MixTate Conor Thomas on Jackson Pollock

Manchester-based DJ Conor Thomas takes inspiration from Jackson Pollock’s Summertime: Number 9A

In the rhythmic patterns of Jackson Pollock’s Summertime: Number 9A I see a graphic score transcribing the chaotic energy and discipline that would also come to be harnessed in jazz, concrète and psychedelia. My response to the piece is both kinaesthetic and synaesthetic, seeing the static trance of a dance-floor frieze and hearing a parallel to the flowering of freeform abstract expression in the musical arts around that era.

I feel like the morphing chaos of Pollock’s polymetric syncopation: carving contours and shocks of colour render a hyperfluid analog for the geometries of free jazz, electronic music and the avant-garde that I most appreciate. I also hear a similarity between Summertime: Number 9A and the style of DJing that I prefer: layered, nonlinear, psychedelic – finding a ‘third track’ from the tumult.

To paraphrase the title of David Stubbs’s book Fear Of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen, my mix response features relatively fringe but artistically relevant pieces of music by pioneering artists from scattered phase shifts of the past 60 years, all prompting the question: ‘Why do people get Pollock and not…?’

  1. Pierre Schaeffer – Études aux chemins de fer
  2. Mark Fell – Phase
  3. Hieroglyphic Being – Cosmicos 6
  4. Ndikho Xaba & The Natives – Schwabada
  5. TCF – iP+JYMBmXYCqrkbZfwDPge2B5SlssCp+oeVCmsUw7E31POcOx35sfRg1CB4JZlRC9yVHZ2Yxgh5xOmbeIUBfAw==
  6. Michael O’Shea – Anfa Dásachtach

Conor Thomas is a Manchester-based DJ, promoter and co-curator of The Death of Rave and Boomkat Editions record labels.

This mixtape in the sixth in the MixTate series.

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