onsdag 11 mars 2009

Ondinonk - The unfullfilled wishes language

A street musicians fuge

Filmed by Dror Feiler

Edited by Dror Feiler

D.O.G production

A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

Walter Benjamin: Theses on the Philosophy of History IX

Cantos De La Columna Vertebral - Songs from the spinal cord

FARC guerillas singing their songs in their camp in the jungle.

Filmed by Dror Feiler

Edited by Dror Feiler

D.O.G production

Exile as Noise – Noise as Exile

Exile as Noise – Noise as Exile

To be in exile to be displaced from one’s country of origin and upbringing to be an immigrant —the experience of over 185 million people in the world, on a conservative estimate—is a wrench perhaps comparable in impact to that of war, long-term hunger or imprisonment.

For me to be in exile, to be an immigrant is like being “NOISE” in musical context.

Instead of a person creatively carrying over meanings, across accepted borders of sense, a person is here bodily pushed over borders by forces beyond his or her control.

In “NOISE MUSIC” performances aural elements are sprinting toward each other from opposite far ends of the aural space and are colliding in a direct, violent impact. This sound of crashing aural elements is “NOISE MUSIC”. While sound connotes nothing more than the sense data of hearing, “NOISE MUSIC”, from the Latin nausea, suggests an unpleasant disturbance, confusion, or interference baldly lacking any musical quality and that in sociological terms for me is “EXILE”.

Creating this sense of feeling alien and out of place, a widespread unease sometimes deepening into despair, is built-in the experience of modernity. Marx, found the root of alienation in the labor process. The acute critic of the first modern mass democracy, Thoreau, postulated that most people live lives of quiet desperation, but the sentiment is most often articulated by and about intellectuals, from Nietzsche to Sartre to Said.

“NOISE MUSIC” generates straightaway auditory disturbance, panic and fear, we hear something like the squeal of a dentist's suction straw, the collision of helicopters, or the thermonuclear roar of the sun's core. It sounds as if the machines of music have begun to digest the earth, and we listen to the garbage disposal run as nature is ground in technology's gizzard. And this fear is similar to the usual reaction to the “other”, to the immigrant.

"The metaphor, ‘all modern thinkers are exiles’, might tend rather to conceal the brute fact of bodies not only psychically but physically in exile, and the new ways of feeling, thinking, and living that this brings; to elide the experience of working and downtrodden people. The metaphor is of Jewish/Christian origin, evoking the expulsion from Eden; but “what is truly horrendous: that exile is irremediably secular and unbearably historical; that it is produced by human beings for other human beings”. Edward Said, ‘Reflections on Exile’, Granta 13, 1984, p. 160; reprinted in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, Cambridge, ma 2000.

One cannot listen to an entire composition without suffering effects: muscles twitch, nerves fray, the heart races, and cognition hits a wall. Unlike artists who pride themselves on rupturing eardrums with low frequencies at high volumes, or who induce fear and disgust through extended samples of a rape beneath viscous hardcore “NOISE MUSIC” is not attacking our physical or moral limits. Instead, it presents the simple horror of extreme complexity. Here music is sacrificed to the art of aural agitation.

"Most people are principally aware of one culture, one setting, one home; exiles are aware of at least two, and this plurality of vision gives rise to an awareness of simultaneous dimensions, an awareness that--to borrow a phrase from music--is contrapuntal. For an exile, habits of life, expression, or activity in the new environment inevitably occur against the memory of these things in another environment. Thus both the new and the old environment are vivid, actual, occurring together contrapuntally. ... There is a unique pleasure in this sort of apprehension." Edward Said, “The Mind of Winter: Reflections on Life in Exile,” Harper's Magazine (September, 1984), 269: pp. 49-55, p. 35.

How can we make sense of this situation? Why must music now risk its own identity in order to strike a critical chord with its culture? What social and aesthetic forces are at work behind the back of this seemingly anti-social and anti-aesthetic phenomenon? Does the "unlistenability" of “NOISE MUSIC” mark a kinship with the now distant and inaudible shock of the avant-garde music? Is dissonance even possible in our age, and what does dissonance, in its achievement or failure, press us to confront? Just as the music of Jimi Hendrix and the Sex Pistols that once resembled alternative forms of life now find homes in soft drink and car commercials, will these unbearable “NOISE MUSIC” also take root in the status quo? Have they already?

"The pattern that sets the course for the intellectual as outsider is best exemplified by the condition of exile, the state of never being fully adjusted, always feeling outside the chatty, familiar world inhabited by natives … Exile for the intellectual in this metaphysical sense is restlessness, movement, constantly being unsettled, and unsettling others. You cannot go back to some earlier and perhaps more stable condition of being at home; and, alas, you can never fully arrive, be at one in your new home or situation." Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994), p. 39.

“NOISE MUSIC” could only become meaningful and articulate at a time when thought and language have become somehow inarticulate. As T.W. Adorno's stipulates, that we live in an abstract and instrumental world, where each object we encounter holds meaning only as 1) a representative of the class to which it belongs and 2) a tool for our use.
Much of the veracity of Adorno's theory of art lies in its ability to explain the cultural tension played out in the conflicting responses to “NOISE MUSIC”.

“The exile knows that in a secular and contingent world, homes are always provisional. Borders and barriers, which enclose us within the safety of familiar territory, can also become prisons, and are often defended beyond reason or necessity. Exiles cross borders, break barriers of thought and experience”. Said, ‘Reflections on Exile’, p. 170.

As soon as we encounter “NOISE MUSIC”, we are engaged in a struggle to make some sense of what we hear. Unable to categorize the stimulus within any known musical genre, incapable of interpreting or recognizing sounds, and generally bereft of aesthetic orientation, the work commands our full attention. With our ear tuned and focused to hunt out some structure and reason in the work, micrologics emerge, and like Schoenberg and Berg's rigid expressionistic compositions under the twelve-tone system, the work's elaborate and exact structure is not readily apparent. Sometimes “NOISE MUSIC” breaks for a few seconds, as if the blinds to the horror were closed for a moment, to reveal the tinkling of wind chimes. Like the vertical zips in Barnett Newman's otherwise monochrome paintings that mark the very origins of the universe, such a quiet landmark amidst this otherwise undifferentiated sonic topography becomes a potential site for infinite meaning. We're intrigued: if there's some form, there must be more. Reconciliation, it would seem, must follow somewhere in the wake of structure.

The metaphor of intellectual as exile remains highly ambiguous. On the one hand, the chosen identity of outsider suggests a welcome break with conformity: ‘to stand away from “home” in order to look at it with the exile’s detachment’ is a particular instance of what Brecht calls the ‘estrangement effect’, of seeing all as strange unless sanctioned by reasoned values. This involves seeing things not simply as they are, but ‘as they have come to be that way: contingent, not inevitable . . . the result of a series of historical choices made by human beings’. And indeed Said’s insistence that by a creative use of displaced personhood the intellectual can become a well-informed critic in the borderlands between the poorer and richer sections of the world, on ‘both sides of the imperial divide’, seems to me rather Brechtian and right. In that case, forced displacement becomes ‘a model for the intellectual who is tempted, and even beset and overwhelmed, by the rewards of accommodation, yea-saying, settling in’. Said, ‘Reflections on Exile’, p. 170; ‘Intellectual Exile: Expatriates and Marginals’, Grand Street 12.3, 1993, pp. 122–4; Culture and Imperialism, New York 1993, p. xxvii.

The most disturbing aspect of “NOISE MUSIC” must be its technical perfection. Despite the prima facie appearance of chaos, “NOISE MUSIC” abides by the strictest ordering principles. When a “NOISE MUSIC” fragment takes hold of musical form or trope, they are compulsively consistent. With the amplifiers whole power and register a “NOISE MUSIC” pieces fit together like a massive mechanical contraption that does not accomplish anything. " We have an exactly calculated and efficient piece serving no end, and thus we see the image of modern life: the increasing efficiency of instrumental rationality without a meaningful end in sight. Thus “NOISE MUSIC” exemplifies Thoreau's description of the industrial revolution as "an improved means to an unimproved ends." Henry David Thoreau, Walden (Boston: Beacon Press, 1997).

Exile, far from being the fate of nearly forgotten unfortunates . . . becomes something closer to a norm, an experience of crossing boundaries and charting new territories in defiance of the classical canonic enclosures, however much its loss and sadness should be acknowledged and registered. Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. 317.

Our attention funnels into the work's singular moments, and once we realize the “NOISE MUSIC” is not here to fulfill a macro-structural objective, it becomes something that ends in itself. Instead of singular “NOISE” existing for the abstract achievements of the whole, the whole is composed to throw us back onto the horns of the “NOISE”. Now very much unlike Beethoven, whose dissonance always serves a higher abstract order, here the very material of composition steals the show. The singular, particular, and visceral “NOISE” fully consumes us. Every “NOISE” in the music takes on a specifically meaning, and no clear hierarchy exists between them. Each “NOISE” in the music, just as Adorno described each sentence of Aesthetic Theory, is equally close to the center. Yet equality does not slip into interchangeability, for each “NOISE” in the music remains painfully particular. Thus we find a possible exemption to Adorno's claim that the "history of music at least since Haydn is the history of fungibility: that nothing is in-itself and that everything is only in relation to the whole."

Liberation as an intellectual mission, born in the resistance and opposition to the confinements and ravages of imperialism, has now shifted from the settled, established, and domesticated dynamics of culture to its unhoused, decentered, and exilic energies, energies whose incarnation is today the migrant, and whose consciousness is that of the intellectual and the artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages. Said, Culture and Imperialism, pp. 332–3.

The "critical power of art" (in this case “NOISE MUSIC”) is a somatic experience that "hits you in the gut" and "resists predatory reason, precisely because it can't be stomached, gobbled up by the mind." "If experience leaves a non-digestible residue that won't go away," "that is food for critical cognition." Susan Buck-Morss, "Aesthetics After the End of Art: Interview with Grant Kester," Art Journal 56 (1997): 38.

“Those who find their homeland sweet are still tender beginners; those to whom every soil is as their native one are already strong; but those who are perfect are the ones to whom the entire world is as a foreign land.” Hugo of St. Victor (1097-1141)

"Philosophy says what art cannot say, although it is art alone which is able to say it; by not saying it." Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. C. Lenhardt (London: Routledge, 1984), 107; see also Bernstein, The Fate of Art, 244.



No matter how life is, it is never consistent with the way that thought would have it. When philosophy turns away from palpable social chaos toward another world, it glosses over that difficulty. Fundamental ontology withdraws toward the depths of existence, and positivism relies on logic to reconstruct a well-ordered façade that can be dealt with by papers and seminars.

The world is too diverse to be conceived by thought. More provocatively, we might say "that which is whole is untrue." But such an assertion is not postmodern by any means, although we can thereby conclude that every truth is local and that we each proceed from our own perspective – differences, diversity and synchronicity are all that exist. That attitude embodies a kind of ingenuous optimism, regardless of whether the topic is postmodernism, post-colonialism, queer theory, gender theory or cultural studies. Often neglected when it comes to these areas is that not even the humblest approach to thought can reduce the world's diversity. No matter how locally defensive our claims may be, thought remains an illegitimate generalisation beyond the local sphere that was our goal. In other words, the problem is not the world, but thought – which is inherently the worst enemy of diversity.

Aesthetic experience provides the only opportunity for escape from the ontology of that false condition. Art and music can bridge the gap between subject and object, identical and non-identical, that is the foundation of the original sin of thought. The dialectical modus operandi of art is mimesis, i.e., pre-conceptual representation. Art possesses a naiveté, vulnerability and intimacy that thought lacks. Thus, art (music in this case) is inevitably affected by the reality that thought conceives. As a result, art becomes a wordless commentary on the dialectic of thought, an opportunity for instantaneous illumination of unredeemed reality. At the same time, art is rational – a domain of thought entangled in itself. Art and philosophy are equally rational discourses – only their tools distinguish them from each other. The tension between rationality and mimesis allows art to succeed where thought falls short. But the vulnerability of thought is accompanied by powerlessness – without the thought that philosophy contributes, art is disenfranchised and only a distraction for the privileged. If art bears a truth that philosophy lacks, philosophy can liberate the truth that art is incapable of expressing. Art and philosophy depend on each other. The unredeemed world in which we live has a particular need of that encounter. The redemption that reality withholds can emerge only there. Freedom and utopia survive by grace in the realm of art.

Are these ideas still valid as they once were (among Schoenberg, Xenakis, Kafka, Beckett, etc.), or has art left them behind? Can they be applied to video art, rap music, electronic music, dogma films and the like?

Such questions cannot be evaded. We must ask ourselves whether artistic expression of the 21st century leaves room for freedom, utopia or the promise of reconciliation. Or has art stopped being art?

Most of my music is constructed according to a uniform principle of form. It is a kind of tapestry woven from contradictory, calculated clouds of sound in which each individual expression reflects the absent whole. The music is never unequivocally defined, but fluctuates constantly among the various levels of the composition. As a result, the listener floats in a billowy sea of sound without a compass. My music draws strength from its own imperfections, its inevitable approximateness, opaqueness and contradictions. Instead of a futile attempt to pin down a kind of clarity with precise structures and composition, the music relies on its own aesthetic nature to pin down its essence.

My intention is for chaotic, incomplete form to serve as a counterpoint to positivistic, well-groomed and complete form. The goal is not to advocate a kind of formlessness, but to accept the inevitable consequences of the aporetic situation in which composition finds itself. The problem is how to strike a balance between the futility and necessity of striving after clarity and solidity in composition. The result is noise as a form that is free of preconceived notions about either itself or its antithesis.



About music, art & the anti-fascist existence
Music is more than the reproduction of tones, it is a process of creating and producing sounds and forces. The tone is first of all just a noise that is being filtered and is bound in a canon of rules - and only becomes a tone in these circumstances. The music of the whole occident builds a system, creates models that filter the noise, the “garbage”, the “rauschen” (a german word for rustle (leaves, silk, radio), rush (flowing water, wind), roar (storm, waves); rausch - intoxication, drunkenness; rauscshend - rustling etc., orgiastic (party) swelling (music)). Here the word is used to describe the electrical noise and allude to the other meanings of the words) and the currents of sound. The computer, the sampler and the synthesizer are machines that through the varied possibilities of sound synthesis and calculations not only make new sounds audible and new structure possible but also restructures the process of music production itself. It is the musical work with structures and sound material itself that allows new energies and intensities to be captured.

We are becoming deaf and musically unconscious when we hear nearly nothing but “perfect” harmony, perfect structures, just new academism, repetition and its refrain. Perfect melodies and “perfect” chords in popular music, “perfect” structure, instrumentation and electro-acoustic sounds in the new music scene, just a circulation of clean and sound currents, cleaned of the noises, “garbage” and sounds that could disturb “prosperity”, that's what music offers us today. This use of chords, melodies, voices, structures and electro-acoustic sounds that claim to be the music itself, create an aesthetic of boredom, a self sufficient repetition and artistic conformity. The tracks are overwhelmed by signature tunes, the concert halls by “classical” compositions and “new music” academism. This is the potential fascism in music. People are being manipulated into passivity and conformity by the computer sound, the synthesizer, the “new” pop tune and the “new music” academism. So the structure, the harmony, the chord, the sound even the tone itself must explode; one must open the door to noise itself, make even the channel to the sound currents quake.

I work with methods, instruments and tools that can directly inspire the process of producing sound structures, which will molecularise (break down) the forms of music and at the same time expand them. The new music-machines (computers, music software, algorithms) can be used to reject technologically or musically defined precision ideals, and to continuously produce unpredictable results, complications and implications. All this by multiplying noise, sounds, politics, notes and creating interfaces for the new.

About my music & noise
In classical music, and in the new academic modern music, the emphasis is on the relationship between various pitches and durations of a note, which are the reasons for melody and harmony, in my music
I place importance on other elements, for example the relationship between synchrony and asynchrony, or precision of sounds versus imprecision. Going from disorder to order in music interests me. Going from disorder into a greater disorder interest me even more. The most immediately audible characteristic of my music is its noisiness. Abrasive, loud, fast. The textures are never sweet or satisfying in the conventional sense; one has only to hear the primal screams ”Pig iron” (The celestial fire CD/ANKARSTRÖM-Ö10 (Dror Feiler Solo)) for tenor saxophone & live electronics, the punk-free improvised thrash of ”Tio Stupor” (Saxophone con forza PSCD 81 Jörgen Petterson)) for alto saxophone & live electronics or “Point Blank” for chamber ensemble & live electronics (commissioned by Donaueschingen festival and performed by Klangforum Wien at Donaueschingen festival 2003; (Point Blank PSCD 155) to realize that neither a pathetic classical prettiness nor a pretentious romantic resolution has any place in those work of music, except as an antagonism. Nor do these works admit the conventions of modern and contemporary chamber music unproblematically.
Noise, in the widest possible sense, is one of the central elements in my music as for its more popular “musical cousin” the Noise music. The abrasive raucousness, in the music is an attempt to alter how people hear. Noise, as sound out of its familiar context, is confrontational, affective and transformative. It has shock value, and defamiliarizes the listener who expects from music an easy fluency, a secure familiarity, or any sort of mollification. Noise, that is, politicizes the aural environment.
My music uses ”noise” that is ”noise in itself; but noise, in this connotation, is not simply haphazard or natural sound, the audible "background" that encroaches on a work such as Cage's 4'33", as the audience is forced by the tacit piano to listen to its own shufflings, or to the urban soundscapes that emerge through an open window. It is a noise that is always impure, tainted, derivative and, in the romantic sense of the term, beautiful like in OpFor & DiaMat by the Too Much Too Soon Orchestra (What is the point of Paris? CD/FYCD 1007).
My music is difficult in the sense that Adorno finds Schoenberg's music difficult - not because it is pretentious or obscure, but because it demands active participation from the listener (as well as from the players, who are themselves listeners). As organized sound, this music demands from the very beginning active and concentrated listening, the most acute attention to simultaneous multiplicity, the renunciation of the customary crutches of a listening and the intensive perception of the unique and the specific. The more it gives to listeners, the less it offers them. It requires the listener spontaneously to compose its inner movement and demands of him not mere contemplation but praxis.

About music, Che Guevara & the revolution
Che Guevara made the choice to dedicate and than sacrifice his own life to a revolution. A last inaccessible event that mostly leaves the survivors only with traces of desperation and loneliness. And yet it is this last absolutely unique choice that allowed him to become his own and from one moment to another, left us only with the power that is found in his work. Perhaps it was not the kind of suicide which Foucault spoke of as an act which should be thought about, that illuminates life, but more the radical refusal to give up the realistic dream of the revolution ... Che himself thought of life, the energies that life releases within itself and the act of forcing the struggle, as a great experiment to overcome the possibilities of existence and the ways of life which one is a prisoner in. Life is more and even beyond than the biological force, in every moment it should create new constructions by opening the lines of resistance. Just as life is the discovery of the new and setting itself free of the self to be able to think of the new, so must music draw vanishing lines, withdraw from the mechanisms of being shut in, avoid the permanent control and hyper-information.
As part of the modern capitalist society music is in danger of perishing in random samples, data, markets, instrumentation patterns, institutions and computer nets, or of suffocating in the gigantic tautological machinery of the media industry, that continuously sends back the opinions of the masses, that they, as media, formulated.
We need music that is the differential, that neither compromises or thinks of surrender, but carries on even in the shadow and disguise like the guerrilla fighters and draws active disappearing lines in the fields of society.
We need music that is a labyrinth, a rich ensemble of relations; diversity, heterogeneity, breaks, unexpected links and long monotonies. It is the vision of a life that opens the ways and allows the horizon of resistance to light up.

In my music I want always to deal with the grim problems in life: Shrapnel (war) ; Beat the White the red wedge (Revolution) ; Schlafbrand (Second World War) ; Let the Millionaires go Naked (Revenge of the poor); Halat Hisar (Israeli-Palestinian conflict); Müll (the filtering process of the unwanted).
Aesthetics per se does not interest me. More than that, it is dangerous. When I compose or play, I do not look for beauty, but for truth. I often depict, fortissimo and at great length; a violent struggle is heard but as in Halat Hisar (Under Siege) the composition does not describe the siege it is the siege itself.
Whenever I dedicate a composition or write IN MEMORIAM, i.e. Che Guevara in Ember, the palestinian peoples struggle in Intifada and the foreign workers in Europe in Gola’, it is not so much a question of an inspirational motif or a nostalgic memory, but on the contrary, of a becoming that is confronting its own danger, even taking a fall in order to rise again: a becoming as far as it is the content of the music itself, and it continues to the point of end... Becoming, so that the music goes beyond itself.