Sneak peak: Exposed Music
Wow, an interview with Aarich Jespers, drummer of Zita Swoon group?! I’m on it. That’s right: Aarich is curator of the hot new event ‘Exposed Music’, that takes place next Saturday. We had a very nice chat about this original music *slash* heritage guided tour in one of the unique locations of the event, Erfgoed Bibliotheek (Heritage Library).
TIA: Aarich, you are curator of this audio-visual walk through downtown Antwerp. How did you come up with the idea of organising such event? How were you commissioned as curator?
Aarich: In fact, the concept was already given by Fameus vzw in collaboration with CoStA and Het Stadsmagazijn. When they contacted me the concept remained, but the organisations had a more traditionally event in mind with rather mainstream artists, so I spiced things up a bit. I specifically chose for less known, experimental artists and projects. The music genres are varied and not always mainstream. However, I tried to choose for accessible, fine things. It is a nice challenge to think of uncommon presentation formats for music concerts.
I was sincerely happy with the invitation to compile a program for this lovely festival. Fameus vzw is an amateur art organisation. The idea of working with ‘amateurs’ or artists that started as an autodidact or amateur attracted me. At Zita Swoon Group we all started as autodidacts. So, I feel somewhat connected.
TIA: I see a lot of interesting names on the program of Exposed Music. What can we expect?
Aarich: It will be a 360° spectacle stuffed with exhibition visits, theatrical music performances all of them interacting with the impressive Antwerp heritage locations. The buildings are quite theatrical and visual. That’s why we represent the concerts as exposed performances, reinforced by the use installations or videos by some artists.
It is going to be a mishmash of old and young, meaning we will feature somewhat aged music or instruments, performed by younger artists or vice versa. Say for example the 64 feat. Iris Eysermans and Marie-Noëlle Bette gig. They perform contemporary music on historical organs, complemented with electronics. Or in the opposite direction: De Notengalm, a Boechout accordion band, brings an own dimension to the instrumental hypnotic synthpop of Mittland Och Leo.
But there’s more: the program ranges from installations with boom cars to manipulation of old keyboards, from Polish acapella psalms and prose to Russian choral songs, from father Koen De Cauter and his sons bringing homage to Wannes Van de Velde to baroque guitar and piano compositions by The Rudy Trouvé Trio in the perfectly suited Keizerkapel and so on! And this is still only the tip of the iceberg!
The event closes in Het Bos with a comical, interactive radio show: the music will be chosen by channel surfing on the radio and everyone can be the DJ.
TIA: Amazing! It promises to be a unique, musical night. I feel that your role as curator is way beyond the convention of just selecting artists. You really engage in the project.
Aarich: That’s true. I gave most artists direction. For instance, I arranged the compositions of Mittland Och Leo for the Boechout accordeon party De Notengalm. I also came up with the idea of boom cars for Jurgen Desmet. For Sun*Sun*Sun String Orkestra I attended a football match of local football team Beerschot, which I rarely do, and caught the great atmosphere by recording sounds. This compilation of sounds was the starting point of the composition of the quartet. And Saturday, I play with Gunter Nagels at the Protestant Church.
TIA: How did you pick the artists?
Aarich: It’s a mix of new musical discoveries and artists I already knew. I have a personal connection with some of the artists, like Rudy Trouvé and George Smits. Others I spotted online or during a concert, for example the Polish psalm-singer Maria Huszaluk.
TIA: Who do you expect to go to Exposed music and what do you want to achieve with the event?
Aarich: Everyone is welcome, of course! Like I said, I’d love to open some eyes for new music forms, rather than those we hear daily on mainstream radio, television or other media channels. By offering those artists a platform, I want to present visitors visuals and music that are adventurous, innovatory, but not provocative or remote.
Vincent Moon is my inspiration. He is known for his Take Away concerts, music documentaries and TED talks. He gathers music listeners with different tastes and let them exchange thoughts, niche or complex versus mainstream. It is a way to bring complex, less mainstream music in contact with the bigger audience, like I want to do.
TIA: The program is rather divers. Is there a common thread that links the concerts?
Aarich: First of all, the artists and performances are authentic and not commercial. And they are all held in buildings that belong to the rich Antwerp heritage . Second and more important, most artists or performances are somehow connected to Antwerp. It was a quest for current Antwerp music and cultural heritage. For instance: I contacted the widow and daughter of George Smits for permission. During the conversation, they made me aware of a donation of George Smits to M HKA! Also, Wim De Busser & Simon Lenski adapted the location of their short film about the role of artists in society, to Antwerp.
TIA: We are are having this chat in Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience. What will happen here during Exposed?
Aarich: Wannes Deneer & Roel Van Camp will perform here! Wannes is a music and sound artist. Together with accordionist Roel he brings a mix of loops and noise. Noise can be an overload of information, just like a library, where all wisdom comes together. The installation is supremely theatrical and fits perfect with the beautiful location. Come see it for yourself!
TIA: I will!
14 November ‘15
7.30 p.m. (Be on time!)
Gathering point: Fameus vzw (Hofstraat 15 – 2000 Antwerpen)
Tickets & Information: http://www.stadsmagazijn.be/exposedmusic
Exposed Music is a project of Stad Antwerpen, district Antwerpen, CoStA, Het Stadsmagazijn, Musea and Erfgoed vzw & Fameus vzw
Text by Lize Colson
Pics by Exposed