrors of economy in a society. In the hood people are also not ashamed to publicly show their adoration for icons of corrupted state leaders (in the Serbian case, and in this video: Slobodan Milošević), musical trendsetters (Saša Popović), world mega fighters (Rocky Balboa), and hip hop legends (Tupac Shakur). But no worries! Gypsy kids in our Serbian hoods do not usually carry guns. Bad Copy invented this scenario in their clip, possibly making these kids’ dreams come true. The SWAT teams in the video seem surreal too. However, the video reminds me of a far too real incident in Albania in 2014, when locals in the village of marijuana grower Lazarat opened fire on the police. Forty-three metric tons of ganja were seized. This video might be more than fiction.

Between Mainstream and Underground

The video contains the typical black humor, satire and irony I know from several Serbian hip hop bands. They use humor to talk about life here – and they probably need it to stay positive in their local and niche non-market. Bad Copy is one among them. Others such as Prti BeeGee, Bvana, D-Fence and Duboka Ilegala, while Beogradski Sindikat, Juice, THC la Familija or Marchelo work around politics in more direct ways. In the Serbian music world it is naïve to think you might find producers, journalists or cultural workers who will support you. «How are you doing», they might ask. It’s one reason why you can also not draw a line between mainstream and underground here. Rappers have to work in various and often very different projects simultaneously. Wikluh Sky of Bad Copy is one of the most talented musicians on the Serbian music scene, but he produced some really sleazy «summer hits». Is he doing ok?

If Bad Copy wanted to become an international act and rap in English, I fear they would lose their unique language and inspiration. At the same time, I feel that global recognition for local music is growing. Maybe we will see Bad Copy on the worldwide charts in the future. They truly deserve it.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Shonegrad O’Connor: «Sarcastic Rap Experiments from Belgrade»

The Politics of Folk Dances

Delivered... Johanna Hilari | Scene | Wed 18 Oct 2017 6:00 am

«Somos Sur» by Ana Tijoux, featuring Shadia Mansour, is an anti-colonialist statement of autonomy. To underline this, the video clip re-contextualizes two significant folk dances, which historically are linked to both socio-political identification and struggle. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Ana Tijoux & Shadia Mansour (Music) and Ana Tijoux (Video): «Somos Sur» (Chile/Great Britain 2014)

Tinku is a South American folk dance, which is an adaptation of an Andean ritual from the Bolivian region of Northern Potosí. The Quechua word «tinku» means encounter, and its ritualistic practice is obviously older than Spanish colonization. Accompanied by festive music and dance, one aim of this ritual is the corporal fight between members of different communities («ayllus»). Any blood shed during these violent hand-to-hand duels is considered a sacrifice for mother earth («Pachamama»). When translated from ritual to folk dance, the choreography became frontal directed. It operates with offensive and provocative dance steps, maintaining a cheerful and festive character.

Originated in a Peasant Social Practice

The Arabic «dabkeh» is shown mostly during Shadia Mansour’s part in the video. This folk dance is practiced largely in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan and is originally part of joyous social encounters, such as weddings. Male and female participants dance together in a round or a line holding hands or shoulders. As a synchronous performing whole, the dancers combine different jumping, stamping and kicking sequences. More specifically, the dabkeh also plays a major role in the construction of a national and political Palestinian identity, since it is declared a national dance. It therefore developed from a peasant social practice to a performative collective identification.

Film still from Ana Tijoux & Shadia Mansour (Music) and Ana Tijoux (Video): «Somos Sur» (Chile/Great Britain 2014)

Towards a Coherent Community of the Global South?

«Somos Sur» represents Arabic and South American communities identifying themselves through cultural practices of pre-colonial origin. The two folk dances tinku and dabkeh aim to highlight the insubordinate character of a heterogeneous but nonetheless coherent community of the global South. Social cohesiveness is staged through a joyful and combative manner. While Ana Tijoux and Shadia Mansour appeal to autonomy in their lyrics, a cheerful tinku and dabkeh dancing crowd visualizes the fighting spirit of their words.

Watching the video clip «Somos Sur,» the impression of a joyful and festive but also very confident and determined southern entity is given. However, is this video a pure and generic demand towards western societies for a more autonomous South? Does it more essentially voice the desire for the construction of a unitary political identity of the South? And if so, how does this reflect on the cultural heterogeneity of southern societies?

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

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> Ariel Altamirano V.: «The CNN of the South»
> Ariel Altamirano V.: «Five Video Clips from Chile»

The CNN of the South

Delivered... Ariel Altamirano V. | Scene | Fri 13 Oct 2017 6:00 am

In Chile the video clip has become an important artistic tool and a socio-political weapon. Our author Ariel Altamirano V. from Discos Pegaos comments on a 2014 music video by Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Ana Tijoux & Shadia Mansour (Music) and Ana Tijoux (Video): «Somos Sur» (Chile/Great Britain 2014)

The «industry» of video clips in Chile is made up of a handful of young and middle-aged directors who enjoy music as much as the musicians. In fact in hip hop, many of these filmmakers are rappers themselves. They produce their own clips, without big budgets or support from big companies. Thanks to these directors the video clip has become an important artistic tool and a socio-political weapon – a newsreel of what is happening in Chile, similar to «The CNN of the Ghetto», as Public Enemy called it. Many clips resemble short documentary films, executed in limited time. «Traidores» by Salvaje Decibel, «Be Proud» by Jonas Sanche & Hordatoj, and «Somos Sur» by Anita Tijoux are good examples here. The producers of Tijoux’s clip are well-known locally and abroad: Aldo Guerrero, director of many Chilean hip hop videos, and B + from the Brian Cross collective Mochilla in the US.

A Typical Latin American Party

Ana Tijoux is Chile’s most popular rapper. She has released three albums addressing issues social and political in nature over the last eight years. Through her songs she fights for the rights of women and protests against the savage capitalism in Chile. In «Somos Sur» she speaks about important aspects of our identity and culture. She quotes «El baile de los que sobran» (the dance of the ones left behind), a pop anthem from Los Prisioneros, Chile’s most popular band in the 1980s, to underline the fighting spirit of her lyrics. The participation of Palestinian rapper Shadia Mansour is crucial – the fact that they meet I see as one of the positive aspects of globalization. «Somos Sur» fuses Andean sounds with the universal language of rap. It offers space for powerful content, delivered through the virtuous and dynamic rhymes of a French-born Chilean and a Britain-based second-generation Palestinian. The video speaks to the common people, especially to the urbanized youth in our cities – it does not stay «hidden» in underground music circles. The raw Photoshop-style images (manipulated with cheap filters, kaleidoscope and pattern effects) visually reference life in our noisy cities. «Somos Sur» is set as a typical Latin American party, yet it is transnational and contemporary – a colorful version of what could happen in social struggles of the Latin American people. It is positive and even playful, but no less brave and rebellious as it celebrates the strength that comes from the unity of people.

Other Videos from Chilean Underground Rappers

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Ariel Altamirano V.: «Five Video Clips from Chile»

Karima 2G: A Racist Antidote

Delivered... Emma Dabiri | Scene | Wed 27 Sep 2017 6:00 am

With her video «Orangutan» Italian artist and activist Karima 2G responded on racist comments of Italian politicians in the context of the election of Italy's first black government minister Cécile Kyenge in 2013. Our author comments on this strong music video as a «cutting and resoundingly tongue-in-cheek rejoinder». A commentary from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Karima 2G (Music and Video): «Orangutan» (Italy 2014)

The response to the election of Italy’s first black government minister Cécile Kyenge in 2013 provided a solemn reminder of the overt racism that still flourishes in parts of Europe. Mario Borghezio, a member of the European parliament for the Northern League, made the staggering claim that Kyenge would «impose her tribal traditions from the Congo» adding «she seems like a great housekeeper but not a government minister». Another Northern League politician, Roberto Calderoli, suggested that Kyenge had «the features of an orangutan», while former politician Dolores Valandro went as far as to call for the rape of the minister.

Undermining the Racist Rhetoric

«Orangutan» is artist and activist Karima 2G’s cutting and resoundingly tongue-in-cheek rejoinder. With a daring multimedia video, which intersperses images of wildlife with black power (risky, but it works) and a catchy hook that demands «Who the hell is? Orangutan O Orangutan Orang Orangutan», Karima skillfully undermines the Italian politician’s racist rhetoric. Karima appears incredulous at the comparisons between black people and monkeys when she sings: «I’m a supermodel. Here comes the big show. Smile, take take take my picture.» By responding in this way, she executes a mortal blow to any attempt that would seek to reduce Africans to sub-human status.

Growing up with a Nigerian father and an Irish mother in Ireland in the 1980s, I am all too familiar with this type of dehumanizing narrative. Certainly, a track like «Orangutan» would have provided a powerful antidote as I struggled to make sense of my identity in a land that was arguably my own, but simultaneously felt like it could never be home.

Film still from Karima 2G (Music and Video): «Orangutan» (Italy 2014)

Music as a Tool for Social Justice, Change, and Transformation

This track demonstrates the importance of what it is that Karima 2G does. Her name 2G stands for second-generation, a direct reference to the phrase used to describe Italy’s exclusionary immigration policy. The racist policy, officially known as jus sanguinis, prevents children born to immigrant parents from obtaining Italian citizenship until they are at least eighteen years of age, after which point citizenship is still not guaranteed. Utilizing music as a tool for social justice, change, and transformation, Karima gives voice to Black Italians, while also encouraging them to celebrate their African heritage. Karima’s work is meaningful to people throughout the African Diaspora, but especially important to those from countries such as Ireland or Italy where their very presence is denied. Unlike countries such as the UK, which has a distinctive black British culture, there remain many other European nations in which Black people are discouraged from ever really belonging (legally and/or culturally). The sense of liminality is often compounded by the lack of a recognized black national identity in many such nations. For Afropeans from such spaces – where identities are effectively erased through an intersectional denial of their existence – whose lives are marked by invisibility, the contributions of artists such as Karima remain absolutely necessary.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Luca Grincinella: «Un Cortocircuito Tutto Italiano»

Today: the music scene, the future, live from Poland

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 20 Sep 2017 12:41 pm

Your editor-in-chief is in Warsaw today, where I’m leading a panel with Xosar, Chagall, HRTL (also from Bastl Instruments), and Nadine from Native Instruments. You can tune in and join us live.

Our segment is on at 17:15 Warsaw / central European time, but there’s stuff of interest to CDM readers all day long.

The post Today: the music scene, the future, live from Poland appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Many Hands Make Outstanding Work

Delivered... Theresa Beyer from Norient | Scene | Fri 15 Sep 2017 6:00 am

In low-budget music videos, necessity is the mother of invention. One of the best examples of this is «Picolé», a clip co-directed by forty-five directors. Javier Lourenço from the Argentinian filmmaking collective Flamboyant Paradise takes us behind the scenes of this collaborative work and talks about the importance of personal networks, good ideas and time. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Javier Lourenço from Flamboyant Paradise (Photo © by YouTube)

[Theresa Beyer]: In the music video for Bonde do Rolê’s «Picolé», forty-five different aesthetics from forty-five directors collide in two-and-a-half minutes. What’s the idea behind this visual experiment?
[Javier Lourenço]: The band had almost zero budget, so I proposed something that wouldn’t take too much time to produce, but could transcend the ordinary as well. With a highly confidential call we invited a bunch of acquainted directors who were technically, conceptually and aesthetically divergent. The only instruction was: «Do something with popsicles. It has to be one shot, from one to five seconds.» That’s how the clip became a colorful inventory of different visions and a «who is who» of my network.

[TB]: If there was no money involved, how did you motivate the directors to participate?
[JL]: Money was only paid for the parts of the video we shot previously with the band. Each of the forty-five directors had to run the production costs out of their own pockets. To give them incentive we wanted to submit the work in a new Guinness World Records category: «Most Directors in a Music Video». When the video was finished, unfortunately, Guinness World Records said that they closed down the new categories section because of an excess of inquiries. But it was fun anyway.

[TB]: Did many hands make light work or did too many cooks spoil the broth?
[JL]: Definitely the first. I would even change the saying: In this case, many hands make outstanding work. I think innovation starts when you make collaborative work with passionate people who are on the same wavelength. And innovation in this case meant mixing different techniques, opposite themes and contrary worlds. This is the special spirit of «Picolé» and a lamppost for all of my personal work.

[TB]: With your production company you earn money through advertising. Is producing video clips more than a hobby?
[JL]: It’s more than a hobby because with music videos I can strengthen and extend my network. And the main reason why I do them is to have a field of experimentation in which I can work freely and with vision – I can try out new techniques and provocative forms of storytelling. With advertising spots, in contrast, I have many more standards and limitations.

Film still from La Yegros (Music), Flamboyant Paradise (Video): «Viene de mi» (Argentinia 2014)

[TB]: So video clips are not just about promoting the band, but are shop windows to show the potential of your company as well?
[JL]: Above all it’s fun to make music videos. But yes, they become part of my portfolio and advertising companies are getting curious. So today, when advertising agencies hire me, it’s because of the different aesthetics, the humor and the ironic twist in my film work. And more experimental music videos and short films have helped to promote this special creative power.

[TB]: Would you be interested in making a music video with a one million dollar budget?
[JL]: Yes, but only if this one million dollar budget comes with the appropriate time to produce and post-produce. With super big budgets and time you can do almost anything. From what I observe, there are two different worlds in music video production: those videos with super big budgets and those with super low budgets – there is almost nothing in the middle. But in the end the whole clip doesn’t stand and fall with the budget, but with the idea.

Javier Lourenço has a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from USAL Buenos Aires and has been an advertising creative since 1996. In 2006 he left working in agencies to become a director, and in 2009 he founded the filmmaking collective Flamboyant Paradise.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Jesse S. Wheeler: «Directed by Forty-Five Directors»

Sounds of Pakistan: The D/A Method

Delivered... Pascal Rudolph | Scene | Wed 13 Sep 2017 6:00 am

Music connects people and extends beyond borders – so does the Internet. Through both we are capable of reaching the whole world, enjoying unlimited access to information. We, a group of students, musicologists, and musicians at the Humboldt University of Berlin aimed to reach out to contemporary artists from mostly underground music scenes in Pakistan. Below is an interview with the progressive rock band The D/A Method and Kamal Khan from Gali Films about their latest collaboration «The Desert Journey».

Wardrobe stylist Mariam Azmi (right) with Suhee Abro (left) during the shooting of the «The Desert Journey»
(Photo © by Gali Films)

Sounds of Pakistan: Part 2 of 4 – Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 – Dossier

«‹The Desert Journey› is an allegory of the journey we go through in life, and that point where past, present and future all come together to confront you.»

Between Music Video and Short Film

The progressive rock band The D/A Method has been described as a unique addition to the Pakistani music landscape. With Gali Films and its director Kamal Khan, they recently published a video clip of the song «The Desert Journey», which is the first single from their upcoming album The Desert Road (release date: September 14th, 2017). Erum, the protagonist, is a prostitute in a Pakistani brothel, and the clip shows her tale of woe, which culminates in a violent catastrophe. It starts with short opening credits (and it ends with closing credits as well). The audience watches the procurers, a father and his son, and a discussion about their business. At this juncture, the music is diegetic as it seems like it is played by a radio. Erum knocks on their door, asks for her money and is rejected. From that moment, the camera follows Erum and the music changes its strata, becoming a clearly non-diegetic soundtrack.

The whole seven-minute song is visualised via a single-take tracking shot. We see actresses and actors performing in a short film rather than musicians performing the music. The video clip, thus, stretches the boundaries between traditions and aesthetics of music videos and films, resulting in a collaboration between video and music artists, rather than just a conventional music clip.

I was privileged to speak to this band as well as to the director of the clip.

A Musical Journey Through a Tough Desert Environment

[Pascal Rudolph]: There is a lot of Eastern instrumentation in your song (sarangi, sitar and tabla). Omer Bashir and Amar Ayaz described your music as a «haunting fusion between Western progressive rock and Eastern classical music». How would you describe your Pakistani influences and how important are they for you?
[The D/A Method]: The Pakistani/Eastern instrumentation is just a natural result of us trying to make honest music as an expression of ourselves as people and as musicians. Given that four of the five of us are Pakistani or have lived a significant portion of our lives in Pakistan, being exposed to the local music growing up, and being a part of that culture, the fact that those sounds have made it into our particular blend of progressive rock somewhat makes sense, despite the fact that none of us are classically trained musicians. The one thing we did not want to do, however, was something that sounded typical, forced, or something that really has been done and heard before. In this case, the subject matter as well as the big open guitar chords and the Eastern sounding slide guitar melody all served to create a great atmosphere and platform for the Eastern musicians to shine. Gul Muhammad (sarangi) and Waqas Hussain (sitar), both from the Pakistani fusion folk rock band Sounds of Kolachi, in particular did an outstanding job of interpreting our composition and enhancing the emotional pull of the melodies, which is at the end of it, the goal for us with any collaboration — it has to enhance to the final product and it has to make sense for the song as a whole. Given that most of us are Pakistani, we feel our Pakistani influences will always remain important as it is a part of our identity, but how we choose to express that in our music or expression in general are things that will probably continue to evolve.

Umair Dar from The D/A Method (Photo © by the band)

[PR]: The video seems to be more of a short film than a music video. Instead of musicians, the audience watches actresses and actors. Typical opening and ending credits bookend a stunning seven-minute single take. When and why did you decide to contradict music video conventions and comply with cinematic aesthetics? And what is the relationship between this decision and the meaning of the song, especially the decision to visualise a seven-minute song via a single take?
[Kamal Khan]: I knew right from the start that I didn’t want to shoot a performance video. The song was metaphorical and it gave us the flexibility in interpretation and lent itself really well to a narrative piece. Inevitably, the song pointed us in the direction of how it should be structurally. Because the piece was largely an instrumental I found there was a lot of space for dialogue. So the instrumental parts allowed us to experience the real world with the characters and then we had the sung parts which allowed us to go inside the character’s head; what I called inner dialogue. The sitar solo at the end built up to a perfect climax. It was score-like. The story was built around this structure, and I always wanted to shoot this as a one take so we kind of wrote it as one!

[D/AM]: With regards to the relationship between the decision to shoot a one-take cinematic video and the meaning of the song, I felt the fact that the song is not only called «The Desert Journey», but also aurally constructed as a musical journey through a tough desert environment, lent itself really well to a continuously shot cinematic piece in a harsh city setting where the tension builds not just through the music but through the narrative, each enhancing the other. Again, as with the decision to use actual eastern instrumentation, the decision to shoot a quasi short film for a music video was driven by the goal to create something greater than the sum of its parts, and I think Kamal and the entire team did an outstanding job of taking that vision and creating something that really draws the audience in.

Usama Siddiq from The D/A Method (Photo © by the band)

Societal Isolation

[PR]: «One’s own person is defined by its surrounding circumstances»: that seems, in a nutshell, like a central message of the video clip. But the song lyrics are about the desert, a place associated with an absence of everything, loneliness, solitude, isolation, so to speak. How does that fit with the setting of a brothel and the story of a female prostitute, and what is your interpretation of the desert metaphor?
[KK]: Desert journey is an allegory of the journey we go through in life, and that point where past present and future all come together to confront you. Why we thought the desert should be represented by a brothel was because a brothel is a place where one sees so many different types of people. So many different lives colliding, interacting. It allowed us to explore multidimensional characters all in one setting. From the beginning of our discussions, the band and I knew we wanted a female protagonist. A lot of my inspiration comes from my childhood; I was raised by my mother and saw a lot of her struggles. So as with most of my ideas I end up with female centric stories. The same happened with this. I just knew right from the start that I wanted it to be a female’s story. It’s hard to say why, but that is just what I visualized. The band suggested the idea of a female sex worker and it worked. It kind of just naturally fit in with the lyrics and concepts we wanted to explore.

[D/AM]: The desert metaphor in the song is really about the physical and emotional journey one goes through in life, as Kamal says, but it’s also at its core a story about survival, and about being honest about one’s truth, or in a way, being true to oneself. Often in life, when we take that journey to honestly confront our truths, it can feel quite lonely, especially in modern society surrounded by all manner of distractions. In the music video, therefore, the fact that our protagonist is a female in a brothel serves as an archetype for a character who really is isolated in societal terms, but one who, simply by being honest to her role in society and her truth, manages to survive the chaos.

«The Desert Journey» is the first video and single from The D/A Method’s forthcoming second album called The Desert Road (release date: September 14th, 2017). The record is co-produced and mixed by Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief / Wisdom of Crowds) and will be released soon. The video clip is produced by Gali Films. For more information visit their Facebook pages: The D/A Method and Gali Films.

The D/A Method: «Dream Sequence» (2017)

The D/A Method: The Great Disillusion (2015)

During the Shooting of «The Desert Journey» — Impressions from the Set

Rehearsals on the set: director Kamal Khan working with Suhae Abroo (left) and Shabana Hassan (right) (Photo © by Gali Films)

Steadicam operator Faraz Alam (Photo © by Gali Films)

Director Kamal Khan (Photo © by Gali Films)

BTS shooting (Photo © by Gali Films)

Set (Photo © by Gali Films)

Sounds of Pakistan: Part 2 of 4 – Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 – Dossier

Read More on Norient

> Ali Gul Pir and Taimoor Salahuddin: «When a Rapper Tries To Change the World»
> Asadullah Qureshi: «Underground Noise from Pakistan»
> Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey: «Karachi Noise»
> Wendy Hsu: «Taqwacore: Punk Polyculturalism»

Elucidation Through Noise

Delivered... Michal Sapir | Scene | Mon 11 Sep 2017 6:00 am

Most Israeli Jews have only a sketchy idea of what goes on in neighboring Arab countries. What we know about them comes mainly from the media and the school curriculum, and usually falls under the rubric of «know thy enemy». Any possible interaction is mediated through the prism of military conflict. David Opp’s video «Sakata Helicobtir Min Tiraz Sikorsky» confronts this paranoid anticipation of war: the warnings and attempts at remote control, experiences of the Other through abstractions like maps, heads of state, standardized language, and propaganda. A commentary from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film stills from David Opp (Music and video): «Sakata Helicobtir Min Tiraz Sikorsky» (Israel 2013)

The clip is based on a phrase that the artist learned and memorized in 7th grade: «a Sikorsky helicopter has crashed north of Damascus and the pilot has ejected.» Against a militarized, aloof, and objectivized voice, the video plunges itself into the void opened up by the machine’s failure, into which the pilot jumped. It is a video clip enacting a crash.

Aesthetics Borrowed from Cartography

Like a punk and shell-shocked version of Roy Lichtenstein’s «Whaam!» Opp uses aesthetics borrowed from cartography, comic books and technical illustrations only to crush their cool distanciation. How do you penetrate the image, how do you feel the flames, the shards, the panic, the sharp needles of the rapidly approaching cedars? Serene and beautiful frames recalling 1970s conceptual and minimalist art flash by, drowned out by relentless audiovisual noise that effects a growing sense of alarm. The Arabic-tinged track sounds metallic, compressed, and distorted, like desperate signals shouted on military radio.

Film still from David Opp (Music and video): «Sakata Helicobtir Min Tiraz Sikorsky» (Israel 2013)

Leading to Nowhere But Destruction?

A line is a demarcation, a barrier. It can be an instrument of injury – forming the crosshairs of a sight, blotting out suspicious transmissions, redrawing territorial boundaries. But Opp’s drawings refuse to toe the line. Broken, hesitant, they line up only to quickly disintegrate. These images are unstable, constantly moving, freefalling in space. Resolution is lost by generations of processing. The sheets of tracing paper refuse to coalesce; the varying visions refuse to realign.

Hurtling towards its end, «Sakata Helicobtir» seems to lead to nowhere but destruction. But the point of impact is no less fragmented, contested, multi-layered, and after the clip finishes we still hear the players’ voices commenting on the take. Experiencing the fall of the other, shattering the official line, and taking in the strangeness of a foreign language, Opp’s video opens up the possibility of a proper conversation. «Turn off the amplifier», says one of the performers; and let’s see what we can hear.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Laetitia Boulud: «Inner Station Soil»

Corruption in Indonesian Music Business

Delivered... Rudolf Dethu | Scene | Wed 6 Sep 2017 6:00 am

In their 2014 video «House of Greed» Indonesian heavy metal band Burgerkill talks about the massive corruption in their home country. In his commentary Indonesian journalist Rudolf Dethu shows how robbery affects the music business and jeopardizes youth-driven subcultures. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Burgerkill (Music), JungW (Video): «House of Greed» (Indonesia 2014)

Symbols of destruction – black beasts with snapping mouths, the last tree on earth falling over, and the Parliament House hijacked by students – are all that we see in the video «House of Greed» by Indonesian heavy metal band Burgerkill. This video is based on actual displays of blatant bureaucratic burglary, in a so-called kleptocracy where the government robs an entire country and its people. The story is inspired by the true life of a famous politician, who was once a close friend of one of the band members. The black beasts in the video represent that famous politician and his mates. This collective of thieves is never satisfied. They are always hungry, eat everything in sight, and continue to demand more. They will lie, steal, kill, and even swallow the last tree on earth, just so they can continue to amass seemingly unlimited wealth. They don’t care that the whole country suffers terribly as a result.

Facing Robbery as Concert a Organizer

However, robbery is not only happening in the upper ranks. Over the years, Burgerkill has seen kleptocrats in the lower ranks of the music scene, too. The cops are a great example. In theory, they should manage the safety of a concert for free as part of their job, but they ask for money. If and when event organizers don’t give them money as per their demands, they will typically stop the show and threaten those seen protesting with imprisonment. Large-scale event organizers have pre-allocated funds and can comfortably meet the «protection money» demands from the police, but for small independent organizers it is difficult to meet these costs. This obstacle has created a sense of defeat amongst many indie scenesters looking to organize gigs.

Film still from Burgerkill (Music), JungW (Video): «House of Greed» (Indonesia 2014)

Subcultural Consequences

If backhanded financial rewards continue I’m certain the consequences will be many. The youth-driven indie scene, its whole subculture, is dying. When kids don’t have outlets to release their energy the country can expect the tables to be turned and an increase in rioting and crime. All the anger and frustration that these kinds of crazy, daily, kleptocracies have created has permeated every aspect of life in Indonesia. It’s well represented by Burgerkill in «House of Greed.» Those greedy kleptocrats have created battalions of ignorant young people. We should expect a new generation of them.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Jeremy Wallach: «Musical Protest in Indonesian Metal»
> Jeremy Wallach: «Five Video Clips from Indonesia»
> Refantho Ramadhan: «Money Laundry»
> Rudolf Dethu: «Indonesian Metal Against Corruption»

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