MixTate is a series in which up-and-coming musical figures create sound mixes inspired by Tate works
MixTate: Minor Victories on Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
For MixTate number 12, Minor Victories’ Justin Lockey approaches ‘The Soul of the Soulless City’ with dread and wonder
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
The Soul of the Soulless City ('New York – an Abstraction') 1920
Justin Lockey I spend more than a fair percentage of my life in transit. Be it in a plane, train, sleeper bus, taxi, I spend a lot of time staring out of windows or portholes, watching distant shadows on the horizon form into breathtaking geometric vistas. I'm also one of the most anxiety-ridden passengers I know and Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson's The Soul of the Soulless City 1920 encapsulates the two opposing, oft overpowering, and exceptionally vivid reactions in my body.
Firstly, the wonder and amazement of an approaching city, not knowing what lies between the right angles, the overpowering size and arrangements of skyscrapers, the sense that anything could be around any corner – a life-changing moment, a chance meeting, a life-ending road crossing, a life-affirming protest gathering. Anything is possible, anyone is possible, any idea plausible. The way in which the railway tracks shoot straight for the heart of the cityscape at speed in this painting gives me an overwhelming sense of the excitement of what could be in the fast-approaching metropolis. All is full of possibility: you are but one of millions in a swarm of souls drifting between the blocks, plotting your own way.
This painting also fills me with utter dread. The sense of being overwhelmed by your own senses – new sounds, new sights, new smells, new forms. The painting directs us into the unknown, and there are no brakes. We are at speed, heading towards this fear of the unknown, the other side of the curious mind, the anticipation of not knowing your surroundings, being out of your comfort zone. It's a constant battle between opposing ideals of what the future holds – and this painting forces us to confront it and not look away: welcome to your future at a thousand miles an hour, make of it what you will.
I spend more than a fair percentage of my life living in this painting.
1. Neu! – Leb' Wohl
2. Jónsi & Alex – Boy 1904
3. Lubomyr Melnyk – Pockets of Light (Excerpt)
4. Claude Debussy – String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10 – III. Andantino, Doucement Expressif
5. Fairport Convention – Meet on the Ledge
Minor Victories is a group formed of Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai), Justin Lockey (Editors) and James Lockey (Hand Held Cine Club). Their self-titled debut album is out on Fat Possum (US) and Play It Again Sam (worldwide).
MixTate: Visionist on Francis Bacon
For the eleventh mix in our series, London-based producer Visionist sees light through the darkness of Francis Bacon's Study for a Portrait 1952
Study for a Portrait 1952
© Estate of Francis Bacon. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2016
On a recent visit to Tate Britain it was Francis Bacon’s Study for a Portrait 1952 that most caught my attention. For me, seeing a suited man screaming plays on the notion of outward appearance versus what might be going on inside. The suit is a symbol of professionalism and control, but the action shows the opposite. I guess it is an image I can relate to as I have constant battles with myself. Music for me is a great sense of release as I work on internal situations. In the man’s outburst I don’t just see anger, I see a way of letting off stress and that there can be light in every darkness depending on your approach.
1. Visionist – Sin-cere
2. Phillip Glass – Morning Passages
3. Visionist – To Careful To Care
4. William Basinski – Melancholia
5. Visionist – FYA
6. Steve Reich – Proverb
7. Visionist – Safe
8. John Cage – Dream
9. Visionist – Untitled 1
10. Terry Jennings – For Christine Jennings 1960
11. Visionist – Untitled 2
Visionist is a producer based in London. His debut album Safe was released on PAN in 2015.
MixTate: Lixo on William Hogarth
For the tenth mix in our series, London-based producer Lixo takes inspiration from William Hogarth’s Gin Lane 1751
Gin Lane 1751
I found Gin Lane 1751 very striking as a teenager. It’s incredibly sinister and yet somehow comic in its depiction of London’s booze epidemic during the 18th century – an image which seems all too relevant today. There is a tension in the detail of the piece and a somewhat surreal tone which I try and convey in my own drawings and, in turn, in the music I make. I would say my sound is rooted in London and Hogarth’s piece evokes the immense history the capital holds. I feel it's all somehow connected – a progression from the syphilitic woman drunk on 'Mother’s Ruin' to contemporary binge drinking, promiscuity and the imminent collapse of society as we know it.
1. Lixo - Untitled
2. Lixo - Untitled
3. Lixo - Untitled
4. Lixo - Effexor
5. Lixo and The Ritson Brothers - AT-4
6. Lixo - Not The Answer
7. Lixo - Splurger
8. Lixo - Untitled
MixTate: Jan St Werner on Dieter Roth
In the seventh mix in our series, composer and one half of Mouse on Mars Jan St Werner takes inspiration from Dieter Roth's Two Persons 1971
Two Persons 1971
© The estate of Dieter Roth
Two Persons by Dieter Roth is an image as much as it isn’t depicting anything. It’s a juxtaposition of invisibility with formalization, an idea of an imaginative possibility and a strategy how to frame it. The title suggests it’s a portrait of two persons. Those two persons could be one and the same, like a cubistic observation from different angles. Or maybe they are mistakenly seen as two persons but in fact they are just incidents of overlaying outlines of things suggesting resemblance to something human? Maybe these outlines are trackings of movements like shadows of someone's actions?
Roth’s art is very dynamic and at the same time calm and lightly metaphysical. It is also about the paradox like everything was possible in our minds and art was just a proof that our mind is limitless. His paintings, prints, drawings, collages are all like direct spectrograms of the mind.
This mix tries to follow the same path: there’s a soundtrack of everyday actions which I recorded around the Italian castello di fosdinovo in summer 2014. Inside that soundtrack I arranged the musical pieces. These two parallel layers sometimes blend seamlessly, sometimes the music leads, sometimes the field recordings take over and indicate some kind of a narrative. Roth’s drawings fold and bend in similar ways: foreground and background flip continuously. The white of the space is as important as the drawing inside/around of it. At times it seems irrational like an Escher painting: the more you fix it, the more it slips away and the outside becomes the inside. The music here does the same, it is calm and subtle but when you listen closely, preferably with headphones, the sounds make unexpected turns, break your expectations of rhythm, time and form and reveal an absurd life of their own.
1. Franco Battiato – L'Egitto prima delle sabbie
2. C-Schulz & Hajsch - (Untitled)
3. Oval – II
4. Andy Graydon – Efface, Erase, Redact (Triptych)
5. Olivia Block – Pure Gaze
6. Jan St Werner – Spiazzacorale A
7. Jan St Werner – Sipian Org Test
8. Luc Ferrari – Presque Rien N°4 La Remontée Du Village
9. Morton Feldman – Duration I
MixTate: Conor Thomas on Jackson Pollock
For the sixth in the series, Manchester-based DJ Conor Thomas takes inspiration from Jackson Pollock’s Summertime: Number 9A 1948
Summertime: Number 9A 1948
Oil, enamel and house paint on canvas
support: 848 x 5550 mm frame: 833 x 5809 x 72 mm
Purchased 1988 Pollock - Krasner Foundation, Inc.
In the rhythmic patterns of Jackson Pollock’s Summertime: Number 9A 1948 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+JYMBmXYCqrkbZfwDPge2B5Slss
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.
MixTate: FaltyDL on Ford Madox Brown
For the fourth in our series, New York-based producer FaltyDL takes inspiration from Ford Madox Brown’s Take Your Son, Sir c.1851–92
Ford Madox Brown
'Take your Son, Sir' ?1851-92
Oil on canvas
support: 705 x 381 mm frame: 874 x 550 x 50 mm
Presented by Miss Emily Sargent and Mrs Ormond in memory of their brother, John S. Sargent 1929
Ford Madox Brown abandoned this painting. Legitimate child or not, the woman and baby feel abandoned as well. Spoken loudly and clearly, the mirror above the woman is like a halo, however contaminated with the father’s reflected image. Why does her religious definition need him? What does it have to do with this guy, who would, perhaps, later leave her and her kid? Maybe he thought she existed only with him. Maybe Madox Brown knew his own son would die soon, aged only 10 months, and that is why he couldn’t finish it.
It’s quite a statement if you can draw as much information from missing ink as you can with what is provided. Miles Davis said: 'Don’t play what’s there; play what’s not there.’ I suppose I like paintings as I like my music – with plenty of room for interpretation. Mind you, I can’t even write my own name legibly.
1. E+E - Sword
2. Harry Escott
3. Roly Porter - Birth
4. Dean Blunt - 50 Cent
5. Grouper - Labyrinth
6. Aphex Twin - Father
7. Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason - Cruel Miracles
8. Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason - Hydrogen Sulfide
9. FaltyDL - GA 2 tape outcome.z120583
FaltyDL is a New York-based producer and electronic musician. His fourth album, In The Wild, was released on Ninjatune in 2014
MixTate: WIFE on Bill Viola
For the third in our series, London-based multi-instrumentalist WIFE takes inspiration from Bill Viola’s Tiny Deaths 1993
Bill Viola, still from Tiny Deaths 1993
Video, 3 projections, black and white and sound
Lent by the artist, 2014
© Bill Viola
With such simplicity, the work offers the viewer a means of engaging with a shared truth with which we are born. The art which has always resonated with me the most is that which enables me to withdraw from consciousness and engage with the world that the art is offering. I favour art that affects the soul more so than the mind - something which I believe Viola has mastered. This is a quality that my favourite music offers, and one which I aim to deliver in my own work.
1. WIFE - Heart Is a Far Light (Locrian Remix)
2. Terence Sharpe - Without Conveyance
3. The Haxan Cloak - The Fall
4. Eric Dingus - 1224 Love Song
5. Oceanlab - Satellite (Acapella WIFE edit)
6. Quays - 917-410-6948 (excerpt)
7. WIFE - Heart Is a Far Light (blown out edit)
WIFE is a solo project by multi-instrumentalist James Kelly, formerly of Altar of Plagues. His debut album What’s Between was released on Tri Angle in 2014.
MixTate: Claude Speeed on Matthew Barney
For the second in our series, Berlin-based producer Claude Speeed takes inspiration from Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 5 1997
Barney as The Queen of Chain’s Diva in Cremaster 5 1997 Production photo
© Matthew Barney; courtesy Barbara Gladstone Gallery
From childhood, esotericism never seemed too far away. On one side of the family, Freemasonry; on the other, Theosophy. I was pretty sure some hidden knowledge was waiting just out of reach. (Perhaps bizarrely, I always thought the best bet was the floppy disks full of cracked Atari video games…)
So I’ve always been on the one hand, fascinated and obsessed by symbols and ritual, and on the other hand bored rigid by straightforward narrative. And when I saw the five-film Cremaster Cycle in 2004 with no context or idea what to expect, I was amazed.
The whole Cycle shows a series of interconnected rituals, based on various mythologies, with little or nothing by way of exposition. The richest and most focused is Cremaster 5. It’s an opera of bizarre rituals, which the blurb describes as ‘a tragic love story set in the romantic dreamscape of late-nineteenth-Century Budapest’. But it’s much weirder than that. One ritual involves Barney, having pigeons tied to his scrotum with long white ribbons.
In one way or another Cremaster 5 has been a huge influence on my work since; a memory portal to my childhood’s esoteric dreamscape.
1. Claude Speeed - KRT (unreleased)
2. Claude Speeed - CKK (unreleased)
3. Claude Speeed - Lovers I (unreleased)
4. Claude Speeed - Tiger Woods
5. One for Ghost - Side A (01-06)
6. Academy 23 - 12 (unreleased)
7. Cashmere Cat - With Me (Sevendeaths “Wither Me” Remix)
8. RUSSIA - A M
Throughout: words spoken by LW
MixTate: E.M.M.A on Eduardo Paolozzi
For the first in a series of commissioned mixes inspired by works in the Tate collection, London-based producer E.M.M.A creates a mix of her own tracks, including some exclusive new material, influenced by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi's Bash 1971
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi
Screenprint on paper
image: 743 x 495 mm
Purchased 1981 The Estate of Eduardo Paolozzi
This artwork stood out to me because I often draw on American history in my own music. That's not to say nostalgia; what I like about this picture is the vision of the future it represents, it has a sci-fi feel, which is something I am influenced by too. I like the juxtaposition between the robots and the human heart. I think it captures the imagination of the time.
1. E.M.M.A - Glitter (Synthetti Western remix)
2. E.M.M.A - Midnight Highway
3. E.M.M.A - At Sea (Prelude)
4. E.M.M.A - Pyramids
5. E.M.M.A - Nuclear Fission
6. E.M.M.A - Encarta '96 Intro
7. E.M.M.A - Mood Ring
8. Dark0 ft. E.M.M.A - Slo Mo
E.M.M.A is a producer based in South West London. Her debut album Blue Gardens was released in 2013 on Keysound Recordings.