Alles over kunst

21 Tracks for the 21st Century

21 Tracks for the 21st Century: Marijn Ottenhof

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 in which 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. For February, visual artist and electronic musician Marijn Ottenhof chose 21 tracks resulting in a celebration of darkness.

Marijn Ottenhof, foto Sam Nightingale

Marijn Ottenhof is a visual artist and electronic musician based in Antwerp. She studied Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK) and the Royal College of Art in London. She works in video, installation, performance and sound.

In her music production, DJ-sets and radio shows, she takes influences from dystopian cinema, sci-fi and horror soundtracks to express an ongoing sensation of dread brought on by the sense of living in a time without a future. This dystopian outlook is countered with the ritualistic quality of rhythms, soothing synths and sweeping bursts of human emotion, resulting in a celebration of darkness.

The playlist starts with a piece by Laurie Anderson, offering a framework to connect all the subsequent tracks; she talks about the place of trauma in art and the connection between sound and the End.

  1. Laurie Anderson – Three Ghosts

Gordon Matta Clark died young. And he died in an amazing way. Gordon was a good friend of mine. And he was a sculptor. One of his most well-known works was called Splitting, in which he sawed a suburban house in half. He was a minimalist, and there was a lot of advanced theory about why he cut houses in half. Although, none of the theories talked about his parents' divorce – or what happened one day when his twin brother jumped to his death out of Gordon's window. [Three Ghosts – lyrics]

  1. Edna King – Machine

A classically trained pianist, King played keyboards and sang in Toronto synth-pop bands for several years before embarking on solo electronic production. She released her haunting debut EP, Pressurize, in 2016. Opening with pitch shifted, drawn out spoken word, the album eases into harmonic ethereal vocals and a faster pulse embedded in industrial noise and bass before concluding in a hypnotic fuzzed out wash of synth and voice. She's described the album as an audio diary of feelings and vulnerabilities, reaching out to emotionally connect with listeners who've stepped into its singular sphere. []

  1. Sorcery – Mirrors of Perception

This building was intended to fall. The dust in all 6 rooms suspends in the air and light glitters on each particulate, a piercing bright like a headache behind the eye. Knuckles chapped like a dancer's feet, a listener survives in the building like it's a home. Makes it a home. Frantic energy holding still remains frantic. Trying to swallow, trying to catch your breath. Enough dust to settle and make the building in its exact image. Beating at the walls only makes the walls once more, 6 rooms, listening and responding. This is the sound of a space that cannot be unmade. [Bandcamp – Bedouin Records]

  1. Lawrence Lek & Kode9 – Theta

Theta follows a self-driving police car as they confront their existential crisis while patrolling the streets of the abandoned smart city of SimBeijing. Left with nothing to do, but still under constant surveillance, the car discusses their troubles with their built-in therapist — a self-help AI called Guanyin. Not all is as it seems in the smart city. Originally built as a replica of the Chinese capital to test autonomous vehicles, SimBeijing has mysteriously become a ghost town. As Theta gradually opens up to Guanyin, they reveal the darker reasons behind why the city has been abandoned. Theta continues Lawrence Lek’s ongoing Sinofuturist universe, in which he explores questions of identity, surveillance, and empathy in the age of AI. []

  1. Corin – Exo


The mother of technology collapses. Ten fragments of her soul are spread in cyberspace. The last encoder composes the pieces to a manifest. A poem that is a call for the distortion of the artificial.

Manifest is an album, in which CORIN synthesizes the reconciliation of the dystopian and utopian. It is a story of manipulated time that exists out of instrumental and vocal proportions.
[Bandcamp – Bedouin Records]

  1. Sky h1 – Elysian Heights

From the sub-aquatic opening bars of "Labyrinth" to the euphoric jungle climax of "Elysian Heights," this record is a Venn diagram of light and dark with a perfect blue compromise at the intersection. []

  1. Pan Daijing live at Fylkingen, Stockholm

A self-described outsider, Pan Daijing makes art that is raw, abrasive, vulnerable and challenging. Growing up in Guiyang, Southwest China, before studying in Beijing and later moving to Berlin in 2016, her work covers dance, sound design, performance art and art installations. []

  1. Babyfather (Dean Blunt) & Arca – Deep

people aren't talking about how emotional the song is
this is what you hear as soon you enter England
[YouTube comments]

  1. Hajj – Reverse Catharsis

Is it trite to mention chemically-induced states in electronic music writing? In recent years, the glut of serotonin-deprived brains has infiltrated the traditionally hedonistic space of the club with sadboi aesthetics, incidentally producing some of the prettiest music around. [...] Hajj has crafted an unassuming anthem for the slightly obnoxious, main character syndrome-suffering teenager that lies in all of us. "Drag Me Into The Void" harnesses those primal, universal feelings and sculpts them into a confidence, as though it was addressed to you exclusively. []

  1. Silvia Kastel – Spoons

a long goodbye hug
[Silvia Kastel]

  1. Burial – Truant

I’ve got a truant heart, I just want to be gone
[Burial in conversation with Mark Fisher]

  1. Klein – Cry Theme

it’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to be vulnerable

  1. Hiro Kone – Fabrication of Silence

This album considers the power of absence as neither a lack or deficit, but as a quiet, indeterminable force to cultivate in this time of looming and unrelenting techno-fascism. It asks that we take pause to consider our learned languages and actualities and to better consider how desire shapes our recollections and interpretations of this ‘existence.’ [Nicky Mao / Hiro Kone]

  1. Emptyset – Trawsfynydd

An extract from Emptyset's film Trawsfynydd.

Developed for Tate Britain’s Performing Architecture programme this film was produced inside the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear power station in Snowdonia, North Wales. The power station is currently awaiting demolition scheduled for around 2083, the climax to the sites gradual dissolution over the next century. The film adopts an anti-monumental perspective of the plants state, using structural film and video techniques to explore the site as processor rather than formal edifice.

The piece considers alternative responses to architectural representation trough film, avoiding the cultural impulse for the idolising of ruins, and instead exploring the vast power station as a shadow site destined to be ultimately dissolved and returned to the earth. []

  1. Cristian Vogel – 1zhuayo Express

The Cristian Vogel album 1Zhuayo sounds as if non-musicology & ultra-blackness is not an end or a destination to be arrived at, but as if it is the point of departure, much like tomorrow relates to the day after tomorrow. As if we have left the space of certainties and are moving instead into one of manifold possibilities. []

  1. Pessimist – Bloom

The story that Pessimist tells can seem cold, which is surely intentional. Kristian Jabs has always seemed to enjoy wrapping his music in a cavernous, reverberant chill. But his energetic beats are like a warm heart throbbing beneath frozen surfaces. []

  1. Lee Gamble – Chant

For a place that’s meant to be fun, the club is home to a lot of demons. How we seek release can be a mirror of what made us so tense in the first place, and some of the most forward-thinking producers in dance music have used the club as a jumping-off point to interrogate our desires, dreams, and nightmares.[]

  1. Caterina Barbieri – Fantas

the fast permutation of patterns can create a state where time stands still whilst simultaneously being in motion. Is this propulsive music moving forward or backward? [Bandcamp]

  1. Aïsha Devi – Mazdâ

I really believe that the machine can be an extension of your mind — you can exist in a virtual world. There are people playing video games in a world that does exist — they are not physically there, but their minds are there, so it’s already depicting the after-death, the possibility that we exist outside our physicality. [Aïsha Devi]

Someone: How many crazy things do you want to be in this music video?
Aïsha Devi: Yes [Youtube comments]

  1. Ireen Amnes – Snow of Tears

an agile and precise form of the genre, like techno composed in needlepoint []

  1. Zaliva-D – Sky Singing

Ancient beings, sing up to the sky, but the sky responded, we never understand. [Zaliva-D]

Marijn has a monthly science fiction show on WAV (WeAreVarious, online radio). Next edition will be March 14th at 7:00 PM.

She is also working on a new album. Meanwhile, have a look at her Bandcamp or her website.