I started my career as a photographer and designer and was inspired by in those formative years by the art movement known as Dada. To the disdain of my tutors, it influenced my approach to art and music. I loved the the humour and irreverence of artists such as Marcel Duchamp. Unfortunately, I was eventually kicked out of art school (No mean feat in those days) for my wholehearted adoption of Dada principles.
For those of you who are not up to speed, Dada or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century. Many claim Dada began in Zurich, Switzerland in 1916, spreading to Berlin shortly thereafter. Dada was born out of negative reaction to the horrors of World War I. This international movement was begun by a group of artist and poets associated with the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Dada rejected reason and logic, prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition. Dada was not confined to the visual and literary arts; its influence reached into sound and music. Kurt Schwitters developed what he called sound poems, while Francis Picabia and Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes composed Dada music performed at the Festival Dada in Paris on 26 May 1920. Other composers such as Erwin Schulhoff, Hans Heusser and Albert Savinio all wrote Dada music, while members of Les Six collaborated with members of the Dada movement and had their works performed at Dada gatherings.
I’ve put together a music mix which attempts to capture the essence of Dadaism. It includes music from a range of musicians, some relatively modern, some from the early part of the 20th century. Listening to some of the early works it is strange to think how controversial they were at the time. Nevertheless this mix is not “easy listening”, you will need to check your preconceptions at the door and dive into a strange ocean of sound. You can acess the mix at: http://www.mixcloud.com/tony-todd/dada/