Boomkat Product Review:
Blinding side of radical Dé-coll/age Musik conceived between 1959-1981 by Wolf Vostell; a seminal early innovator of video art and co-founder of the Fluxus movement. Imagine Russell Haswell getting smashed with Karel Appel, Stockhausen and Burroughs and recording a Live Salvage 40 years ago; you’ve got a grasp of this record’s disorienting brilliance!
Among the earliest and most important artists to appropriate a French term which described the simultaneous take-off and crash of an aeroplane, within the context of an aesthetic philosophy, Wolf Vostell inverted the literal meaning of Musique Concrète - an accretion of sounds - to define his method of subtraction, or stripping away from a whole; causing its death or a break-down of its outworn values, whilst in return giving life to something that didn’t exist before it.
When Vostell applied that process of remediating the media to sound and Musik, the results are arguably some of the rawest, brutal and gripping instances of early avant-garde music we’ve ever heard - an unfathomable, unquantifiable disarray of sound and structure that connotes the physical action of destruction and decay as much as the exhilarating, messy joy of creation, innovation and imagination.
In the best sense we can hardly tell up from down or even follow time throughout the record, which is ironically enough arranged in chronological order. Cultural signifiers are persistently jettisoned, shredded-up or juxtaposed as intangible components of a mutant mass, or “a singular body with no loyalty” as the label describe it, shuddering and sparking with a fractious quality that sounds more like the work of an algorithm or the innards of Ballard’s sound hoover that anything actually thunked-up and done by a human.
It all still feels completely outlandish all these years later, proving as ever that the past is a foreign land crammed with tremendous freaks such as Vostell, whose innately punkish spirit persistently keeps its borders mutable, open-ended, awaiting your shocked arrival.