Malbouffe (Junkfood), “Mal-musique”(Junkmusic)…
MNM proposes: Deviancy, Creativity, and Diversity!
MNM continues to cast its net wide! And this new edition promises to shock sensibilities and culture, to challenge mediums and practices.
To paraphrase the words of my friend Walter, the workings of a creative musician often borders on the delinquent and even iconoclastic. Think back to the magnificent painting by Max Ernst of Mary spanking the infant Jesus… or to Hugo Ball, George Antheil, Frank Zappa, Marcel Duchamp, and also to the ‘Refus Global’ manifesto, among others.
By definition, an iconoclast is one who destroys symbols or icons (like the Byzantine emperors who, beginning in the 8th century, opposed the iconography of the Saints). A delinquent thus takes (malicious?) pleasure in questioning and sidestepping established rules.
It certainly seems that these creative souls proudly share this deviant attitude, characterized by behaviour that breaks free of rules and standards.
Creative musicians nurture what makes them different, and—to our great delight and befitting of their talent—they go beyond iconoclastic and delinquent behaviour and ‘deviate’ along the path of their dreams: they forge new directions, giving personal testimony, which is given shape in a new and unique landscape of sound!
The wonder of musical expression is that it travels along paths as diverse, complex, and rich as those who create it. It carries the trace of cultures; it is testament as much as vision, and, like the seismograph, measures the vibrations of our hopes and fears, in a reverberation of sound. The start of our “globalizing” millennium is characterized by a growing consumerism, where the symbolic value of art (secular traditions based on the idea of the importance of a work) is surrendering to its value as pure entertainment, in the quest for higher audience ratings.
Creative music stand proud—as it always has—and we propose deviancy, invention, and diversity!
I have to smile when I think back to the brilliant concept of “malbouffe” (and its English equivalent, junkfood), coined at the beginning of the 1980s, by Stella and Joël de Rosnay. This ‘juicy’ term refers to bland and homogeneous-tasting food, which, if consumed regularly, leads to a chronic nutritional imbalance!
In this age of bulimic festivals, allow me to offer the analogy of pervasive ‘junkmusic’: a uniform, bland art, devoid of any nutritional value, which keeps its audience in a state of emotional and intellectual deficiency.
MNM 2007 is offering close to twenty-five concerts that present an ALTERNATIVE to this notion of ‘junkmusic’: Prolific and important music, music that, yes, will challenge taste, on all levels!
To stay with the gastronomic metaphor in closing, Quebec now boasts over a hundred micro-breweries, a slew of locally-grown produits du terroir each one more delicious than the next: we have been developing the fine art and pleasure of taste for over two generations. It seems only appropriate now that we fully take advantage of our capacity for enjoyment!
Dear public, please join us at our musical table and let us tantalize your taste buds!
To all our festivalgoers: Bon appétit!
MNM Co-artistic Director
MNM 2007 broadens its horizons!
The third edition of the Montreal/New Music Festival salutes “progressive” delinquency!
Following the tribute to the Netherlands in 2003 and the salute to France in 2005, the focus of 2007 revolves around a common thread, featuring composers whose connection lies in their iconoclastic approaches, manifest not only in their work but also in their attitudes toward ‘sacrosanct’ musical practices.
It felt not only pertinent but also exciting to revisit ‘troubled’ musical directions that were explored in the past (Bartok, Stravinsky, Zappa, Varèse, Webern, Ligeti, Lutowslavski, Messiaen, and Cage, to name a few) by re-situating them in the modern context, where the mixing of styles and genres has become de rigueur!
Since the end of the 1980s, we have witnessed a pronounced trend towards an acceptance of ‘other’ approaches where aesthetic movements, holy shrines, and cliques had once barred the way. Is this a result of globalization and worldwide Internet-induced near-instantaneous communication? Or, is it simply the zeitgeist of our time, a passing fashion that will eventually bow to the next trend?
MNM surely cannot provide THE definitive answers to these riveting questions, but we are thrilled to be a point of departure for their meaningful investigation, through a host of activities from the ‘regular’ concert to special performances and improvisation, musical film and video with DJ and orchestra, and, finally, a symposium, which will examine the relevance of composing in the 21st century!
The majority of today’s composers—read, ‘living’—seem to have consciously chosen to challenge the secular rules and standards of our great musical traditions, inherited from Europe in its powerful and colonial heyday.
Protest? Provocation? Delinquency? Who knows?
What is evident is the incredible diversity and quality of work produced in the past 25 years! Over the course of the MNM, we hope to bring closer together the constantly evolving and devoted artisans of new music and their intended audience. The festival will provide us with a yardstick to measure the success of this endeavour.
MNM 2007 presents 25 concerts, master classes, a symposium, ‘concerts-Midi,’ conferences, and much more! Be first in line to take part in this magnificent and mysterious adventure of musical creation and, in doing so, contribute to its ever-increasing success.
Enjoy the festival!
MNM Co-artistic Director