Le Guess Who? presents The Big Playback

The Big Playback: What’s Behind the Mask? Part 1

July 06, 2021 Le Guess Who? Season 1 Episode 2
Le Guess Who? presents The Big Playback
The Big Playback: What’s Behind the Mask? Part 1
Show Notes

The Big Playback is a podcast about all things music.

Episode 2 of ‘The Big Playback’ is titled What's Behind The Mask? It has been said that our ability to create art is directly linked to our ability to imagine something beyond what we see in front of us. For many, that imaginary ‘something’ begins with the Self. This episode explores the shifting relationship between Art and Identity, from alter-Ego to anonymity.

Like Sun Ra introducing a musical Universe to which he himself was an ambassador; or David Bowie inventing personas to break new musical ground, the re-invention of the self through art can open access to parts of ourselves that find no expression in the day-to-day.

What kinds of possibilities are open to an artist through inhabiting a persona of their own creation that wouldn’t be available otherwise? Does the work create the Self, or vice-versa, and what are the effects of living in that space of transformation even beyond the stage?We hear from four musicians on their varying approaches to the themes of performance and persona. 

The episode centers around conversations with four musicians: Patrick Flegel (Cindy Lee), Natalie Sharp (Lone Taxidermist), Radwan Gazi Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart) and an undisclosed member of Goat.

Patrick Flegel, Canadian musician and force behind the project 'Cindy Lee', sings sparse and eerie ballads against the occasional squall of guitar. Patrick starts us off with the revelations that what the artist intends and what the audience sees are two very different things,  reminds us that each performance is only a snapshot of a single moment but with an entire history behind it, and probes into the exclusivity of ‘inclusive spaces’.

Cumbrian Natalie Sharp, introduced her signature hybrid of performance art/live music as Lone Taxidermist, in 2017, allowing the body free reign to exaggerate all its impulses; then followed up with Body Vice, an open investigation into chronic pain and the experience of medical procedures and hospitalization. Natalie speaks with us about the highs and lows of doing performance art work in the context of clubs and live music venues, the role of audience involvement, and her new project Mara, which turns the focus to her own dual cultural heritage.

Lebanese producer and composer Radwan Gazi Moumneh speaks to us from his home-base of Montreal, about his project Jerusalem In My Heart, an immersive multi-projection visual and audio experience. Radwan takes us through how his work reflects his dual realities existing in two very different cultures simultaneously. discusses how we  experience music through individually accumulated filters, and parses out a nuanced take on cultural appropriation.

And finally, an undisclosed member of Swedish collective Goat sheds a bit of light on the spiritual experience of immersing the individual ego for the good of the collective, and the ups and downs of producing anonymous artistic output. 

Host of 'The Big Playback' is Margaret Munchheimer, an American visual artist and writer living in the Netherlands, and veteran Le Guess Who? supporter since 2012.

Production: Margaret Munchheimer & Le Guess Who?
Artwork: Victoria Topping / www.victoriatopping.com
Music: Ultrabillions / ultrabillions.bandcamp.com