Alles over kunst

21 Tracks for the 21st Century

21 Tracks for the 21st Century: Raphael Malfliet

HART magazine and Q-O2, a Brussels-based space for experimental music and sound art, join forces with 21 Tracks for the 21st Century, a series of playlists in which we ask our guests: what music does this century need? Each time, we invite one artist, thinker or musician to prepare a playlist of those sounds, songs and pieces of music that will best arm their listeners with the tools to approach what is left of this young century. This month's guest is Raphael Malfliet.

Raphael Malfliet, photo Stijn Van Bosstraeten

Raphael Malfliet is an experimental electric bassplayer, composer and sound artist based in Antwerp, Belgium and has been active in various settings and constellations of free improvised music and interdisciplinary projects. His work revolves around the attempt to translate characteristics of generativeness, made by autonomous systems, to his role as a composer and performer. By focussing on a balance between indeterminate parameters and frameworks of rules and possibilities, inspired by games, he tries to challenge the performers and himself to interact differently with known material in relation to sound and space. In doing this, he withholds himself from creating in a certain style but will use any means possible to support, challenge and question the subject of the research. This results in embracing randomness and coincidental outcomes that often render layers of sound with changing microscopic cell structures.

Together with Maarten Buyl he is currently working on GOVERNORS, a research and listening practice focusing on the balance and observation of sound while working with acoustic feedback signals and the acting forces movement, material and space. Governors tries to understand the unpredictability of these forces and their influence and refrains from controlling them in order to maintain an equilibrium. The question of how can we listen to/for feedback and govern accordingly is posed both individually and collectively during the process of this research.

  1. Antye Greie's Kaiku choir of Hailuoto, 'Wind & Fire (Koppakota, moose hunters hut)'

Got to know about Antye Greie's work by reading an interview with her in the book In the Field: The Art of Field Recording, by Cathy Lane and Angus Carlyle. Together with her audience, she works imitating environments in order to gain awareness and respect for them. This recording of a choir consisting of local inhabitants of the island Hailuoto in the north of Finland is so detailed and realistic one forgets it's human source.

  1. Eliane Radigue, Triptych

I'm in love with this work . . . Like a cloud evolving slowly yet never having to arrive anywhere. Its transparancy makes one able to listen to every individual layer, yet it also holds a captivating density where beginning and end become irrelevant. What's left is just pure and deep sound.

  1. Hildegard Westerkamp, Beneath The Forest Floor

Interesting how one can really perceive two different perspectives of the same world shifting between fore and background and still maintain a connection as one. The border between realism and abstraction is captivating!

  1. Christian Marclay on Michelob Presents Night Music

I first thought this was improvised . . . until I saw the video of him performing this piece live on Night Music, a TV show from the 80's. The timing and flow of it comined with the trashiness of his way of treating the records is so great!

  1. Jacob Kirkegaard, 'Opus Autopsia: Head' (excerpt)

A disgusting work that gives you chills and makes all your hairs stand up straight.

  1. Ann Eysermans, 'Fuga For Four Diesel Locomotives and Harp'

A dear friend of mine and incredibly talented artist who manages to connect her admiration for trains with the delicate features of the harp.

  1. Jonas Gruska, 'III.'

One of many interesting works by Jonas Gruska, founder of LOM and its very popular field recording mics. This work feeds my fetish for resonating machinery and material present in most roomtones.

  1. Extreme Trax, 'Final Fantasy'

This holds all the clichés of a trance, techno, . . . track. Much needed clichés!

  1. Skuli Sverrisson, 'Instants'

Skuli's approach to music and the electric bass has been and still is inspiring to a lot of people including me. Both Seria (I and II) albums are amazing! The lyricism of that melody and its translation to the sound present in both basses make this masterful.

  1. Chris Watson, Vatnajokull

Plain and simple at first glance but holding the true art and process of listening and recording followed by a careful selection and combination of sounds that make your ears fool you.

  1. Puce Mary, 'The Temptation To Exist'

I only recently learned about Puce Mary . . .
William Gibson's Neuromancer trilogy translated into sound. Could have easily been the soundtrack for the videogame Cyberpunk 2077.

  1. Maja Ratkje & Ikue Mori, 'Sand Castle / Camel Hunt / Rivers Of Belfast'

Two epic masters!
If only I could take a peek and look at Ikue Mori's laptop screen while performing. So much is happening yet she remains stoically operating the laptop with one hand.

  1. Natura Morta, 'Pulvis'

After graduating and studying jazz, this band was an eye-opener for me when it came to extending the possibilities of one's instrument when improvising freely. I remember going to all of their concerts just a few days apart from each other.

  1. Tyshawn Sorey, 'Awakening'

I remember hearing this for the first time during lengthy car ride home one late afternoon and was completely taken by the universe these great musicians created. Improvisation and composition truly elevate each other here. By coincidence, guitarist Todd Neufeld became a good friend of mine and I was lucky to have him play on my debut album Noumenon.

  1. Alice Coltrane, 'Charanam'

A deep repetitive structure created for the Vedantic center she established. Sanskrit and synths!

  1. Xenakis, 'Antikthon'

Antikhthon means 'Counter-Earth'. It's massive, surprising and hits you right in the face! I also love the resonance of the space in this particular recording, it really amplifies and compliments Xenakis' delay rhythms in basically every instrument. Also, that lengthy string glissando and horn part in the middle is so intense . . .!

  1. Merzbow, 'Woodpecker No.2'


  1. Celine Dion, 'Regarde Moi'

This is Céline Dion!

  1. Pauline Oliveros, The Wanderer

A classic work for all centuries. The dense and all-embracing sound of the accordion makes every gap of silence come as a surprise where you can hear the attentiveness of the audience, a deep listening trance. A polyrhythmic accordion party!

  1. Rema Hasumi, 'Azuma Asobi'

A friend of mine whose album I listened to a lot when it was first released. The improvisation always feels directional yet never imposes anything and just paves the way for the melody to come in and guide them collectively further.

  1. Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet

Listen – fall asleep – repeat.

Read more on Raphael's blog.