Articles

Invincible Tedium – On the Lyrics of Tony Wakeford

From the booklet 'The Unconquered Sun'. London: Sol Books, 1989

From the booklet ‘The Unconquered Sun’. London: Sol Books, 1989

When this travelling correspondent examined, as she habitually does, the bargain basement boxes of a second hand CD and record shop in the English seaside town where she sought refuge from a heatwave designed to punish mankind for its sins, she came across Sol Veritas Lux, a CD containing the first two LPs by a band called Sol Invictus. As she had read about this outfit (in datacide, but chiefly on the web pages of Who Makes the Nazis)1 but had never actually heard their music she thought it not excessive to invest one (currently, though, very expensive) pound Sterling on some enlightenment in this murky area. The bandleader of the (in spite of the Latin name) very English ‘Invincible Sun’ is Tony Wakeford,2 a man who has asserted in numerous interviews and statements that he is not (anymore) a member of a fascist party (he had at a time been a member of the National Front) without ever, though, being very clear about why not. (I mention this because people leave parties or other rackets either because they have a change of heart about the ideas, ideals, goals, values involved, or because they find the respective party or racket fails to serve these ideas well enough. In the absence of any substantive evidence suggesting otherwise, it has to be assumed Wakeford’s is the second case: in various interviews with fanzines that are available on the internet he only ever makes comments that imply a critique of how the fascist party he was in operated, but nothing substantive concerning fascism as such.)3 ‘Sol Veritas Lux’ consists of ‘Against the Modern World’, the 1988 debut album of Sol Invictus and a follow up live album originally released shortly thereafter, ‘In the Jaws of the Serpent’,4 containing some of the same and some other songs.

The most prominent characteristic of this album is its [Read more →]

Vinyl Meltdown: Side B

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Part 1 in Datacide 13 set out the dialectical character of noise, arguing that distribution media can be used to amplify a disciplining or intensifying function, and that for those attempting to create spaces of possibility media becomes an important site of struggle. Here, part 2 looks closer at the move from tangible to intangible sound objects, and the tension between engagement and pacification.

The strange loop
In 1999 it was rumoured that more turntables were sold than guitars (Collins; 2003). True or not, the turntable was by this point an acknowledged performance tool and for decades had been an important part of sound system culture. 1999 was also the year that Napster launched as a crude software tool that allowed peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing of digital copies of MP3s. MP3 compressed audio files making it possible to move them around electronic networks easily. MP3 compression was a standard developed by and for the culture industry, and together with the transmission potential of the internet and advances in digital audio recording, it appeared to enable a ‘democratisation’ of the means for distribution. The possibilities for the distribution of audio were emphasised by those interested in self-organising at the time. As Douglas Kellner and Steven Best pointed out in an essay written in the late 90s: [Read more →]

Datacide 14 Record Reviews by Nemeton

Ontal: Combat Engineering (Overdraw 01)
The newest release from the Serbian duo of Boris Noiz and Darko Dekode is completely storming and definitely matches our hopes since following Ontal’s music and mixes with great interest for some time. It is great to hear this on vinyl. A1 Combat Engineering is a searing, ruthless, grinding track with hard-hitting beats and industrial noise; A2 is a remix by Tomohiko Sagae, whose mixes are superb. B1 Lithosphere is a gritty, pounding abstract tune, and B2 ends it hard with Taphonomy. Definitely recommended!

Eschaton: (Token 38)
This is the first release that brings together Ancient Methods and Orphx. The tracks have been kicking around online in mixes and such for quite some time, so it was great to see the vinyl release finally come out in January 2014. Eschaton played live for the first time at Berghain in mid September 2014. We are huge fans of Ancient Method’s grinding, industrial techno, and we were greatly impacted by Orphx’s early releases on Hands like Vita Mediativa and Fragmentation on Malignant, but are less interested by Orphx’s more straight style of techno production of the last years. A1 Age of Iron is a solid techno track with a nice groove and full-blown bass; A2 Degenerate is a more subdued sound, with a slower and slightly off kilter tempo. B2 Seven Signs is the most abstract with expansive reverb, interesting clips, clinks, and other metallic sounds, which lead up to the dance oriented crescendo. This release has a lot of [Read more →]

Uganda: Anti-Homosexuality Bill update

Within a few months of the last Datacide going to press, the Anti-Homosexuality (AH) Bill was passed into law by the Ugandan government. In that issue, the article Confessions of an Accidental Activist cited a senior government insider suggesting that the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, was using the bill as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the ‘international community’ (i.e. Western donor nations). He could use his control over the AH Bill as part of international negotiations on economic and geopolitical issues, such as control of oil revenues, regional conflict and the security of his tenure. At the same time, expressing support for the Bill domestically would help secure fundamentalist-religious voting blocs ahead of the 2016 elections, which will mark 30 years of rule by Museveni’s National Resistance Movement. The president will thereby be seen to be standing on a platform of ‘traditional African values’ opposed to the decadent, domineering Western imperialists who are forcing homosexuality on Africans under the guise of human rights. The rabid homophobia rhetorically subsumed under these ‘African values’ is, ironically, an import from the US evangelist movement, whose influence on the population of Uganda is perhaps as significant as that of the Western donors.

Here was a skilful post-colonial balancing act for the president: appearing internationally as the guardian of order over an intolerant and fractious society, while pandering domestically to the most cynical demagogues of that same society. So, many were surprised that Museveni had finally tipped the balance and allowed the Bill to pass into law. How had the president achieved this without alienating the liberal donors? [Read more →]

Datacide 14 Editorial

Welcome to the latest issue of Datacide, again a bumper issue full of varied contributions spanning different aspects of counter-cultural intervention and analysis of the intersections of noise and politics, technology and subversion, music and literature. This is also the first issue with a colour cover and contains specially commissioned illustrations to a number of articles. The interaction of visual artists, writers, musicians and theoreticians in print (and e.g. on records), to us, offers unique possibilities. Therefore we do not intend to join those who in recent months and years have given up on the print aspect of their publications and have migrated to an online only presence.

This exposes them to the danger of disappearing into a rapidly changing internet where the previously assumed ‘flat’ hierarchies have given way to largely corporate controlled and government surveilled data exchanges that are increasingly organised around steep hierarchies. ‘Social media’ was seen (by some) as the ‘death of the underground’, where finally everybody was taking part in one big sharing community. In reality a vast user-generated spectacle was created.

This spectacle doesn’t demand passive acceptance anymore, on the contrary it demands constant participation and availability; nevertheless it marks the irresponsible sovereignty of the auto- cratic reign of the market economy. It feasts on the free time of its ‘participants’, collecting data in order to market itself, presenting itself as a vast ultra-accessible reality that cannot be questioned, only liked. It remains ideology materialised.

This confronts the critic with some problems. Not because s/he is not allowed to critique, but s/he is in danger of losing a meaningful context, an audience that is willing to engage in real discussion. Complex arguments are often seen as an impertinence, looking back at history as useless nostalgia. We cannot allow this to deter us and we insist on digging out moments of revolt, as we know past and future to be interlinked. Ideology critique has a revolutionary content. Music and writing is about making things happen.

Of course we use the available technologies as much as possible, but maintain that the hundreds of hours of work that is condensed in the issue that you hold in your hands creates something special and powerful.

One problem to maintain and expand these activities (for more see p.72) is of an economic nature. The reason we can print this issue is thanks to the fundraising parties and as such thanks to the many musicians and helpers who made these possible and successful; and not so much due to sales, let alone subscriptions. So if you want to support Datacide and radical independent publishing, please take out a subscription (see info on p.26), or if you are interested in selling copies, get in touch via datacide[at]c8.com. The same applies if you are interested in hosting a Datacide event in your area.

This issue is dedicated to the memory of two good friends and contributors to the magazine who died in the course of the last year. Boris Domalain, aka Saoulaterre, aka Gorki Plubakter, and Paul Kidd, aka Nomex.

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