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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2017 » January » 18

Teenage Engineering’s drum synth UI was drawn by a 9-year-old girl

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 7:20 pm

In place of drab text menus or something like that, the new Teenage Engineering PO-32 Tonic is … a little different. There are adorable characters with wide eyes and huge noses, quaffing cocktails. There’s a ringing telephone … with a mouse perhaps gnawing away at its end. There are spiders – various spiders.

No, I don’t mean the UI on the PO-32 display seems like it was drawn by a 9-year-old girl. It actually was.

Her name is Ivana, she really is nine years old, and she’s the daughter of Teenage Engineering CEO and founder (and whiz designer himself) Jesper Kouthoofd. And in pictures provided exclusively to CDM, we have proof that she designed the display. Talk about landing your dream job in the musical instruments industry early.

I think her creation is genius. And she probably sets some kind of record here.




I’m sorry to any other news from the NAMM show this week – you just got upstaged.

The post Teenage Engineering’s drum synth UI was drawn by a 9-year-old girl appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

The PO-32 Tonic is a complete drum synth in your pocket for $89

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 6:50 pm

Teenage Engineering have been charming us for a couple of years now with handheld, pocket calculator, Nintendo Game&Watch-style synth and drum machines. And you might think they’d be out of weird ideas. You’d be wrong.

The PO-32 looks to be both the most surprising, and most serious entry yet. It has an entire drum synth in there. And it’s not just any drum synth – it’s Magnus Lidström’s Microtonic, more or less squeezed into $89 hardware.

Now, at this stage, anyone who’s ever used Sonic Charge’s desktop drum percussion synth pattern sequencer plug-in is going to be a little confused. Microtonic, aka µTONIC, has elaborate on-screen controls for tweaking synth parameters, which you can access via a computer GUI with faders and switches and knobs, all of them labeled.



The PO-32 is a business card-sized circuit board with some tiny buttons on it and some pictures of people out drinking and a mouse apparently making a phone call and … spiders. A number of spiders.

Fortunately, the Teenage Engineers have provided the ability design sounds in the computer plug-in, then load that sound into the standalone hardware.

I’ll be honest: this whole thing was so far-fetched that I had to confirm it with them. But because the hardware has a compatible engine to the plug-in, it’s real. You can make sounds on your computer and load them on the hardware, or move them from PO-32 to PO-32. Jesper Kouthoofd from TE says this is the next-generation Pocket Operator platform, and that the functionality will be used on future tools, too.


Parameters and patterns move between software and hardware and hardware and hardware.

There will be a new, updated Microtonic plug-in to go with it.

Don’t own the plug-in yet? Teenage Engineering are offering a bundle of the plug-in and hardware together for $139, as a limited edition.

Here’s Magnus – who also worked with TE on the CWO effect for their OP-1 – showing how it all works:

Teenage Engineering have also let CDM on another little touch they’ve given this instrument. There’s a “write-protect” tab, inspired by cassette tapes. Jesper explains, “The idea is that you can fill a machine with your personal patterns and sounds and keep them in that state forever. Perhaps give to a friend or sell on eBay? You can still perform live punch-in effects for live performance, but never destroy the original data. sort of a mix tape concept…”


Frankly, it looks like a serious little tool. I think they’re going to be nearly impossible to buy, they’ll be so popular when they ship in worldwide (estimated for April).

This and a Nintendo Switch and basically you’re going to be happy all summer.

Full features:

mic for transferring sounds
16 sounds
16 punch-in effects
parameter locks
built-in speaker
3.5 mm audio I/O
jam sync
LCD display
folding stand
watch + alarm clock
battery powered (2 x AAA)
1 month battery life
pattern chaining -up to 64 patterns
compatible with microtonic

You read that right: serious drum machines users, you get parameter locks. People who oversleep and have fond memories of Casio and Nintendo, you get an alarm clock.

As per usual, if you don’t like the bare board look – or want this to be more road-worthy – there’s an accessory case, which looks like this:



Store (doesn’t look like it’s ready yet)

The post The PO-32 Tonic is a complete drum synth in your pocket for $89 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

William Onyeabor: one of music’s most insoluble puzzles to the end

Delivered... Dorian Lynskey | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 6:39 pm

Who was William Onyeabor? The mysterious and reclusive Nigerian synthesizer whiz, who has died aged 70, seems to have existed out of time and in a world of his own imagination

William Onyeabor, the Nigerian musician who died in his sleep on Monday at the age of 70, was the recluse’s recluse. For someone like Sixto Rodriguez, subject of the documentary Searching for Sugarman, belated cult stardom was both a vindication and a second chance. But for Onyeabor, growing interest in the music he released during the 70s and 80s cut little ice. Requiring neither money nor attention, he declined to promote Who is William Onyeabor?, the 2013 compilation released on the Luaka Bop label. It says a great deal about his popularity with musicians that the mutating supergroup that toured in his place featured the likes of David Byrne, Damon Albarn, Blood Orange and Hot Chip. Thanks to fans like these, Onyeabor achieved the almost impossible: he experienced a successful comeback with his enigma intact, and without lifting a finger.

Related: William Onyeabor, cult Nigerian musician, has died aged 70

Related: The five-year quest to reissue William Onyeabor

Continue reading...

IK’s iRig Pro I/O comes close to being a perfect mobile music accessory

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 6:04 pm

Let’s be honest: audio interfaces are one of the pieces of gear most likely to make your eyes glaze over. That might even be doubly so for the many, many options available for iPhone and iPad – each, somehow, almost but not quite really solving what you want.

So, great, IK Multimedia have yet another gadget for iOS th–

Hold on a second. I did a double-take digging through product releases today when I saw the somewhat blandly-named iRig Pro I/O (try saying that ten times fast).

Here’s the thing. This could be the interface you keep in your bag just in case, all the time – even at $/€149.

Let me skip the PR speak, and focus on things I generally want an audio interface for mobile to do:


1. It replaces the headphone minijack Apple just took away, with the dedicated (Walkman-style) physical control Apple never had.
2. It charges your iOS device, so you don’t kill your battery.
3. It is itself battery-powered (and AA, so you can run grab batteries in a pinch), or uses USB or DC jack in.
4. It has a physical gain knob for recording.
5. It works with Lightning cables (Apple) or USB (everything else – including Android).
6. It gives you MIDI in and out.
7. It gives you recording (mic, instrument, guitar input with Hi-Z, XLR) on a passive/active Neutrik combo jack (XLR and 1/4″ both).
8. It’s in a handheld form factor.

It’s so, so close to being perfect and solving everything you need in a small form factor. (IK also want you to know that they have 24-bit/96k sound and a whole ton of bundled software with amps and effects and things, but… while nice, it’s solving the interface issues that make you break out in a hot sweat at a gig.)

And I hope this is a sign of things to come – that interfaces for mobile in particular let you charge your devices, solve the absence of jacks on iPhones and iPads, run on batteries, and give you MIDI and audio.

So, what’s the catch?

Well, you don’t get full-sized MIDI jacks. I’m going to really hope they read this CDM article; someday, ideally, all MIDI gear will use one single minijack standard, but we’ll have to find out how this one is wired.

But even bigger is this: there’s just one mono input. So you can’t use this interface to do a quick stereo line recording off the board. That makes this appeal to guitarists but … isn’t quite the interface for every job. I wish they had just included a line-level stereo minijack.

At least we’re inching closer to a less headache-inducing mobile audio world, though. I’ll keep an eye out to see if something else does this job without being too enormous and heavy – and if you know of something or have a solution you like, do let us know. I suspect this isn’t the only new gizmo coming out this week to solve this problem – by a longshot.


The post IK’s iRig Pro I/O comes close to being a perfect mobile music accessory appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Eventide to Unveil Plug-in Breakthrough and New H9 Effect at Winter NAMM

Delivered... Emusician RSS Feed | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 5:44 pm
New Plug-in Technology as well as a new Algorithm for TEC Award-winning H9 Harmonizer

QSC Keeps Bass in Its Place with the K Cardioid Subwoofer

Delivered... Emusician RSS Feed | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 5:25 pm
Company Introduces First in Class Single-Box Powered Cardioid Subwoofer

Bill Introduced in Congress to Repeal FCC Information Collection Requirements for Noncommercial Biennial Ownership Reports

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 5:06 pm

A bill was introduced in Congress this week (see press release here) proposing to roll back the FCC’s requirement that noncommercial broadcasters, in connection with the Biennial Ownership Reports that are due by December 1 of this year, get an FCC Registration Number for every person who has an attributable interest in a noncommercial licensee. As we wrote here and here when the FCC adopted this requirement, and here when the FCC’s Media Bureau rejected reconsideration petitions just a few weeks ago, that would require noncommercial stations to get the Social Security Number from each of their Board members (or a substitute set of personal information including the last 4 digits of the Social Security Number) in order to apply for the FRN. While the personal information would not be made public, many worry that Board members, especially those serving on the Board of an organization where the broadcast operations are but a small part of the institution’s mission (e.g. a Board member on the Board of a university that has a radio license) would be reluctant to provide that information – and either discourage people from participating on the Board or put them in peril of FCC enforcement actions if they refuse to provide their personal information.

The introduction of the bill was hailed by Commissioner O’Rielly in a statement (here), where he expressed his hope that the information collection requirement would be repealed, either through this legislative action or by the FCC under the new administration which will start its work next week. Either way, noncommercial licensees may see some relief from this obligation. Stay tuned to see how this develops in the coming months.

Petitions to Participate in Copyright Royalty Board Proceeding to Establish Royalty Rates for Business Establishment Services Due by February 2, 2017

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 4:59 pm

Early this month, the Copyright Royalty Board announced that it will be starting a new proceeding to set the royalty rates to be paid by “business establishment services” for the rights to make ephemeral copies of sound recordings. The rates will apply for the period 2019-2023. Interested parties must file a Petition to Participate by February 2, along with a statement of their interest in the proceeding, and a check for $150 to cover filing fees. Details on the filing requirements are set out in the CRB’s Notice.

As we have written before, the “business establishment service” is different from most other CRB royalty proceedings. The parties subject to the royalty are the service providers who package music programming to be played by businesses and distribute that programming to these establishments like bars, restaurants, and retail stores. The establishments themselves have no obligation to pay a public performance fee for the sounds recordings played at their businesses (though they do have to pay for the underlying musical composition – the words and music – to performing rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI – see our articles here and here). But the services who package this programming and make temporary copies of the sound recordings in order to transmit that programming to their retail customers, are deemed to owe a royalty for the “ephemeral copies” that they make. In the past, these CRB cases have usually settled, establishing a percentage of revenue royalty with a fairly large upfront minimum fee (see our article here on the last settlement setting the rates at 12.5% of revenue with a minimum fee of $10,000). Parties who file to participate in this upcoming proceeding will be able to engage in settlement discussions over the new royalty or, if those discussions are not productive, to participate in the hearings that the CRB will hold in order to set the rates.

Inside Zeno van den Broek’s raw immersive AV architectures

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 4:44 pm

Strap on headphones, and the sixteen minutes of Shift Symm is a brain-tickling assault. Even just within the stereo field, raw textures rumble and dance until you feel the sound’s structures inside your head.

I was attracted to Zeno van den Broek’s work partly because that sense of patterning in sound and visual formed a work I thought deserved special integrity as a release. This is to me an encouraging sign that there are new frontiers for archaic, exposed AV minimalism in the post raster-noton age.

Shift Symm therefore saw a digital release alongside a limited edition audiovisual art release on Sedition. (More on that process soon.) In addition to Zeno’s own videos, you can catch this beautiful creation by artist Daan Kars, first premiered by data transmission:

In Los Angeles, we were a digital partner of The Billboard Creative (TBC), a project that found new homes for digital art both on the Web and (true to California culture) on roadside billboards. That was featured on The Creators Project:

A Drive-Thru Art Show Appears on Billboards in LA

And in bringing Zeno’s work out on Establishment, I hoped here on CDM we’d also get a bit closer to the artist and process, as a microcosm of what’s happening in a larger scene. So here, the Dutch-born, Copenhagen-based artist talks to us about how he works. I think in the same way the sound makes my ears buzz and the visuals my pupils vibrate, you may find some resonance in his approach to process and material.


Let’s start with sound. There’s a genuine rawness and purity of tone to this record. How did you assemble that? Was there some thought to sort of make this extremely immersive for headphones, for larger sound systems?

All sounds of Shift Symm are based on sine waves and white noise. During the development of my previous album Divergence, I created a method of physical manipulation of those two ingredients. I recorded the pure sound sources onto cassette tapes, after which I manipulated and destroyed the tape in various ways — like using sanding paper, heating the cassettes. or letting them soak in Coke for a few weeks.

I managed to record some sound of the abused tapes and create instruments out of those recordings in Ableton. The results had such a nice balance between distortion and roughness, while maintaining the character of the sines and noise sources, that I decided to use them again for Shift Symm, but this time in combination with direct pure sine waves and noise from the oscillators.

One of the principles which I worked with on Shift Symm is shifting the wavelengths of sine waves relative to each other to create interference. This interference happens in the space in which you listen to the album, which gives the immersive listening experience and creates a strong relation to your surroundings.

Did the formal conception for the visuals relate to how you imagined the sound?

Yes, for both the visuals and the sound, I used one single concept, which gave me a coherent set of compositional tools for the whole work and creates a strong relationship between the two. The concept is based on creation by shifting. By displacing very simple elements like lines and grids in the visuals, and pulses and wavelengths of sine waves in the music, I looked for unexpected and in a way uncontrollable events and results.

This was inspired by the idea of Slavoj Zizek on the ‘breach of symmetry’ which he describes in his book Event. It’s the notion that a system which is in an equilibrium, in which all energy and movement is in symmetry, can be brought into a trajectory of unpredictable events by shifting elements within the system until the symmetry is breached. This breach leads to a process of change, which eventually results in a new entropy. By working with a strong concept like this, I try to on one hand connect the different aspects of the work, and on the other hand, to pull myself out of my comfort zone to explore new fields of work. In this way I make sure that all visuals and all sounds on all levels are connected – both on the large scale of the three movements of the triptych, as well as on the micro-scale of a certain phrase of sounds or movement of lines within those parts.


How did the relationship with the visuals come about in the creative process? At what stage did you work on each?

For Shift Symm, I tried to take the relation between the sound and visual aspects to the next level by creating a purely digital audiovisual and media-specific work and to take a step away from a physical release, which always focuses on either the visual or the auditive. By releasing it on the platform of Sedition, I hope to have found a more equal realization of the intermedia.

By applying the concepts and movements to the different senses at the same time, I tried to find the strongest interrelation between them. It was fascinating to discover the different results of the same methodology in image and sound and to express this tension. After creating this audiovisual foundation, I fed the images into a system I designed which manipulates them in relation to the music, looking for a feedback loop between the senses. This manipulation ranges from x/y shifting of layers to distortion of the image.

For me, this synergy between the senses is the deepest and most realistic way of expressing various concepts and notions, because in our sensory system the senses are very strongly linked, and they give us the possibility to fully experience the space we inhabit. By working with multi- or inter- media, I hope to come closer to this core of sensory involvement.

I really like that, as you talked about your tools, you do have a really direct and visual approach to how your produce. It’s not code; it’s not abstraction – there’s some immediacy to it. Is there some sense of drawing visuals directly?

I think this relates to my background in architecture, in which naturally drawing plays a big role, and in a way drawings are still the foundation of my work. Only now they are not a medium to realize something else or a representation, but the drawings are the work itself.

In Shift Symm, the drawing started out with creating basic elements in vector-based CAD programs, after which they were animated in dialogue with the music composition. The next step was to layer this foundation of drawings with generated visuals, which have a more cause-effect kind of relationship with the sound. I believe there is a lot of tension in this combination of visuals which have been composed and have a longer span of movement with visuals that are triggered by events in the music: the friction between the visual layers gives unexpected results and beauty, something which often lacks in a one-to-one mapping of sound and image.

What’s your background; how did you enter this field?

In the summer of 2008, I graduated as an architect from the Technical University of Delft [The Netherlands], followed by a period in which I worked in an architecture firm. During my studies and work, I always played guitar in bands and founded my solo-project “Machinist.” This project gave me the freedom to develop a more abstract musical language and to discover the relationship between architecture and music.

After a while, I found out this way of approaching spatiality through art and music suited me much better than working with bricks, steel, and glass. The temporal aspect of working with sound and the ability to create work founded on philosophy like I studied at the university fascinated me immensely. It led to the decision to fully focus on my art and music and to continue my work with spatiality through the means I’m currently working with.

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have had various opportunities and commissions to create work in amazing places and to work with inspiring people who push me beyond my boundaries. Last year, for example, I received a commission from Gaudeamus to compose a piece for organ, vocal ensemble, and electronics in collaboration with Gagi Petrovic. This project, named Ob-literate, was somewhat similar in approach as Shift Symm; it investigated the different intermedia in relation to and based on strong concepts. While I work in various forms of expression, I think this recurring method of working combined with my love for minimalistic esthetics results in a coherency in my work.

I do really hope with Establishment that over time, we find a way to help people build a deeper relationship to certain records, as that’s something that matters in the records I love. What do you think our role could be in making that happen? What’s the responsibility of a label in helping that connection happen?

The key element of Establishment in my opinion is the focus on digital and streaming releases, which raises interesting questions on the relationship between your audience and non-physical art. In this field of intermedia releases and digital art, the old carriers of media (such as CDs and DVDs) are not sufficient anymore. Whereas some of these releases are meant for and could be displayed in museums or galleries, there are very little platforms that release this kind of art for ‘home display’. I’m very happy with the collaboration between Sedition and Establishment on my release, which takes a step in this direction and which is crucial to create a platform that can support the further development of this kind of art.

Speaking of giving records quality listens, what is an album or two lately that made you really stop everything else you were doing and get lost?

Two albums I’ve been fascinated by lately are Lunch Music by Yannis Kyriakides and The Neurobiology Of Moral Decision Making by Mark Fell & Gábor Lázár. Both albums are uncompromising and do not always pleasure the listener but they continue to trigger and activate my mind. The album (and live performance) by Kyriakides is based on the book by William S. Burroughs from 1959 and revolves around a polyphony of voices which can be found in Burroughs his work. Kyriakides composed a beautiful synergy between live electronics, percussion and voices performed by the excellent Dutch ensembles Silbersee and Slagwerk Den Haag.

The Neurobiology Of Moral Decision Making triggers me in its bare bones and intensely minimalistic approach in which the two distinct worlds of Lázár and Fell touch and complement each other. I’ve been following Mark Fell for a longer time while Lázár caught me by surprise during a performance at the Berghain during the CTM Festival in 2015. The collaboration between these two is a beautiful example of how working together can maintain a strong character without resulting in compromises.

You’re doing a lot of live performance. How will you adapt the work to a live set?

For me, it’s vital to perform live, because that enables me to fully explore and manipulate the relation between sound, image, and architecture. I work with white noise and sine waves, which are opposites in the way we experience them in a space. Pulses of white noise can be easily located and can relate strongly to reflections of the space while sine waves are very hard to locate and can achieve a strong connection to the architecture by use of standing waves and interference.

When I perform live, I manipulate various parameters of these elements, such as the intervals between the pulses or the frequency of waves, thereby responding to the reaction I get from the space. I see the architecture of the venue as a collaborator with whom I have to create a dialogue to reach the highest levels of intensity.

During these performances, I use my visuals as a graphic score — responding to the movements and events that occur while at the same time these visuals are being manipulated by the sounds I create, which are being influenced by the space I am performing in. With this process, I aim to diffuse the boundaries between the senses, for myself as well as for the audience. For the live execution of Shift Symm I’ve created a performance which merges the three tracks with new material that is based on the same building blocks as the three compositions. Since this foundation is quite minimalistic, it’s possible to create big gestures with minimal interventions: a small alteration of an interval for example has huge results in the system of shifting.

Sedition has given people a different way of connecting to the visuals. But will you also bring this to a gallery context? What would that look like?

There’s a lot of talk lately in getting away from screen culture and so on. But I wonder, in the case of music listening, could the privacy of VR and screens actually help people to focus — to have a personal experience away from the social world?

Personally, I’m not that attracted to VR, partly because I have a problem with experiencing 3D movies and VR content: I get extremely car sick within no time! Perhaps this is due to my heightened sensitivity towards spatiality; I don’t know. But to answer your question: I think there’s a huge chance for galleries and museums to move into the area of offering a high-quality experience of digital art in a social context without losing a focused experience of the art. I think people are moving away from the digitalized social connections and are focusing more on real-life connections. This also plays a big role in the growth of festivals which are often more about the social gathering than about the music and art that are presented.

Perhaps there’s a division going on between a hub-like function of museums and galleries that can combine the presentation of digital art with a social aspect and the VR experience which offers a capsulated private viewing without any social connection. I do think it’s important to be aware of the situation your work is being presented in and that media-specific work will become more and more relevant.

Still from Daan Kars' official video.

Still from Daan Kars’ official video.

What sorts of connections as far as other artists are important to you at the moment? What’s inspiring you?

Since my work is strongly based on concepts, I try to find inspiration in a broad context of the concept I’m focusing on, such as various related art and philosophy. I do have a habit to look for inspiration in places that are not directly in the same method of expression which I’m working in to keep a fresh and personal path from concept to creation. So if I work on a piece of music composition I tend to research visual arts and philosophy, not music itself.

This can reach from a novel by Don Delillo to the architecture of Peter Zumthor or paintings by Callum Innes. Creating Shift Symm, for example, I looked into the work of Carl Andre, how he arranges his beautiful basic building blocks of wooden, copper and graphite blocks. His poems were a big inspiration in the fascinating displacement and grouping of words on paper via the means of a typewriter.

Thanks, Zeno. Check out the music on all major streaming and download services, or get it from our Bandcamp store.


If you’re in Europe, you’ve some chances of catching Zeno live. He plays Rotterdam’s sound//vision 2017, as part of the prestigious International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). He’s at Rewire in Den Haag next month.

Follow Establishment on Facebook for more music and art.

The post Inside Zeno van den Broek’s raw immersive AV architectures appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

8. Norient Musikfilm Festival – a review

Delivered... Philipp Rhensius from Norient | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 2:15 pm

For four days, the art and music space Reitschule in Bern turned into a center of the world: The 8. Norient Musikfilm Festival was an aesthetic journey through the politics of the body, mind and soul - a review in words and pictures.

J.G. Biberkopf performing his audio-visual live show Ecosysmtes of Excess (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

Ironic, but serious - Day 1

If our contemporary culture had to be summed up in one word, it could be: irony. Irony can be as liberating as it´s enslaving. It reveals illusions but can also easily lead to a dead end, where everything is sad because everything is funny, and everything is funny because everything is sad. This dialectic got obvious once again in the first block of 8. Norient Musikfilm Festival, in which two cutting edge artists showed their idiosyncratic interpretations of our troubled times.

In the movie Hot Sugar Cold World featuring the US-american musician Hot Sugar, irony was present at any time. Surrounded by trashy fake aquariums and nostalgic cuddly toys in his New York City homestudio apartement, the twenty-something creates melancholic yet blurry instrumental hip hop made from his vast archive of self recorded samples made from anything – from the silence of a room with a dead body to firecrackers in an abandoned factory building.

Screening of Hot Sugars Cold World (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

In combination with the scenes about Hot Sugars private and emotional life, which appeared to be completely outsourced to the cold-hearted surfaces of social media, the movie turned out as a witty but also depressing portrait of what it means to be an artist in the 21st century that is stuck between a poorly-executed-bohemia-lifestyle and the vicious circle of favouring the online self over the physical one. Two hours later the lithuanian musician J.G. Biberkopf did something totally different.

His audiovisual live show Ecosysmtes of Excess, a delicate combination of noise, ambient and musique concrete, which went along with stroboscope flashes and videos showing different non-places of south east asian metropolises, stayed as abstract and alienated as the fluidity of our existence can be. Here irony was never really present, but very strong in terms of its absence.

Dope Saint Jude performing live at Frauenraum (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

After some cathartic hours of audiovisual immersion the music shows of the south african rapper Dope Saint Jude and Berlin based dj Dis Fig were as refreshing as a cold mineral water in the desert, or no: a warming tea after an exploration to the North Pole. While Dope Saint Jude´s show rapped about the politics of gender bending, Dis Fig´s hyperenergetic DJ set ranging from footwork to jungle teached the euphoric dancers about the politics of the body.

Dis Fig djing at Frauenraum (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

Arsenic Words - Day 2

Irony was also present on the next day, but more hidden. «Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic: they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all.» This quote of the german writer Victor Klemperer has never been more relevant than today. While he was talking about the hateful language used in the third reich to raise the acceptance of the holocaust by devaluating jews in a perfidious yet highly strategic way, today shouldn´t be less aware of the growing hate speech on social media within european countries, mainly aiming towards immigrants and refugees coming to european countries.

Screening of the video The opinions of Slovak experts on tragical deaths of refugees by Samčo, brat dážďoviek (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

This is what the slovakian artist Samčo, brat dážďoviek is concerned about in his music video The opinions of Slovak experts on tragical deaths of refugees. It shows facebook entries of «normal» people ranting about refugees arriving in Slovakia in a violent way. Not just because the language used, but also in how the posts are made, coming along with photos of smiling people in suburban peaceful surroundings.

This and the other videos from the eastern and middle european alternative music scene were presented by Lucia Udvardyova, blogger and founder of the inspiring music blog Easterndaze. Although the other video clips weren´t as politically delicate, they all contained critical thoughts and tropes about national identities and their artistic deconstructions and reminded us once again: Theres is fine line between propaganda (nationalist posts in the public) and propaganda about propaganda (artistic deconstruction about nationalist posts in the public).

Lucia Udvardyova presenting music videos in the Eastern Europe Special (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

Body Politics - Day 3

The Festival saturday began with body politics again. The movie Inside the Mind of Favela Funk of dutch directors Fleur Beemster and Elise Roodenburg portrayed the idiosyncratic «putaria funk» scene coming from the favelas, the poorest (financially, not socially) parts of Rio de Janeiro.

Screening of Inside the Mind of Favela Funk (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

After the screening one could feel the conflicted mindset in the majority of the viewers. Whereas nearly everybody seemed to like the bouncy and positive clubmusic style, there was also an ethical unease regarding the violence and misogyny which «putaria funk» is somehow mirroring but also reproducing. However, when asked about the colonial approach of going to a poor part of the world as a privileged filmmaker from Europe in the discussion, Fleur Beemster pointed out that the film was based on long term research by her co-director Elise Roodenburg, who had been working as an anthropologist in the favelas for seven years, and that all scenes were shot in agreement of the gang leaders who control the specific parts.

The subsequent presentation of In the Circle: Footwork in Chicago by the New York based academic, filmmaker and music journalist Wills Glasspiegel was less ambivalent. By showing a selection of his short movies and music videos, he especially referred to the importance and deep relationship of dance in the polyrhythmical clubmusic style Footwork, which roots are based on the more bassheavy side of Chicago`s rich house music history, such as Ghetto or Booty House.

Screening of In the Circle: Footwork in Chicago (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

If the word ghetto seems somehow aestheticised as used to describe a music style, it would certainly not when talking about Riverton, one of the poorest parts of Kingston, Jamaica. From there, most of the prisoners of the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre come. Although the prison is known for its harsh conditions and violence among inmates, it established a music based rehabilitation program, where talendet and willing inmates can take part, based on the idea of making music could lead to redemption. The film Songs of Redemption of Amanda Sans and Miquel Galofre goes inside the prison to show how music behind has affected prisoners’ lives, providing not just a desperately needed creative outlet but also a means to confront their violent pasts, and to send a message of peace to listeners on the outside.

Narrowness of prisons vs. widenesss of the desert - Day 3 & 4

According to Sans, who was present in the sold-out «Kino Reitschule», the most challenging thing was to habituate the portrayed to get filmed by a woman, as most of them didn´t see one for decades. While the film delivered bits of hope due to the obvious improvements of the self-respect of the participants, the discussion ended with depressing news. The prison ward portrayed in the movie, who was convinced that «the prisoner of today can be the neighbour of tomorrow», was recently replaced by a new one. And he not just fully abolished the family visits that took place twice a year, he also tried to dispose the entire music program. But in the end, Sans told, the political activist Carla Gulotta, to whom the film is dedicated, managed to persuade him.

Director Hind Meddeb (left) discussing about her movie Tunisia Clash with Theresa Bayer (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

Similarly insurgent was the movie Tunisia Clash of the Paris based, Tunisia born filmmaker Hind Meddeb. She, who was caught several times herself for filming illegaly, portrayed the tunisian rappers Rapper Phenix, Weld el 15, Emino, Madou und Klay Bb in their struggle for free creative expression. In the aftermath of the «arab spring», which was basically the fall of Ben Alis regime in 2011, the artists are today risking jail for criticising their country, which today transformed into a highly authoritarian regime again.

Kino Reitschule (Karin Scheidegger, Bern 2017)

The last day finished in harmony. After Lo Sound Desert about the US-american Desert Rock Scene, the documentary A Story of Sahel Sounds of the german Neopan Collective (Florian Kläger, Markus Milcke, Tobias Adam) turned out to be as relaxed and cheerful as the music it portrayed: the psychedelic yet ecstatic songs, mainly performed by Touareg musicians such as Mdou Moctar or Fatou Seïdi Ghadi, went pretty well along the poetic pictures and left the enthusiastic crowd in a meditative state – and made once again clear that music isn´t just music. It is politics, for the mind, the body and the soul.

William Onyeabor, cult Nigerian musician, has died aged 70

Delivered... Guardian music | Scene | Wed 18 Jan 2017 12:30 pm

The enigmatic electro-funk pioneer, who released nine albums between 1977 and 1985 before distancing himself from music, has died peacefully at home

William Onyeabor, groundbreaking synth funk musician, has died at the age of 70.

Related: William Onyeabor: one of music’s most insoluble puzzles to the end

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