Saturday, March 4, 2017

Civic Magicians and Engineers of the Imagination

"Lol Coxhill was the musical director for this travelling troupe from 1973 to 1975. This is functional music, adapted to the multi-dimensional performances of Welfare State, Welfare State was a nomadic consortium of artists, makers, musicians and performers. As said by John Fox in the liner notes, the WS envisaged themselves as Civic Magicians and Engineers of the Imagination, devising rituals and constructing images for particular times, places and seasons. They travelled throughout Europe with a mobile village of lorries and caravans, creating and animating outdoor events with sculptures, theatre pieces, celebrations, dances and processions. Consisting of 16 adults and 7 children, WS would stop for shorter or longer residences, whenever the opportunity arose to "make poetry concrete". The record captures the functionality and the ceremoniality of the music, though listening to it one inevitably misses the other sensory elements needed to make it a full spectacular experience, but one might conjure up suitable visual images from the sounds captured on this album, not the.least the front cover pic which reminds me of the cult film "The Wicker Man".  Obvious referneces here to medieval ceremonies and rituals and old-age mythology. It might bear some resemblances to what in the UK has become known as the Travellers movement, dating back to the festivals of the 70s and ideas of alternative life styles, ironically at a certain distance from the welfare state, one might think."  - Inconstant Sol


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