What is the importance of avant garde sonics these days? Has it entered the wider musical conscioussness, pervading into bedrooms of current underground producers who utilize the more offbeat musical landscapes, or has it gone further into obscurity.
A new festival venture, Babel Prague, strives to present several figures whose creative works champion the sonically uncompromising. Arguably, Babel’s main star is the grande dame of post-war electronic sonic art – Pauline Oliveros, the almost eighty-year-old composer and electronic accordionist and a lifelong advocate of sound. Oliveros founded the San Fransisco Tape Music Center in 1960 and championed “sonic awareness” and “Deep Listening” which she later utilized in her eponymous band that played concerts at unusual highly resonant and reverberant venues. Her almost psychedelic compositions chime especially in today’s psych, reverb and analogue friendly music times.
One day later, on Wednesday 5 October, Christian Fennesz returns to the Czech capital after a relatively long hiatus. Fennesz has kept himself busy with an EP Seven Stars, a rather sentimental ambient offering, whose CD version has just been released on Touch. Also out on the same imprint is his collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto. Fennesz’s music is cinematic, so it’s not surprising it has been used in film. His track Surf from the album Field Recordings 1995-2002 appears in the upcoming movie The Grey. And no, it’s not a cool indie flick, rather a Hollywood blockbuster directed by Joe Carnahan of A-Team fame starring Liam Neeson.
Pauline Oliveros and Christian Fennesz play at the Babel festival in Prague which runs from 4 to 5 October at the Archa Theatre in Prague.