Tag Archives: society under debate

4 interviews with Uwe Schmidt

Hurray! Flanger is back! To celebrate, here’s four interviews with Uwe Schmidt, as published in [uzine] 1999-2002 (pdf, 28 kB)! Some excerpts:

Interestingly, I am very often confronted with the word ‘irony’ or ‘kitsch’ when it comes to certain works of mine (Señor Coconut is another example). I can assure you that I am not an ironic or sarcastic person at all and that I even highly dislike sarcasm or irony since it usually dequalifies cultural elements, perspectives and after all ‘truth’. Geeez ‘n’ Gosh therefore is not ironic, and the inspiration and intention is absolutely sincere and real. To me ‘irony’ and ‘kitsch’ are brought into discussion usually when the listener is unable to see the entire picture of a certain work, as proved quite clearly to me with the Sr. Coconut project. For those who can’t understand ‘belief’, ‘religion’ in a contemporary context always has to appear as irony. Perhaps my work should be seen as a tool to expand perspectives, rather than to laugh about contents one may not know.

The distance to the subject of interest is still the only way to see things clearly … I am trying hard to move myself into orbit to earth, of course in a non-literal way. My friend Burnt Friedman tends to call it ‘the alien perspective’ and I think this describes it very well. Remove yourself out of any existing set of values, as much as possible (of course). This will give you absolute freedom. Whenever I am coming back to Europe I see everybody working on the same project, which in my eyes is a camouflaged capitalist project. Musical and design minimalism for example are direct extensions of the capitalist streamline idea of human existence, though nobody seems to see it – much rather they believe that their project is a real alternative or ‘progress’. That’s why I am denying music and design rules … and rather try to create confusing moments that seem to fit, but then don’t …

Spiritual ideas in general have always been much more important to me, no matter where they came from. One thing I have learnt, though, here in Chile, is what practically a ‘religious’ life means. I find that extremely interesting, not only for the music I make, yet for life in general. Central Europe, all the so-called ‘first world’ countries, perhaps Germany especially, have established an aseptic, anti-spiritual society, which is something I feel very strongly these days. Also, I very much believe that whatever social / global solutions we may look for, we won’t find them without to some degree coming back to spiritual or religious topics. (…) Santiago offers a lot of interesting cultural moments which are totally unknown outside of Latin America and which are truly inspirational since they refer to a unique set of parameters. I have just been to Argentina for example and there you also have huge musical movements, totally ‘mainstream’ which are not existing outside of Argentina at all. They are proofs to me that ‘globalisation’ is a totalitarian concept without future.

Some weeks ago, for example, I was invited to Cordoba, Argentina’s second biggest city. On my last day, I visited the concert of a ‘local hero’ from Cordoba called “la Mona”. I did not at all know what to expect, and believe me, it was a totally astonishing experience. The music is some sort of electronic, yet extremely cheesy 150 bmp ‘tarantella’ (Italian folk) mutation, which sounds a bit like the Central American ‘merengue’. You see thirteen musicians on stage, some behind huge towers of synthesizers, others playing e-drums, congas, etc. The crowd: six thousand kids between 16 and 25 years old, mainly lower class people. Best of all: everybody dancing ‘cheek to cheek’, in a very oldfashioned dancing style! A total massive cultural movement that denies all first world ‘globalization’ ideas. I am sure those ‘micro worlds’ exist all around the globe, yet to a much lesser degree in so-called ‘first world’ societies. Latin America is very rich of those moments which are very unpolished and non-standard.

I find it a bit difficult to talk about musical ideas, I mean those musical ideas which do not refer to ‘content’. When I was conceiving the Geeez ‘n’ Gosh concept, I had a certain sound going on in my head, something which I find almost impossble to put into words… a certain groove and a certain surface perhaps… and I knew how to achieve that idea on a technical level (technique). ‘Bass’ was a parameter to a degree, that is true, though not a main one … rather a parameter I allowed to appear I would say.

bullion’s age of self


Grrreatt to see Bullion cover Robert Wyatt‘s utterly majesticThe age of self(Rough Trade 1984) … do check its lyrics! (Heh heh, waiting for the day when Project Mooncircle release the next tribute to the one and only Bawb.)

matching mole two


Esoteric have reissued both Matching Mole albums as “Expanded Edition” 2cd’s with BBC Radio One ànd previously unreleased bonus tracks on a separate disc … There’s no significant overlaps with “Smoke Signals” (2001, live in Europe 1972) and “March” (2002, live in Europe 1972-03) on Cuneiform, though. These two tracks are off the second album “‘s Little Red Record” (CBS 1972, Esoteric 2012 cat. no. ECLEC 22312) as produced by Robert Fripp … Brian Eno plays VCS3 synth on Gloria Gloom(ulloder Richard D James), andGod songhas the most exquisite Robert Wyatt lyrics. “Starting in the middle of the day we can drink our politics away (take one)” and the utterly zany “Mutter” were recorded 1972-08 during album session recordings and have been previously unreleased hitherto.

record store day rant

Record Store Day overkill? Seems like what has started as a project to support local initiatives centred around individual record stores, has become a bit of a monster enterprise, taken over by marketing. For weeks on end we’re getting listings and mails and all kinds of social media info and what not from labels àll pushing their products. Normally they’re trying to have us buy those goodies (which they often are) via their websites or other online deals – including the download model almost everyone in the industry is adapting to … bar record stores.

Then once a year the mantra changes into buy our special limited RSD product in your local record store because however expensive those collectable rarities, it’s a good idea to support those stores, after all we’re all nostalgic for that mythic store where people used to buy vinyl so let’s keep some of those around, etc etc“. And yès everyone has a ball, especially those hard working, serious music loving people behind the counter, who are always trying to get hold of whatever we fancy ànd who’re now organising concerts with the help of musicians who dig the good cause. Utterly wonderful, if only because those independent store owners have remarkably better revenues over this period. Crazy, but cool.

Yet for the next eleven months, it’s back to the same old thang: labels & record biz trying to earn more via direct sales and other business to consumer ploys, outsmarting local record stores who’re not up to a par with the big boys’ direct marketing tactics & the smaller setups’ social media strategies. Most of all by announcing their releases long beforehand, trying to coax online orders before actual stores have that product in their distribution listings. Paradoxical (no bugles). And a serious anomaly in a system that should organise (independent) record store sustainability day in day out.

Soit. Anyhow. Okay. RSD is an okay initiative, even if there’s a lot to rant about. Here’s to the original independents caring about a sustainable industry from beginning to end, from the cradle where passionate lovers of music give birth to tunes to the cradle where passionate lovers of music consume that music. Merry tunes! Happy hunting! Stores surviving!

what’s the word for socially conscious soul music?


Alongside Listen, Whitey!and the other comps mentioned in that post, there’s also the excellent What’s The Word? (Socially Conscious Soul Music)(2011) as conceived & compiled with love by Dean Rudland for v/a Backbeatsseries three on Harmless (currently part of the Demon Music Group) … budget priced, as it should be with catalogue music. Some tracks to convince you: “Hey brother” (based on “Hey Joe”) by the Identities and “(We gotta) Bust out of the ghetto (pts 1 & 2)” by Moody Scott (both 1970).


wyatt’s way


O TannenbaumWyatt’s way ;-) Recorded Summer 1981, released 1982-03 on Nothing Can Stop Us(Rough Trade) … Robert Wyatt also wrote the liner notes for a 1991 compilation of ‘7Ts piano pieces by Cornelius Cardew which featured Red flag prelude(197X). Hey and can someone please add Mr. Wyatt‘s interpretation to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Tannenbaum ?!? [Nope ain’t gonna do it myself.]

oooozze it out for music for life

Why this scatomological Bonzo Dog Band post? Well, on the occasion of Music for Life“, a potlatch which our public broadcasters VRT are abandoning a tad too soon – see also http://snaporaz.posterous.com/potlatch-vs-the-prisoners-dilemma