Cyrus Bozorgmehr, The Rabbit Hole (Creative Space, 2013) and other writings (Book Review)

Cyrus Bozorgmehr,
The Rabbit Hole
(Creative Space, 2013)
and other writings at djbroadcast.net

rabbitholecover

Writing about music counter-cultural tendencies that we participate in poses questions about historification that are not easily resolved, but are rather left in a state of perpetual negotiation. Those who choose to undertake the task of critical writing that present counter-narratives to the omnipresence of music industry journalism in print magazines and on a plethora of music websites inevitably make strategic choices about modes of counter-dialogue to engage diverse readerships. In the last few years, there has been a resurgence of artists/musicians/participants who have printed a number of provocative books that we have followed with great interest. The medium of photography and the photo book was used to tell multiple, interconnected stories about free parties in the Paris catacombs in the truly illuminating Paname sans dessus, dessous! published in 2006. In datacide 10, I reviewed the problematics of Pencilbreak: A Graphicore Compilation, which took the strategy of representing music through the visual medium of flyers, posters and album covers. Published in 2011, Sudden Infant: Noise in My Head, The Actionistic Music and Art of Joke Lanz is a fascinating book that operates on multiple levels as a memoir, a photo book, a collaborative self-history and a discography through the inclusion of an interview with Joke Lanz, drawings, photos of performances, manifestos, poetry, concert posters and flyers, texts by collaborators, and a visual discography. Riccardo Balli engaged in a plundering of counter-narrative strategies in his Italian language publication on Milan’s Agenzia X called Apocalypso Disco: La Rave-o-luzione della Post Techno. The excellent book includes interviews with artists such as Christoph Fringeli, Sansculotte, Daniel Erlacher (Widerstand Records), Ralph Brown and others. Several chapters are made up of Balli’s ingeniously amusing counter-histories of interconnected music genres in a fictional plundering of writings of Philip K. Dick and Fulcanelli (first published in English in Datacide). Another book chapter blurs the boundaries completely between fiction and non-fiction in a retelling of some aspects of the Dead By Dawn parties in 1995. Academic writing informed by ethnographic and anthropological methodologies about sub-cultural musical experiences are investigated in the interview with Graham St. John in another book chapter. Most recently this year, there are two engaging examples of mixing the curatorial project of presenting counter-cultural tendencies through exhibitions with that of a companion book. One project was the exhibit and book Berlin Wonderland: The Wild Years Revisited 1990-1996, which featured short personal narrative texts by artists in music, theater and the arts that gave context to photographs grouped together in themes like ‘open doors’, ‘disarmament experts’, ‘wild gangs’ (both which focus on Mutoid Waste Company), etc. Opening on October 1 in Newcastle, Australia is Fistography – Bloody Fist Records – The Exhibition that displays all the label’s releases in chronological order along with ephemera including press clippings, posters, flyers, equipment and photos. This is a truly monumental archival undertaking documenting the years 1993-2004. Simultaneously, an internet radio broadcast out of Hertford featured the BF back catalog. The exhibit is complemented by a show featuring Xylocaine, Hedonist, Epsilon and Mark N spinning BF tunes on Oct 3. Mark N has also published a 300-page book documenting the label’s history titled Fistography: Bloody First Records, Newcastle, Australia, 1994-2004. Critical readers and participants may have these and many other examples in mind when undertaking the ruckus, fictional experience that is The Rabbit Hole.

This is a deeply amusing fictional novel that will no doubt make readers laugh wildly and at the next turn snicker knowingly at the maschinations of a collective that in one summer throws massive renegade soundsystem parties in various locations in and around London. Many readers, including myself, track down this paperback or ebook because it is one of the few fictional narratives about the worldwide teknival movement, and it is written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr aka Sirius, member of Spiral Tribe and SP23. One of the pleasures of reading this book is the constant elision between fiction, personal experience, and (non)-history – the reader may ask herself at any particular moment, ‘Is this a history of a soundsystem crew revealed in a over-the-top, far-fetched retelling, or a narrative slight of hand imagining what could be?’. That inquiry only takes the reader so far since there’s a lot going on in the book. What becomes much more satisfying is the reader’s traversal of the literary play between the comical, the serious, and the caricatured as the crew members’ grapple with the principles that inform their collective actions, deploy strategies of collaborative artistic creation, experiment with the transformative potential of music, deal with the insidious nature of the music industry and commercialism, and negotiate state repression and infiltration. [Read more →]

UK Anti-Fascist Roundup

Extreme right wing groups in Britain have so far failed to capitalise on popular revulsion at the killing of a soldier by presumed Islamists in South London earlier in the year. Lee Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich in May 2013, with his alleged killers then staying around to explain their act to passers by before they were arrested.

The British National Party has been riven by splits, and the anti-Muslim/pro-military English Defence League has been seemingly stagnating. Both clearly hoped that the killing would give them a burst of renewed energy, and indeed a few days later the EDL did manage to turn out at least 1500 people on the streets of Newcastle.

However, the BNP’s proposed march from Woolwich to Lewisham Islamic centre was banned, and went ahead with a small turnout in Whitehall in central London – the area close to Parliament. The EDL were also restricted to Whitehall when they held a protest on May 27th. The EDL’s subsequent attempt to march on East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets on September 7th was also severely restricted, with the police preventing a crowd of between 500 and 700 EDL supporters getting anywhere near their target. [Read more →]

Dance before the Police come

Shut Up and Dance’s 1991 hardcore LP ‘Dance Before the Police Come’ was released at a time when the UK authorities were struggling to contain the massive explosion of raves. Thousands of people each weekend were playing a cat and mouse game with the police to party in fields and warehouses, and if the state was often outwitted by meeting points in motorway service stations and convoys of cars, it tried to keep the lid on the phenomenon by staging high  profile raids. In 1990, for instance, an incredible 836 people were arrested at a Love Decade party in Gildersome near Leeds in the north of England.

Since then the global spread of Electronic Dance Music has generally been  accompanied by the flashing blue light, the siren, and that moment when the music is abruptly turned off and the order given to clear the building. Indeed, let’s face it, the frisson of illegality has sometimes added a pleasurable edge to partying – the thrill of overcoming official obstacles just to get there, of getting one over on the authorities. And even the most mainstream of commercial club promoters like to pose as underground outlaws because they once got told to turn the music down by a man in uniform.

But police raids are serious business – often involving arrests which can lead to imprisonment, people losing their livelihoods and, in some parts of the world, social ostracism. People get injured, beaten and sometimes even killed. This article looks at a sample of police raids in recent times to get a sense of the current state of play between cops and dancers in different parts of the world. [Read more →]

Tortugan tower blocks? Pirate signals from the margins


1. Talented performers belong to the industry long before it displays them

On 16 June 2010 after sixteen years of unlicensed transmission the UK broadcasting regulator OfCom announced that Rinse FM was to be awarded a community radio FM licence. The announcement was enthusiastically reported in the UK press (Rinse FM finally gets the recognition it deserves: Guardian Newspaper UK: 18062010), and received a surprisingly positive response from contributors to the dubstep.co.uk forum.

Rinse’s press release regarding the announcement is low on concrete details but replete with a selection of quotes from gushing music industry ‘supporters’ such as Fergal Sharkey (Director of UK Music) who feels that Rinse has been ‘nurturing the next generation of inner city talent on which our industry and nation is so dependent’, and Guy Moot (President of EMI) who agrees that Rinse ‘feeds into the wider music industry bringing and generating more income’. Rinse echoes these industry comments in its own statement pointing out that they ‘provide a […] grass-roots gateway into broadcast radio and the wider music industry’, while at the same time attempting to reassure its listeners that it will remain in ‘stark contrast to the homogenous radio landscape’. What Rinse either fails to realise or refuses to accept is that it is already part of a homogenised landscape. Rinse’s press release and the accompanying supporting statements demonstrate this, but more interestingly, the texts clearly display the dependence the Culture Industry has on unregulated zones of creativity, and the continued willingness of those involved to capitulate. [Read more →]

Datacide 11 out now – Table of Contents

Datacide Eleven

release date: February 2011. 64 pages.

Datacide events, page 3
Nemeton: Political news, page 4

Features
Christoph Fringeli: Hedonism and Revolution: The Barricade and the Dancefloor, page 6
Stewart Home: Dope smuggling, LSD manufacture, organized crime & the law in 1960s London, page 8
John Eden: Shaking the Foundations: Reggae soundsystem meets ‘Big Ben British values’ downtown, page 12
Alexis Wolton: Tortugan tower blocks? Pirate signals from the margins, page 16
Neil Transpontine: Dance before the police come, page 21
Christoph Fringeli: From Subculture to Hegemony: Transversal Strategies of the New Right in Neofolk and Industrial, page 24
Christoph Fringeli: Appendix to “From Subculture to Hegemony”: Metapolitical Strategies of the Nouvelle Droite, page 26
Christoph Fringeli: Appendix to “From Subculture to Hegemony”: Ernst Jünger’s “Waldgang”, page 27
Nemeton: From Conspiracy Theories to Attempted Assassinations: The American Radical Right and the Rise of the Tea Party Movement, page 28
R. C.: How to start with the subject. Notes on Burroughs and the ‘combination of all forms of struggle’, page 37

Fiction
Riccardo Balli: Sonic Fictions, page 40
Dan Hekate: Digital Disease, page 45
Howard Slater: Infra-Noir. 23 Untitled Poems, page 46
Matthew Fuller: Office Work, page 48

Record Reviews, page 52
Matthew Fuller and Steve Goodman: Beat Blasted Planet. An interview with Steve Goodman on ‘Sonic Warfare’, page 58
Terra Audio: “Free Parties”, page 60
Gorki Plubakter: “This is the end… the official ending”, page 61

The Lives and TImes of Bloor Schleppy (11), page 62
Charts, page 63

With 64 pages, this is the biggest issue of datacide yet!

Available now for EUR 4.00 incl. postage – order now by sending this amount via paypal to praxis(at)c8.com, or send EUR 10 for 3 issues (note that currently only issues 10 and 11 are available), but you can also pre-order future issues.

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