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Music to Annoy MRAs With, Part 1: Meredith Monk

Meredith Monk, musical badass

Meredith Monk, musical badass

Sometimes when I’m listening to music – particularly music written and/or performed by women – it occurs to me that the music I’m listening to would probably annoy or even anger Men’s Rights Activists. And that makes me want to share this music with the world. So I’m starting a new series here: Music to Annoy MRAs With.

First up: Meredith Monk, an avant garde composer/performer/filmmaker/etc probably best known for her “extended vocal techniques” which one music critic has described as a melange of “extraordinary ululations and incantations, vertiginous leaps, drops, cries and other wordless acrobatics.” That seems about right.

If you’re a fan of The Big Lebowski, you’ve heard at least one song of hers: when the lovably pretentious feminist artist Maude Lebowski makes her memorable entrance, swinging naked through the air on a harness in a darkened studio, splattering paint onto a giant canvas, it’s the voice of Meredith Monk that provides the musical accompaniment. (Monk found the scene hilarious.)

Anyway, here are some Meredith Monk videos for you all. You may like them, you may not – Monk is sort of an acquired taste — but one thing is virtually guaranteed: they will confuse and annoy the hell out of any MRAs who happen to watch. A critically lauded female composer/musician making music they don’t understand? Noooooooo!

The first video is a selection from a longer piece called Dolmen Music; essentially, we’re supposed to be listening to a conversation in a strange language amongst Neolithic Brits (or perhaps space aliens, as Monk has suggested). I may have posted this before, but I’m posting it again, dammit.

The second is a clip from her film Book of Days depicting a variety show of sorts in a somewhat unusual Medieval village; stick with it until the end. I think I posted a shorter version of this once as well.

The final video is Monk performing a solo piano piece that actually has words; try to ignore the really patronizing voiceover.

Her official site is here, though I was having trouble reaching it today.

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Posted on May 10, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 146 Comments.

  1. Phoenician in a time of Romans

    I love that Grimes song, and that video; I think it would probably require a whole masters thesis to figure out all the gender stuff going on there.

    Well, I suspected and then confirmed in reading in an interview that she wrote the song after being sexually assaulted by some guy.

    http://bluestockingsmag.com/2013/07/24/see-you-on-a-dark-night-grimes-oblivion-depicting-sexual-assault/

    My personal take is that this critique failed to pick up on the tension inherent in the video – the singer is both *attracted* to the hypermasculine display and *scared* of it. She *wants* guys, but is also very aware of the threat they offer.

    “See you on a dark night” can be taken two ways, after all…

    (I really should go through her other stuff at some stage, but I don’t have the time or the understanding)

  2. Winter Walker – it would make no difference. All the kitties know they are gods.

    Also I found this adorable cartoon on Deviantart.

    http://serverustare.deviantart.com/art/Gods-of-Egypt-Origin-of-Heroes-351451635

  3. Bartok? Weird choice if we talk about the Hungarian composer, one of the influential artists whose work helped to build and solidify the Hungarian national identity. He collected folk music/songs and incorporated their elements into classical music, with this we could say he united people across class, but at the same time (regardless of his original intent) this research gave more fuel to the nationalistic us-vs-them mentality. So the guy is neutral at best in this regard. :]

  4. @kittehserf: That first link was absolutely beautiful use of classic Pratchett! Now I must find my feline overlord and worship her with cuddles!

    On another note, I think I really need to check out some Grimes!

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