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Practice the Sounds of Madness With the Melodies of Dada


The relationship between Dada and music was more fortuitous than many believe; here are some samples.

“Life is a beautiful inconsistency.” At some point in 1916, in a precipitous meeting at the Cabaret Voltaire, this announcement ended up giving life to an artistic vanguard: the Dada movement.

Among the lessons pushed by Dada, was a stance that embraces opposites and contradictions. An apology to meaninglessness, it was a relentless madness, something innate, and one that accompanies the very essence of the human will.

Although few today associate Dada with music, the truth is that both music and Dada, allied one with the other, through sound experimentation, spontaneity and an intuitive rebellion. We know, for example, the fascinating work of Luigi Russolo, a composer of experimental music and noise, and his noise music concerts of 1914. And the recordings of Tristan Tzara, the author of the first Dada Manifesto. Decades later, we remember Dada’s interaction and obvious influence on figures like John Cage, and Bob Dylan’s use of the cut-up. In fact, the very concept of sound experimentation likely germinated with Dada.

The following compilation recaptures the movement. Dada For Now is an extraordinary album available from the Ubuweb website. The material unites some songs, or rather, some constructions of the native voices of the Dada era, and some from a bit earlier. Many of these recordings are mere theatrical representations, games with language, and poetry that passionately erases the boundary between words and music.

The mixture of genres, or better said, the elements. that make up these pieces murmurs at the possibility that was a Dada engine. It’s on that, even today, is still beating: randomness as a creative force that created, and continues to create, our very reality.

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