This issue of Office.Playlist is presented by:
Wolfgang KosWolfgang Kos, cultural historian, radio producer until 2003 (Musicbox, Popmuseum, Diagonal), Director of the Wien Museum since 2003.
A musical landscape for the office: that makes me think mainly of an inner feeling of well-being, similar to colours, moods and accessories as factors in the ambience of everyday office life. Something unobtrusive, with a pleasant flow, as a contribution to the emotional environment. It shouldn't be irritating; it should have character and not just be an acoustic screensaver. Some pieces are almost ornamental, such as Baaba Mal's West African music of infinite rhythm loops. There also songs that convey an edgy individuality as well as a familiar homeland of sound. For example, the existential and somehow unsettling voice of Chris Whitley, embedded in a laid-back feel. Or Gil Scott-Heron, a pioneer of poetry & rap & politics, whose play with language, despite its urgent intensity, still gives a sense of inner peace.
Pop music today: almost never purely contemporary or completely new. It typically refers to something familiar that was invented decades ago, such as soul, R&B, funk, Britpop or rap. Sometimes old and new flow harmoniously into each other, and sometimes they stand in stark contrast – like in the closing piece, an ancient, wonderfully cajoling classic with a suggestive refrain that unexpectedly spills into today’s hectic pace, but with great respect for the original song.
Yet I am not just thinking about the inner world in the office; I am also thinking about the constant influx of stimuli from all around us. It doesn’t always have to be calendar images of waterfalls.
Artwork: Kleiderhaus Verena in der Wiener Laxenburgerstraße, 1998
Copyright: Wien Museum / Trude Lukacsek