Carla Lonzi, in her Manifesto di Rivolta Femminile of 1970 said: War has always been the specific activity of man and his way of displaying his virility.
Virginia Woolf, in her Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid, said: in The Times this morning—a woman’s voice saying, “Women have not a word to say in politics.” There is no woman in the Cabinet; nor in any responsible post. All the idea makers who are in a position to make ideas effective are men. That is a thought that damps thinking and encourages irresponsibility. Apart from a few notable exceptions, this is still the case today.
Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid by Virginia Woolf. https://newrepublic.com/article/113653/thoughts-peace-air-raid
It’s hard to believe that one man, could have really contemplated a war in Europe after all the slaughter, bloodshed, and suffering of two world wars. It really is beyond belief.
I’ve just started listening to Apple music and came across Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, which I hadn’t listened to in a long time. Now I admit that I am often easily moved to tears by things, but it was just the intersections of what I’m seeing and hearing in these last six weeks that got me, yet again. We are lucky to be women, working in music, which is such a powerful life force. On the other hand:
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted…
From The Merchant of Venice – William Shakespeare
Turin has had a sizeable Jewish community. Around the streets of the center, we often see these brass plaques set into the pavement outside the entrances of where these people used to live. You’ll notice that they are slightly raised so that you cannot fail to notice them. They are in memory of the Jews who were taken from their homes in Turin and deported to Auschwitz in Poland; as an aside, Poland has been taking its share of refugees from neighboring Ukraine. Anyway, look closely at what happened to the Valabrega family: mother and father were assassinated within two months of being in Auschwitz, while their daughter Stella, who was only 20 years old when she was deported, survived. I shudder to think how a young woman in such dire circumstances would have managed until the end of the war. I mean, is this really happening again?
Back to the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, and I remember when working in a Primary School in Oxfordshire, using part of the third movement, which is beautifully sung by one of my favorite sopranos, Dawn Upshaw, as a dance movement for a very talented young girl.
This very short text held such significance for me as I leave my ‘Black Dog’ and come into the light:
Mamo, nie płacz, nie.
Niebios Przeczysta Królowo.
Ty zawsze wspieraj mnie.
No, Mother, do not weep,
Most chaste Queen of Heaven
Support me always.
“Zdrowas Mario.” (*)
The text is a prayer inscribed on a wall of cell no. 3 in the basement of “Palace,” the Gestapo’s headquarters in Zadopane; beneath is the signature of Helena Wanda Blazusiakówna, and the words “18 years old, imprisoned since 26 September 1944.”)
(*) “Zdrowas Mario” (Ave Maria)—the opening of the Polish prayer to the Holy Mother
Yes, this one moved me.
The good news is that Helena survived, she was rescued by a group of partisan fighters who took her into the hills and reunited her with her grandmother. She later married and had five children… I just couldn’t find out what happened to her
And what about my own personal war, or it seems like that, nine months after separation from my Mexican girlfriend, having arrived back from Mexico with just four suitcases, it still feels like a battle to free myself from the memory of this manipulative control of me and my life. Over these last nine months, those brilliant writers of the Autostraddle website have helped me understand and accept the new realities. I came across this in one of the articles and it chimed with me…
Music by Aksak Maboul, Alain Pierre, Aponogeton, Ben Bertrand, Céline Gillain, Distels, Farida Amadou & Pavel Tchikov, Floris Hoorelbeke, Gregoire Tirtiaux, Gerrit Valckenaers, Hondasuccess, Ignatz, Jacques Charlier, Lennert Jacobs, Leo Kupper, Mathieu Serruys, MCBN & Furio G, Pablo’s Eye, Sagat, SG, Sensu, Ssaliva, Stilll ft Voice Actor, Weird Dust and Wolfgang Delnui
Fieldrecordings by Alain Pierre and Christina Nickel
Voice by Damien Chapelle and Noa Kurzweil
Text by Damien Chapelle, Noa Kurzweil & Rafael Severi
Artwork by Victor Verhelst
Mastering by Mathieu Savenay
– An immigrant always negotiates his position in some way. There are different strategies: mixing languages, preserving traditional costumes or seeking a place through speculative anthropology. This works at the university and in a gallery, but I believe it can also provoke something outside of them – says musician and composer, Wojciech Rusin.
It seems that Syphon, released by AD93, brought Wojtek Rusin to peoples’ attention the most. An unconventional artist, musician, and composer. He has been active for over a decade, but he is more widely recognised outside of Poland (which is gradually changing), especially in the UK, where he works on a daily basis. His skilful stylistic equilibrium attracts us not only with original musical solutions, but also with a concept that is drawing from a wide range of early music, electronics, everything that is neatly produced, which proves the unusual character of his work. If you are interested, I recommend my introduction to the history of this colourful personality, about whom I wrote three years ago on the occasion of the release of the album The Funnel. And then, you should listen to the latest release of Syphon. I wrote about it on the pages of The Quietus:
Below, you can read our conversation about boundaries blurring, speculativeness, alchemy, theatre music, recording albums, but also about challenging the orders of tradition.
JAKUB KNERA: In Fabruary you released Syphon, a second album under your own name. The first one, The Funnel, came out in 2019, but earlier you had recorded under Katapulto moniker: Animalia cassette on the Sangoplasmo label in 2011 or the Powerflex album on Olde English Spelling Bee in 2015, among others. When did you decide to record under your own name?
WOJCIECH RUSIN: The Katapulto project expired naturally. It was inspired by the German new wave, hysterical experiments with pop – I was testing how far it can be moved towards absurdity, overdrive, fast rhythm and absurd lyrics. I was discovering my voice in it, there were a lot of vocals. I also released an album in this aesthetics as Obsidian Teeth in the Ceramics label in Bristol – it was post-industrial music with beats, no vocals.
Releasing music under my own name was the aftermath of the invitation to Glasgow’s Radiophrenia festival that is dedicated to the art of sound. Its organisers commission a 20–30-minute block to an artist that he or she is asked to develop.
Dale Cornish remembers the sublime, time-distorting work of Philip Jeck who died on Friday
The first time I heard Philip Jeck’s music was a pub in Balham, South London. A night celebrating 25 years of Touch, the audio visual publishing company that’s released most of his records. Or was it at the Curzon Cinema in Soho, providing the live soundtrack one Saturday afternoon to a film by Tereza Stehlíková? I vaguely remember a monochrome film of hands stroking sand in boxes. A more vivid memory of the afternoon is Jeck’s swooning, unsettling timbres and crackles, filling the prematurely air-conditioned cinema. Or was it neither?
Time, and the placement of time, is odd: someone makes an impression so strong, so singular, you can’t believe there was a time before they were part of your view of the world. They were always there. And now, sadly, no longer. Philip Jeck, the British, turntable pioneer, has died after a brief illness, per a Twitter statement from Touch on Sunday night. Born in 1952, he studied visual arts at Dartington College of Arts in the seventies. The college allowed him one day a week to study in the neighbouring music and theatre workshop, allowing him to sit on workshops by visiting professionals such as Carolee Schneemann and People Show.
Initially dabbling in the guitar, Jeck later explored the possibilities of turntables from the early eighties, being drawn to the sound possibilities of playing 78prm records on junkshop record players that could play at 16rpm. Jeck has also cited trips to New York, witnessing the likes of Larry Levan and Walter Gibbons exploring turntable techniques and extended looping for inspiring him to attempt similar vinyl manipulations back home.
In early 2015 I came across a piece of music that was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. It was called "Africa Express Presents: Terry Riley's In C Mali," which didn't ring any bells for me at the time, though it involved a number of musicians I like, including Brian Eno.
When I hit "play," I was surrounded by a cloud of music that seemed to contradict itself at every turn — as if it was in a state of suspended animation, but it kept changing all the time. It was filled with energy and forward motion, yet it was somehow calming. It was highly repetitive but organic. It was rhythmically intricate but it grooved. It was often hard to pin down, but it didn't seem very complicated.
A quick Google search brought me to the Wikipedia article about "In C," which had some phrases in it that really tickled my interest. It talked about the piece consisting of "53 short, numbered, musical phrases" with musicians having "control over which phrase they play" and that each phrase "may be repeated an arbitrary number of times." It sounded more like a description of a process than a description of a musical composition.
What I was to learn is that "In C" is a foundational and revered work of musical minimalism – a form of music where these kinds of open ended processes are front and center. These processes, designed by composer Terry Riley, have unfolded in different ways not only in this performance by the Africa Express project, but in the countless other performances of "In C" that have been given in the last 53 years all around the world.
In this article I'm going to share what I've learned about "In C" in the two years following my first encounter with it. We'll discuss the composition's origins in drones and tape loops designed to alter our perception of time. We'll discuss how its open architecture allows a unique piece of music to be generated for every single performance. We'll look at some of the manifold performances and experimental visual and software projects it has inspired in the five decades following its 1964 conception in the then 29-year old Riley's mind .