** NULL SONNE NO POINT ** Background information

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#1 Mon, 1996-09-23 00:55
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** NULL SONNE NO POINT ** Background information

  • Dear Fellow Saturnites, - here is the official press release text
  • regarding the two radio plays NULL SONNE resp. NO POINT, which will
  • be broadcast by the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio), Munich
  • Germany later in October, with an interactive live on-stage
  • connection to Internet IRC channel and an Internet email link
  • to this very SATURN mailing list!!!

I will give the technical details (date, time, channel) in a separate

posting [and repeat it a few times until the broadcast will happen].

          • NULL SONNE NO POINT live! * * * * *

Two radio plays by Hartmut Geerken Live realizations with the Art Ensemble of Chicago

Production: Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio), Munich Germany Hoerspiel und Medienkunst 1996

I) NULL SONNE "What have I got to do with Herr Friedlaender? I am Mynona!"

II) NO POINT "Some call me mystery, some call me Mr. Ra"

Manifold and mysterious are the historical interconnections between the poet and philosopher Salomo Friedlaender/Mynona, the writer and musician Hartmut Geerken, who is also curator and editor of Friedlaender's works, the African-American musician, poet and philosopher Sun Ra, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the most innovative group in African-American music. Although Hartmut Geerken, author of NULL SONNE NO POINT and editor of the definitive volume on Sun Ra, "Omniverse Sun Ra", has already cooperated with members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago - just as most members of the Art Ensemble worked with Sun Ra - this is his first performance with the entire Ensemble.

NULL SONNE NO POINT is the combined title of the two radio plays. NULL SONNE is a constantly recurring term in Friedlaender's philosophy, depicting the centre, the origin of coordinates, the heart of human existence. This centre is inviolable as the sun. Were it not, our existence between the poles might be worn away by the trivialities of day-to-day life. From this indifferent origin, creative processes can be initiated. "I want to start, always, with nothing, and, if possible, discover something" (John Cage).

This point zero, the sun, is symbolized by the gong. Hartmut Geerken, for decades a passionate collector of this metallophone, is the owner of one of the world's largest gong collections, an important sound source in NULL SONNE NO POINT. The project represents the realization of an old dream: the percussive instruments of Hartmut Geerken and Famoudou Don Moye's "sun percussion" collection, amassed over 20 years, brought together on stage for the first time.

Salomo Friedlaender's philosophical journey takes us to the centre of human existence and to the sun he wishes to see at its centre, in keeping with the Copernican worldview. Sun Ra's NO POINT, on the other hand, has Utopian characteristics (Greek: u = no, and topos = point). His philosophical itinerary describes the "nowhere-home" of outer space by leaving the Earth far behind ("this is not my planet"). Sun Ra moves as naturally in the omniverse as do mere mortals between the suburbs of their hometown. The motto of the Art Ensemble of Chicago establishes a connection between the oldest rituals of African cultures and such Utopias: "From the ancient to the future".

Although Friedlaender and Sun Ra have followed opposite directions in their thinking, they arrive at the same destination. This is apparent even in the titles of their works: the "I-heliocentre" of Friedlaender and Sun Ra's "Heliocentric Worlds", or Sun Ra's poetic work "Immeasurable Equation" and Friedlaender's polaristic opus "Creative Indifference", or "The Magic I" (Sun Ra) and "Das magische Ich" (Friedlaender).

Although the text material in NULL SONNE was largely written by Friedlaender, and that of NO POINT by Sun Ra, there are many analogies between the two plays. This, however, is not intended as proof of congruence between the two philosophical systems. Yet it is a fact that both of them stem from a deep dissatisfaction with the state of the world: Friedlaender the Jew, in the era of the Holocaust, Sun Ra, a black man in a society distinguished by a repressive tolerance. Friedlaender and Sun Ra have drawn their conclusions by declaring the Earth a meaningless battleground which they rise, self-assuredly, above, assessing the world by their own standards from an individual state of suspension (Friedlaender: "Only by floating can one trust the abyss"), and refusing to acknowledge death (Sun Ra: "Give up your death"; Friedlaender: "I am the death of the death").

Thus, in every creative moment, NULL SONNE NO POINT becomes a funeral rite for a shoddy death and a celebration of the life lived. The score encourages each musician to begin from point zero and discover something new.

Lester Bowie, - trumpet, percussion, voice

Co-founder and Vice President of the musicians' cooperative AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) which became the most vital organisation of its kind for the development of "The New Thing". In 1966 he became a member of the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble, re-named the Art Ensemble of Chicago in 1969. His own ensembles, including "From the Root to the Source", "Brass Fantasy" and "New York Organ Ensemble", have been successful all over the world. He has worked with Archie Shepp, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, David Murray, Alan Silva and others. In 1983 he was a member of the Sun Ra All Stars.

Malachi Favors Maghostut, - bass, percussion, voice

Has worked with Andrew Hill, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Muhal Richad Abrams, Sun Ra, Archie Shepp, Sunny Murray, Roman Bunka and others. A member of the Art Ensemble since 1966, he is responsible for some of the band's repertoire. In 1977 he released a solo record, "The Natural and The Spiritual".

Salomo Friedlaender/Mynona (1871-1946), - philosopher, poet, bohemian

Until 1933 Friedlaender lived as a private scholar and well-known eccentric in Berlin. The Nazi take-over forced him to flee to Paris where he died penniless. Only a fortuitous coincidence prevented his deportation (and that of his wife) to Auschwitz. As a philosopher, he is an adherent of systematic Neo-Kantanianism. Influenced by Stirner, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, he arrived at a strictly polaristic worldview outlined in the principal work of his Berlin years, "Schoepferische Indifferenz" (Creative Indifference, 1918). His most important works after his emigration, "Ich-Heliozentrum" (I-heliocentre) and "Das magische Ich" (The magic I) are unpublished.

In the area of fiction, he is regarded as the inventor of the grotesque tale. Until the 1930s, he published hundreds of his grotesque stories under the pseudonym Mynona, the inversion of "anonym" (anonymous), in all the relevant Expressionist and Dadaist magazines. He is regarded as an important forerunner of the Dada movement and an influence on its development. His bibliography includes some 40 philosophical and literary publications.

NULL SONNE commemorates the 50th anniversary of his death.

Hartmut Geerken, - gongs, percussion, strings, voice

Musician, composer, author of books and radio plays. Studied Islamic culture and philosophy (Ernst Bloch). Lived in Turkey, Egypt, Afghanistan and Greece for 20 years. Classical piano studies from the age of 8. Turned to jazz and related genres in later years. Participated in classes of the Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music (Stockhausen, Ligeti, Aloys Kontarsky and others). In 1967 he co-founded the Cairo Jazz Band with Salah Ragab and led the Cairo Free Jazz Ensemble (LP "Heliopolis" published in 1970). Toured with Mikel Ranta in South-East Asia and the Far East, with John Tchicai and Famoudou Don Moye in West Africa. Has worked with Don Cherry, Okay Temiz, Grace Yoon, Greetje Bijma, Sunny Murray, Takehisa Kosugi, Ustad Mohammed Hashem and others. Member of the Bielefelder Colloquium for New Poetry. Teaches poetics (interactive radio play) at the Folkwang Academy, Essen. Chairman of the International Stirner Association. Numerous book publications, records, films, radio plays. Was awarded the Schubart Literature Price in 1986, and the Karl Sczuka Award for the radio plays "suedwaerts, suedwaerts" (BR 1989) and "hexenring" (BR 1994).

Hartmut Geerken invited the Sun Ra Arkestra to Egypt in 1971, enabling Sun Ra to play in his spiritual homeland for the first time.

Roscoe Mitchell, - reeds, flutes, percussion, voice

Founder member of the AACM in 1965. Founder of the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble in 1966. The group emigrated to Paris in 1969 and renamed itself Art Ensemble of Chicago. Returned to the US in 1971 and founded the "Creative Arts Collective", modelled after the AACM, in Michigan. Recordings with the Roscoe Mitchell Sound Ensemble in Chicago (1980) and Milan (1981). Solo recordings in 1973/74 ("Solo Saxophone Concerts"). Duos with Anthony Braxton, Dave Burrell and others.

Famoudou Don Moye, - drums, percussion, voice

In 1968/69 first European tour with Detroit Free Jazz. After playing concerts with Steve Lacy in Rome in 1970, he became a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which had performed without a drummer until then. He is a collector of traditional, ethnic and custom-made percussion instruments. The name of his collection, Sun Percussion, also became the title of a solo album recorded in 1975. In addition to regular work as drummer for the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Moye has cooperated with numerous musicians and bands, among them Randy Weston, Steve McCall, Sirone, Kirk Lightsey, Don Pullen, Hamiett Bluiett and Chico Freeman. Toured West Africa with John Tchicai and Hartmut Geerken in 1984. In 1983 Moye was drummer and percussionist of the Sun Ra All Stars. Drummer of the bands "Leaders", "Brass Fantasy", "New York Organ Ensemble" and others.

Sun Ra (1914-1993), - composer, bandleader, keyboards, poet, philosopher

Sun Ra, a.k.a Hermann "Sonny" Lee, changed his name to Le Sony'r Ra in 1952 and later to Sun Ra. He is regarded as the last swing big band leader and, with Cecil Taylor, the most important pioneer of Free Jazz. In the early Fifities, he was one of the first musicians to employ electronic instruments and has thus influenced generations of rock and pop musicians. Before Sun Ra founded his own groups, he worked as a pianist and arranger for the legendary Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in the Forties. In 1946 he made his first recording with blues singer Wynonie Harris. In 1948 he recorded with Eugene Wright. Around 1950 he founded his own Space Trio. 1952 saw the first incarnation of the Sun Ra Arkestra, which he fronted for 40 years until his death in 1993. With approximately 200 recordings, Sun Ra is one of the best-documented musicians in jazz history. His significance for the development of this music can only be compared to that of Duke Ellington. Sun Ra is the only jazz musician whose musical cosmos was based on a philosophical foundation, similar to that of John Cage with whom he made a record in 1986.

Sun Ra's bibliography includes 12 publications of his writings in book form.