On 9th November, Witte de With presents the performance Sacred Selections by Matt Stokes, a pipe organ recital featuring experimental transcriptions of underground music. Preceding the performance, the artist will be in conversation with director Nicolaus Schafhausen.

Since 2005, Matt Stokes has organized a series of experimental organ recitals of underground music. Entitled Sacred Selections, it comprises a selection of musical pieces from extreme genres, such as Northern Soul, Happy Hardcore and Black Metal.

The church organ may seem an unusual instrument for the performances of such music, but is an instrument that has always played an important role in rituals of worship. Stokes sees a parallel with the music he presents, which also brings together groups of dedicated followers. By using the church organ, Stokes brings together both ends of the spectrum.

Stokes worked close together with professional organ players on the transcription of these contemporary pieces. Several approaches had to be explored to translate the essence of these different musical styles to the organ as well as possible.

In Rotterdam, the music will be performed by Hayo Boerema (St Laurens’ Church, Rotterdam) and Wim
Hazeu (St Agnes’ Church, The Hague).

Capturing the irregular and emotional singing of Northern Soul, the 160 b.p.m of Happy Hardcore and the raw energy of Black Metal all require different solutions, sometimes driving the organ to extremes of its capabilities.

Stokes? work focuses on underground music and the different scenes it springs from. He approaches these musical genres from an anthropological point of view, meticulously investigating (and sometimes appropriating) the diverse aspects that give a subculture its identity. This is translated into paraphernalia, documentaries or remakes of objects that play a substantial part in that scene. However, Stokes is always careful to avoid nostalgia.

In the exhibition Street: behind the cliché (on view until 19th November in Witte de With), Stokes' film Long After Tonight 2005 is presented. This film was inspired by the Northern Soul movement, a phenomenon of the 60?s and 70's in northern England. Northern Soul is based upon American Soul music, but with an up-beat tempo. Long After Tonight was shot at Saint Salvador's church in Dundee (Scotland), one of the places in which Northern Soul has its roots.

Artist's Talk: Matt Stokes

In conversation with Nicolaus Schafhausen
Location: Witte de With's auditorium
Start: 7:30 p.m.
Entrance: Free of charge

Sacred Selections, performance by Matt Stokes

Location: St. Laurens church, Grotekerkplein 15, Rotterdam
Start: 9 p.m.
Music performed by Hayo Boerema (St Laurens’ Church, Rotterdam) and Wim Hazeu (St Agnes’ Church, The Hague).
Entrance to the performance is €3,50, or free on presentation of an admission ticket for Street: behind the cliché. A ticket for the performance also gives free entrance to the exhibition.