Kaino Wennerstrand

“It’s only suffering.” AQNB’s final Montez Press Radio shows & events find a thematic connection in subjectivity & sacrifice

10 September 2018

Following the Content Prole: What’s a Career? panel discussion and Somewhere I’ve Never Been live audio book event at New York’s Mathew in August, AQNB presented its final two contributions to the Montez Press 2018 summer residency programme. Running at New York’s Mathew Gallery from July 19 to August 19, the two aforementioned radio shows followed divergent formats and vastly different topics. However, sometimes themes intersected. That’s particularly given both projects were, and are concerned with the machinations of mediation and its effects on those who consume it.

Micachu & Shapes at the ‘Somewhere I’ve Never Been: Live Audio Book’ (2017) event. Performance view. Photo by Martin Kohout. Courtesy The Yard Theater, London.

Hence, the umbrella title for both shows of “It’s only suffering.” Those are the lyrics taken from a Micachu & The Shapes song, aptly called ‘Suffering‘, that reflexively contemplates its persona’s pain and self-indulgence. The words are also the title of the final chapter of the Somewhere I’ve Never Been novel, in which author Steph Kretowicz reflects on her time living (and loving) in London as a music journalist between 2012 and 2015. Not surprisingly, that segment featured a number of musicians and artists Kretowicz encountered during her time in the city, many of whom took part in the live audio book launch at London’s The Yard Theatre in May last year.

Somewhere I’ve Never Been, ‘Episode 7: London’ is its outcome. It’s a pulling together of live recordings — along with some archival audio and a few additional songs — that attempts to reconstruct the event, as remembered by Kretowicz and her collaborator Kimmo Modig. It followed the theme of the author’s own subjectivity that was shaped and influenced by the music and media she consumed, while confronting the challenges and sacrifices it takes to pursue her chosen vocation. 

Needless to say, the role of writer in the contemporary milieu has become increasingly difficult to sustain since the the dawn of the internet. Where artificial intelligence and the writer-algorithm has fast been dissolving the publishing industry as we knew it, the question of how to survive as a writer has been of central importance to the Content Prole radio show series, produced in collaboration with Matthew O’Shannessy.

Earlier episodes included interviews from a fake review writer, Apple app producer, ghost writers and a poet in earlier episodes. Its final segment, called ‘“A passing noise in my feed”: authorship and attention in the age of the internet’, invited Strategy Group Director of a political and social issue communications agency, Claudia Cukrov, to discuss notions of authorship, quality, and credibility in this brave new attention economy.**

Montez Press’ third summer residency was on at New York’s Mathew Gallery, running July 19 to August 19, 2018. You can hear previous episodes of Content Prole and Somewhere I’ve Never Been on the AQNB Soundcloud.

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A rock, nu-metal + cult disco past into the beat-bereft dance music ’BIITSI’S AFFECTIONATE SAMPLER FOR AQNB’

22 September 2017

This week Helsinki-based production duo Biitsi premiered their ‘WFT (We Feel This)’ music video, directed by Olli Leppänen,on AQNB. The film is an eerie rendering of Heidi M Wee and Kimmo Modig‘s decades-long relationship and developing musical collaboration, in the couple sharing body parts and jointly making a smoothie to the spectral undulations of the song. Titled ‘We Feel Trance’ in their live folder, that track is less about the 90s electronic music genre and more the freaky hypnosis of an altered state of consciousness. For their follow-up mix, however, the references to melodic phrases and ecstatic buildups are more present.

’BIITSI’S AFFECTIONATE SAMPLER FOR AQNB’ is a 10-minute selection of Biitsi works-in-progress, where a droning cosmic opener carries into degraded microtonal melodies and an epic synth line. Less beat-oriented but still echoing with the residue of a dance music awareness, the mix draws from the broad cross-disciplinary portfolio of Wee and Modig, which includes their formative musical years in rock and nu-metal bands. There are instrumentals taken from a live performance-reading with writer Nora Khan in August, as well as what Biitsi call a “messy version” of the aforementioned ‘WFT’ track. The accompanying artwork is a photo of a Fiorucci handbag found at Modig’s bag-maker parents’ house: “It felt so surprising to find this cult disco-era item from their back room and felt perfect for this mix.”**

Biitsi is performing at Turku’s XS Festival on November 25, 2017.

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