We had a couple tix for the Qwartz “Electronic Music Awards” last Friday (went, despite knowing this would imply spending the rest of my week-end, reading up the works of Messrs. von Neuman, Morgenstern and Nash, a coffee IV hooked to my arm)…
Despite grand ambitions and a few catchy headliners (most notably: Bjork and Pierre Henry, both a last-minute no-show), the whole event had a very homemade vibe to it. Most of the MC’s time was spent calling for people to come on stage who often had apparently picked that time to go drink champagne or weren’t even attending to begin with… The show ended up running a couple hours late (we gave up and left shortly before the end, leaving only a very scarce crowd behind us).
All this bickering notwithstanding, we had a cool evening: the live sets were very eclectic, ranging from über-experimental stuff, to dancefloor-friendly, beat-heavy electronica. The people were friendly and the venue absolutely gorgeous.
A few random rantish thoughts:
- Despite the lack of an artificial commodities market where such could be sold at inflated prices, music does have its dubious “white-on-white-with-white-shadows” school of contemporary artists. They tend to make 10-minute long tracks using a sine wave generator, some bubble wrap and a microphone for sole instruments.
- On the other hand, being a “serious” cutting-edge electronic artist making “dancefloor-friendly” tracks, apparently means 90% of the time, using the played-out-to-exhaustion Amen break like it’s 1998 and Drum’n’bass is the new cool shit.
- Erm. Was Drum’nbass ever cool? Yea, nevermind.
- Vitaminsforyou played one of the very few live acts I would have paid to dance to.
- Cocoon had infinitely more ambition than substance. I have seen better post-situ art performances, waiting in line for Alcatraz at Pier 23.
- Leonard de Leonard performed some pretty bouncy electro-hip-hop songs. Yet I couldn’t help notice they had little business being there: for all its cheeky joviality, the rapping wasn’t exactly Public Enemy-quality (kinda tried for it, though) while the “electronic” part ranked in the straight-outta-mom’s-garage league.
- Try as I may, Pierre Shaeffer’s Musique Concrète still bores the hell out of me. Oddly enough, Soares Brandao’s “Hommage to Pierre Shaeffer” wasn’t completely devoid of interest (watching more than listening, actually).
- Nominees and tracks that caught my ear : Wang Lei, Matmos (++), Electroluvs, Coloma, dr Bone, Hypo & EDH, Bostich…
- Most of which (Matmos excepted) I wouldn’t dare putting up against any major mainstream electronic act (say, at random: Laurent Garnier, Matthew Herbert etc.) or even many smaller indie producers…
- Despite a list of nominees spanning (only?) half-a-dozen countries, the whole music selection had a heavy French feel to it. Perhaps a little too much systemic bias within the selection process.
- Foie-gras &
marzipangingerbread makes for truly divine petit-fours.
For somewhat more constructive insights on that event, you can check out this post (in French) from a blogger in my feed list who, as it turns out, also went.