Straying from the Path
Kaspars Groševs, artist
Martin Creed - I Can't Move (1999)
David Shrigley - Forced to Speak with Others (2006)
Martin Creed - I Can't Move
[Toronto: Art Metropole, 1999]

Music that doesn't require even a basic acquaintance with musical notation entices like a mirage. Just like folk music, passing from mouth to mouth, rock music, which has grown from its American blues roots, is a kind of ‘itch' easily passed on. Of course, from time to time artists, too, fall into the temptation of plucking a guitar, messing around with a synthesiser, or in some other way creating sounds that are more or less musical.

Possibly, it may come as something of a surprise to hear an album that features Martin Creed, winner of the Turner Prize, singing and playing the guitar very sincerely, albeit somewhat off key. However, it's more than just a recreational hobby: the artist asserts that he turned to mu­sic after concluding that some of his spatial works were too "finished" and that the viewers saw only the end result. Music, on the other hand, permits you to see, and of course hear, the living process. In the work No. 570, which he "showed" a couple of years ago, runners sprinted past the visitors to a museum at great speed.

In many ways, Creed's songs really are reminiscent of his numbered visual works. Although the songs are not included in this numbered series, in a similar way the titles define almost the whole of the content. (For example, in the work ‘Thirty thirty', the artist sings out the numbers from one to thirty). They consist of simple melodies, cogent rhythms and straightforward arrangements, leaving plenty of space for Creed's childishly witty games of words and concepts in the song texts, using primary-school rhymes in the nature of "I'm the one for you, I'm your two, you're the one for me, you're my three".

The artist himself says he wished to create "a kind of normal situation" - a standard three-piece rock band playing the most ordinary instruments, and to turn it into a work that would be as good as his in­stallations and objects. Surprisingly enough, Creed is quite an accomplished writer of catchy, easily picked up songs, disarming the listener with his naturalness and simplicity.

An MP3 version of the album can be purchased at:
David Shrigley. Forced to Speak with Others. 2006
David Shrigley - Forced to Speak with Others
[Azule, 2006]

David Shrigley is one of Scotland's more visible artists. (Quite literally: his easily recognisable drawings in post­card and book form are to be found in practically every art store in Britain). Although often regarded as an illustrator, he has quite organically succeeded at turning his brutally primitive drawings, pervaded with an unusual brand of humour, into moving images, interpreting them as spatial objects and dressing them in sound tracks, thus offering more than just witty jokes.

Shrigley's record without a record (an empty album cover with the texts of lost songs) entitled ‘Worried Nood­les' has more recently also appeared in musical form, with the involvement of a whole string of well-known indie musicians, while the album ‘Forced to speak with others' brings together fourteen spoken word pieces. Musical motifs augmented with electronic, illustrative noises enhance the stories told by speakers in various accents about Satan's apocalyptic rock concert, about an insect that wishes to lay its eggs in the brain of the object of its desire, huge, hairy children, etc.

Text is often very important in his drawings. Com­bined with stark, in many cases even mutilated figures, it produces combinations pervaded by dark humour and absurdity. Similarly, in these sound tracks we hear little stories enhanced by the intonation of the speakers, and by musical motifs and noises. For example, in the piece ‘What there is' an expressive voice strives to convince us that fairies and wizards don't exist, with birdsong and zithers in the background, until, with a sudden change in the tone of voice, there comes a threatening mes­sage that chaos does exist, and great, senseless, incomprehen­sible shit, and things so complicated that they defy un­der­standing, so that even the thought of them makes your head ache. These words are followed by a sharp, con­trastingly loud roar, enough to give you a real headache.

These combinations of noises, music and text seem to be the best works, while in some of the others the text is simply augmented with musical motifs. At times this is even annoying and tends to give a more restricted view­point and a particular atmosphere. On the other hand, there is enough music in the album to make it something more than just an audio version of Shrigley's drawings. Nevertheless, it is clear that in the present age transferring your work to a wide variety of media also serves as good self-advertisement. Accordingly, in recent years, thanks in great measure to music, Shrigley has become a scribbling superstar, exceeding the bounds of museums and galleries. 

The album is sold on CD or vinyl at:

/Translator into English: Valdis Bērziņš/

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