Oval, Phonophani and Mike Slott at the Bimhuis tonight

After the recent success of the sold out Viral Radio Festival 2010, Bimhuis and Viral Radio present Hyperrhythm, a programme with more innovative electronic music. The first edition of Hyperrhythm took place at this year’s North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam. Then, Dimlite, Dorian Concept, Hudson Mohawke and Mike Slott played impeccable sets.

This Thursday, Oval (Thrilljockey, Berlin), Phonophani (Rune Grammofon, Tromsø) and Mike Slott (LuckyMe, New York) will play new work. Markus ‘Oval’ Popp is one of the main artists of the glitch movement, in which technical hitches and glitches are used as musical building blocks. Sound artist Espen Sommer Eide makes his solo debut in the Netherlands as Phonophani. Previously he has performed with Alog and he has collaborated with Biosphere and Pierre Bastien. Read an interview with him by Juha. Mike Slott made his debut at the Bimhuis alongside Dimlite and Take during Beat Dimensions at the Amsterdam Dance Event in 2008. He is the musical sibling of Hudson Mohawke, Rustie and American Men. Non-fiction’s Juha will set the perimeters with rhythmic abstractions.

The programme starts at 9 pm sharp, and tickets are still available at the door. We look forward to seeing you here tonight.

Oval – Ah! from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

By Juha — Posted October 21, 2010 — 2 Comments

Viral music distribution

Viral Radio is the experimental electronic music vehicle of Non-fiction’s Juha van ‘t Zelfde and Beat Dimensions’ initiator Yuri Boselie (Cinnaman). It has been organising cutting-edge events in TrouwAmsterdam, Paradiso, Bimhuis and other venues across the Netherlands. Its latest interest is investigating new forms of music distribution and interaction via mobile phones, in collaboration with 3voor12 and VURB. Tonight, they organise their monthly night in TrouwAmsterdam.

On this month’s edition Viral Radio presents two artists it has been following for years and years: Dimlite and Jamie Vex’d. Swiss born Dimlite (Dimitri Grimm, 1980) is a master of mosaic textures and imaginative drum patterns. He is one of the most admired artists of his generation and a distinguished performer. His concerts at the Bimhuis in 2008 and 2009 rank among the best given there in the past few years. Englishman Jamie Vex’d (Jamie Teasdale, 1979) has gained critical acclaim as experimental dubstep duo Vex’d. They released the album Degenerate on Planet Mu in 2005, a prescient example of forward thinking bass music. Jamie has released solo works that are closer related to the video game and science fiction cartoons aesthetic of Hudson Mohawke and Rustie. He has created the new avatar Kuedo, that will release its first tracks within weeks.It is one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

The evening starts at 22:30, and tickets are 12 euros. As always, Viral Radio hosts Juha and Cinnaman will play their music straight out of the package. We look forward to welcoming you there.

By Juha — Posted February 5, 2010 — 49 Comments

Bass fiction and beat dimensions at the Bimhuis

To celebrate 1 year of Beat Dimensions concerts at the Bimhuis, we have invited three of our favourite musicians to perform live in Amsterdam. Kode9 & the Spaceape will demonstrate their Bass Fiction live set, a rhythmically desolate and sonically dense architecture of sub frequencies, whilst Dimlite will display yet again why he is a master of mosaic textures and imaginative drum patterns. Digikid Cinnaman and laureate Juha will play music from a not so distant future in the bar before, between and after the concerts.

Doors open around 11, and the concerts start at 11.30. We look forward to seeing you there.

By Juha — Posted April 23, 2009 — 52 Comments

Clark, Pan Sonic, Oval, Kode9 and the Spaceape, Dimlite, Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Samiyam, Pierre Bastien and Daedelus

Dorian Concept live at the Bimhuis (photo: Eline Soumeru)

Dorian Concept live at the Bimhuis (photo: Eline Soumeru)

In a period of just over a month, we have the privilege to present a staggering amount of our favourite musicians from every frequency imaginable. From the high-end sonic textures of Chris Clark to the tactile tectonics of Hyperdub messiah Kode9, and from the  Michel Gondryesque orchestre mécanique of Pierre Bastien to the this-is-what-the-internet-must-sound-like aesthetic of Oval.

Here is the full list:

03 April > Viral Radio invites Clark. With residents Cinnaman and Juha
Venue: Trouw Amsterdam / time: 22.00 – 03.00 / €12,-

04 April > Pan Sonic and Oval
Venue: Bimhuis / time: 20.30 – 01.00 / €12,-

24 April > Beat Dimensions with Kode9 & the Spaceape ‘Bass Fiction live’ and Dimlite. With residents Cinnaman and Juha
Venue: Bimhuis / time: 23.00 – 03.00 / €10,-

01 May > Viral Radio invites Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Samiyam. With residents Cinnaman and Juha
Venue: Trouw Amsterdam / time: 22.00 – 05.00 / €12,-

06 May > Daedelus and Pierre Bastien
Venue: De Verdieping / time: 20.30 – 23.30 / €?,-

We hope to see you at one (or more) of these nights, and we thank you kindly for your support.

By Juha — Posted March 25, 2009 — 355 Comments

A loud no and an even louder yes

Marcel Duchamp and John Cage playing chess (photo: Shigeko Kubota)

Marcel Duchamp and John Cage playing chess (photo: Shigeko Kubota)

In an e-mail exchange with the English bassist Squarepusher (Tom Jenkinson) about a concert in Amsterdam, he confused me by writing that he did not consider himself a musician, and he was not even sure if he really liked music. Jenkinson is a drummer as well as a bass player, and ever since his first album, Feed Me Weird Things, released in 1996, he has been more or less idolized as an innovator of electronic music.

His music was used by filmmaker Sofia Coppola as the sonic translation of Tokyo’s lightscape in Lost in Translation. It has been presented in manic and sterile fashion by video-maker Chris Cunningham and recorded as a contemporary pendant of 20th-century experimental music by the London Sinfonietta, in a programme of such great composers as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Why would anyone of such stature not want to call himself a musician?

In search of an explanation, I called on a number of friends in the music scene and asked what their definition of music was, and whether you could make music without being a musician.

Nearly a century ago, the French composer Edgard Varèse referred to music as ‘organized sound’, a term that was reinforced in 1937 by John Cage in his famous lecture, The Future of Music: Credo. Some theorists see music as a language that enables interaction between people. Others see it as organized movement of air. Philosophers sometimes speak of a ‘practical form of philosophy in time and space’ (I kid you not). The Scottish sound theorist, Steve Goodman, speaks of music as a form of architecture that makes it possible for people to acoustically take control of their environment. As an example, he refers to South London’s dubstep producers, who want to cut off the intrusive noise of their immediate environment and the outside world and by using music equipment to carve out a space in sound.

With any of these descriptions, the question remains whether you can make music and not be a musician, as Jenkinson implies. Most people reply that, yes, you can. You can be ‘tone deaf, not master any instrument or forget to pay your membership to the Musicians Union’, as Ollie Bown of the Icarus electronic ensemble jokes. You might only call yourself a musician ‘if the context requires it and if it is less confusing to call yourself a musician, instead of an artist or theoretician’, as Bown’s cousin and composer Sam Britton pragmatically replies. You can make music and not be a musician ‘by working as an artist in the auditive domain’, adds Lucas van der Velden of the artists collective Telco Systems, or indeed, according to producers Kode9 and Cinnaman ‘by simply not caring what you call it’.

The answers vary from self-effacing to convincing and from indecisive to indifferent. If a distinction can be made between capable musicians who refine and develop their art according to a tradition, and ‘musicians’ who experiment with apparatus and instruments with no notion or interest in history, then perhaps Jenkinson is right. But can such a distinction be made?

Jenkinson also wrote, ‘I see myself as someone who clears the way for musicians and composers, brushing away preconceptions about what is permissible.’ Perhaps Jenkinson’s words indicate that it is ultimately about the experience of music, not about qualifying or analyzing it.

A final word goes to the buoyant Swiss artist Dimitri Grimm (Dimlite), whose e-mail response to my question of whether or not he is a musician was, ‘A loud no and an even louder yes. It depends on who is asking. That question almost never needs a reply (maybe for the phone book entry). The title “musician” is not really laden with a concrete association in my world. I have never learned the definition of a musician, so: I don’t know. There was a time when I used to say, “well, call me a music-maker”, out of respect, because I am not that guy who is reading or writing notes and mastering the craft of, let’s say, guitar playing. That is a musician, right? I grew up in a time when people scratching with turntables had already started calling themselves musicians. These days, we juggle zeros and ones by ear and eye, create sounds, rhythms, harmonies, melodies and good and bad ghosts of all sorts, by any means, for ears and souls, and it takes a lot of mastery. It is nobody’s right to decide who is a musician and who is not, and if they do, who cares?’

This article was published in Metropolis M of February/March 2009.

By Juha — Posted February 14, 2009 — 3 Comments