HART magazine and Q-O2, a Brussels-based space for experimental music and sound art, join forces with 21 Tracks for the 21st Century, a series of playlists to gear ourselves for our present century. We ask our guests: what music does this century need? Each time, we invite one artist, thinker or musician to prepare a playlist of those sounds, songs and pieces of music that will best arm their listeners with the tools to approach what is left of this young century. This month's playlist is curated by Lawrence, the project of Berlin-based producer, DJ and label-organiser Peter Kerstin.
Lawrence is the monicker of Berlin-based producer, DJ and label organiser Peter Kerstin. It is difficult to put a marker at the centre of Lawrence’s musical output. It is a music that is hard to locate, that doesn’t seem to emanate from any one city or scene or tradition, but rather hovers, cloud-like, above and between a great many places. Aspects of it seem impossibly exotic, like reading though an out-of-date atlas, but then get swallowed up by homey-seeming chords or synthesiser tones that bring the listener back to the city. The textures are layered and exactingly ‘high-fidelity’, but their fidelity seems not to be for any real thing or place. In a tradition like painting, this might get talked about dialectically, along the lines of figurative vs. abstract, or formal vs. expressive, but in the world of field recording and music, the stakes of these dichotomies feel less entrenched. There is less pressure to take sides.
Lawrence created a playlist in which he does some of the complex work of this locating. Like any playlist, it cites influences, acknowledges indebtedness and points to allies. ‘His’ 21st century is one populated by friends in different cities, as well as by older recordings: sci-fi soundtracks, past hopes for the future of R’n’B, echoes of scenes once inhabited. The playlist feels hopeful, but tinged with a slight melancholy – a soundtrack for the end of summer turning to autumn.
- Eiko Ishibashi – Hyakki Yagyō Part 1
With her latest album Hyakki Yagyō on Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle imprint, Eiko Ishibashi captures ghost stories and folklore from Japan from the Edo period onwards.
- Oren Ambarchi – Passage
With his unique guitar set-up, including a heavy Leslie speaker, Oren Ambarchi invented an unrivaled musical language.
- Kali Malone – Spectacle of Ritual
Kali Malone is the most prolific and important pipe organ composer today. Her pieces refer to non-traditional intonation/tuning systems.
- Andrew Pekler – Los Jardines
Along with ten essential compositions, Andrew Peckler and anthropologist Stefanie Kiwi Menrath created an interactive map inspired by islands that appeared on historical maps but never existed.
- Meitei – Nami
The Hiroshima-based artist Meitei tries to encapsulate a 'lost Japanese mood' in his music. Somehow I can relate so well to the feeling his pieces express.
- Wandl – Untitled
Wandl is an Austrian producer, musician and vocalist. I discovered his music, when he played a live show, entirely displaced, at a huge electronic music festival in Amsterdam.
- Knxledge – wheats[kllubk]
The L.A.-based Knxledge is one of the producers with an immense output that never fails.
- Dean Blunt – MUGU
'Mugu' is slang for 'victim of a scam' that’s especially used in the English-speaking region of West Africa. The scammers themselves are known as '419 scammers' because the number refers to the section of Nigerian law that deals with fraud.
- The Durutti Column – Tomorrow
Still the most wonderful song for the end of the world.
- Anne Laplantine - Walking
Within only ten years Anne Laplantine created the most mesmerizing cranky guitar pieces.
- Giraffe – The Night is Dark
Published on Meakusma Records, Giraffe’s improvisations turn into enchanting pieces of music.
- Phillip Sollmann – Pyramid Drift
The mini compilation Pyramid Drift comes with contributions by Momus, Christoph de Babalon, Phillip Sollmann and Arises. The cover shows a painting by pyramid-obsessed Madelon Vriesendorp.
- Mica Levi – Bothy
An excerpt of Mica Levi’s soundtrack for Jonathan Glazer’s sci-fi movie Under The Skin, where language, image and sound co-exist in a very disturbing way.
- Tracey – Liwa
Tracey’s latest album Menu is an exciting experiment, merging fragile guitar sounds with his electronic productions.
- SND – 00009 A.1
When SND's Stdio came out in 2000, my roommates and I thought this would be a great contribution to the future of R’n’B. Probably my most listend-to album ever.
- Dntel – Fall In Love
Such a sweet and strange love song with a slight feeling of lethargy.
- Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek – Cin
Masayoshi Fujita’s prepared vibraphone in conversation with Jan Jelinek’s layered loops are a perfect match.
- Rosaceae – Bakûr
The artist and musician Rosaceae released her album on Pudel Produkte, the label from Hamburg’s legendary Golden Pudel Club. Her music is dedicated to the motif of resistance, without exhausting itself in polemics.
- Michaela Melián – Movement 2
Michaela Melián transforms historical recordings and samples into archival music collages. Her performance and album Music from a Frontier Town refers to the world’s first 'Amerikahaus', built in Munich in 1945.
- Maher Shalal Hash Baz – Unknown Happiness
The collective Maher Shalal Hash Baz around songwriter and potter Tori Kudo create the perfect dilettantish songs, this one is about 'Unknown Happiness'.
- Sounds of a Tropical Rain Forest in America
A library record for the 21st century. With their label Folkways Records, Moses Ash and Marian Distler built a universal sound archive. The 'Sounds of a Tropical Rain Forest in America' were almost entirely recorded at the Bronx Zoo and inspired Mathias Poledna's 2007 solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
Lawrence’s most recent album Earthshine was released on Sushitech Records in August of this year and is available as a gatefold vinyl. His ambient record, Music for Plants III and IV was also released this year and is available via bandcamp.
Lawrence will perform an intimate concert in the Brussels project space Winona on September 10, as part of the exhibition project Conversation Pit, curated by Marina Pinsky. More information here.