Turntable Duo: Otomo Yoshihide + Christian Marclay


Photo by Peter Kraut. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

As always, interesting stuff comes down the pipe here at FMF, and this by far has been one of the most interesting things that I’ve come across in a while. It’s in NYC, so all of you New York City turntablist heads who have an open mind (and those who just have an open mind), this one’s for you:

“Two experimental music giants, Otomo Yoshihide and Christian Marclay, perform together in New York for the first time in over a decade. Marclay, one of the world’s leading artists and winner of the 54th Venice Biennale Golden Lion Award, pushed the boundaries of musical creation when he pioneered the use of the turntable as a musical instrument. Otomo, electroacoustic improvisation musician and free jazz guitarist, earned an international reputation as a central figure in Japan’s avant-garde music scene. Together, these unconventional “turntablists” will again push to the extreme what is possible with turntables and records.

More on the artists and moderator:

Otomo Yoshihide boasts a groundbreaking résumé. The Japanese native has spent the past thirty years stretching the limits of free jazz, improvisation and noise music with an array of approaches and styles. Otomo has released dozens of experimental recordings, including a full-length album collaboration with Marclay, Moving Parts, in 2000. Most recently, Otomo Yoshihide collaborated with the Japanese poet Ryoichi Wago and musician/activist Michiro Endo to create Project Fukushima!, an ongoing performance festival staged to support those affected by The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011. In addition to his live performance with Marclay on November 19th, Otomo is introducing a new installation artwork entitled “Without Records,” shown exclusively at Japan Society between November 17 and November 20. A lengthy interview with Otomo Yoshihide is available online at furious.com.

Christian Marclay is one of the acknowledged inventors of turntablism, the art of creating experimental sound using nothing but pre-recorded records, multiple turntables and a mixer. Roughly concurrent with the birth of hip-hop break-beat DJ-ing pioneered by DJ Kool Herc, Marclay’s late-1970’s experiments in turntablism drew largely from the light-hearted, found-art style of the 1960’s Fluxus movement. For multiple decades, Marclay has utilized vinyl records as a creative tool to explore sound in new and exciting fashion. His recent experimental video, The Clock, won Marclay the prestigious Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 2011 Venice Biennial and caused a sensation when it was exhibited at NYC’s Paula Cooper Gallery earlier this year, leading to round-the-block lines to enter the gallery.

Over the past two decades, guitarist Alan Licht has worked with figures ranging from jazz legend Rashied Ali to alternative rock pioneer Tom Verlaine to multi-disciplinary artist Michael Snow. With Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, he founded Text of Light, an ongoing ensemble which performs freely improvised concerts alongside screenings of classic avant garde cinema. More recently he has joined forces with media artist Cory Arcangel and curator Howie Chen to form Title TK, a “banter-prone” band that has been described as a cross between David Antin and Spinal Tap. Licht was curator at the famed New York experimental music venue Tonic from 2000 until its closing in 2007, and has written extensively about the arts for the WIRE, Artforum, Modern Painters, Film Coment, Village Voice, and other publications. His book Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Media, the first extensive survey of the genre in English, was published by Rizzoli in fall 2007; a book of interviews between Licht and musician and actor Will Oldham will be published by Faber & Faber in March 2012.

David Novak is an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Santa Barbara, California. His work deals with the globalization of popular music, media technologies, experimental culture, and social practices of listening, and has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. He is the author of recent essays in Public Culture, Popular Music, and Cultural Anthropology, as well as a forthcoming book Japanoise: The Cultural Feedback of Experimental Music (Duke University Press, 2012) that traces the transnational movements of the underground genre Noise, drawing from over a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in Japan and North America. His recent research focuses on the politics of sound in urban Japan, particularly in the impact of noise regulations on political protest in homeless and migrant labor communities in South Osaka.”

Pre-Concert Talk: The Art of Noise
November 19, 5 PM
In an exploration of their artistic careers, Christian Marclay and Otomo Yoshihide are joined by musician, writer and curator Alan Licht. Together, they examine the past, present and future of non-music musical movements in Japan, America and across the globe. Moderator David Novak, Assistant Professor of Music at the University of California at Santa Barbara, will begin the discussion with a presentation on the experimental music scene in Japan.

Otomo’s Installation: without records
Thursday, November 17-Sunday, November 20
Otomo’s computer operated installation–a series of empty turntables set up to produce a variety of sounds–created as an homage to Christian Marclay and exhibited at museums and galleries throughout Japan in recent years, will be on view in Japan Society’s public space for New Yorkers to see and hear. Free and open to the public

More information over at The Japan Society.

Keep Diggin’!

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