Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thomas Köner & Eliane Radigue at San Francisco Electronic Music Festival: Sept 12 - 15
Yang Fudong's "Estranged Paradise" at PFA & Berkeley Art Museum: Aug 22 - Oct 6

Art events of a once-a-decade nature in the Bay Area this month! It's been a number of years since the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival lured me down to that city by the bay. This year's lineup not only features a roster of excellent contemporaries and longstanding composers like Joshua Kit Clayton and Richard Pinhas, but one of the defining voices of post-Rave dance music and electronic abstraction in the 1990's; Thomas Köner. Köner's performances in North America have become exceedingly rare, in fact it was his collaboration with German musique concrete composer, Asmus Tietchens at Mutek 2003 that I last had opportunity to see him live. Here's hoping with the reformation of Porter Ricks for this year's Unsound Festival Krakow that this is the beginning of a new, more active phase for Köner. Even more rare, and significantly more influential, early electronic composer Eliane Radigue will be performing her one of a kind analog, long-duration, subtle gesture 'sound mantras' utilizing almost singularly the ARP 2500 Modular System and Magnetic Tape. As heard on recordings like the groundbreaking "Adnos", "Songs of Milarepa" and "Trilogie de la Mort", with more of Radigues work currently in print than decades previous thanks to Important Records and Lovely Music's reissue series. The significance of her role in the development of early electronic music and singular voice within the world of modern composition explored in the pages of Paul Schütze's 2011 interview for Frieze, The Wire's 2005 article and Julian Cowley's 1999 feature, "Eliane Radigue: Death Becomes Her"

In the way of visual art and cinema, Pacific Film Archive and Berkeley Art Museum host Yang Fudong: Estranged Paradise and the accompanying film series, Yang Fudong's Cinematic Influences, featuring Yang and a number of his Chinese 5th and 6th Generation contemporaries, including Chen Kaige, Lou Ye and Zhang Nuanxin. Yang Fudong's work representing a generational amalgamation of a multitude of art and political attitudes over the course of the decades since the Cultural Revolution. Through these he explores the paradoxical space that mainland China now occupies between rural folk and agricultural traditions, and the modern glitz of the Chinese manifestation of 'capitalism'. Yang's navigation of this oblique space traversed in Blake Gopkin's excellent piece for the New York Times, "Cryptic Chronicler of the New China"