Pussy Riot | Photo: Akerlund Maga
There was a time when there was room in pop culture for refusal, non-participation, living and acting according to one’s own rules. Now, as “independent” and “underground” have merely become musical styles having nothing to do with attitudes, the question arises: Is it still possible for musicians to not play the big capitalist game? Can music be made without the hardware and software of the usual providers? Without social media? Disconnected from the infrastructure of the entertainment industry with its labels, agencies, ticketing providers and venues? Have the only ways to express non-consent become writing discreetly critical lyrics and putting stickers over a laptop logo? Is “join us or do nothing” the final alternative?
The No! Music theme days set off in search of the objectors and of possibilities for dissent in music: artists who work counter to the music industry, the expectations of the music market, against suffocating customs of listening and performance. Musicians whose works explore discomfort in the face of marketing mechanisms, who refuse to play along, or, given pervasive auditory stimulus overload, are experimenting with the most radical break: the negation of sound itself. They address the sounds that are not allowed to be heard: censored and forbidden music.
No! Music will open with a concert by Pussy Riot and a statement by Nadja Tolokonnikova. zeitkratzer will ask where music begins and ends based on La Monte Young’s Poem for Tables, Chairs, Benches and other Sound Objects and John White’s Drinking & Hooting Machine. Other concert highlights include a new piece by the saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts, which she wrote exclusively for No! Music and will premiere with the Chor der Kulturen der Welt; a rare performance by the Texan noise poet Jandek, who has gone his very unique artistic and economic pathway since the early 1980s; and another commissioned production by the young Brazilian star Tiganá Santana covering the famous album Milagre dos peixes by Milton Nascimento. In 1973, Nascimento re-recorded the album at the last moment almost entirely with tone syllables after state censors demanded considerable changes to the lyrics.
On Saturday, November 11, No Music Day initiated by the Scottish musician and artist Bill Drummond will be celebrated with, among other highlights, a lecture performance by Drummond himself and a screening of his film Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow And All Music Has Disappeared. Later in the evening at the 4′33″ Gala, various bands and artists will celebrate John Cage’s famous eponymous work. Finally, sound artist Toshimaru Nakamura from Japan will perform his No Input Mixing Desk music.
There will also be more concerts, film screenings, installations and panels.
No! Music is curated by HKW music curator Detlef Diederichsen together with Martin Hossbach, author, label head and music curator, e.g. at the Berlin Pop-Kultur festival.
With Pussy Riot, zeitkratzer, Bill Drummond, Matana Roberts, Jandek, Tiganá Santana, Toshimaru Nakamura and many others.
Part of 100 Years of Now