This Is What Happens When Classical Music Meets Gabber

You might actually lose your mind to this new bo en song.

August 20, 2015

bo en is a serious composer whose music makes me giggle. That's a deep-seated reaction, though, not a brushoff. It's laughing in the way of Georges Bataille, who wrote this about reading Nietzsche: "What springs from great books is schizo-laughter or revolutionary joy… Call it the 'comedy of the superhuman,' or the 'clowning of God.' There is always an indescribable joy that springs from great books, even when they speak of ugly, desperate, or terrifying things… You cannot help but laugh when you mix up the codes."

Because literally what could prepare you to process "By the Phone," the London producer's contribution to Maltine Records' ongoing 10-year anniversary celebration. There are gabber drums and a neoclassical harmony for brass and vocals that sound like Animal Collective covering Queen. It makes me want to play it on a hike and obliterate my mind.


In an email introducing the song, bo en explained the thought behind his cut-up: "I love the cross-over points of musical styles, where you can't put your finger on whether that off-beat signifies reggae or something else, whether that bouncy rhythm is hardstyle or whether it's a tarantella or even a gigue? Abstracting different features and signs from multiple points in time and space can give you something that demands to be considered on its own terms rather than fed into a clear-cut cultural identity, which people can easily determine 'Yes, I ought to like this' or 'No, this is not music for someone like me.' The whole thing is a very explicit denouncement of genres as something I 'am' rather than something I 'do'!" Exactly.

This Is What Happens When Classical Music Meets Gabber