Monthly Archives: May 2016

Wolfgang Mitterer is a contemporary Austrian composer


Wolfgang Mitterer is a contemporary Austrian composer

For many years now I’ve been trying to incorporate the ideas behind the works of Christopher Wool and Gerhard Richter, in particular, into my own painterly endeavours…but without much success. “Why bother?” I ask myself! Anyway, during all this very trying period in my life I’ve also  listened to Mitterer’s “Music for Checking E-mails” many times, and have recently re-listened to his ‘symphony’ called “Coloured Noise”. I’ve also read an interesting review of it by Jacques Coulardeau on Amazon, so shall paste it below. Enjoy!

“Don’t expect the presentation of this symphony in the booklet of the CD to enlighten you about what a standard listener could get out of it. The point of view is “how did the composer do it?” which is for the audience of no avail. But get into it and just listen. The composition that associates the instruments and musicians of the orchestra and the samples and sampled tit bits produced by the computers are built in a very complex architecture. That it rejects all the facades of standard music is not a characteristic of this music. It creates a depth in space, hence in time, and if architecture there is, façade there is too. The point is that you cannot just let yourself expect being transported into a traditional universe with an effortless because already learned listening. You have to let yourself slip into the music and you have to learn how to devise a way to listen to that music in order to get into its architecture, deep architecture and not superficial façade. Every single sound, no matter what it is, is in a way or another an isolated island to which all the other sounds of that very moment are the surrounding environment. The point is that the focus changes all the time from one sound to another and the environment is recomposed every single time. Instead of entering a linear composition that leads you from one note to the next in some kind of audio logic, here you jump from one island to another, from one environment to another with no apparent logic but only the idea, the feeling, the impression that each island has a color and that the color of each island is like the sequence, the sequel not of the previous one, but of the following one. How can an impression be the result of something coming afterwards? That’s the impression I have, the emotion I feel of a sound retrospective architecture. That means we have in a way to reconstruct that retrospectivity and to expect something that is not a sequel but a source after what we have just heard. It is not so much an attempt to question and surprise and even shock your listening habits as a complete reversal of them. You have to listen to what comes as if you were looking backward at what has come from the point of view of what is to come. I have rarely felt that emotion. Yet it is an extremely classic emotion with some great composers of the past. I even think the great baroque composers were dedicated to that kind of retrospective vision. I have always felt that when listening to J.S. Bach’s Passions. Every single piece in those passions transforms what precedes them. You constantly have to go back to enrich what you thought was the meaning of any piece with the meaning of the next piece or pieces. But the retrospective sensation was working in your memory. Mitterer who is Bachian in that way, is requiring from you that you envisage what is coming when you are listening to what is being played at this very moment. How can you? That’s just the point. Your enjoyment is constantly suspended and your enjoyment is in this very suspension. Your enjoyment is at its highest point when you have been able to foresee what is coming. How can you do that? With a lot of practice and a lot of imagination. And at the same time, every single moment when you have not been able to do it, you are surprised and you kind of feel “Of course, dummy, that I should have seen”. In other words Mitterer is turning you into the composer. Either you can or you can’t but your pleasure will be all the more important if you can, at least from time to time. You have to learn to imagine how what is coming and has not come yet is going to surprise you, to disturb your expectation, to destroy your standard visions. You constantly have to play with that idea: “How can we disrupt this sound, this piece of music, the impression and sensation and emotion I am feeling right now.” We have to live that music dangerously and that is a beautiful experience. What are the clues Mitterer provides you with? Little or few. But rhythm seems to be one clue because it is easier to imagine how one piece of rhythm can be disrupted. But you also have the textures of the sounds because here too there is some kind of disruptive logic. In the past they used the different textures of the different instruments, that they called timbres, in order to create some harmonious, or disharmonious, whole. Mitterer uses this dimension in order to build a constantly jerking progress in the world of sonority. But there is a great pleasure when you have been able to foresee the textural change Mitterer is going to introduce to disrupt your listening façade. I must say my pleasure is maximum with this piece, a lot more than with “The Saint Bartholomew Massacre” I have had the opportunity to watch live recently, probably because the music is not overloaded here with a not so meaningful visual wrapping. Its architecture is purer, pure sound and not composite.”

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Vincennes Saint Denis, University of Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID Boulogne Billancourt


Painting by Christopher Wool in London’s Tate Modern

Wolfgang Mitterer


Eckhart Tolle and the Obsession with Economic Growth


Eckhart Tolle and the Obsession with Economic Growth

These days the subject of mass-immigration and the Islamification of the West never seems to be absent from our news coverage. While Christians are being murdered and ethnically cleansed from the Middle East and other parts of Asia, our political and middle-class elite want us to accept more and more Muslim ‘refugees’ into our already overpopulated countries even though they know that it puts increasing pressure on housing and social services as well as depressing wages and pushing up rents for the less well-off, causing division within our societies…not to mention creating crime and other associated problems which mainly affect the working-classes.

Recently in the UK, for example, The Daily Mirror newspaper termed as ‘purely racist’ the decision of the BBC to broadcast a documentary called, ‘The Last Whites of the East End’. It’s as if not wanting to destroy one’s own country is ‘racist’ as is implicit in some statements by German, Swedish and other European politicians.

Some politicians say that immigration is “good for the economy”, as if that is all that mattered, and I myself find it difficult to make sense of the decision of Merkel and other leaders to open the flood-gates, for want of a better expression. So, it may be wise to consider what Eckhart Tolle, a now well-known spiritual teacher, has to say.

In his book ‘A New Earth’ [p.26] Eckhart Tolle says, “But we cannot really honor things if we use them as a means to self-enhancement, that is to say, if we try to find ourselves through them. This is exactly what the ego does. Ego-identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. It is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which it is a part. Some economists are so attached to the notion of growth that they can’t let go of that word, so they refer to recession as a time of “negative growth.””

In a different context, Tolle went on to say: “Every country in the world wants growth every year. That is like saying what goes up must never come down. Every politician and statesman is looking for ways to boost GDP to higher and higher levels. But what would happen if we had economic equanimity? What if President Obama as the head of the world’s strongest economy began to talk about inner peace instead of economic growth at any cost? Did making more money ever bring anyone you know permanent happiness?

We’re not talking about accepting less. We’re talking about accepting. Part of living in harmony with the Universe is accepting its physical laws which include the economic cycles of nations. Regardless of the recklessness of banks and stock traders, the universe cannot sustain continuous expansion. Even the Big Bang, which states that the universe is constantly expanding, also says that in that expansion the Universe will cool down until all the stars burn out. The universe will continue to get larger, but it will be a cold, lifeless, and dark universe bereft of planets and suns.

This too is what could happen to countries obsessed with positive economic growth. The hapless search for profit at any cost bankrupts our values and quality of life.”


Total population (UN estimates)

1950: 37,547,000    2011: 173,593,000    2018: 200,813,818

Total population (UN estimates)

1951: 41,932,000    2001: 124,355,000    2015: 160, 996,000

It would seem that since 1950 both the above Muslim countries have quadrupled their populations. Should we in the West continue to allow them to continue coming over here? What would the result be?


 Why are we obsessed by growth?

By Anthony Reuben, Business reporter, BBC News, 25 July 2012


The latest figures have shown that the UK economy contracted more than expected between April and June.

The output of the economy as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) figures fell by 0.7%, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

It follows a period of small rises and small falls in growth showing the economy has basically been stagnant.

red mushrooms

Why is that lack of growth a problem?

“In the long term, we grow because technology gets better and we get better at producing things,” says Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

“In the short term, growth is an indication that the economy is producing as much as it could be and resources are not being needlessly wasted.

“At the moment we are producing considerably less than we could be because the economy is being mismanaged.”

Creating jobs

One of the resources not being used as much as it could be is labour.

“If the economy is growing at less than about 2% a year then unemployment rises because output is just not rising fast enough,” says Prof John Van Reenen from the London School of Economics.

“With a growing population and rising wages, the economy has to grow to create jobs.”

Having more people out of work increases the amount that the government has to pay in benefits and also reduces the amount it receives in taxes.

That is a particular problem at the moment, given the debt problems currently facing the government.

“Debt matters because it has to be paid,” Jonathan Portes says.

“Growth would make it significantly easier to deal with. If we are growing slowly it gets worse and worse.”

A classic example of what happens when there is no growth is Japan, which has had almost no real growth for the past 20 years.

“Japan has stagnated, although it is not a broken society,” says Jonathan Portes.

“But low growth has been bad for young people who cannot find decent jobs.”

Low growth has also meant that its government debt as a proportion of GDP, which is a key measure, has spiralled.

It currently has a debt-to-GDP ratio of over 200%, which is the highest in the developed world.

‘More and more junk’

But some people think that a zero growth economy could be a good thing.

Brian Czech, president of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (Casse) says that the UK economy has already grown beyond its optimum size.

“There are too many problems caused by increasing production and consumption of goods and services,” he says.

Casse argues that growing the economy further creates social and environmental problems that outweigh its benefits.

“Lots of sacrifices come with growing GDP, such as working too long hours, the depersonalising of workplaces and spending on advertising to persuade people to buy more and more junk they don’t need,” Mr Czech says.

Casse’s position is certainly not a mainstream economic view, although there are strong arguments that GDP by itself is not enough to measure the state of a country or an economy.

On Tuesday, the Office for National Statistics released its latest findings in its measurements of national wellbeing.

Also, inequality in the UK economy means that growth would not necessarily benefit everyone.

But for the moment, GDP growth will remain the focus for analysts and news organisations alike every three months.

“GDP is not perfect and it ignores intangibles such as happiness and the environment, but it is still the best measure of all we produce,” says Jonathan Portes.

John Van Reenen adds: “When GDP grows, the size of the economic pie grows.”

“That allows you to slice the pie to get what you want, be it higher wages, more leisure time or increased government spending.”