Back in November '05, dj/rupture came to play at c90 here in sheffield. We hosted it in an awful venue, all cut glass'n'leather seats. It was Bonfire night too, so most people were out with their families blowing up effigies of someone who wanted to blow up the monarchy. Faced with a sparce turnout in an unlovely setting, /rupture dropped a set that was heavy with junglist toasting and quickfire beats - set fire to that. But the set started with a hypnotic whirl of flute-like vocals; half-humming, half-enunciating circling and cycling round a refrain that was hard to grasp, but which remained, haunting and intangible, in the back of my mind.
Forward to Feb '06, and me, the Bomb, my bro & sis-in-law went over to Amsterdam for the Sonic Acts XI festival of computer art, where /rupture was curating the lineup for the friday night (featuring himself with Andy Moor (the Ex), Vex'd, Scotch Egg, Shadetek, Sheen, the Bug - yeah, I know, it's funny that so many of these have played c90 huh - and Filastine, who's playing c90 on nov 9th).
While we were in the city, we headed up to the SMCS - Amsterdam's finest gallery for contemporary artwork - which was situated temporarily (though brilliantly, it should permanently rest there) in an old concrete post office building at the ports to the east of the main station - like an old GDR building.
Therein was an exhibition by Shirin Neshat - and this 'ere SMCS webpage has some samples of her video work for you to check out: I strongly recommend you do so. The exhibition was pretty overwhelming - several of the video installations featured two screens opposing each other, so that the exhibitee has to stand against the wall so as to avoid occluding either image from any other exhibitees. The films shown on each screen were shot in a rich textured b&w, and played sequences at counterpoint to each other. Perhaps the most affecting of these was Turbulent - on one screen a loan woman in black stands on an empty stage before an empty auditorium, the camera sweeping close around her as she waits with a patient expression. On the other screen, a man in white stands on a stage crowded with musicians before an auditorium filled with men, and as he begins to sing a solo serenade the crowd smile and relax. The woman listens without responding, unmoving and unmoved. When he finishes, to applause, she looks down and prepares herself and then begins, and all the men freeze, listening intently to her almost-primal performance. As a member of a midway audience in the exhibition, you instantly feel trapped, compelled to listen and not to turn away, but also to look to the other screen and see the reactions of the full auditorium behind.
During another screen-to-screen installation, Rapture, I started to hear that haunting refrain that had kicked off the /rupture set back in November. It felt odd to make a link like that, particularly as we'd come to Amsterdam to see /rupture again - but here it was, circling and swirling as a group of black-clad women launched a boat in a stone coloured sea, while behind me men swarmed over a ruined castle, watching their efforts. The voice is that of the woman-in-black in Turbulent, Sussan Deyhim, singing music which was written especially for these films in collaboration with Shirin Neshat.
So let me share some of this stuff. Click here to go to sendspace to download the first three minutes of /rupture's set at c90 featuring a collision of the neptunes with Rapture, the soundtrack to Shirin Neshat's video piece as performed by Sussan Deyhim.
And if you click here you'll get to download a bit of the original soundtrack - which, moreover, is streamable and buyable here. Head to that stream to hear the awesome (and frightening) performance in Turbulent.
Oh, and a repost for Sparky - click here for that recording I made from the crowd using my Nokia6230 at the Limassol wine festival of that live rembetiko group. Enjoy!