WTF Is “Marxist Chillwave”?

May 9, 2014 | Andy Cush

On May 27, the London Contemporary Music Festival will host an event called “Marxist Chillwave,” which, well, let’s just take a moment to let that sink in. What could it possibly mean? Neon Indian covering Gang of Four? A Friedrich Engels reading set to sidechained Fleetwood Mac samples? Stereolab?

Once you get past the trollbait name, however (taken from ANIMAL-contributor Michelle Lhooq’s piece on the post-Seapunk Tumblr aesthetic “vaporwave,” perhaps?), “Marxist Chillwave” sounds like a pretty good concert. The lineup pairs Richard Wagner, titan of late romantic music, with modernists like Luigi Nono and Cornelius Cardew, as well as an appearance by Fatima Al Quadiri, our generation’s greatest composer of politically-charged post-apocalyptic video game music.

All are pulled under the umbrella of Marxism, which, given Wagner’s rampant and well-documented anti-semitism, feels a bit odd. The great composer’s music, I might add — full of blaring horns, martial rhythms, and murky, dissonant harmonies — is decidedly not chill.

Get tickets here.