Boomkat Product Review:
Following the much needed reissue of his classic Loop-finding-jazz-records earlier this year, Jan Jelinek returns to his Faitiche label to further develop the sonic fiction surrounding his occasional muse and potential alter ego Ursula Bogner.
Jan Jelinek put together a first album from Bogner’s tape archive a decade ago, followed in 2011 by a second volume compiled by Andrew Pekler. For Winkel Pong the tape archive was passed on to Lucrecia Dalt. The Berlin-based Colombian sound artist and musician chose three tracks from the 1980s (exact dates unknown), editing the tape recordings for their release on Winkel Pong.
Gudrun Gut (Malaria!, Einstürzende Neubauten), an activist and reluctant chronicler of Berlin’s underground scene since the 1980s, has worked with Lucrecia Dalt. She is also familiar with Ursula Bogner’s work. Reason enough to ask her for an interview:
Jan Jelinek: Gudrun, how does it feel to be constantly obliged to talk about the 1980s Berlin underground as someone who was there at the time?
Gudrun Gut: I’ve learned to live with it as there are clearly too few people who witnessed it first-hand. Maybe it’s even important to do these interviews as a woman – so that someone actually says that women, too, have written music history. Men tend not to mention this. But it’s true, people do always ask the same questions.
JJ: Did you know about Ursula Bogner in the 1980s? Did you ever meet her?
GG: No, I never met Ursula Bogner in person and I only discovered her in 2008 thanks to Faitiche. But that’s no surprise: firstly, I don’t know every single woman artist, and secondly, far too many women artists never see the light of day. In the male-dominated art and music market, women are not considered important – or worse still, they are not understood. Look at artists like Sonia Delaunay, Eva Hesse, Bebe Baron, Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram. Some of them have now been discovered – but only recently. A lot has changed in the last few years: there is a growing awareness of art and music made by women.
JJ: But isn’t it annoying that the conventional distribution of roles still applies? One example: in many articles, Ursula Bogner has been presented as an “electronic housewife”.
GG: When Ursula Bogner is referred to as an electronic housewife, then sadly that reflects the situation of many women artists at the time. Women could only pursue artistic activities in private – transcendence was reserved for men. This has still not been overcome. But today, the home has become a site of professional production for all. I’m talking about bedroom producers: it is totally normal to make art and music at home. And that makes things interesting, because “working at home” is no longer associated solely with women.
JJ: For Winkel Pong, Lucrecia Dalt compiled and remixed three pieces from the Bogner archive. You know Lucrecia and you’ve already worked with her. How did you meet?
GG: I met Lucrecia through MySpace – I think it was 2007. Back then she was still living in Medellin, Colombia. Lucrecia’s father made loop machines for her that she still uses. The Sound of Lucrecia was part of my 4 Women no Cry compilation series on Monika Enterprise, each with four producers from different countries. She’s great fun to watch as a performer because she has a unique sense of rhythm and feel for music. Above all I’m impressed by her sustained approach as an artist, someone who can and does think around corners. I’m thinking specifically of her album Ou, for which she ploughed her way through post-war German cinema, using it as a source of inspiration for a soundtrack. This is proof that she thinks like an engineer – so it makes perfect sense that she would want to explore the work of Ursula Bogner.