by Mattin

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    Edition of 555.
    What Is Not Music #1

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released February 23, 2014

In May 2013, Disembraining invited Mattin to Australia to conceive a series of works addressing the question ‘What is not music?’ The question refers respectfully to the long-running Australian experimental festival ‘What is Music?’ reframing it as negation in order to investigate what sounds remain impossible to assimilate. In other words, what isn’t music?

Mattin responded by creating the 5th edition of his songbook series: an ongoing work that uses “improvisation as a way or exposing structural clichés in pop/rock music” and “song structures to demystify the so-called spontaneity and freedom of improvisation.”

Songbook 5 was created according to a strict set of conditions generated through an obsessively literal reiteration of the number 5. Yet it is clearly a ‘rock’ record in sound and feeling. As such it may be the most structurally determined ‘’rock’ album ever. An album that holds a mirror to rock’s ‘freedom’, celebrating its own mediation.

7-8 May 2013, Melbourne, Australia.

1: 5 musicians record 5 improvised songs of 5 minutes each addressing 5 concepts described in 5x5 word titles

What Isn’t Music After Cage? - Aware Of Its Own Mediation - Stuck In Our Own Trap - Alienation As An Enabling Condition - The Act Acting On Itself

2: Mattin performs a 25 minute concert with 5x5 minute sections structured by 5 instructions based on the song titles given to 5 members of the audience.å

3: Mattin records vocals for the 5 songs in the form of a singing lecture at the Victorian College of the Arts. The audience only hears Mattin’s voice (he listens to the backing tracks on headphones).

4: Recordings of parts 1, 2 and 3 are superimposed to create a 25 minute album consisting of 5x5 minute songs.

5: Record released in an edition of 555 copies.

Songbook 5 features contributions from Joel Stern and Alex Cuffe (Sky Needle), Andrew McLellan (Cured Pink) and the legendary NZ guitarist Dean Roberts (Thela, White Winged Moth, Autistic Daughters).


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DISEMBRAINING Brisbane, Australia

noise gatherings
record label
brisbane, australia

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Track Name: What Isn’t Music After Cage?
1. What Isn’t Music After Cage?
when John Cage went to the anechoic Chamber
at Harvard in 1951, he was expecting silence
but he heard two sounds:
1) his nervous system
2) his circulating blood
Douglas Khan, makes the point
that Cage would also have heard a third sound
the sound of him discerning the two other previous sounds
Is then music conceptual instead of perceptual?
after that everything can be perceived as music
a dehearchisation of values
which can also resemble today's real subsumption in capitalism
it allows you to do anything because it knows its power
for recuperation is as strong as ever
the point is not to treat all sounds as valid music
but understand the relations that occur in
the production and the reception and
if possible change those conditions
Track Name: Aware Of Its Own Mediation
2. Aware of its own mediation
punk, folk, improv
be as honest as possible
nothing to hide, you are real
record on the spot
inside of you
there is something pure
a free spirit
that needs to be captured
for the world to explore
but if Cage had to construct
the whole narrative
around the Chamber experience
for his 4'33''
you had to construct
your believe in self-expression
your believe in lived unmediated experiences
you just never show the process
Track Name: Stuck In Our Own Trap
3. Stuck in our own Trap
like in a hamster wheel
going around and round
exercising self-referentiality
discourse as a form of currency
in the art world
how critical we are
going around and round
these complex terms
going around and round
these cool trends
I want to be seen
next to the next big thing
a quote here, a position there,
We are stuck in our own trap
self-conscious of the image we generate
something must really change
Track Name: Alienation As An Enabling Condition
4. Alienation as an Enabling Condition
freedom is a cultural achievement
alienation allows you the necessary distance
to realize that there is no self to come back to
it allows you to distinguish appearances from process
from the experiencing self to the thinking subject
alienation as maximal estrangement
splitting of the subject from the self
in order to find out how the self is produced
resembling the uncovering of the obscurity
of how commodities are produced
Track Name: The Act Acting On Itself
5. The Act Acting on Itself
recognising the un-freedom of voluntary activity
freedom as an act of self-determination
where no selfs are involved
just the act which might contain no humans
the act acting on itself
which in the process becomes a subject
this act requires two different types of behavior:
pattern-governed behavior
rule-governed behavior
pattern-governed behavior:
doing things for a reason
rule-governed behavior:
doing things because of a reason
the ability to act occurs when you superimpose them
follow the rule
compulsive freedom:
how objectivity generates subjectivity 

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