Dinos Chapman, creature of the night
Iconoclastic visual artist Dinos Chapman has struck out alone to make an album in his basement
Tue Jun 11 2013
Original Goya etchings painted over with grotesque clown heads. Mannequins of children with penises for noses. A vast, excruciatingly detailed vision of a Nazi-run hell. These are the sort of happy-go-lucky artworks that Jake and Dinos Chapman are known for. The shocking brothers turned taste on its head during the Britart boom of the '90s. And, while they're still terrorising the art establishment, Dinos has also found time for a solo project - a debut album, 'Luftbobler', made in the basement of his Spitalfields house.
As you might expect from someone who keeps an original Hitler canvas in his recording studio (albeit turned to face the wall), Chapman's LP is a provocative statement - an anxious avant-techno adventure that owes a debt both to Eno and to Eastern European fairy tales. It's dark and restless - like Chapman himself, whose eyes are shadowed by insomnia. 'I didn't sleep at all last night,' he admits while picking through the basement clutter.
'It feels naughty,' he says of making music in the middle of the night. But Chapman also recognises that, in London, he's not alone in filling a makeshift creative space with Midi controllers and drum pads.
'I hid in my basement and made what I wanted to make regardless of what was going on at street level. It turns out a lot of other people are doing exactly the same... I think really we've done away with that virtuosity thing that was keeping everybody in their place.'
Kylie in Dinosworld
Pop hegemony makes an appearance on 'Luftbobler' in the form of Kylie Minogue, whose sampled voice Chapman distorts almost beyond recognition. The pop pixie is one of a few lurking presences in Dinosworld - where normal things always point to scarier possibilities. The tracks are 'a bit sculptural', he says in the tone of someone more used to musing obscurely about art. 'They don't exist as sounds so much as things that present themselves as sound but allude to something else.'
And what about what the werewolf-like creature on the album cover? What does his presence allude to? 'It's death, impending death. Pop music is there to allow you to pretend it's not there, for a bit. I'm just reminding people, you can dance but you're still going to die.'