NOT YOUR WORLD MUSIC: Noise in South East Asia

Ever since I first met Cedrik Fermont (C-Drik, Kirdec, Syrphe etc.) back in 2008 when Amek brought him to Sofia I’ve known about his dedication and determination to come up with a book dedicated to the experimental / noise scene of South East Asia. Through the years he’s been constantly updating his followers on the progress of this project by populating data bases with artists and labels, digging up or promoting obscure old and new records from this region while of course relentlessly touring the region. For most of the people these parts of the world will always be enshrouded in mystery simply because they are not necessarily a low cost flight away from them, let’s say. However, what Cedrik Fermont and co-author Dimitri della Faille (Szkieve, Hushush) have managed to do with this book is not only shed some light on all that’s happening in the noise and experimental scenes of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam by documenting certain groups of artists, label owners and promoters, but share a big phase of their very personal processes of researching, exploring and preserving an art world that they are both obviously very passionate about.

And as anything music-related this work wouldn’t be that imersive without a sonic representation of everything discussed in it. Below is a stream of the accompanying compilation (now sold out on CD, but available for download), which puts words into sounds as noise and music should always do.

Why is this book on DIY conspiracy you’d ask? First, because accessing different scenes and cultures is a process intelligent human beings should be naturally interested in. Secondly, the whole project is totally DIY. With the physical edition of the book and compilation being crowd-funded and everything else (digital edition of the book and full compilation stream) being completely free for everybody. This makes Fermont and Faille’s work a documentation and research of a completely different type. No institutions have funded this, no publishing houses will profit from an art movement, which has never been about profit, and basically everybody can access this information in the blink of an eye. This whole project is as much as a work of art as the art itself depicted in it. The art to research, to dig deep, to encounter, explore and thus become passionate about just like the authors seemingly are.

This passion is deeply rooted in the whole book. Not Your World Music is definitely not a sterile academic work, but a very personal documentation of a realm, which the authors have been exploring for years. The book is very carefully examining its subject from all aspects, which interest the authors. The scenes are dissected from a technological, financial, geographical, political and sociological point of view. Fermont and Faille carefully inspect the creative or artistic specifics of the discussed scenes with the same passion they try to depict, for example, gender-based trends and issues. All this not without mentioning the roots of noise and experimental music, outlining their own background and development, which makes the book not only a good and detailed read for those already familiar and interested in these art fields and scenes, but for newcomers as well. This book will surely become a reason for future interactions between artists, labels and promoters from all around the globe, it will open new discussions and what’s most important it has the potential to inspire creative people from other regions, considered exotic, distant or actually economically troubled to create and manifest their work to the world.

Get your copy from NOT YOUR WORLD MUSIC: Noise in South East Asia here. Links for free downloads in .pdf are also available so don’t miss exploring the very interesting and actually quite vast world of South East Asian noise, experimental music and sound art.

Angel S.

Freelance journalist and full-time copywriter from hell. Playing ambient & drone music as Mytrip, teaching Sound Art, booking shows with For The Kids & Amek Collective. Always in for a cup of coffee.