Music, poetry & art that doesn’t function like the matador’s red rag upsets me.

It’s about the seconds before this very moment.

THE HERE AND NOW. For me it is sufficient to say that the image of the red rag – la muleta - is one of the central templates for my own aesthetic. It is the red rag which is the stunt – for the matador as well as the illusionist or musician. It’s about focus, direction, irritation excitation and enticement. About swiftness, experience, practice and control. But also about versatility, dialog, improvisation and presence. Most of all it’s about this very moment. Quite frustrating, the red rag is always ”seconds before the now” (for the practitioner) and an elsewhere ”seconds before the now” (for the listener), and somewhere in between floats the music, provocative and full of promise – with nothing more than air behind it! (How did this happen? Why like this? How did it become itself?)

THE STUNT. The stab, the contact the insight, they always come from the “wrong direction”, from the side, from the only place that one knew was empty. (What I mean is that if one could ahead of time point out all the“wheres”, “whens” and “in which way” in music, then the deadly blow of the matador, the unforeseen introspection or the instinct’s dizzy new perspective could not come about). So, who’s seeing through who? Both the musician and the listener live in the faith that the other stands ready directly behind the red rag, and both forget – and must forget – that it is, of course, the music (or the red rag) that is the stunt.

RED(NESS). The colour red is universal. It maintains its own boundary and its own substance. There are warnings, stop signals, the heart and the sore. Socialism’s red banner as well as the bull’s eye, nipple, blood and love. Hate, suffering, lust and provocation. But there’s also a materiality without the symbols. That cadium red colour distinguishes itself through its substance: it neither “expands” or “shrinks” but rather indicates and establish itself.

IRRITATION. Those composers and musicians who I listen to (Xenakis, Brozman, Scelsi, Merzbow, Nono, Braxton, Lachenmann, Bailey) all have in common a musical language that accomodates and embraces a number of inimitable eccentricities – stylistic characteristics which have now and then infuriated me – but without these “impurities” the music would be appreciably worse. The stunt wouldn’t work, and the listener would, after a short-lived triumph as the (avslöjande agent), experience a feeling of emptiness, alone in the arena holding nothing more than a meaningless red rag. Without having made any new observations.

MOVEMENT. The most difficult. To keep the red rag moving. It’s a matter of finding strategies, so that the written “seconds before the present moment” result in a music of countless “Now-Now-Now…-positions; which the listener experiences as sudden, “seconds-after-the-now”. It appears to be almost impossible to fairly describe such strategies without landing in nonsense-like paradoxes (absent presence, the wisdom to not know, uncontrolled certainty). But one must set up some kind of goal for one’s compositions praxis, even if the direction – if it's going to be good – ends up following a different direction. Flexibility( mobility), I believe, is something that must exist in both the composer/musician’s head and the music to come. The billowing red rag – la muleta - a hell of a provocation and full of promise.

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