Reviews

Retromania (book review)

When hell is full the dead will dance on your iPhone. Or: Data overrun, buffer overflow. A few thoughts about the obsolescence of the future and Simon Reynolds’ “Retromania”.

by lfo demon

Should I write a review of last year’s book? Simon Reynolds is still holding lectures on “Retromania”. And to be honest, the book is too good to let it pass by unnoticed (1). It holds many continuative thoughts about the state of (pop) culture. Nevertheless, its subject doesn’t stop at its reception. Just one year later, the book appears to be derived from another era with its long explanation on the iPod. iPod? Do we still discuss this today? It seems to be as out dated as talking about Windows 95 (2).

The writing style is catered to a bigger audience. “Retromania” is easy to read with its personalized anecdotes. The parts about theory are small excursus in footnotes. I got the impression that Reynolds read a lot during his studies, but didn´t continue this in his last books. He does refer to certain classic titles from Freud, Derrida, Spengler (p.170), but those excursus stay more or less rudimentary. Here, theory is like coffee table chat where certain names are dropped like dress codes. Been there, done that. But I won´t be too harsh because the approach is cleary journalistic and not oriented to a scientific standard. And I´m also wondering if it is possible to abstract broader insights from the described phenomenon.

The answers to the question of”why” stay vague, and so do the concepts. [Read more →]

“Fight for Freedom” – The legend of the “other”Germany (book review)

“Fight for Freedom”
The legend of the “other”Germany.
extended book review by Christoph Fringeli


“But, at the same stage of the war which led many people into emotional outbursts to the detriment of their reason, I never renounced what I regarded as my duty towards the other Germany, the real Germany. (…) Nazism represented the enemy within. Hitler had to be defeated so that Germany might live.” Willy Brandt: In Exile, p. 100f.

Willy Brandt, who served as Mayor of West Berlin and then German Chancellor, voiced here an idea that was widespread both among German exiles, and prominent in both West and East Germany: The Nazis didn’t represent the “real” Germany, but were oppressors of the German people. This view was particularly widespread in different sections of the Left.

On another end of the left spectrum, the Stalinists’ definition was “Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism” (Dimitroff, 1935). This obviously implied that the German people were the first victims of a conspiracy of evil forces.
This “definition”, athough it is actualy more of a propaganda slogan, denies the rather obvious fact that National Socialism in Germany was a genuine mass movement. The “socialist” element in its ideology is deemed pure demagogy.

Both views, the social democratic and the Stalinist, are merely examples of a broad front of similar opinions which permeated the German exile community, and became a prevalent force in the post war years, when they helped re-integrate Nazis into different post war societies. [Read more →]

West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California (Book Review)

“West of Eden:
Communes and Utopia in Northern California”
(PM Press, 2012):
A book review by Nemeton

PM Press was founded in 2007 by Ramsey Kannan, who also founded AK Press in 1987 in Stirling, UK, along with several other members from AK including Craig O’Hara. PM Press is located in Oakland, CA and AK Press now is also primarily operating out of a large warehouse in Oakland, as well as maintaining a continued presence in the UK. Both publishers print numerous books on the same topics including anarchism, globalization, direct action, class struggle, the environment, subculture, and many more. In 2012, PM Press has already published over 100 titles in various formats (books, pamphlets, tshirts, dvds, cds, etc). PM Press has published some books in English translation that were not available before such as “Fire and Flames” by Geronimo about the history of autonomist movement in West Germany in the 1970s to 1990. [Read more →]

Dub in Babylon (book review)

Christopher Partridge –
Dub In Babylon (Equinox)
reviewed by John Eden

The subtitle is “Understanding the evolution and significance of dub reggae in Jamaica and Britain from King Tubby to Post-Punk”. Which is right up my street. This is an academic book, but it manages to avoid the worst excesses of post-modern jargon and so should be readable to most. The first couple of chapters deal briefly with the history of Rastafari and dub and are OK, not exactly exciting if you have ever read a book on the subject before. Partridge writes well and quotes from a gratifyingly diverse set of sources which suggests he’s put the work in.
The pace then picks up as we move onto an examination of “Sound-system Culture and Jamaican Dub in the UK”. [Read more →]

Datacide 12 record reviews by Nemeton

Ritalin War Dance / Neurosis Orchestra – SPB12020
The a-side is two tracks by Ritalin War Dance (Robert Schirmer and Martin Maischein aka Goner aka Heinrich at Hart). A2 Eye Flys resonates with a mixture of dub and experimental noises and distortion that creates an impressive dark feeling. The b-side by Neurosis Orchestra opens with Lucid Dreams that is dominated by dark guitar riffs and dub influenced doom ambiences. B2 Trap is the beat oriented track (140 bpm) with an enticing groove, distorted synth lines interlaced with some heavy bass. All the tracks, including a1 Hypertonic Solutions, are a physical journey of beats and moody ambiences that demonstrate thoughtful and well developed structures. Recommended! [Read more →]

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