AGF – SOLIDICITY
Antye Greie‘s tenth album SOLIDICITY is a strange, sensitive interaction between electroacoustic methodology and stylistic references to bass music and breaks. The energy of this experimental hybridity captures contemporary trends and issues in areas such as sociopolitics, geopolitics, agency and ontology; AGF subjects quite a range of topics to aesthetic and metaphorical exploration.
For instance, the opener ‘MOSQU-ito’ swells from the whine of a single fly to a really satisfying chorus of Culicidae. Before long, the insects peter off to give space to dripping hats, trilling sample triggers and damp sub-bass. I may be wrong, but the hats sound as if sculpted from something else, not simply replayed from a drum machine. The concrète concept of plasticity seems quite important to this album; the original meanings and context of a recording don’t limit what it can become through radical processing and reshaping.
But this doesn’t mean the origin is always unimportant and won’t sometimes remain intact. On ‘MIGration’, the calls and wingbeats of migratory swans in Finland remain identifiable, but are subjected to granular displacement and buffeted between aggressive rhythms. You can’t miss the parallels with human domination over the free movement of others – animal and human alike.
Human and non-human interaction is another theme in SOLIDICITY. Two tracks seem to cover a recent interest in sonifying data extrapolated from funghi (as well as the metaphorical parallels between mycelia and internet activism). In the latter of these, ‘MYCOrrhizosphere’, many layers of Greie’s voice follow graphically the branching hyphae of a mycelium projection; perhaps a way of redistributing (or at least displacing) compositional agency. It’s a haunting end to the album, for although it recalls the choral mosquitoes of the first track, there’s also a sinister, uncertain atmosphere not too unlike that of the famous Kyrie of Ligeti’s Requiem. Is this sonifying unease coincidental, or is it intended to represent the ethics of datamining and the voyeuristic, unconsenting representation of others (in this case, mycelia) as resources?
Many other topics inform the semiotics of this album, but there’s no space left to cover them here. The point is, I think we’re to intepret this overall hybridity as a topical expression of the increasing convergence of media (and the action that results from it); not only as formats of information, but also as ever-less-differentiated streams of statuses, nuggets, links, trivia, moments. In social media feeds, frivolity and tragedy play out back-to-back, gaplessly carried in the same current of information. Then, like ripples in real water, they’re gone, replaced with more of the same. It can be weird and emotionally exhausting, but it also has the effect of political discourse weaving its way into everyday aesthetic experience in new ways. Like the signifiers complexly coalescing and contrasting throughout SOLIDICITY, it has perhaps become more difficult to ignore injustices and social tensions. By appropriating these various texts and textures, I suspect AGF is partly challenging herself (and the rest of us) to acknowledge that genre and pop music performance are not places to hide from political reality and the responsibility for action and self-reflexiveness towards social justice. Like internet communication platforms, they are sites of political action and change – for as long as we can hold on to them.
Final verdict: radical, challenging and important dance music.
NB. Sources for additional/background info: the artist’s twitter feed, the album’s official bandcamp page (featuring text by Raluca Oancea) and some direct correspondence with the artist