Monday, July 21, 2014

rave afterlife

Nathan Jones writes about the rave-inspired-art exhibition E-Vapor-8, showing at the Site Gallery in Sheffield until August 17th, picking up on its themes of nostalgia-for-something-you-never-lived through  and the spectral persistence in popular memory of cultural peaks long since passed.


"It features a series of haunted works opening onto the “death of rave” -- and what that death means, when it happened, and if it is still happening, are the most interesting questions provoked by a visit. 

"The notion of cultural 'Afterlife' enters the fray as surely and convincingly as a sweaty-metallic-render 3D blade drifting though green wireframe. Afterlife is a zeitgeist topic – Transmediale’s Afterglow theme explored an afterward of an already exploded digital scene; Mark Fisher’s term ‘Hauntology’ connected Derridian theory to underground music/artists like Al Qadiri and Maria Minerva; and the recent New Death exhibition at FACT featured works such as Jon Rafman’s installation, depicting an indecent internet-accelerated-libido as a kind of end-of-the-world-is-now scenario....

"[Curator Francesca] Gavin's insistance that the exhibition ‘examines the utopian ideas surrounding rave before its failure’, seems to ignore what the artists in the show might consider the actual moment of rave's failure....   it would be nice to have a chance to review the impact of a novel like Irvine Welsh's Maribou Stalk Nightmares on this generation, or reflect on how current novelists such as Tao Lin use prose style to echo the afterlife of re-illusioned rave and drug culture.

"The best works in E-Vapour-8 exist as echoes a UK club culture with more ambiguous relations to capitalism and politics than the radical and resistant Acid House rave. The void left by the hedonistic lifestyle is a simulacrum in a work like Faramawy's, for the void left in our lives by the death of the hope of capitalism, and our continued afterlife within it - like a club we're forced to keep revisiting even though it's too expensive the DJs are shit and people keep getting shot."


Thursday, July 10, 2014

retroquotes #76

retro-quotes: a series of germane remarks, by others, plucked from all over the place, and from all over the time - #76

"The thing I find strangest and most unsettling about getting older is the sheer weight of memory - unwanted, everyday, melancholic, heavy, strange, like limescale on a filament" - Nina Power, 2014.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

hauntology parish newsletter (July) - Woodbines & Spiders



Talked about for ages, finally reached fruition -  Woodbines & Spiders is a collaboration between Ian Hodgson (Moon Wiring Club) and Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle).

Excellent as you'd imagine, hewing mostly to the "musty fragments" side of the H-spectrum (think Roj,  Sketches and Spells Focus Group, or indeed some of MWC's danker, more disassembled swatches of atmosphere)

Listen  to and watch "Visitation" here, and  check out this audio-sampler "profusely spliced" from the album

Collage is the M/O - indeed the phrase "woodbines and spiders" is not unlike a terribly,  even terminally, English take on Lautreamont's "as beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella" (itself appropriated by Nurse With Wound).


The concept, though, seems to be real estate meets ruin porn - with W&S as agents specialising in houses with perturbing atmospheres and sitting tenants from other planes.







                                      

Thursday, July 3, 2014

this was tomorrow # ∞ - EMS and Fylkingen

"I myself wrote a manifesto... saying that Fylkingen should only play electronic music in the future, and totally leave the instrumental part of new music. Well, everything was very black and white at that time, and we had other organisations for new music here, so we thought they should take of that. There was a sense in Fylkingen that this was the future; and instrumental music was made and composed and listened to for totally other purposes than electronic music. We wanted to make a clean start"
       - Jan Morthenson, quoted in "Utopian Workshop", Frances Morgan's feature in the current issue of The Wire about Sweden's Elektronmusickstudion (EMS) and parent organisation Fylkingen.

Fascinating article, celebrating EMS's 50th birthday. I was familiar with quite a bit of the text-sound stuff created and released under the auspices of  EMS/Fylkingen, but not with the huge range of electro-acoustic and experimental music associated with the place. Nor was I aware that it was still such an active stronghold: on the one hand, a literally working museum (in the sense that contemporary musicians go there to use the strictly speaking outmoded but functioning machines of various developmental stages in the studio's history), on the other a laboratory for making new sound-generating set-ups or modifying older technology.

A good EMS sampler can be found on YouTube here