Onset and upbeat to a comprehensive history of Le Placard (1998 — )

aka Har$
12 min readNov 8, 2021

Freely improvised and non-academic electroacoustic music {as}[by] urban folk[s] ~ part 5

from: Emergence at the frontiers and in fringes & trenches of contemporary music

Thinking of one of the first of many Placard events to which I contributed as a performer (the 24 hour Sound Injury Placard that started on the 21st of June 2003), brings back the memory of a very early morning twilight view up from the street, the rue de Belleville in Paris’s 20th arrondissement, to the brightly lit open windows of the Parisian apartment on the building’s second floor that hosted the event. It was the day of the summer solstice. That first day of summer, is also that of the Fête de la Musique, a ‘World Make Music Day’ that currently is celebrated almost all over the world. In Paris the tradition was initiated, in 1982. The apartment was packed with boys and girls, most of them relatively young adults, moving about, leaning out, sipping beers, smoking, ... They seemed to be having a party up there. A party, yes, but the party seemed without music. It was a party without sound. We stood and looked up, for minutes at a stretch. And we really could not hear a thing. Then a glass came tumbling down and fell to smithereens on the pavement’s stones. The short high crackling sound of breaking glass briefly echoed across the street, like an explosion. Then all faded back into silence…

What was to become the ‘International Headphone Festival’ Le Placard kicked off a bit over twenty years ago in the fall of 1998, also in the Belleville neighbourhood, with 72 hours of musique sans ascenseur (‘music without elevator’) on the sixth floor of 25, boulevard de la Villette, in the chambre de bonne that at the time was home to Erik Minkkinen. [A chambre de bonne is a former ‘maid’s room’, usually on the attic floor of a Parisian building. Nowadays, with fewer maids employed in the more popular quarters of the French capital, what used tp be chambres de bonne very often have been transformed into single room self-contained miniature flats (including kitchenette, shower, toilets) that are not much bigger than a relatively spacious cupboard. In French a cupboard is called a placard.]

aka Har$

is Harold Schellinx, a writer, artist, scientist living, working & roaming Amsterdam & elsewhere (harsmedia.com).