Sunday, May 20, 2012

Podcast Episode 3 - East Meets West. Pt. 1: Violence, Sex, Politics

Antonin Artaud: Bruitage, from “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” (1947) [1.32]
Diamanda Galàs: Panoptikòn from “Diamanda Galàs” (1984) [15.06]
Keiji Haino: excerpt from “I Said This is the Son of Nihilism” (2004) [18.39]
Terre Thaemliz Yer Ass is Grass from “Soil” (1995) [8.22]
Vampillia feat. Attila Csihar: One (previously unreleased, 2012) [8.58]
Yosuke Yamashita Trio: Chiasma from “Chiasma” (1976) [7.15]
Carmelo Bene: excerpt from “Bene! Quattro modi diversi di morire in versi. Majakovskij-Blok-Esenin-Pasternak”, music by Vittorio Gelmetti (1974) [6.18]

This episode is dedicated to Koji WakamatsuI also thank Japanese ‘brutal orchestra’ Vampillia for sharing their still unreleased collaboration with singer Attila Csihar.

Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), post surrealist poet, theatre writer, actor. The radio broadcast Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (‘To have done with the judgement of god’, 1948) is his last work, a radio broadcast thought as the full realization of his ‘Theatre of Cruelty’, a theatre not overtaken by repetition and delivered through action. Friend of André Bréton, fervent admirer of the Dalai Lama, interested in Balinese Gamelan music and South America peyotl rituals, Artaud used voice and noise to amplify the expressivity in order to get beyond the boundaries of language and of the body, anticipating contemporary singing (Demetrio Stratos, Joan La Barbara, Diamanda Galàs), performance art (Chris Burden, Gina Pane, Marina Abramovic) and the use of ethnic percussions in post-serial contemporary and electronic music (Iannis Xenakis, Terre Thaemlitz). “When we speak the word "life," it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach.” (Antonin Artaud)

Born in San Diego, California, in 1955, but of Greek origins, Diamanda Galàs is a singer, pianist, videoartist. Choosing to focus through contemporary experimental music in subjects as AIDS (The Masque of the Red Death, Plague Mass, Vena Cava), forced institutionalization (Insekta), the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocide (Defixiones: Will and Testament), she began her career, while developing her unique vocal style, working on the concept of ‘katharsis’ from ancient Greek tragedy, creating a sound environment with her voice and microphones system. Diamanda Galàs started her career as an improviser, with NY-based musicians David Murray and Butch Morris, then left the world of improvised music after collaborations with ‘downtown’ and European artists as John Zorn, Henry Kaiser, Andrea Centazzo and Peter Kowald. She debuted in 1977 as a contemporary music singer in Vinko Globokar Un Jour Comme un Autre and since 1989 started working also on cycles of songs taken from Western music repertoire - Edith Piaf, Roy Acuff, Ornette Coleman, Johnny Cash, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Her latest works are the movie Schrei 27, in collaboration with Italian videoartist Davide Pepe and focused on political use of torture, and the sound installation Aquarium, where with Vladislav Shabalin she denounces the environmental disasters on the Gulf of Mexico.

Keiji Haino (Chiba, Japan, 1952) started developing his artistic vision through theatre, inspired by Antonin Artaud, shifting to music after hearing The Doors’ When the music’s over. His first band was the psychedelic rock combo Lost Aaraaf, with multi-instrumentalist Magical Power Mako and composer Toru Takemitsu. In 1978 Haino formed the experimental duo Fushitsusha, featuring different musicians to accompany him through records and live performances. Collaborating with avant-garde artists as Derek Bailey, Faust, Peter Brotzmann, Loren Connors, Charles Gayle, Merzbow, John Zorn, Pansonic, Stephen O’Malley and Oren Ambarchi, and expressing himself mostly with guitar and voice but sometimes also with hurdy gurdy, ethnic instruments or live electronics, Haino cites troubadour music, Marlene Dietrich, Iannis Xenakis and Blind Lemon Jefferson as influences. Having tried with the band Aihyio to give his personal, Japanese translation of the blues – ‘covering’ The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and The Ronettes – Keiji Haino performances can be described as cathartic, but also intimate – as the ‘vol. 2’ of 2004 Black Blues, made entirely on voice and acoustic guitar, fully can testify.

Terre Thaemlitz is an award winning multi-media producer, writer, public speaker, educator, audio remixer, DJ and owner of the Comatonse Recordings record label. Her work combines a critical look at identity politics - including gender, sexuality, class, linguistics, ethnicity and race - with an ongoing analysis of the socio-economics of commercial media production. He has released over 15 solo albums, as well as numerous 12-inch singles and video works. Her writings on music and culture have been published internationally in a number of books, academic journals and magazines. As a speaker and educator on issues of non-essentialist Transgenderism and Queerness, Thaemlitz has lectured and participated in panel discussions throughout Europe and Japan. He currently resides in Kawasaki, Japan.

Vampillia is a ‘brutal orchestra’ coming from Osaka, the same city that saw Boredoms arise in the 1990s. Composed by 11 elements – electric guitar, drums, three singers, three violinists, piano and a Dj – the band during its performances alternates classical/acoustic instrumentals with grindcore bursts. In 2011 Vampillia released the albums Rule The World/Deathtiny Land (Code 666) and Alchemic Heart (Important Records), the last featuring Japanese avant noiser Merzbow and American vocal experimentalist Jarboe. Devoted to a music both lyrical, intimate and expressive, they are currently collaborating with Hungarian black metal vocalist Attila Csihar, singer for Mayhem, Tormentor, Current 93, Jarboe and recently Stephen O’Malley’s Sunn O))). Csihar last projects are Void Ov Voices, opening act for Ulver, Lustmord, Ruin and Diamanda Galàs, and Burial Chamber Trio with Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) and avant guitarist Oren Ambarchi. The piece featured on the podcast, and titled One, was sent to me last February when I was still in London, and is released here for the first time publicly through a new mix. The album, one of the five Vampillia is going to release this year, will be called Some Nightmares Take You Aurora Rainbow Darkness.

Yosuke Yamashita (Tokyo, 1926) is a Japanese pianist, composer, essayist, and writer. Praised by critics for his unique piano style, and a pioneer in Japanese free jazz and avant-garde music, in 1969 he formed Yosuke Yamashita Trio, whose music is featured in the final scenes of Koji Wakamatsu’s masterpiece The Ecstasy of the Angels (1972), dedicated to Japanese terrorism, struggle for revolution, power, and political repression. Also a soundtrack composer as for Atsushi Yamatoya’s Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wasteland (1967) and Shoei Imamura’s Dr. Akagi - awarded in 1999 Mainichi Film Concours as ‘Best Film Score’,  in the 1980’s with bassist Cecil Mc Bee and drummer Pheeroan AkLaaff formed the New York Trio, often hosting saxophonist Joe Lovano.  While also famous for a performance in which he played a burning piano dressed with an asbestos suit, Yosuke Yamashita has been a visiting professor of music at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, Nagoya University of Arts, and Kunitachi College of Music.

Carmelo Bene (1937-2002) was an Italian actor, writer, movie director. He debuted in 1959 with a Caligola that was very appreciated by Albert Camus himself. Close friend and also a collaborator of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and deep connoisseur of the work of Pierre Klossowski, an intellectual at the border of official French culture but a pupil of Rainer Maria Rilke and of André Gide, Carmelo Bene was influenced by Nietzsche and structuralism, by the paintings of Francis Bacon and by James Joyce's Ulysses; in 1960 - and again until the 5th edition in 1980 - he took the poems of Vladimir Majakovskij, the Russian revolutionary poet, as the starting point to his studies on voice, on voiding words of the dialectics between signifying/signifier, and on using the voice itself as a full orchestra. Helped for the music initially by post-serialist composer Sylvano Bussotti, Bene's quest for a theatre that goes beyond the flattening of the voice as mere extention of the written language in 'Majakovskij' passes through the stretching of the dynamics and possibilities of the voice, emphasizing gestures and phonetic elements.

To listen to the podcast, go to Podomatic website and search for 'completecommunion'.
To send me material to be featured on the podcast, email me at galasi.g [at] or gianpaolo.galasi [at]

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