crazy, queer and straight. all check. the same again but oh so different.
so let me introduce you to ringsgwandl. for the queer factor you might visit his website – already the picture greeting the visitor should put a smile on your face. lovely.
and listening to his music one must conclude that he is barking, eeeer, squealing mad. of course as brigitte fontaine he uses craziness as a strategy, but its use differs and so does his work.
here again the attitude towards music is different. it is not change from within (ingrid caven) or the nearly scientific exploration of an universe, its frontiers and the places beyond (brigitte fontaine). ringsgwandl uses music to make a point, to illustrate. to the snobbish bourgeois like me this utilitarian attitude comes across as quite brutal, as one is taken on a wild ride from pop-reggae to heavy metal crossed with bavarian folk music (well, it’s rather blues rock, but the result is still vile) to lounge/ cocktail music to hysterical folk songs.
but then again many artists, especially the ones who are usually seen as mainly “entertaining” take on the task to change feel and mood with every song. ringsgwandl takes this to an extreme, although in his live shows this is softened as there are also long stretches of spoken word, or more precise, comedy.
and here it becomes interesting. concerning the reception of his music, ringsgwandl is usually not situated within a primarily musical universe, but within the universe of comedy. putting his work in this context makes sense, as he clearly utilizes music to serve his lyrics, his stories, his expression (and is funny while doing it). but do we not expect self-expression from every artist? so it might be the humor which does put him in the comedy context. and yes, it is about humor and comedy, although as a necessity rather than a goal in itself. a necessity to season the acidity of his observations and comments so they become digestible. this gives me the idea that humor – too much humor – is nothing that goes well with the reception of music as music.
so different genres allow for certain ways of expression, have certain rules of utilizing music. regulating how much this utilizing is made transparent or disappears behind layers of…art.
and the respect or disrespect of such rules by artists seem to strongly influence our perception of an artist’s work. often regrettably so, as the focus is then rather on the observation of lines drawn by convention, diverting from other, might more interesting, fruitful point of views. of course this also helps to tame the beast art, or more specifically, music can be. to protect us from the disturbing and annoying effects if we would have to listen to it without such guidelines. and here we come full circle to the artist’s strategy to declare insanity – a buffer in its reception, to soften the impact for the listener – and therefore to give the artist in this deal more freedom.
in the case of ringsgwandl i propose to listen to him as one of the heirs of early 20th century cabaret. not interested in following it’s style or aesthetic, but by taking a certain attitude: wanting to entertain, but entertain on his own terms, experimenting, not shying away of coming across eventually as silly, pretentious or…trulla trulla.
so he might be after all not that different from quite a number of artists in previous and following posts.
so, if i haven’t you completely scared off i propose you have an earful of trulla! trulla!, ripped chuckling from vinyl. enjoy!