Gabor Stark

What Next?


“There are two things that don’t have to mean anything, one is music and the other is laughter.” John Cage

If there is one thing, I could not complain about during the past three months of life in lockdown, it’s boredom. Online meetings, tutorials and project reviews with my students and colleagues at UCA easily filled my days alone at home (or is it work?) and did not leave me with too much time and headspace for other creative reveries. But since the academic year has finally come to an end, I have recently started to travel again, at least imaginarily, and delved into the wide world of sound – some call it music. 

Inspired by John Baldessari, Pipilotti Rist, Martin Creed and other artists who have expanded their primary practice by venturing out into parallel musical adventures, I have arranged a couple of sonic vignettes by setting voice samples of other artists to music. Using excerpts from an interview in ‘Listen’, a documentary about contemporary music by Miroslav Sebestik, the first track features words of wisdom about sound, space and time by the American composer John Cage. Track two loops the proverbial “it’s a sad and beautiful world” – taken from the dialogue between Bob (Roberto Benigni) and Zack (Tom Waits) in Jim Jarmusch’s film ‘Down by Law’ – into a Sisyphean sonic mantra. The trilogy concludes with a humble musical tribute to Florian Schneider, founding member of Kraftwerk, who sadly passed away in April. The repeated Schneider dictum “Wir versuchen unser Bestes. We try our best” sums up my attitude as an amateur and novice composer quite well. So, if you are not averse to sparse and minimal orchestration and a stubborn 4/4 beat, please listen to the three lockdown lullabies on SoundCloud:

Track credits:

sound is acting | 1:50 minVoice sample: John Cage (1912-1992) in ‘Listen’ (Écoute) by Miroslav Sebestik, 1992

sad & beautiful world | 5:13 min. Voice sample: Roberto Benigni and Tom Waits in ‘Down by Law’ by Jim Jarmusch, 1986

für florian | 2:14 min. Voice sample: Florian Schneider (1947-2020) in an interview with Brazilian TV, 1998