One of the reasons you do not want to miss Dia De Los Muertos this Monday at the Farm is Noema.
Coming from Berlin where he holds a highly successful residency at the famous Zur Wilden Renate club, David Benjamin is a prolific musician, DJ, producer and a "gardener" cultivating his four major projects, namely The Magic Movement, 360° Lifestyle, Magic Jams, and a series of regional Shakedowns (African and Brazilian).
David's career as Noema stems from his early age discovery of music that is "local from out there", non-Western traditional forms; and grows through the idea of re-processing it within the technical templates of cutting-edge electronica. Recreating and making remote, often inscrutable ethno more accessible and digestible in the West, Noema fulfills his other grand artistic aspiration: to refresh and enliven the household genres otherwise stagnating in their robotic 4/4 beat structure with little, if any, melodic development.
Multi-instrumentalist and sound-engineer, Noema's studio setup also includes new communication technologies. They are indispensable in his method. His way of making music would not be possible without the Internet. What renders his output always so new, unusual, diverse and impressive is a relatively easy access to the sources of indigenous rhythms and native melodies, of which Noema is an ardent explorer. His findings mean a lot to him. When integrated into his pieces, these are the elements that move Noema and quite naturally he takes his production a step further – to move others shaking the dancefloors around the world.
Playing new music, especially to the audience that is too general and inert in its tastes, is always somewhat of a challenge for any original artist, but Noema has an organic way of handling such difficult situations. Aside from his main field, he is fond of theater with all its props. Theater is a part of his performance, part of who Noema is. Intentionally absurd costumes, grotesque masks, purposefully comic gestures... Visually exciting as such, on stage they also serve as his alibi: "Theater liberates me. When I wear this kind of outfit, people think: who is that lunatic! Makes it easy to get away with anything I play. Ah, this guy! Whatever. He is crazy anyway."
Noema's idiosyncratic creativity and his peculiar attitude toward the club scene in general is informed by the philosophy of Butoh, Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of techniques and motivations for performance. Its most common features include playful imagery, taboo topics, extreme or preposterous environments. David's acquaintance with this philosophy and firsthand familiarity with its practice dates back to his collaboration with a Butoh master at the outset of his artistic career.
He has learned that Butoh performance is never an action based on a conscious decision, but a blind response to internal or external forces that be, directly experienced or imagined. In Butoh, you do not move, you are being moved – your body and mind. You are doing something you've never done before and without a bit trying to make it right or elegant. It just happens to you. You are open for whatever outcome and it's all that matters. When Noema explains his approach in terms of "creating possibilities and exploring opportunities", he means precisely Butoh as the generative frame for much of his recordings, performances and, perhaps, his life off-stage.
He is often being Butoh itself, an external motivator, advising his fellow artists and not missing the point at that: "Do your own thing. Be particular. Believe in what you do. Expect to be ridiculed. It applies to any art. You do it because you feel you absolutely have to do it. Not because you don't want to do something else. As a real artist, you have no such choice. What's new? What do you have to say? Say it and say it in your voice..."
Noema offers some Butoh to his audience, too: "Just go and dance. Be yourself. Be free."
And this is the precept our ears are open to with our bodies eagerly to follow at Dia De Los Muertos. Nothing like dancing Butoh with the dead...