Meet the Kyrous



Still from Un honnête homme directed by Ado Kyrou

Just found out that Jahsonic is currently reading Ado Kyrou’s Le surréalisme au cinéma. Readers of my blog will be aware of my penchant for this author. I think it was in Ian Buruma’s Behind the Mask where I read about the distinction being made by the Japanese between their own wet (humane, emotional, intuitive) sensibility and the dry (cold, rational, intellectual) western culture.
Well, Kyrou didn’t shy away from being wet (Incidentally the only translation of Le surréalisme au cinéma I know of is into Japanese).

But today’s post will concentrate on his son Ariel Kyrou, who wrote a book on electronic music, which has been quite a success in France – Techno Rebelle has a very interesting interview with him, conducted by Bernard Mordano, which reveals that his approach to the history of modern music is very much in the tradition of his father’s thought.

When reading Ariel Kyrou’s book … one realizes that the twentieth century’s opposition serious music/ popular music is a great stupidity. The most interesting artists fell between those stools, creating avant-garde art without knowing it.

And so his book is not limiting itself to the genre of techno, but to “the inventiveness which electronic music brought with it”. In this vein it covers everyone from Luigi Russolo, Edgar Varèse and John Cage to Kraftwerk, Lee Perry or Afrika Bambaataa, albeit in a non-linear form reminiscent of hypertexts.

Ariel Kyrou admits an influence by David Toop’s book Ocean of Sound and Marcus Greil’s Lipstick Traces, but thinks that there is a lack on really good writing on the subject of modern music.

The writing about music is divided too often between professors who have the intention to be serious and amateurs who aren’t very rigorous, between the musicologist and the fan, between the graduate and the journalist apprentice(…)

I think it isn’t possible to write about music without assuming ones own subjectivity with a maximum of honesty.

On condition that the subjectivity is grounded on thorough research and the verification of the facts. The interview goes into much more detail, I only add a quote which offers a rare biographical glimpse on the Kyrous.
If you speak French, read the full interview.

BM: Your mother Michelle Kyrou signed a composition along with Pierre Schaeffer, Luc Ferrari and Iannis Xenakis in the beginning of the sixties. Is it her who’s at the origin of your appetite for the exploration of sound?

AK: It’s her and my father. My parents were sort of uprooted, split from their families and cut off from their worlds, respectively Greece and Egypt. We had only little money, but we were rolling in culture, especially popular culture, in science fiction books and Jazz records, crime novels and experimental rock LPs. There was an emphasis on cinema, the passion of my father, on music, which my mother quit for the education of her kids and on surrealist aesthetics, since my father was a member of the post-war surrealist group. He wrote a book, Le surréalisme au cinéma, which is still regarded as a reference book in encyclopedic and iconoclastic subjectivity.

Ariel Kyrou’s last book sounds very interesting, too.

Reality is penetrated, soaked, perfused with images and fictions: But there are good fictions, leaving a place for liberty, favorising openness and interpretations. And there are bad fictions, leaving no choice, imprisoning, impoverishing…
From the blurb of Paranofictions: Traité de savoir vivre dans une réalité de science fiction

The good fictions being very similar to those of paranoids like Philip K. Dick, Kolkoz, Francis Picabia, Ultralab, Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner), les Yes Men, David Cronenberg and J.G. Ballard.

There’s one more Kyrou we should mention here, Ariel’s brother Alex, who founded the Industrial band Vox Populi (as there were many bands with this name he had to rename it Gitanjali recently) in the eighties.
Click here for an interview. 


2 Responses to “Meet the Kyrous”

  1. 1 jahsonic


    If you mail your address I will photocopy the intro and send it to you.


  1. 1 Youtube juxtapoetry « Jahsonic

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