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Low Culture Podcast 16: AGF On East German Rock Group Silly

This month for Low Culture and Sound & Vision subscribers, John Doran and Richard Foster talk to Antye Greie, aka AGF, about her teenage love for Eastbloc 90s rockers Silly

While Luke Turner is away in East London, pounding his keyboard into a splintered scree of metal and plastic, the finishing line of his next book in plain sight, this month’s Low Culture Podcast is brought to you by hirsute and cheese-focused Quietus co-pilot John Doran.

This month the presentation duties are shared more than equally by expat-Lancastrian renaissance man, Richard Foster. Richard travelled over from his home base in Rotterdam, where he is one of the people behind that fair city’s radical arts hub WORM, to join John in Utrecht for the Le Guess Who? weekend.

On day two of the festival a series of nationwide emergency COVID measures were announced, altering everyone’s plans as a curfew was declared shutting down most restaurants, clubs and concert halls after 8pm, not to mention causing the complete cancellation of the world’s largest record fair. LGW? however dealt with the situation superbly, rearranging their schedules at the drop of a hat, working through the nights to make sure seats were put into venues and as many of the shows as possible were crammed into daytime slots, and acts such as anti-patriarchal Moroccan punks Taqbir, Nurse With Wound list heroes Aksak Maboul and Kenyan, Ghanaian, Japanese dancehall, breaks and grindcore collab Scotch Rolex, really brought the late afternoon party vibes.

Taking a leaf out of LGW?’s book, instead of packing up and going home we carried on with our plans to record a couple of Low Culture podcasts in accordance to the new emergency rules, completing one in John’s monastic hostel cell and another on a festive Dutch tug (but more on that in a future article).

Our guest this month is Antye Greie who performs politically charged electronic music under the name AGF. Antye was born in communist East Germany and now lives in Finland, where she helped found a collective known as Hai Art in Hailuoto. She is a sound artist, poet and member of the support community and promotional platform for female-identifying electronic musicians Female:Pressure. She has collaborated with a notable list of artists including Eliane Radigue, Gudrun Gut, Kaffe Matthews, Vladislav Delay and Craig Armstrong. She describes her work in audio, succinctly, as inhabiting "an augmented space where pounding [Berlin] experimental after-techno, spoken word, abstract video art, feminism and radical ecology create a self-sustaining environment".

Perhaps more than any other guest we’ve talked to over the last year and a half, Antye really went to town with the idea of Low Culture. She picked the band Silly who, despite being pretty much unheard of in the UK, were one of the GDR’s biggest rock groups of the 1980s. She talks brilliantly about what it meant to be in the fan club of a big group when growing up in a socialist country, before going on to describe in nuanced terms her firsthand experience of communism and how she feels about younger Western artists calling for a Marxist revolution. There is time also to talk about the shadowy and gigantic Frontex border agency and how we in the West talk about ‘Eastbloc’ culture not to mention several fond recollections of the anarchic experience of watching Faust play live.

This responsibly produced and socially distanced podcast was recorded by Alannah Chance in accordance with the latest COVID-19 guidelines in the Netherlands.

To listen to The Quietus’ new Low Culture podcast, you’ll need to become a subscriber and sign up to the Low Culture or Sound & Vision tiers. You can find out more about why we’re introducing the subs and all the amazing perks you can get here and join via the checkout below.

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