fugitive frequency, season 2, episode 5: (sonic) postcards from Helsinki

A scene with a giant sculpture of a giraffe in a snowy landscape. Two figures in silhouette stand before a sign and leafless trees sway in the background.

A montage of field recordings, performances and other audio documents collected since August 2020, when fugitive radio began. Recordings include Vallilan vapputanssit Finnish Tango dance in the Vallila neighbourhood for the vappu May Day celebrations; Thomas Moose speaking at Pride Is A Protest in 2021; Pekka Pylkkänena from the musicians union interviewed in 2021; MC Ghepetto at Elements mini-Ball 2022 and Suva Das performing playground equipment at Pixelache Festival #BURN____2021.

fugitive frequency, season 2, episode 4: Alanis Obomsawin, ‘Our people can be themselves and feel good about it’

A young Alanis Obomsawin performs a large drum

This special episode features an interview with Alanis Obomsawin, an Indigenous Abenaki filmmaker, singer, activist and ‘national treasure’ from Turtle Island/Canada. We spoke online late in February with reference to a major survey exhibition of Alanis’ life and work, ‘The Children Have to Hear Another Story’, 12 February – 18 April, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin.

Many thanks to Lilli Heinemann from HKW and Michael Shu from the National Film Board of Canada for making this possible.

Media

Bush Lady (2018)

Vignettes: June in Povungnituk – Quebec Arctic (1980)

Canada Vignettes: June in Povungnituk – Quebec Arctic , Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Waban-Aki: People from Where the Sun Rises (2006)

Waban-Aki: People from Where the Sun Rises, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Alanis Obomsawin the activist, Telescope CBC (1966)


Amisk
(1977)

Amisk, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Alanis Obomsawin – Bush Lady, live at Le Guess Who? 2017

Xusum (1975)

Xusum, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Christmas at Moose Factory (1971)

Christmas at Moose Factory, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Puberty – Part 2 (1975)

Puberty – Part 2, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Moose Call (1972)

Moose Call, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Basket (1975)

Basket, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Snowshoes (1978)

Snowshoes, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Sigwan (2005)

Sigwan, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

fugitive frequency, season 2, episode 3: Double Troubles

A protest scene in Helsinki, 26 Feb 2022 in support of Ukraine against the Russian Invasion. Peering through a crowd with flags, banners and placards denouncing Russian president, Vladimir Putin. On the far left of the frame a man in a beanie speaks into a microphone addressing the crowd. On the far right of the frame another man in a beanie with his back towards us balances a large ‘Boombox’ speaker on his head.

March is a mix ∞ or rather a sound clash. A recording from RUB’s 2202022 special with unknown participants on SonoBus meets the rally in support of Ukraine in Helsinki a few days later (26 February). It’s not quite in time, nevertheless it’s of the time.

An incomplete playlist includes:
‘LINELEH I’  – Eleh + Richard Chartier
‘Fifth Worship II’ – Kali Malone
‘Move Down Low’ (Dubplate Mix) – Grievous Angel
‘Culebra’ – Arca
‘Barnacles’ (Kode9 Mix) – Hyph11E
‘Travel Light 2010’ (Tekz Keyz 3-5-7) – DJ Phil
‘Ratnam’s Riddim’ (Nonfuture Remix) – Iyer
‘Feels Like Free For All’ (Fisky Bootleg) – Kevin JZ Prodigy x Errorsmith
‘Hold Pattern’ – Osheyack & Nahash
‘Dancing‘ (Instrumental) – Omar and Zed Bias
‘gum on ur shu remix‘ –
‘Click Clack’ –  Leonce feat. Divoli S‘vere
‘Blaze ‘n‘ Cook’ (Radioslave Remix) – Stereotyp Vs Al Haca
‘Tourist‘ (Nídia Rework) – Lafawndah
‘Circulate False Notes’ (Suckerfish P Jones Remix) – Filastine
‘Rakkama, Clap Your Hands’ (Wellbelove Remix) – Iyer
‘Tar’ – Myxomy

fugitive frequency, season 2, episode 2: Missy & Thomas Moose #FinlandBallroomScene

Missy on the left wears a covid mask and faces the camera, her back pressed against Thomas Moose’s chest. Thomas wears a black muscle shirt and also faces the camera, their left shoulder to the front. The Image rendered in low resolution greyscale.

Episode 2 is a conversation with Thomas Moose (Instagram) and Missy (Instagram), two young spokespersons from the Finland Ballroom Scene (Instagram) founded by choreographers Virpi Kurkihovi (Instagram) and Venla Vuorio (Instagram) circa 2010. The recording was made in November 2021, as Thomas and Missy were preparing to ‘walk abroad’ as part of the Finnish delegation led by Angel Ninja (Instagram) in the Scandinavian Ball in Oslo, December. We discuss their entry into the scene and the history of Ballroom in Helsinki, how the scene is structured workshops with Kiki House of Angels (Instagram), and their experiences as ‘guests’ in a culture found by queer Black and Latinx people in 1970s New York. I am most grateful to Eveliina Tuulonen for introducing us.

The episode features music made by Lucian for the Oslo Ball. Other music and media used in the podcast is below:

House Of Ninja Ball in Paris! Serving Runway!, Paris Ballroom TV 2017 (feat: Venla Vuorio) (Facebook)

 

‘Wuhan’s vogue dance finds life after lockdown’, Reuters 22 December 2020

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

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/

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:

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:

fugitive frequency episode 09: Rhythmic Intelligence

‘Rhythmic Intelligence’ (RI) is a phrase coined by theorist and artist Kodwo Eshun when writing about hip hop and jungle in the late 1990s:

rhythm isn’t really about notes or beats, it’s about intensities, it’s about crossing a series of thresholds across your body. Sound doesn’t need any discourse of representation, it doesn’t need the idea of discourse or the signifier: you can use sound as an immediate material intensity that grabs you. When you hear a beat, a beat lands on your joints, it docks on the junction between your joints and articulates itself onto your joints, it seizes a muscle, it gives you this tension, it seizes you up, and suddenly you find your leg lifting despite your head. Sound moves faster than your head, sound moves faster than your body. What sound is doing is triggering impulses across your muscles … Anywhere you have a sense of tension, that’s the beginning, that’s the signs of a bodily intelligence switching itself on.

This hasty live mix is a rehearsal for a livestream club that fugitive-radio is proposing to host during the darker, colder months of Northern Europe to chase and perhaps harness urban bass musics’ ‘forward pressure’. The idea is not to fence in sound with concepts, trace histories or perform political alignments, but rather to simply play ‘what grabs you’.

Writing around the trajectories of jungle in the 1990s and early 2000s Simon Reynolds observed a ‘Hardcore Continuum’ across the UK and North America of mutating, viral and infectious urban dance music. Technologically enabled, such music culture can be read as an Afrofuturist extension of Black Modernity, that Eshun (1998) traces as a kind of alien and inhuman intelligence. As such, mixes such as this attempt to make a situation conducive to opening up towards sound and, as Eshun observed, to be ‘abducted by audio’.

Notably, livestream clubs operating during lockdowns have shifted the experience of such music. ‘Clubbing’, for want of a better word, is not what it used to be! It now seems unusual to enter a club and lose oneself amongst other dancing bodies, although new waves of illegal raves are undoubtably sprouting in urban peripheries. Infectious rhythms don’t rely on physical proximity to spread, but they are nevertheless a consequence of touch. Shifting air pressure presses on the eardrum and pulses through other bodily organs; RI inhabits the ‘sensual mathematics’ of code and vibration that is digital music production (Goodman 2010), the synthetic imagination of machines and the spontaneous alchemy of the mix.

I am curious about the capacity of such sound cultures to produce affects, fictions, modes of identification, and what theorist, DJ and producer Steve Goodman AKA Kode 9 describes as an ‘unorthodox hallucinatory [R]ealness’ (2010). While sound, as Eshun argues, ‘doesn’t need any discourse of representation’ music experiences and sound cultures certainly produce them, and many, such as myself, enter into these tribes via such means. (Notably, Eshun introduced and the term ‘sonic fiction’ to describe the interacting narratives and myth-science-poetics of artists, listeners and communities who collectively produce music cultures). Thinking through sounding infrastructures, such as sound systems, audio streaming platforms and peer-to-peer networks, we could draw on rhythmanalysis to consider how networked intelligences, software automation and mutating (narcosonic) music traditions shape bodies, shift behaviours, and induce states of subjectivation.

Track list
Arash Pandi – Chargah
DJ Spinn – Crazy ’n’ Deranged
KABLAM – For Hildegard
Iyer – Ratnam’s Riddim (Nonfuture Remix)
Badawi – No Schnitzel (Machinedrum Remix)
Mark Pritchard – Manabadman (Instrumental)
Jlin – Carbon 7 (161)
DJ Rashad – Love U
Rizzla – Dick
Air Max ’97 – Hounded
Subjex – Fractal Geometry
Gant-Man – Distorted Sensory (Kode 9 Remix)
DJ Rashad – Let It Go
Jlin – Asylum
RP Boo – Off Da Hook
Nkisi – Parched Lips
Iyer – Rakkama, Clap Your Hands (Wellbelove Remix)
Si Begg – Sick and Tired of the Bullshit
Zomby – Kaliko
Elysia Crampton – Oscollo (drums only version)

fugitive frequency episode 08: The H Word.

Defund the Humbolt Forum

‘The H Word’ is an audio document of the protest against the opening of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Tuesday 20 July. Featuring the voices of Jumana Manna (Coalition of Cultural Workers Against the Humbolt Forum), Mnyaka Sururu Mboro (Berlin Postkolonial), Jeff Kwasi Klein (Each One Teach One), Nataly Jung-Hwa Han (Koreaverband), Michael Küppers Adebisi (Afrotak TV cyberNOMADS) and those of many other protestors.