Boomkat Product Review:
Startling unreleased work from Danish Fluxus member Henning Christiansen, who recorded this tribute to George Orwell in 1984, cutting together abstract percussion, levitational electronic fx, fluctuating drones, and abstract vocal snippets.
After visiting the USSR in 1977, Henning Christiansen - a Trotskyite - became deeply critical of Stalin. He reserved a similar judgement for the US, whose media he believed exerted a similar pressure on the populace. Christiansen also decided to paint his ear that year to remind himself to listen to nature, instead of the media and politicians - so the title "Goodday, Mr Orwell, Green Ear Year" is a reference to that. Christiansen is essentially crafting an audio answer to his thoughts on surveillance, control, and culture.
Musically, it's brilliantly evocative and understandably challenging. Christiansen is notable for having worked alongside Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, Bazon Brock and Wolf Vostell, and these experiences no doubt helped shape his process. Here, he shifts from atonal squealing into gruesome industrial noise and vocal manipulations, through an almost weightless drone passage into detuned piano. Apparently the piece was performed in 1984 with Christensen's son Esben, a fairly successful rock musician. The audience were so annoyed that Esben wasn't playing his usual set that they set fires and screamed at the duo, who continued to play regardless. Respect.