Drawing: Reinilde Jonkhout
SOTU (Sounds of the Underground) is an annual alternative music festival in Amsterdam. SOTU has a passion for genre bending sound and performances – you can listen to noise, punk, folk, improv, rave, avant-garde and electronics.
Eticket: Butcher's Tears - Sotu Beer - Byrthe Lemmens & Karoline Swiezynski
SOTU (Sounds of the Underground) is a music
festival and artist collective organising events centering on and
celebrating some unique aspect of the global independent music and art
community and its diy and counter cultural traditions. The festival
takes place in Amsterdam (the Netherlands, since 2012) yearly around
April. In 2014 there was an edition in Lithuania.
People behind SOTU are a group of artists and curators formed with the object of a center for artistic entertainment. It's runned by artists, permanent guests, who, following their daily reunions, will give musical or extraordinairy performances. SOTU is self-sustainable, independent and focused on the promotion of experimental, avant-garde and underground art. It's runned entirely by volunteers and formed a foundation in 2012.
Postcard: Jonas Olsson
"People got this idea that ultimately what mattered was the quality of what you were doing and how much importance you gave to it, regardless of how widespread it became or how many records it sold." Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth)
"Do Whatever You Want, Don't Do Whatever You Don't Want!!" "As a result of this philosophy we have lost money and the trust of society as a whole, but we've gained time and freedom." Acid Mother Temple
"Mainstream comes to you, but you have to go to the underground." Frank Zappa
Drawing: Peter Pontiac
Collage: Pytr Baum - Cut & Paste Academy (Ruigoord)
Visual Overload - Hugo de Gier
A couple of years back everybody was going on about web 2.0 and how the internet was bringing real democracy to the public sphere. Now most of us have realized that we are not so much being heard for our opinions, but just providing data for mighty corporations that are selling our opinions back to us in flashy formats. Where does the underground fit inside all of this? Sure, the DIY got a great boost out of it. But the internet hasn't proven to be the right place for critical reflection, let alone autonomous action. Getting below the radar has been virtually short-circuited in the internet-age and doing someting for yourself is also one of the things that drives capitalist thinking.
So what is this thing we call underground really nowadays? Unprofitable cultural programs? The fetishist niches of the music market? Culturefunds for bikram yoga and indie film screenings? What is left of an underground music scene when most of the output has become encompassed in marketing algorhythms by global networking? Where we used to stumble upon exciting music in record store, we now allow spotify or soundcloud to suggest us what to hear and what not to hear. What is left of anti-establishment when even the protest itself has become bureaucratized? Please fill out this form if you want to oppose to the raising of the social housing rents, please fill out that form if you want the prime minister to go fuck himself.
What is left of it, I think, is a handful of places where people can come together in actual time and space and do stuff that is not driven by global capitalism or stained by wellfare state bureaucracy. These places should be supported not just because they provide us with a cutting-edge program and are very modestly priced, but because these relatively atonomous places are becoming increasingly rare. It's not just our healthcare and our education that's being succumbed to neo-liberal rationality. If we stop thinking about alternatives to the establishment, our bodies will become more and more like bureaucratic systems and our minds will likely start to behave like google-algorhythms. So let's have some of that butchers tears wonder potion before we start praising tribal gods to shamanic tones in the occii.
'Turn off your computer, music is the weapon of the future' (Vengence Tenfold)
What we are experiencing now in media and technology, Marshall 'The medium is the message' McLuhan knew already half a century ago; technology doesn't provide neutral tools, but actually shapes our behaviour. He saw in the dawn of modern man, also an extinction of a tribal man. With the introduction of the alphabet, language became visible instead of just being audible. The tribal man was submerged in sound wearas modern man is increasingly being lead by the visual. The eyes are only our keenest sense because we are expected to act upon so many visual impulses. Until the middleages, when the majority of the people were still illiterate, the most important medium was sound and song instead of script. Language as sung or spoken by the bard or preacher in songform provided the people with a midevil google or newspaper.
It seems that today we are neglecting out aural capacities more than ever, while overconsuming on the visual. Television was to our parents like the internet is to us. But they would have been lucky to watch an hour or two of material a week, while today every hour, one year worth of material gets uploaded on youtube. It's not even that the visual space has become more interesting - I can't help but look at the bored expressions on those faces awkwardly lit from below those iphones - it's just become more onmipresent. Maybe there is a way to fight the establishment by making use of this largely neglected audible world. Another radical thinker that realized the potential of the audible was John Cage when he asked why no-one ever listens when we constantly hear sounds. I still find it remarkable that his music to this day sounds otherworldly and avantgardist; while the visual avantgardist forms have established themselves in the arthistorical canon, much of the music-concrete still sounds like noise. In other words: while this visual space is overloaded, there still is a world of subversive sound to explore, an underground of music to mine out so to speak.
Music, the whole of audible or acoustic space, is not rational, it's chaotic, intangible and floating in free space, while our establishment, the government and neo-liberalism are rational, rigid, orderly, everything has its fixed place in visual culture. Music has all of the subversive qualities we need for revolutionairy action; turn off your computer, music is the weapon of the future.