Magnus Lindberg in interview with Marc Bridle
As if to illustrate the point that a composer’s early works can often be their most seminal, Kraft crops up in our conversation time and time again. It is a bold work (even for the time) yet whilst having a definable influence in its composition (Darmstadt) it somehow goes beyond what other contemporaries of Lindberg might have done with the work. It’s attraction lies as much in the iconoclasm of its theatrical and visual spectacle (members of the orchestra, playing an array of junk percussion, invade the auditorium) as it does in the Berlin punk, and Krautrock, music which drive’s through the work like a thunderbolt. It is music which Lindberg still finds compelling.
M.L : The reason I liked punk music from the early eighties is because it falls outside the tonal framework. A lot of good rock music had been done – I grew up with Pink Floyd and Emerson Lake & Palmer – they did wonderful things and it is music that on many levels has been important to me. These progressive groups appeal to me – the Rolling Stones and the Beatles – their world is alien to me. It would not be true to say it did not mean anything because the quality of their pieces is amazing but the expression wasn’t so compelling or important. I was living in Berlin at the time when I wrote Kraft and the alternative scene in the clubs was quite amazing. They worked with noise as a physical element. They have an urban, industrial sound element to them – but people often refer to Kraft as being aggressive in its sonority which I don’t think it is. An aggressive sound is something like treading on a snail – it is gentle, almost quiet, but the snail dies so it is an aggressive sound. The noise of traffic, or the demolition and construction of buildings all means something – and I wanted these elements to be present and my task was then to organise them in a way that made sense. It was about making a wider palate of sound, putting together abstract elements. Its beauty is the fact that it is not tonal, that it doesn’t come from the tonic or diatonic sound world. It felt fresh, much in the same way that I would assume Debussy felt when he first heard a Gamalan orchestra which produced sound as remote as possible from a western symphony orchestra’s.
Watch & listen to this project
Magnus Lindberg : Corrente (live, 1998)
live in deSingel1 soundcloud track