kagablog

November 3, 2014

johannes kerkorrel

Filed under: music,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 2:24 pm

Hoe sou ‘n musiekkritiek gestroop van die byvoeglike naamwoord lyk? Om mee te begin, waarskynlik minder irriterend en niksseggend as die ontoereikende banaliteite en cliché’s waarna skrywers gewoonlik gryp wanneer musiek hul onderwerp is. En laat ek dadelik byvoeg: dit reflekteer dikwels die beperking van táál en nie noodwendig van skrywer nie, want musiek wat in aanraking kom met taal in die daad van interpretasie, neig asimptoties na die byvoeglike naamword.

In die nadraai van Johannes Kerkorrel se dood het dit my opgeval hoe hy as ‘musikant’ en as ‘sanger’ beskryf word, maar hoe die kommentaar op sy betekenis as kunstenaar wegskram van ‘n interpretasie van die musiek, dit wat ‘n mens as sentraal tot die ambag van ‘sanger’ of ‘musikant’ sou reken.

Hierdie leemte reflekteer aan die een kant ‘n algemene tendens in skryfwerk oor populêre musiek, nl. om weg te deins van ‘n tegniese bespreking van musikaal-tegniese parameters ten gunste van lirieke, en aan die ander kant die versuim van geïnstitusionaliseerde diskoers oor musiek (musikologie) om populêre musiekkritiek met die nodige erns te bejeën en te beoefen. Die akademie moet kennis neem dat dit reeds duidelik is dat Kerkorrel in breë kultuurhistoriese verband ‘n belangriker musikale figuur is as menige kunsmusiekkomponis wat met religieuse toewyding in konservatoria oor die land bestudeer en gekanoniseer word.

Maar terug by die musiek. Uiteraard kan Kerkorrel se musiek (die note) nie produktief aan dieselfde eksegetiese druk onderwerp word as wat ‘n mens op ‘n Beethoven sonate sou kon toepas nie. Die parameters wat in spel geplaas word met ‘n lesing van populêre musiek is inderdaad dikwels buite-musikaal en het te doen met die liriek, die politieke of sosiale konteks, die visuele beelde van die musiekvideo, die persoonlikheidskultus van die musikant, en dies meer. Maar die musiek maak ten minste die middelpuntvliedende kern uit van die konstellasie idees wat uiteindelik betekenis toeken aan ‘n sanger soos Kerkorrel.

Die Kerkorrel-revolusie van die laat-80’s en vroeë 90’s het by my verbygegaan, sodat ek nie eens met die kundigheid van algemene vertroudheid iets daaroor kan sê nie. Met die deurluister van van sy liedjies wat ek sedertdien kon opspoor, is die opvallende aspek egter die oënskynlike diskrepansie tussen die radikalisme van die vroeë Kerkorrel-boodskap (die lirieke en polities-sosiale impak daarvan), en die stem van sanger.

Die waarneming het my laat dink aan Roland se Barthes se beskrywing van die ‘grein’ van die stem as wyse waarop ‘n nuwe soort musiekkritiek die bindinge van die byvoeglike naamwoord kan omseil. As die ‘boodskap’ van Kerkorrel se kuns buite rekening gelaat word, dit wat Barthes die ideologiese alibi’s van die tyd noem en wat deur die byvoeglike naamwoord gekoloniseer kan word, wat bly oor? Die ‘grein’ van die stem of die gebrek daaraan.

In die geval van Kerkorrel is dit die gebrek aan ‘grein’ wat my interesseer. Die ‘gewoonheid’ van die stem, die ‘gewigloosheid’ daarvan, en om uiteindelik die byvoeglike naamwoord agter te laat, die onderwerping van die stem aan die boodskap. Dit kom by my op dat die stem van Die Ander Kant en die een van Eet Kreef! nie so verskillend is soos die onderskeie boodskappe nie. Dat Ralph Rabie en Johannes Kerkorrel inderdaad twee verskillende musikale persona’s is, met die stem van eersgenoemde wat aanvanklik latent (en later openlik) teenwoordig was as ‘n simbool van presies dít waarteen Kerkorrel se proteskuns gemik was: kulturele middelmatigheid, eenvormigheid, gesigloosheid.

Die Kerkorrel van Eet Kreef! bedryf dus ‘n praktyk teen sigself gekeer. Af en toe, soos in BMW, is dit die musikale uitwerk van idees wat oorspronklik en interessant is, maar oor die algemeen, as die proteslirieke van Eet kreef! buite rekening laat word, is dit die konflik tussen stem en taal wat rou en musikaal oorspronklik en opspraakwekkend is. Dit beliggaam (letterlik) die konflik tussen neutraliteit en protes, tussen roetine en opskudding, tussen gelatenheid en woede.

Dit mag dus wees dat Johannes Kerkorrel/Ralph Rabie sy grootste universaliteit bereik het in die verteenwoordigende gespletenheid van sy vroeë werk waarin die gewone stem tot protesstem gedwing is, terwyl sy latere humanistiese musiekmaak in werklikheid diep in die selfrefleksie van die individu teruggetrek het. Die tyd sal nie leer nie, want hier betree ‘n mens natuurlik reeds die postume praktyk van mite-vorming. Wat egter onbetwisbaar is, is die buitengewone kultuur-historiese belang van Johannes Kerkorrel, ‘n belang buite verband tot die ‘grein’ van sy stem. Ernstige musiekkritiek moet maniere vind om hierdie verskynsel musikaal-sinvol uit te skryf.

Deur Stephanus Muller

October 22, 2014

taylor ho bynum on mongezi feza

Filed under: music,music and exile symposium — ABRAXAS @ 6:52 am

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first published here: http://jazztimes.com/articles/143381-taylor-ho-bynum-on-mongezi-feza-and-barbara-donald

October 11, 2014

cilliers van den berg on stephanus muller’s nagmusiek

Filed under: literature,music,reviews,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 3:36 pm

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this review was first published here: http://www.netwerk24.com/vermaak/2014-10-11-geheimenisse-van-komponis-opgediep?vc=93f74b6153866c9ddd6d7eaa28d691fc

October 8, 2014

laduma and kwaito

Filed under: 2004 - laduma (ak thembeka),music — ABRAXAS @ 3:12 pm

Laduma knew it was better to take than give. Better to steal than receive. But Laduma did not know how to get started. Then Dorothy put a spanner in the works of his great contemplation. She organised a job for him. Laduma is nonplussed. How did she manage that? I am Laduma the Unemployable. But she pleads with him to take the job. At the 7-11 in Four Ways.

“How will I get there?”

“That’s not the point. Please take the job.”

Dorothy gives him the R7,50 taxi fare. It is a forty minute ride into the depths of the northern suburbs. The mini-bus taxi is bursting at its seams, filled with those misfortunate enough to have jobs, on their way to the poorly paying prisons that entitle the workers their claim to a “class” of sorts. But the taxi is also bursting with the rough gritty rythmn of Mzeke Zeke’s kwaito hit S’Guqa Ngamadolo. Laduma is normally immune to the pull of popular music. He prefers silence and the complex syncopations of the myriad thought patterns inside his head to the banal four four beats of the marketplace, but Mzeke Zeke, the masked bandit of kwaito, has such an unashamedly sepulchral grain in his chanting voice that Laduma is compelled to smile, and then, slowly, to sway his mantis body from side to side, along with the other travelling workers. Laduma raises his arms and looks out at the world through a frame made up of the bony fore fingers and thumbs of both hands. When these fingers touch and the left and right hands are allowed to communicate, to inform each other of the other’s activities, Laduma experiences a sudden burst of transgressive power. He is ignoring Christ’s admonition to be humble, he is denying his mother’s Zionist christian tradition of self-abnegation in the face of the almighty creator. Laduma himself is now the Creator. He is the lord of this frame. Only he decides where this frame ends and the world begins. His own perception is his kingdom, he rules his own thoughts and his many senses, masters them. Laduma grins broadly and although his fellow travellers are not privy to the distinguished train of his thought they know a grin of enjoyment when they see one. The grin infects the other members of this elite taxi coven and spreads like a virus, hectically. By the time Laduma alights, deep in the north of Jozi, there is a feeling of communion in the taxi cab that Laduma would describe as congregational, were he not disparaging of those believing individuals who still needed to congregate. Laduma the mantis spirit is his own congregation, wherever he is are his Angels gathered, his body is the house of his Lord, himself.

The taxi continues to Rivonia, pumping its urban mix of house and township rhythms, loudly, rudely, carrying the slaves to their masters, but not without rampant tendrils of dissent uncoiling in the very texture of those grating and jarring kwaito rhythms that are codified exhortations to the slave people to stand up and assert their destiny, to reclaim their land and their power. Laduma stands still for a while watching the stars undulate as they listen to the Abagan Dub mixed by DJ S’bu. The stars understand the oral history of kwaito’s description of the lives that black people are leading in Mzansi. The stars are not fooled by Einstein’s drab prediction that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Laduma grins at the dancing stars, clicks his tongue and clicks his fingers and gets an instantaneous response from on high. Kwaito moves faster than the speed of light. It moves with the speed of who-feels-it-knows-it. The stars know this. The moon knows this. Dirty stinking Jozi-love knows this. Iqiniso! The truth! Laduma laughs as he trudges towards the centre where the 7-11 is situated. He is laughing because he knows what he feels and he feels what he knows and it is enough! This knowledge completes him. This feeling repletes him.

excerpted from the novel laduma by a.k. thembeka

October 6, 2014

Otomo Yoshihide – Bath Cream 1-3

Filed under: 1999 - shabondama elegy (tokyo elegy),music — ABRAXAS @ 4:41 pm

September 29, 2014

i’m sorry i did you wrong – royal holidays

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 9:55 pm

September 28, 2014

domus

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more info here: http://www.sun.ac.za/english/faculty/arts/music-konservatorium/Pages/DOMUS.aspx

September 24, 2014

ian kerkhof on music and censorship in south africa (originally published in rixaka)

Filed under: ian kerkhof,music,music and exile symposium,politics — ABRAXAS @ 7:14 am

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September 18, 2014

ten questions – stephanus muller on nagmusiek

Filed under: literature,music,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 11:00 pm

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keep reading this article here: http://www.litnet.co.za/Article/tien-vrae-stephanus-muller-oor-nagmusiek

September 12, 2014

Compositional Aesthetics and the Political: Call for Papers Deadline 29th September 2014

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 9:25 am

CONFERENCE: COMPOSITIONAL AESTHETICS AND THE POLITICAL
Call for Papers / Performances
Contemporary Music Research Unit
Department of Music, Goldsmiths, University of London
20th – 22nd February 2015

The increasing growth of the field of Music and Politics has recently seen quite a few turns in Music Studies, materialized in articles, books, and journals. The natural tendency to themes such as feminism, post-colonialism, the culture industry, war, censorship, resistance, etc., have irreversibly affected thinking about music and music-making of several genres, including that of ‘contemporary classical’. However, perhaps as a reaction to traditional musicology (with its insistence on the musical work and on authorship), the study of compositional practices against contemporary political dimensions, has hitherto received less scholarly attention. In the—ostensibly distant—sixties, figures like Xenakis or Nono represented two typical examples of politicized compositional attitudes: the former’s radical abstraction was a coup against the dominance of serialism, the latter’s thematization of textuality and location constituted gestures of resistance. Their epigones still produce work that challenges traditional conceptions (including those of their progenitors); this symposium’s foremost aim is to advance such contemporary practices. One such example is the impact that (free) improvisation has had on recent composition. To the extend that improvisation is the correlative of composition (as ‘material’, listening attitude, style, etc.), this symposium aims to examine both creative practices in their political dimension—either explicit or implied. Thus, this gathering will focus primarily on practice-based research, its underlying politics, the explicit or implicit theme of the political, and how these translate into to the praxis of composition.

The following is a list of suggested themes, but these should only be taken as indicative springboards. However, please note that these will be considered against the symposium’s focus on compositional praxis.

Problematics of the musical work
Absolute music, programmatic music and claims to representation
Progress, tradition and originality
Politicising the aesthetic / aestheticising the political
Performance spaces
Composition & ecology
Crisis in politics & aesthetics
Feminism & queer theory
Situationism & psychogeography
Contemporary composition, improvisation and activism
The politics of notation

Proposals of up to 300 words are invited for 20 minute presentations with 10 minutes questions. Please also include a short biographical note of around 100 words.

In addition, proposals involving practice are encouraged. These may take the form of a 30-minute presentation split between practice, speaking and questions as desired by the proposer/performer, or pieces which could be performed as concert items. In the case of these presentations, please supply a full list of equipment needed for the presentation/performance.

Details via Golden Pages:

http://goldenpages.jpehs.co.uk/2014/06/18/compositional-aesthetics-and-the-political/

Please send proposals and indications of interest to either Professor Roger Redgate: r.redgate@gold.ac.uk, Dr Dimitris Exarchos: d.exarchos@gold.ac.uk, or Alistair Zaldua: a.zaldua@gold.ac.uk

Deadline for proposals: 29th of September 2014
Notifications of result: October 2014

July 22, 2014

theo herbst – sand was daar

Filed under: hearing landscape critically,music — ABRAXAS @ 12:01 pm

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fourth wall launching stephanus muller’s nagmusiek

Filed under: literature,music,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 10:31 am

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July 18, 2014

nagmusiek – the launch

Filed under: literature,music,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 10:52 am

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dudu pukwana

Filed under: music,music and exile symposium — ABRAXAS @ 8:36 am

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keep reading this article here: http://african78s.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/focus-no-15-dudu-pukwana-on-78/

July 15, 2014

uit die blauw van onse hemel

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July 7, 2014

gqom

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 1:43 pm

June 23, 2014

emile yx – die leen (the lie)

Filed under: afrikaaps,music,politics — ABRAXAS @ 11:50 am

June 16, 2014

arnold van wyk – three improvisations on dutch folk songs

Filed under: music,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 12:14 pm

June 12, 2014

shamin chibba on chris mcgregor

Filed under: music,music and exile symposium — ABRAXAS @ 1:07 pm

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keep reading this article here: http://www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com/culture/3869-mcgregor-s-music-captures-the-african-village

June 5, 2014

louis moholo-moholo and kyle shepherd @national arts festival

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 4:27 pm

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kyle shepherd @national arts festival

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 4:07 pm

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jitsfinger’s jitsenic @national arts festival

Filed under: afrikaaps,music — ABRAXAS @ 3:18 pm

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louis moholo-moholo and ernst reijseger @national arts festival

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 2:04 pm

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garth erasmus @national arts festival

Filed under: music,unga dada — ABRAXAS @ 1:26 pm

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June 4, 2014

keeping time

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 9:34 am

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