MICK RAUBENHEIMER’S Round Corners mini-interviews situate given artists outside their medium, whilst peeking into their various worlds. He spoke to gifted multi-instrumentalist CARA STACEY about kinetic inspiration and upcoming collaborations.
When did you first identify as a creative artist?
I think I first identified as a creative artist at quite a young age. My parents are both creative people in different ways and I was always painting, drawing or dancing. I started music lessons at the age of 6 or 7 and so my creativity in a musical sense only really developed much later on and as I became an adult. I have always felt aligned with the arts through dance, visual art or music. I went to university to study music and I think I have had many learning moments since then in terms of what it means to be creative – what it brings and what it costs.
Outside of your medium, what branch of art most stimulates you?
I can’t say specifically. I love film, though I can’t really say I am a very knowledgeable cinephile. I love to read and I love going to galleries. I dip and out of most things, though recently I have become really into moving/kinetic art and mechanics.
Which artist/s in said discipline have significantly inspired you, and why?
I really love the work of Walter Smetak (the limited music of I have been able to hear of his and his sculpture-instruments). I love the playfulness of his creations and was drawn in at first because of his musical bow (berimbau) developments and inspiration. When I first discovered him, I had just come back from Switzerland where I had seen a lot of Jean Tinguely’s work too – really beautiful and in some cases, quite disturbing. I like all artistic work with some darkness to it.
What, to you, is art’s most important function?
For me, I think the arts’ function changes all the time. Sometimes I love what it does to people who make it – that experience of making art can be so transformative. Sometimes it provokes change and reflection within a community… this is generally held up as its most important function, but a rogue part of me also enjoys when it is a little irreverent, pointless or comical. I am inconsistent in that way, but I think it means I am open to its many powers.
Local creatives (in any medium) that currently excite you?
Lots of people I work with. I love Matchume Zango’s work (especially his live performances). He is doing well internationally but not enough South Africans know his work. Galina Juritz is my best friend and also one of the most talented people I know. She just released something on NX Records in London (NX14X) earlier this year and it is just excellent.
What specific work – be it in literature, music, or visual art – do you return to again and again, and why?
I love Zakes Mda’s book Ways of Dying. That is an important book for me and I like to go back to it. I really love the Debra Granik film Winter’s Bone – I love the music and silence in that. I really like its dark, desolate nature. I am listening to the new Kit Downes’ ECM release Dreamlife of Debris a lot at the moment. I really love his use of organ within that ensemble. In terms of listening, I always go back to the same artists – Colleen, Nick Drake, Bembeya Jazz National. I love David Lang’s work (especially his Little Match Girl Passion).
Any current project you’re unveiling/wrapping up?
I am currently finishing up an album project with Galina Juritz, Swiss guitarist Beat Keller and German harp player Antonia Ravens, which is coming out probably early next year on Kit Records (titled Like the Grass). It’s coming out on vinyl with the first half an excerpt of a live concert we did in Basel last year and the second half a bunch of remixes of the live gig. There are gonna be some amazing producers contributing and I am super excited about that project.
I am playing at The Spier Jazz & Classical Encounters Festival in Stellenbosch on 23 November 2019 with my ensemble The Night Light Collective. That is going to be in collaboration with Reza Khota, Brydon Bolton and Matthijs van Dijk.
What: Mick Raubenheimer Round Corners
Who: Musician Cara Stacey The Night Collective