Entries from January 2015

Paul Sullivan, Remixology: Tracing The Dub Diaspora (Reaktion Books, 2014) (Book Review)

Paul Sullivan,
Remixology: Tracing The Dub Diaspora,
Reaktion Books, 2014

remixology

Apart from the ubiquitous Bob Marley, reggae and its variants were under-represented on bookshelves a decade ago. These days there seems to be a book being published every couple of months. Dub in general and King Tubby specifically have been relatively well catered for by Michael Veal’s heroically detailed Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae (Wesleyan University Press, 2007) and dub’s post-punk variants are examined well in Dub In Babylon (Equinox Publishing, 2010 – reviewed in Datacide 12).

Sullivan’s book begins with the now well-known story of the accidental invention of dub as a mistake in the studio, and its successful implementation as a way for Jamaican soundsystems to keep ahead of their rivals. But after the first few chapters he spreads his net gratifyingly wide to look at how the studio techniques of Lee Perry, King Tubby, Scientist et al (and other JA soundsystem techniques) spread like a virus across the globe. Whilst doing this, he doesn’t shy away from the fact that the music is a product of struggle, that the diaspora is a by-product of colonialism. Nor does he overdo it – the focus is always primarily on the music and the people who make it.

The first stop is London, where Jah Shaka, Lloyd Coxsone and Fatman are given their due as influential soundsystems of the late 70s and 80s. Sullivan recycles the usual sources here (Lloyd Bradley, that NME Soundsystem Splashdown article that I put on uncarved.org) but has also done some great interviews himself, notably with Mad Professor, deejay U Brown and Dennis Bovell. This method is continued throughout the book, with the author’s interviews generally adding new and thought provoking information rather than retreading old ground. The ‘(post-) punky reggae party’ of groups like Killing Joke, The Pop Group and On-U Sound rounds off this section (and is a good read, but obviously not as detailed as Partridge’s Dub In Babylon). [Read more →]

Robert Dellar, Splitting In Two: Mad Pride & Punk Rock Oblivion (Unkant Publishing) (Book Review)

Robert Dellar,
Splitting In Two: Mad Pride & Punk Rock Oblivion
(Unkant Publishing)

Splitting in two

Robert Dellar’s new book is part autobiography, part social history and in places morphs into fiction. It covers both Dellar’s own life via punk rock and the dehumanisation of those deemed clinically insane by the powers that be. While in academia the idea that madness might be the only sane response to capitalist society is often discussed in terms of Deleuze and Guattari’s anti-Oedipal theories, Dellar has a more hands on and activist approach to ‘bad craziness’. At the turn of this millennium, Dellar helped found the Mad Pride movement to fight against the stigmatisation of those labelled as having mental health problems.

Most of Splitting In Two consists of straight-forward accounts of Dellar’s life and his thirty odd years of involvement in the fight for the rights of psychiatric survivors. When the book occasionally blooms into what is obviously fiction, I take this to be Dellar’s way of illustrating how easy it is for anyone to go off their rocker in the sick and insane capitalist society that blights all our lives. The writing is never academic and it is much closer to a punk rock fanzine in tone than the post-modern abstractions of ‘anti-psychiatrists’. There are also quite a few pictures to break up the text. The title of the book and every chapter title is more or less a punk rock song, and the acts thus cited but not named are Alternative TV, The Damned, Sham 69, Annie Anxiety, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Adverts, The Raincoats, Johnny Moped, The Sex Pistols, The Lurkers, The Flies, Zounds, Public Image and The Saints. The musicians Dellar actually writes about because he has a personal involvement with them are generally lesser known but include The Apostles, The Astronauts and Alternative TV (and I’ll stop there although I haven’t got beyond bands whose names begin with ‘a’).
[Read more →]

Genesis P-Orridge, G.P.O. V G.P-O (Primary Information, 2013) (Book Review)

Genesis P-Orridge,
G.P.O. V G.P-O
(Primary Information, 2013)

Genesis_POrridge_GPO

Reprint of a dossier originally published in the mid 1970s. The title is an abbreviation of ‘General Post Office vs Genesis P-Orridge’ – the book concerns a legal case resulting from some of Gen’s mail art being seized by the sinister Post Office Investigation Division in 1975 (i.e. towards the end of Coum Transmissions and just before Throbbing Gristle).

I first read about this in Stewart Home’s Assault On Culture back in the late eighties, but had never seen a copy until now. The format is all reproductions of documentation, with minimal commentary or editorial. The reader must therefore piece together the story from Gen’s written statements to the Post Office and courts, reproductions of the offending postcards (one of which famously featured a photo of bare arse superimposed on an image of Buckingham Palace), media coverage and other correspondence. This is very effective and one does get a sense of how stressful and frustrating it must have been for an impoverished Genesis to be prosecuted for something so ludicrous.

There are interesting guest appearances in the form of letters to and from William Burroughs and Pauline Smith (of the rather stupidly named ‘Adolf Hitler Fan Club’ mail art project) alongside a cast of lawyers and art word dignitaries who are solicited for support. As the trial approaches a lot of fundamental questions are raised – what is the difference between art and pornography? What is indecent? And some more straightforward ones about the nature of mail art and Gen’s method/intent.

Genesis was eventually found guilty of violating the 1953 Post Office Act. The back cover of the book is an advert in which he offers some of the offending (and now infamous due to press coverage) mail art for sale to cover the costs of the fine.

Best of 2014 Chart

Here’s a list of the best tracks and releases of 2014 played out frequently by Datacide contributors!

Best of 2014
(no order)

Various Artists – Memento Mori – Hijos de Puta 0512

Prole Sector N1 – Praxis 52

Bolder – Hostile Environment – Editions Mego 185

Christoph de Babalon – The Haunting Past of Christoph de Babalon, Vol. I – CdB bandcamp

Cindytalk – TouchedRAWKISSEDsour – Handmade Birds 069

Powell – Club Music Remixes A1/A2 by Ancient Methods – Diagonal 16

Dead Fader – Scorched – Small But Hard LP003

Paula Temple – Deathvox – RS1412

Various Artists – Pas d’Erreur – Bruits de Fond 21

Istari Lasterfahrer – Walls Cave in On You – Sozialistischer Plattenbau 12025

Various Artists – Slowly Exploding: 10 Years of Perc Trax – TPTCD006

Oake – Auferstehung – Downwards 64

Amboss – Vision – Praxis 53

Habits of Hate – Electronic Explorations EE:V:003

Franck Vigroux – Centaure – Cosmo Rythmatic CR001EP

Savagen – Practically Educated – Darkfloor 04

Most read Datacide articles of 2014

These are the most read articles on this web site of 2014 – go to 2011, 2012, 2013 for previous years

1. You’re Too Young to Remember the Eighties – Dancing in a Different Time by DJ Controlled Weirdness. This nice piece on the 80’s dance underground in London is from Datacide  10, published in 2008. Not in the top 10 of 2011 it was at number 2 in 2012, and already the most read article last year! Watch out for his new article in Datacide 14 to be posted in the next couple of weeks!

2. Repression and the Riot Situation in Kamagasaki (Osaka) related to G8 Meeting by JR – an online only article from 2008 which was recently linked to from a Thai blog creating a large number of readers.

3. Anti-Semitism from Beyond the Grave – Muslimgauze’s Jihad by Christoph Fringeli. Getting read more and more – and predictably getting the usual flak by fanboys and apologists… Originally from Datacide 9 (2006)

4. Spiral Tribe Interview with Mark Harrison by Neil Transpontine. Essential interview from issue 13, 2013.

5. From Subculture to Hegemony: Transversal Strategies of the New Right in Neofolk and Martial Industrial by Christoph Fringeli from Datacide 11 (2011). This was the most read article in 2011, number 5 in 2012 and number 3 last year.

6. COIL – Interview from 1986 plus Introduction. Classic interview with John Balance – still the most read article on this site, but only just – You’re Too Young to Remember the Eighties is catching up fast!

7. Dope Smuggling, LSD Manufacture, Organised Crime & the Law in 1960s London by Stewart Home from Datacide 11, and in each top 10 since then…

8. Emencified Shrill Out: Nomex at the Controls by John Eden from Datacide 13. We’re deeply saddened by the death of Paul Nomex a few months after this interview was published in Datacide 13.

9. What the Fuck? – Operation Spanner by Jo Burzynska – always in the second half in this chart since 2011, this is the oldest Datacide article here – from Datacide 2, 1997 – with the exception of this year’s number 10:

10. Intelligence Is No Longer On The Side Of Power (Sadie Plant Interview by Matt Fuller, 1995) – Published in Alien Underground 0.1 (the precurser publication to Datacide).

An interesting mixture of old and new, and of course none of the contents of Datacide 14 yet – we are still in the process of posting the contents online.

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