George Clinton talks future music at FutureFest
When asked about the future of music in 1969, Jim Morrison of The Doors said: “I can envision one person with a lot of machines, tapes, electronic set-ups.” Jim was not just far-out, but far-sighted.
Our explosions in digitalism and connectivity have affected few other realms as profoundly as music. It’s liberated individuals to become orchestras, audiences to become participants - and allowed music itself to influence the future with its entire past instantly available at the end of a streamed music service.
George Clinton joins line-up
FutureFest’s FutureMusic theme dives deep into this matrix with some extraordinary artists, performances and thinkers. Surmounting it all, we will have a live, flesh-and-blood conversation with someone who literally embodies the relationship between music and the future - George Clinton, the founder of 70s and 80s funk giants Parliament-Funkadelic, and one of the touchstones of Afro-Futurism (see his Mothership Connection land on stage in 1976, from 1:14:00). George will cover his long career as a music innovator, a radical voice and a pop sci-fi icon!
We’ll also be talking with and listening to a performance from Matthew Herbert, one of the UK’s most eclectic composers, producers and sonic experimentalists. Matthew has worked with everyone from Dizzee Rascal and Bjork to Will Self and the National Theatre - and few can match the way he digitally uses sound from every part of our environment to create ear-wrenching and thought-provoking soundscapes.
Experimental sensory commission
Neuroscience has had a lot to say recently about our brains (and bodies) on music, following its pleasure pathways into other senses and cognitions. We’ve commissioned experimental ensemble Bittersuite and sound-artist Tanya Auclair to create 'The Sensory Score' - where a blindfolded audience (and it could be you!) is subjected to an intoxicating mix of smells, tastes, sensations and beautiful sonorities, informed by the latest mind-science on synaesthesia.
Despite the best efforts of machine music advocates, it looks like the tradition of the virtuosic human performer with an instrument in their hands is going to extend far into the future. But composer and multi-instrumentalist Stevie Wishart wants to join up music history and all the digital possibilities of the future. Using projections and digital enhancements, she turns antique instruments like the hurdy-gurdy and the violin into strange, reverberating presences - where the human/machine line becomes tantalisingly blurred.
And to frame it all, we have a keynote presentation (and a supporting panel discussion) from critic Adam Harper, whose book Infinite Music: Imagining the Next Millennium of Music-Making gives us the biggest possible context for our FutureMusic schedule.
The Dionysian lord of San Francisco misrule did indeed get the future of music right (and who would disagree with Jim?). Come along to FutureFest, and see where it’s heading for the next 30 years.