Theme of the day: bowed strings
We’re always making links between the disparate worlds of artists here at Supersonic and today we bring together three unique artists who all share a simple common bond. Pekko Kappi, Tony Conrad and Agathe Max all use bowed instruments in their music, all with very different techniques and to different ends, each highly skilled.
Finland’s Pekko Kappi plays the Jouhikko, the ancient Finnish-Karelian bowed lyre. He got involved with the Jouhikko in 1997 in the Ala-Könni–institute of Kaustinen and ever since has been studying the tradition with the master players of Finland, Estonia and Sweden. This particular lyre was played with a bow as early as in the European Middle Ages although in the area around the Baltic Sea there is evidence of both bowed and plucked lyres. In Estonia and Eastern Finland the Jouhikko remained in use until the beginning of the 20th century. Kappi is one of a number of players investigated this instrument and bringing it alive for new generations.
Tony Conrad is a legendary figure in both film and music for many people. He was an early member of the New York-based ensemble The Dream Syndicate alongside La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and John Cale, using continuous tones to create what they called ‘dream music’. Conrad’s first musical release was 1972’s ‘Outside the Dream Syndicate’ collaboration with Faust (check out our Spotify playlist for a track from that) but he released very little work until a series of box sets in the past decade. His film work is justifiably lauded too and his early piece ‘The Flicker’ is considered a landmark of the late 1960s structural film movement. One more fact? His father was Arthur Conrad who worked with Everett Warner during World War II designing dazzle camouflage for the US Navy.
Agathe Max is a violinist from Lyon, France. With an elegant command of melody and a strident use of rhythm, Max creates dynamic, fast-flowing loop pieces that encompass noise, post-classicism and krautrock with nods to the High Lonesome Raga as filtered through Henry Flynt. Her current album ‘This Silver String’ has been really well received in many places. “Agathe Max delivers a drone to keep the earth turning on its axis, with a keen and romantic sense of swing. Everything you need to have a good time” – Jonathan Kane.
Check these three unique artists below.