“Different shape! Different color! Different pitch! Different tone!” These exclamations, from “age of pitch” (feat. Klein) not only sum up the new album, but the entire oeuvre of AGF (Antye Greie-Ripatti). While this is her ninth solo set, she’s participated in dozens of releases over the course of two decades. Many first experienced her work through Laub, but since then, she’s expanded her horizons considerably, becoming a trailblazer in experimental music. The beats are still around, but finding a group of beats that one can dance to is becoming more rare in her work. (“snowden” is an exception, but it’s slow.) She’s more concerned with texture and statement, and completely unconcerned with conventionality. AGF’s ongoing poetry series ~ celebrating and re-contextualizing female poetry from around the world ~ is now three volumes young, and Kon:3p>UTION to: e[VOL]ution includes contributions from radical feminist Angela Dimitrakaki and Afghan performance artist Kubra Khademi. The fact that she gives additional exposure to such artists speaks highly of her humility ~ she’s more interested in art than acclaim ~ as well as her fascination with the avant grade. To her credit, the juxtapositions all work well.
Given such an introduction, as well as titles such as “the radical self”, “capita-lis monster” and the aforementioned “snowden”, one might expect to encounter confrontation. Yet this is not the case, as AGF’s continuing theme is deconstruction. Words are chopped, repeated, looped. Impressions form over impressions like scars over scars. Signals attempt to get through, and sometimes do, but more often lose something in the process, ironically gaining something as well. When AGF intones, “we are dis dance”, one may hear the slightly modified “dis-tance“, or one may hear a dual commentary on the artist’s recorded past and technology in general. In print, the lyric “net nations / work how / how the net (www) works / …. mission” makes no sense, but in its musical setting, it works as a metaphorical fracture.
The album’s title can be read, “contribution to evolution”, although it’s not clear what the end product will be. “When we become hollows, what follows? We transform from humans to beasts, bit by bit”, suggests AGF, a less than cheerful thought. Yet the contrast between our technological advances and our sociopolitical devolution has become increasingly apparent. We can’t control terrorism, sure ~ but neither can we control ourselves. AGF attempts to inject meaning into an environment of bombast, chronicling the events of the modern era while sadly admitting, “there’s a lot of static in my brain”. Her attempts to strain such static result in a set whose fracture is its very focus. (Richard Allen)