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Selector Catalogue/Heartworm Split 7” – Massive Support 1

January 13th, 2009

This new label out of the U.S. is a collaborative effort between Slowleak records San Francisco and the from the gut crew Detroit. Each 7” will feature artists from the Bay Area and Michigan respectively. ‘My Microwave’ by Selector Catalogue from Ann Arbor, MI opens the 7” series off right with a pounding breakcore track. Heartworm of 5lowershop Soundsystem, SF contributes ‘camate (audio cannibal mix)’ – a track without limits veering from noise intro to hyper-edited beats to hip-hop inspired interludes to violin samples and back again in a frenetic style. Massive Support 2 will feature Split Horizon and DJ Crackhouse.

ALL WAS MUSIC. On Walter Marchetti.

January 3rd, 2009

Walter Marchetti on the cover of the CD "De musicorum infelicitate" (Alga Marghen, 2000)

Walter Marchetti on the cover of the CD “De musicorum infelicitate” (Alga Marghen, 2000)

“…naturally music had surrounded me ever since infancy as an unquestionable and indisputable element of life, but nothing had impelled me to distinguish it from the rest of my experience”

(Franz Kafka: Investigations Of A Dog)

1. Shadowing Conceptual Art and Fluxus, Walter Marchetti is perhaps one of those many involutionary figures who have stealthily stepped only at the edges of an institutional recognition. Having been at Darmstadt in the mid 50s and with John Cage during his 1959 sojourn in Italy, Marchetti embarked upon an exploration of music that began with composing for small acoustic ensembles in a way that, using space as a rhythm, allowed for a clash of timbres and an acoustic diffusion of sound to become prominent. The concert at the Rotunda del Pelligrini, where his music was played alongside that of Juan Hidalgo, John Cage, Morton Feldman and Leopoldo La Rosa, marks a brief moment of conjunction between [Read more →]

Submission Soundtracking

January 3rd, 2009

Electronica as a scene has coagulated primarily as a media concern – in that the media itself needed to bolster it’s role as both a guidebook for ‘innovation’ and a touchstone for transmitting the codes of each particular scene. However, electronica’s distinction is that it sometimes exists as a catch-all for everything else that isn’t drawn into one of the other dedicated genre scenes within the electronic and dance music milieu, fluctuating in that what departs from electronica is often transmogrified into its own micro-scene (cf post rock, Berlin minimalism,…) whilst the core of electronica itself can never be pinned to any particular rules of thumb regarding sounds, instrumentation, structure, etc. However, the compressing and packaging of electronica as a scene easily rivals its constructed polar opposites for it’s sheer predictability and softened ‘subversion’. In fact, the hyperconformism exhibited by sects such as the ‘crasher kids’ [Read more →]

THE WORLD MADE FLESH

January 3rd, 2009

In Peckham a new city has been born. An arched bank of metal on struts covering a shallow stretched flight of steps for gospel singers and pissheads to air themselves on holds off the sky, turns it into barometric colour readings via floodlights, broken. An all slabs and no benches piazza; then the twin homes of the new heartland. Peckham Pulse, a sport and fitness centre and on the other side, the Library and Information Centre.

Libraries in South London are gothic barns with shambolic towers and crumbling steps dished out by Victorian philanthropists like Carnegie and Tate, working class men made good, making good. The new Peckham library is different, this minute’s last word in civic architecture [Read more →]

WAS MARX A POSTMODERNIST?

January 3rd, 2009

Comedy After Postmodernism: rereading comedy from Edward Lear to Charles Willeford by Kirby Olson (Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock 2001).

Walter Benjamin: overpowering conformism by Esther Leslie (Pluto Press, London 2000).

Due to the differing perspectives of their authors, Leslie’s book on Benjamin which is written from an explicitly Marxist perspective, can be read very productively alongside and against Olson’s avowedly anti-Marxist text on comedy. Both writers combine political and aesthetic positions that would be viewed by many as incompatible. Olson is in many way an old-fashioned liberal with vague anarchist leanings who is attempting to retrench the ways in which the humanities have traditionally been taught by adapting the theories of the post-68 French left figures Deleuze and Lyotard to somewhat unlikely ends. Leslie is an activist in the British Socialist Workers Party who hopes to reclaim Benjamin not just for Marxism, but quite explicitly for Trotskyism too. While Leslie correctly identifies certain similarities between Benjamin’s and Trotsky’s aesthetic positions – a state of affairs that is not entirely surprising to anyone familiar with Trotsky’s writings on art and literature – she certainly faces an uphill struggle if she hopes to make Benjamin a respected figure among the SWP rank-and-file.

Leslie has to defend Benjamin on a number of fronts, both from those who would rewrite him into philosophy, postmodernism and/or cultural studies, and others who claim there are similarities between his thought and that of German revolutionary conservatives (i.e. the strand of German fascism that disdained the Nazi Party as being too plebeian for its aristocratic tastes). Likewise, Leslie sharply criticises the cult that has grown up around Benjamin including the inappropriate use of his image [Read more →]

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