What is the sound of modernism?
We invited three music professionals into the world of modernism and in return received three distinct musical reflections on the Modern life! exhibition and its themes.
Timo Kaukolampi, Maria Veitola and Matti Nives each compiled a playlist based on the exhibition. Take a listen before or after the show, or bring your headphones and dive into modern life through the playlists while discovering the exhibition.
The playlists have been compiled in collaboration with Radio Helsinki. In order to access the playlists, you will need the Spotify application and a playback device to support it.
Musician, producer and DJ Timo Kaukolampi
Finns are made of wood, metal, concrete, wool, Koskenkorva, coffee, bits and know-how. “We are forest monkeys from the land of eskimos”, yet this does not stop us from dreaming, from planning, nor from making art – on the contrary. Our mind is pure and free of influence. We aim to be urban beings, although we crawled out of a muddy pit just a moment ago and we have the soul of elves. My grandparents were smut-faced peasants and here we are now, touring the world enlightening people on what is stylish and beautiful for the eyes and ears. We are pure and innocent.
I compiled a playlist of Finnish music in a fitting collision of jovial experimentalism and a gullible, transcendental worship of aesthetics.
I hope you enjoy these tunes!
Radio Helsinki’s Content Director Maria Veitola
I hate explanations. To put simply: this is a playlist inspired by the exhibition that I want to share with you. The exhibition and the selection of tracks trigger certain thoughts and feelings in my head. In your head, they may trigger the same thoughts and feelings, or something completely different. In any case, have a listen and let your thoughts wander. That’s the best and most important thing.
DJ, producer and music journalist Matti Nives
“The modern man is always outside the mainstream.” These were the words of (Finnish cult musician) M.A. Numminen, and I have yet to come across a more accurate and encouraging definition of modernism. I like Numminen’s phrasing particularly for its sense of encouragement.
A modern thinker is bound to be in some kind of contradiction with his or her time. This calls for boldness, but also decisiveness. “People don’t like it now, but they will”, said the free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler in the 60s, touching the core of the same thinking.
Modernism requires faith, openness, empathy and idealism. What is not yet possible is fantasy, but can soon enough turn into reality – as long as we strive to go forward. The Modern life! exhibition shows concrete examples of a thinking that was way ahead of its time. Viljo Revell never saw the completed outcome of his design for the City Hall of Toronto, but the building was fit to depict sci-fi utopias later on. Luckily the spirit of modernism outlives its physical moderators.
Modern music was a shelter of progressiveness regardless of when and where it was made. The music listener of the 2010s is faced with an enticing sea of music and is free to shovel all the pearls from Spotify through free associations. The borders of eras blur and the next generation sounds, at its best, nothing like the previous, even if it is based on the same forward-looking ideology.
History carries valuable information on the makings of something new. It inspires us to look forward, to live a Modern Life.