Hot on the heels of the MERZfunder compilation which you can read about here, comes MERZfunder PLUS, a compilation of 23 new songs to further raise money to support and preserve the Schwitters Merz barn in Cumbria. This was where Schwitters made his final Merzbau installation, a sculptural collaged wall, which he worked on in the last years of his life, walking five miles each way from his home in Ambleside to get there.
The MERZfunder PLUS digital download – available for a minimum donation of £3 and embedded above comprises 23 exclusive songs including some that weren’t included on the original MERZfunder compilation and some new submissions following an open call. The download also includes 2 MERZ films and an A3 poster.
digitalDIZZY have again done a superb job curating this compilation which includes over two and a half hours of great grooves, experimental, avante-garde, noise and drone songs. There are so many highlights on this album, it’s difficult to single out individual songs because they’re all so good but my particular favourites are Cousin Silas – A Goldfish of Ill Repute; Akoustik Timbre Frekuency – Tirtha Yatra; Phil Cross & Glenn Tomney – Milkwood Paddler and Societatis Veritate – If not reason, then the devil.
I’m thrilled to have a track of my own included, it’s called Wantee and gets it’s name from when Kurt first moved to London and met his future companion, Edith Thomas:
“He knocked on her door to ask how the boiler worked, and that was that. […] She was 27 – half his age. He called her Wantee, because she was always offering tea.” Gretel Hinrichsen quoted in The Telegraph
Money raised will go towards the rebuilding and shoring up of the Merz barn at Elterwater in the Lake District, which was damaged by one of last winter’s storms.
As one of the originators of the cut-up collage technique, which he applied to sound, poetry and 3D installations in his famous Merzbau projects, Kurt Schwitters inspired countless others to explore their creativity outside the confines of the fine art tradition. Think Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, David Bowie, Lydia Lunch – all gave a nod to Schwitters for setting them on their path.
Kurt Schwitters creativity wasn’t bound by the values of the art world, his work never belonged in galleries. He had built Merz installations inside an ordinary house in Hanover, and when he had to leave them there (there was no place for ‘degenerate’ artists in Nazi Germany), he found somewhere else to make his mark: inside a cold, dark, little barn, buried in the most awe inspiring natural landscape. In the last years of his life, he walked five miles each way through those breathtaking mountains and valleys to get to his wall from Ambleside and make Merz.
The MerzBarn Langdale is under the care of the Littoral Arts Trust, which encourages artists inspired by Schwitters to continue his legacy by working at the site.
The Schwitters Wall was cut out of the barn in 1965 and taken to the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, where it remains part of the permanent display.
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