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Bobby Conn

Bobby Conn is a singer, songwriter, and performance artist based in Chicago, IL. He comes from the Chicago no-wave and performance scene of the nineties, but developed a reputation for extravagant-excessive performances, satirical-political texts and experimental, soul-based art rock.

His studio albums include "Bobby Conn" (1997), "Rise Up!" (1998), "The Golden Age" (2001), "The Homeland" (2004), "King for a Day" (2007), "Macaroni" (2012), as well as various singles, collaborations and compilations. He works with his partner and violinist Monica BouBou, the DJ and sound designer Adam "DJ LeDeuce" Greuel, his long-time rhythm group Jim "Dallas" Cooper and Josh Johannpeter, as well as other musicians from the Chicago classical, jazz and improvisational scene. With Monica BouBou he often appears as a minimalist electro duo with backing tracks. He and DJ LeDeuce have a weekly radio show called "Post Modern Talking" on WLPN 105.5 FM Chicago (streaming on www.lumpenradio.com (!)). His latest album "Recovery" will be released on March 20, 2020 on Wallpaper Records. Conn insisted on writing an introduction to it himself:

 

Is there any point in talking about recovery if we've never really been healthy? I started working on this album four years ago. I had in mind the obsession with which Americans are concerned with issues such as self-help, self-sufficiency, and self-empowerment - all just a cruel and cheap substitute for charity and mutual help. This principle will only ever reward those who have enough money to help themselves, and everyone else will be punished for allegedly not trying hard enough. Then a new president was elected - and since then, culture and business have only been about one thing, namely bringing our more powerful, daring, purebred times back to life. Some of my friends became seriously ill, others died or committed suicide, and all of my fears have become a reality. But don't worry - the music on this record doesn't sound depressing.

As always, I've thrown art rock and soul into a blender for the past fifty years and put it on full throttle. When I wrote the pieces, 10cc, J Dilla, Liaisons Dangeroux [1], Jean Claude Vannier, Anna Meredith, Slade, D’Angelo and so on were my constant companions. But you'll probably find that out for yourself while listening. The music on this album is the result of a close collaboration with my partner Monica BouBou (violin and vocals) and our superband, consisting of Josh Johannpeter (drums), Jim "Dallas" Cooper (bass), Billie Howard (keyboards and strings), Devon Davis (guitar) and the sound artist DJ LeDeuce. The recordings took place in the basement of a house over several months. The synthesizer genius Felix Kubin gets a guest appearance in the piece “Brother”, and the whole thing was mixed up wonderfully by Tobias Levin and Hannes Plattmeier in Hamburg.

Here are a few comments on the individual pieces:

Recovery: A never ending journey and addiction at the same time.
Disposable future: Amazing new technologies are giving us endless choices, using devices beyond our control. Is that really what we dreamed of?
Good Old Days: The nostalgic feelings for the lies of old white men will cost us all our lives.
No grownups: From the perspective of a teenager, trapped in a world where all adults are self-deceiving, irresponsible narcissists in hideous clothes.
Brother: It is very easy to turn a blind eye to the suffering we face every day.
On The Nose: Grandfather's racism in a new guise - as a provocative rebellion for the Internet generation.
Bijou: An ode to a recently closed gay movie theater in Chicago that was part of the struggle for sexual self-determination
Disaster: When the mob storms the gates and burns the palace down, our masters feel like heroes.
Young Man’s Game: You can't play the same game forever.
Always Already: A nihilistic hymn emerges from a misinterpretation of Derrida, Marx and Foucault. Sorry Lionel Ritchie.

Those words read probably hollow and presumptuous - I guess I could have simply called the album “pointless and superfluous”. But have I ever been clever or tactful? I don't know, and, to be honest: I don't give a shit either. We live in the present, in these times, and I try to cope with it as best I can.