fugitive frequency, season 2, episode 1: REWIND

A sign with text that reads ‘Helsinki’ backwards. In the background is Oodi central library.

A selective review of some of the events, interviews and broadcasts that occurred over the last year or so. It features, in order of appearance, the voices of: Sepideh Ardalani, Alice MacKenzie, Yes Escobar, Irina Mutt, Elina Nissinen, musicians in the online jam spaces: ‘Jazz so what’, ‘probando‘ and ‘1234_Portugal‘, Ana Fradique, Suva Das, Tania Nathan, Susheela Mahendran, Léo Custodio, Yeboyah, Caroline Suinnerin and Meriam Trabelsin of the Pehmee podcast, Vishnu Vardhani Rajan and Lintulintu (Lintu Lunar & Dramatika).

It touches on ideas that fugitive radio will develop in the coming year such as: trocar/exchange, poethical descriptings/the politics of accessibility and representation, karaoke theory, postporn spaghetti.

fugitive radio’s live broadcasts are supported by Sophea Lerner and Kaustubh Srikanth of openradio.in

RUB4, 2 January 2022

RUB4

New year/new moon! RUB lights out for another trajectory. Join us on SonoBus, where you can soundclash or intervene or listen here on the stream at 22.00 CET/23.00 EET. This year RUB will run on: Sunday 2 January, Tuesday 1 February, Wednesday 2 March and Friday 1 April as a special ‘fooled moon’ finalé to celebrate the end of the dark with Spring Equinox on 20 March. Mark your (luna) calendars 😉

RUB is a club with a no body policy — literally no bodies in the room — but you can take the club to your room and to your body. RUB emphasises sound as a haptic sensation, as changes in air pressure vibrate the sensitive organs of our inner ear; sound pressure that scales with volume.

RUB runs on the night of the new moon, modulating the ‘cyclical rhythm’ of the lunar phase cycle with the rhythmic abstractions of bass musics. Its seemingly erratic placement according to the Gregorian calendar system (Sunday 2 January, Tuesday 1 February, Wednesday 2 March and Friday 1 April in 2022) is akin to a ‘shifting one’ in music composition, where the stress or the accent of the beat moves (with repetition) over time. Will RUB synergise with or clash against other scheduled events? Will anyone listen? Would anyone intervene? RUB began on the first new moon following the Autumn Equinox (22 Sept 2021), and will continue until the Spring Equinox (20 March 2022).

fugitive frequency episode 12: a vernacular power play with Aderemi Adegbite

A certificate of incorporation from the Federal Republic of Nigeria registering the Tutuola Institute.

Aderemi Adegbite is an artist and curator from Lagos, Nigeria, who founded of the Tutùolà Institute, a legal non-profit arts platform pursuing Yoruba cultural diplomacy launched at ‘White Money’, produced by Flinn Works at Sophiensaele Berlin, 17–20 November 2021. He is also the founder of the Vernacular Art-Space Laboratory [Instagram] in Lagos, who will host the Iwaya Community Art Biennial 10–18 December 2021. We discussed the power dynamics of European cultural funding in Nigeria, and more broadly speaking in the so-called ‘Global South’, that prompted him to found the Tutùolà Institute. Its inaugural exhibition as part of ‘White Money’ featured Candice Breitz, Mario Pfeifer, Aline Motta and Rehema Chachage.

There’s a joke that curators secretly desire to curate their record collections, and in Berlin Aderemi did just that! Tutùolà Institute presented a selection of the hundreds of LPs it has in its collection from Nigerian labels such as Jofabro, featuring styles such as Apala, High Life, Waka and more. The music selected for this episode is inspired by what I heard, featuring: Adeleke Aremu & His Group, Alhaja Queen Salawa Abeni & Her Waka Funky Modernisers, Ayisatu Alabi & Her Group, E.C. Arinze & His Music, Jolly Orchestra, Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa 70, Godwin Ezike & The Ambassadors, Hadji Amusa & Hadji Mustafa, The Sahara All Stars, Zeal Onyia & His Music.

Music and media used in this episode

Channel 4 News, ‘Young queer Nigerians taking a stand’ 13 October 2021
https://fb.watch/9L7w_JtoVa/

RUB3, 4 December

Tonight RUB coincides with a Saturday night, a new moon, a solar eclipse and a spike in the new Coronavirus ‘Omnicron’ variant! Don’t sleep on dark times — join the room on SonoBus, where you can soundclash or intervene or listen here on the stream at 23.00 CET/midnight EET. Join

RUB is a club with a no body policy — literally no bodies in the room — but you can take the club to your room and to your body. RUB emphasises sound as a haptic sensation, as changes in air pressure vibrate the sensitive organs of our inner ear; sound pressure that scales with volume.

RUB runs on the night of the new moon, modulating the ‘cyclical rhythm’ of the lunar phase cycle with the rhythmic abstractions of bass musics. Its seemingly erratic placement according to the Gregorian calendar system (Wed 6 October, Thur 4 November, Sat 4 December in 2021) is akin to a ‘shifting one’ in music composition, where the stress or the accent of the beat moves (with repetition) over time. Will RUB synergise with or clash against other scheduled events? Will anyone listen? Would anyone intervene? RUB began on the first new moon following the Autumn Equinox (22 Sept 2021), and will continue until the Spring Equinox (20 March 2022).

RUB2, 4 November 2021

RUB goes live tonight at 23.00 CET/midnight EET. Join the room on SonoBus, where you can soundclash or intervene or listen here on the stream.

RUB is a club with a no body policy — literally no bodies in the room — but you can take the club to your room and to your body. RUB emphasises sound as a haptic sensation, as changes in air pressure vibrate the sensitive organs of our inner ear; sound pressure that scales with volume.

RUB runs on the night of the new moon, modulatingthe ‘cyclical rhythm’ of the lunar phase cycle with the rhythmic abstractions of bass musics. Its seemingly erratic placement according to the Gregorian calendar system (Wed 6 October, Thur 4 November, Sat 4 December in 2021) is akin to a ‘shifting one’ in music composition, where the stress or the accent of the beat moves (with repetition) over time. Will RUB synergise with or clash against other scheduled events? Will anyone listen? Would anyone intervene? RUB began on the first new moon following the Autumn Equinox (22 Sept 2021), and will continue until the Spring Equinox (20 March 2022).

fugitive frequency episode 11: Finance for Future

Finance for Future features an interview with the Berlin-based degrowth and climate justice activist and campaigner Tonny Nowshin, calling in from Bangladesh in the build up to the Global Day of Finance Action, 29 October 2021. It also presents conversations with some folks I met at on that day on the steps of Helsinki Parliament: Steven Vanholme and Iciar Montes from EKOenergy, an independent non-profit energy label who help finance renewable energy projects around the world and Olavi Fellman a spokesperson for Fridays for Future Helsinki. It also features voices from those involved in actions around the world on that day and in the opening days of the UN climate conference, COP26, Glasgow, 31 October–12 November 2021 — notably Samoan activist Brianna Fruean and the Koala Kollektiv.

Media used in the episode:

Karaoke Theory / Karaoke Therapy

Below are edited excerpts from a performative panel-presentation I delivered at X-disciplinary Congress on Artistic Research and Related Matters, Vilnius Academy of Arts & SODAS 2123, 14-17 October 2021. In preparing this presentation, I realised that the key issue I sought to address was a perceived inhibition about singing in public. Noting that many ‘non-literate’ cultures use song as a vehicle for knowledge and as a ‘memory code’, according to researcher and author Lynne Kelly, I wonder what we ‘Westernized Moderns’ are missing out on, especially with reference to the academic formatting of knowledge as it is occurring in the arts. The discussion at the conference honed in on notions of perfection, but the issue of a kind of ‘performance anxiety’ around singing in public remains compelling. 

‘Singing has been somehow colonised out of us!’
I approach song as a learning tool, as a means to convey knowledge and structure feeling. In particular, I would like to address a perceived inhibition about singing in public, which I propose is a kind of trauma. This was prompted by the Helsinki-based filmmaker and stand-up comedian, Roxana Sadvo, who recently told me that she suspects that ‘singing has been somehow colonised out of us’.

In his 2006 book This Is Your Brain on Music, Daniel J Levitin, a North American cognitive neuroscientist, author, musician and sound engineer, notes that it is only recently that a distinction was made between classes of music performers and music listeners in Western societies.

Only relatively recently in our own culture, five hundred years or so ago, did a distinction arise that cut society in two, forming separate classes of music performers and music listeners. Through out most of the world and for most of human history, music making was as natural an activity as breathing and walking, and everyone participated. (Levitin, 2006)

As a neuroscientist, Levitin has researched how music alters our moods and brain chemistry and cites studies that demonstrate how music stimulates all areas of the brain. Indeed, in his 2008 book The World in Six Songs, he argues that the human brain evolved with song:

Before there was language, our brains did not have the full capacity to learn language, to speak or to represent it. As our brains developed both the physiological and cognitive flexibility to manipulate symbols, language emerged gradually, and the use of rudimentary verbalizations—grunts, calls, shrieks, and groans—further stimulated the growth potential for the types of neural structures that would support language in the broadest sense. (Levitin, 2008)

Singing as ‘Soma Technique’
Recently I came across the work of the Finnish ethnomusicologist, musician and therapist Anne Tarvainen, who also claims that in the West, singing is split between those can sing — that is, those who are gifted, trained and professionalised — and those who cannot, who are cast as audiences, admirers and connoisseurs.

Tarvainen works with singers, both amateur and professional, who due to illness or injury, now experience difficulty vocalising. She expands on the work of the North American (pragmatist) philosopher Richard Shusterman who has been developing a concept of ‘Somaesthetics’ since the 1990s. As Tarvainen explains in a recent article for the Journal of Somaesthetics:

One of the main ideas of somaesthetics is that bodily experience can be cultivated. By practicing body consciousness, one can free oneself from harmful bodily manners and improve one’s overall quality of life. Shusterman suggests that a researcher working in the field of somaesthetics should not only approach things analytically but also critically examine the physical practices of our culture, suggest new forms of somatic conventions, and put them into practice. (Tarvainen 2019, p.8)

Tarvainen is developing a branch of this field that she names ‘vocal somaesthetics’ alongside a form of vocal therapy, ‘Voicefulness’, in which Tarvainen encourages her clients to approach singing according to what feels good in their body, rather than adhering to established music conventions. Such ‘unorthodox’ singing is a means of transforming the body — it is a way of doing the body. Singing as ‘soma technique’. So if singing makes us feel good and make us smarter, why aren’t we karaoking everyday?

RUB


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The cyclical originates in the cosmic, in nature: days, nights, seasons, the waves and tides of the sea, monthly cycles, etc. The linear would come rather from social practice, therefore from human activity: the monotony of actions and of movements, imposed structures. (Lefebvre 2004, p.8)

Having re-purposing EDM as ‘experimental dance music’, I’m wondering how practices of rhythm abstraction modulate what Lefebvre describes as ‘linear rhythms’. These are structured institutionalised rhythms that one associates with work, transport schedules, school; how one organises time to meet deadlines, juggle commitments and other time-sensitive institutional pressures, with the social also being an institution. These rhythms run concurrently with ‘cyclical rhythms’ such as the setting and rising of the sun and the phases of the moon. Cyclical rhythms can expand out to cosmological proportions, can they also be perceived at the level of particles?

During this time of pandemic and while bracing for a Northern winter, I’ve been thinking to open a room in an online multiuser audio streaming platform; an EDM ‘club’ on SonoBus that is also open to sound clash and other kinds of interventions.

Naming the room ‘RUB’ is a joke of sorts, because it’s not physically possible to do so in such a space. RUB is a club with a no body policy — literally no bodies in the room — but you can take the club to your room and to your body. While this absent-presence might spark braindance-induced sonic fictions, it also emphasises sonic friction, given that physically gathering may be difficult during these times. As a room for deep bass explorations, beat psyence and riddim methodologies, RUB emphasises sound as a haptic sensation, as changes in air pressure vibrate the sensitive organs of our inner ear; sound pressure that scales up with volume.

Scheduling RUB on the night of the new moon, a ‘cyclical rhythm’ according to Lefebvre and the darkest night of the lunar phase cycle, situates a practice of abstracting rhythms within interacting rhythmic categories. Rather than selecting a regular day of the Gregorian calendar (eg the first Tuesday of each month as is fugitive frequency), RUB proposes to modulate the governance of patterns and habits that arise from them. It’s seemingly irregular placement (Wed 6 October, Thur 4 November, Sat 4 December in 2021) is akin to a ‘shifting one’ in music composition, where the stress or the accent of the beat moves (with repetition) over time. Will RUB synergise with or clash against other scheduled events? Will anyone listen? Would anyone intervene? Given that RUB will begin on the first new moon following the Autumn Equinox (22 Sept 2021), it seems fitting that it’s first season should run until the Spring Equinox (20 March 2022). I’m told timing is everything…

fugitive frequency episode 10: Vishnu’s the Issue

Vishnu Vardhani Rajan is the issue of this episode; a Helsinki-based performance artist and body-philosopher. Our interview, recorded in March 2021, is interspersed with fantastic Telegu film songs and cheeky advertising jingles.

An addendum message is from representatives from the EZLN — the Zapatistas —currently in Europe, having arriving in Madrid in August to mark the 500th anniversary of Colombus ‘discovering’ the Americas. I caught up with a delegation of women at a symposium in Turku: ‘Gender, Nature and Survival’ organised by Power from Below. Special thanks to Erwin from the Armadillo Collective for making this possible.

Image of Vamp Master Brown wearing an earring made of crystalized menstrual blood is based on a fotozine by Heidi Lunabba.

Media used in the episode: