Low-Tech Music Session

Curator: Oscar Abril Ascaso

The conceptual term action music has now disappeared from the categorical imaginary of contemporary artistic practices. However, in line with the performative revolution of the 1960s, action music played a driving role in the emergence of performance practices as a new preferential sphere of artistic expression and helped reposition sound experimentation as a motor of renewal of the artistic avant-garde of the time. For a large number of artists around the world, action music provided a liminal space for liberation from the limiting premises of creation (work, artist and academy) that had a profoundly transcendent influence.

Towards the end of the century, the Low-Tech Music Sessions in Spain organized by the activist Óscar Abril Ascaso explored the margins of possibility for a recovery of action music in the context of the emergence of digital culture and electronic music, with which it seemed to share a spectrum of cross-cutting features. Based on these premises, over a period of five years the Low-Tech Music Sessions brought together a large number of artists, including Jordi Mitjà, Quim Tarrida, Jaume Alcalde, Jaume Cusachs and Lluís Alabern.

In the present-day context, we can observe the consolidation of a stimulating scenario of local artists for whom the use of performative resources is the natural habitat of their research. In parallel, but less curiously than it might initially seem, a significant number of these artists also find the main source of their work in the experimental possibilities of sound. Laia Estruch, Laura Llaneli, Estel Boada and Jaume Ferrete are some of the names that stand out in this scenario.

Based on this observation, Low-Tech Music Session 2020 reflects on the survival of action music today through the sound explorations of Laia Estruch, Laura Llaneli, Estel Boada, Jaume Ferrete and the Mancebía Postigo collective. The researchers Carmen Pardo, Henar Rivière and Arnau Horta are also participating in the conference programme. At the start of the conference, Low-Tech Music Session 2020 will have an opening presentation by Llorenç Barber and will feature the comeback of one of the major action music groups in Spanish history: Actum.

Low-Tech Music Session 2020 highlights the question of how far the sound research processes of these artists could be interpreted today as a new kind of action music— indeed, as the action music of the twenty-first century.

Low-Tech Music Session 2020 is part of the activities of the MÚSICA D’ACCIÓ(?) conference of ARTefACTe (