Modern Art Oxford’s Spotify profile features an evolving series of playlists selected by artists, filmmakers and musicians involved in exhibitions and projects at the gallery, as well as contributions from the Modern Art Oxford team.
This latest playlist by our Events Assistant and Oxford-based musician, Martin Andrews offers a rich personal collection of memories, inspirations and sonic experiences, as well influences from our current exhibition Penny Woolcock: Fantastic Cities (17 November 2018 – 3 March 2019).
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When Modern Art Oxford asked to put this playlist together at the start of 2019 it got me thinking about the sounds that have inspired me in the previous year whilst working at the gallery.
At the start of the year I got to visit New York and caught a great exhibition at MOMA about the lower east side post-punk music scene. I’ve thrown in a Tom Tom Club track and some mutant disco to capture the vibe. I also got to see Daniel Avery DJ’ing at the Good Rooms in Brooklyn, so his latest track is in there too. Sadly I missed out on a sold out show by Cigarettes After Sex but I have added their slightly creepy 80’s cover version as a taster! Later in the year I got to travel to Stockholm and visited the inspirational VASA boat and Fotografiska museums and a David Shrigley exhibition which involved a series of large inflating/deflating swans that left me rather flat. Check out his meal planner tune, it’s very funny.
Back in Oxford, I caught some exciting live gigs by strong female acts, including Loma at the Cellar and Sink Ya Teeth and Lia Mice at the Library. The Lia Mice gig ended with her doing an encore on her Octatrack sampler for just myself and my friend who were the only ones left in the venue which was super cool so she gets the nod in the mix. I got to see some instant cult classic films such as ‘Mandy’ and ‘Revenge’ which have amazing modular synth soundtracks, which I can never have enough of. These get pipped to the post by Jonny ‘local lad done good’ Greenwood’s excellent soundtrack for ‘You were never really here’. Book wise, I relived my musical youth growing up in Manchester by reading Dave Haslam’s DJ autobiography ‘Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor’, so there is a Planningtorock tune that manages to represent the north of England via Berlin. They are one of my favourite artists at the moment for their fluid approach to gender identities through music.
When I previously did music promotion for Modern Art Oxford I put on Public Service Broadcasting’s first Oxford show in the basement space so it’s nice to hear a track off their latest album. It captures a lost world of pre-austerity pre-Brexit Britain. I’ve followed this up with a Sleaford Mods track that equally captures the current world of post-austerity Brexit Britain. You decide which you prefer. The most rewarding part of last year was having the opportunity to work at Modern Art Oxford again. This time round I have been working on the exhibitions and events at Modern Art Oxford and I have really enjoyed thinking about contemporary art again. The latest Penny Woolcock show has got me thinking about the power of Rap music and unheard communities. It also reminded me of the first ever Rap show I went to as an indie kid teenager which was a Ruthless Rap Assassins gig in Hulme with two live drummers. Check out a track from their debut album released thirty years ago. I was also blown away by Modern Art Oxford’s recent BBC Radiophonic Workshop event so I had to include the Delia Derbyshire track ‘Love Without Sound’. This still sounds very influential fifty years after its release and I’m the proud owner of an original vinyl copy from my dad’s record collection.
Having had her work exhibited at Modern Art Oxford it’s nice to also include a Yoko Ono song. She is an underrated musician in her own right and I’m really enjoying the new Imagine photography book I was given recently. It documents the period when Lennon was heavily influenced by her more conceptual art approach which she is now starting to get acknowledged for.
Low are in the mix simply because they made the most startling album of the year and demonstrated you can convey more emotion through the notes you don’t play.
The first ever event I went to at Modern Art Oxford was a talk by Tim Lawrence on the life and music of Arthur Russell so I’ve included a track by this lost musical genius. Finally, I started gigging again last year so you get an exclusive Octavia Freud track in there too.
– Words by Martin Andrews, Modern Art Oxford Events Assistant and Oxford-based musician. Read more about Martin at www.octaviafreud.com