Magazine article Artforum International

Rob Young

Magazine article Artforum International

Rob Young

Article excerpt

ROB YOUNG IS A CONTRIBUTING EDITOR OF THE WIRE MAGAZINE AND THE AUTHOR OF ELECTRIC EDEN: UNEARTHING BRITAIN'S VISIONARY MUSIC (FABER AND FABER. 2010). HE EDITED NO REGRETS: WRITINGS ON SCOTT WALKER (ORION BOOKS. 2012) AND IS CURRENTLY PENNING AN OCCULT HISTORY OF BRITISH FILM AND TELEVISION.

1 SCOTT WALKER, BISH BOSCH (4AD) A new Scott Walker album is always an event, but with Bish Bosch the American expat extends his dark and exploratory late style, delivering a breathtakingly adventurous record well worth the six-year wait. With harsh couplings of digitized guitars, rams' horns, swishing machetes, and an orchestra supplying "pillars of sound," each song is like a Pynchon short story or a Flemish painting of heaven and hell, with subject matter ranging from brown dwarves and vivisection to flagpole-sitters and the execution of Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu.

2 DIAMANDA GALAS WITH KORK (Kanonhallen, Oslo, September 13) Like Walker, this American composer/singer is one of those rare musicians whose work shoulders both historical songwriting conventions and geopolitical horrors. Galas's one-off performance at Oslo's Ultima Festival--in a former Nazi weapons store--found her in a fruitful partnership with composer Jon Oivind Ness. The amplified and electronically treated KORK orchestra provided an atmospheric foil to her scorching piano accompaniment and three-octave vocal stretch in a babel of languages. You don't need a V-2 missile to blow the roof off.

3 CAN, THE LOST TAPES (Spoon) Cynics expected little more than floor sweepings from the Inner Space Studio, but this lovingly presented set of unheard tapes from Cologne's Krautrock kaisers proved to be a bonanza of motorik rhythms, discombobulated free rock. and concentrated experimentation. Not a whimper, but a bang.

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4 CAGE CENTENARY CELEBRATION (Royal Albert Hall, London, August 17) The past year proved to be a very Cagean one, with celebrations across the world marking his centennial and commemorating the twentieth anniversary of his death. More audiences than ever before got the chance to experience Cage's utopian compositions and noncompositions. This tribute concert in London supplied an anarchic intervention in an otherwise mainstream classical festival. Event curator Ilan Volkov invited a host of players from the leading edge of experimental music and improvisation, from Keith Rowe, Takehisa Kosugi, and John Tilbury to Joan La Barbara and Christian Marclay, whose Baggage featured an orchestra playing their own instrument cases. The evening ended with amplified cacti and an eye-boggling light display.

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5 CARTER TUTTI VOID, TRANSVERSE (Mute) It was a busy year for Throbbing Gristle cofounder Cosey Fanni Tutti, who was the subject of an art book tribute (Cosey Complex, 2012) and seemed to pop up everywhere. Her sharp-edged techno music with partner Chris Carter attained new heights on this hypnotic, machine-tooled three-way collaboration with the sculptor and sound artist Nik Colk Void. …

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