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Tag Archives: critique

Red Days

The publishers blurb…

Challenges the conventional narratives about English popular music and
the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s

“The passion, intensity and complexity of the popular music produced in
England between 1965-75 is the work of an extraordinary generation of
working class and lower middle class men and women (in alliance with a
handful of middle-class men and women) who saw in the new music the
remaking of something bigger than themselves, or more precisely,
something bigger than themselves that they could guide and shape and
call their own. In this the ?use-values? of popular music underwent an
unprecedented expansion and diversity during this period. Red Days
presents how music and action, music and discourse, experienced a
profound re-functioning as definitions of the popular unmoored
themselves from the condescending judgements of post-1950s high culture
and the sentiment of the old popular culture and the musicologically
conformist rock ?n? roll seeking to displace it. The remaking of the
popular between 1965-1975, accordingly, is more than a revision of
popular taste, it is, rather, the demolition of old cultural allegiances
and habits, as forces inside and outside of music shattered the
assumption of popular music as the home for passive adolescent
identifications.”

Bio: John Roberts is Professor of Art & Aesthetics at the University of
Wolverhampton. He is the author of a number of books, including /The
Necessity of Errors/ (2010), /Photography and Its Violations/ (2014),
/Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde/ (2015), /Thoughts on an Index
Not Freely Given/ (2016) and /The Reasoning of Unreason: Universalism,
Capitalism and Disenlightenment/ (2018).

PDF available freely online: http://www.minorcompositions.info/?p=981

Ordering Information: Available direct from Minor Compositions now for
the special price of £ 10 + £2 P+P.

Minor Compositions is a series of interventions
& provocations drawing from autonomous politics,
avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of everyday life.

http://www.minorcompositions.info

Last night I heard this singer on Radio 6 on Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone programme.

Lingua Ignota is a classically trained singer who, after as that in life as a Catholic chorister, got into noise music. But now is bringing all her experience together in an album about her experience of domestic abuse. She’s really thought about the issue, and speaks articulately about its many facets, but the tracks of her latest album are all about communicating the pure pain, and lasting trauma that it leaves in the victim. Somehow noise music plus her complex overtone singing seem perfect for representing trauma, Still, its not easy to listen to!

https://linguaignota.bandcamp.com

“CALIGULA, the new album by LINGUA IGNOTA plunges into the ocean with the visionary force of the 12th century mystic who inspired it”

“The unsayable, the unspeakable, the traumatic repressed has become, over the last two years, and perhaps more than any other contemporary artist, the theme and keynote of Kristin Hayter’s music.”

from Robert Barry’s review in the Quietus

I’m wary of the way people like Diamanda Galás appeal to the political right, with the allure of unhinged violence that has parted company with any restrain or moral compass.  But hearing Kristin talk about how this was based on her own experience of being abused at the hands of a widely admired member of the left community she lived in, you have to consider that this is an art version of the screams that must accompany any expression of the experience of extremes of abuse suffered by anyone. I do believe that far-right people have actually experienced harsh cruelty, usually when they are young, that disconnects them from human empathy in a way that exceeds that of everyday oppressors.

Her intense pain is like that that must drive other people to commit suicide, and or plotting to harm others. Lily-livered people like myself really find it scary but that’s the point I suppose.

Skepta is now top of the tree and his Konnichiwa album has protest songs (so says the BBC). But how long can you sing songs about being held by cops; when you are a slick hitmaker? The glamour, the people, the money, the need for minders that surround you… the busy schedule that steals your day away …. he may have got there by a DIY route and kept control late in the day. Will he be able to keep it real when its all red carpets and feigning models. I mean Puffy Daddy has run his own businesses for many years; there comes a point when DIY ceases to mean much. It was cute that just before his album started the Time Out rolled up this house and found it used as a storage place for his business. but even then he wasn’t sticking stamps on himself like wot real DIY publishing means.

How long is he gonna rap “The feds wanna shift man / Wanna put me in a van / Wanna strip a man / I ain’t a Chippendale / Wanna strip a male / Put me in a prison cell / Got me biting on my finger nails.” with any conviction?

The analysis will have to get more political, more theoretical, more abstracted from his personal situation. And probably threatening to his own pro feet ability…

Can integrity survive success? Can a radical message survive institutionalisation or being framed on corporate media?

But for now Ok this Tottenham boy wants people to ‘shed preconceptions’ that’s not bad thing. I’m reading Mike Hales book on ‘Thinkwork’ from 1980 and he had this idea of ‘pre conceptualism’ and it set me thinking about whether cultural works can reach out into that pre-idea stage of thinking. There’s a hope music or art might be able to get past the normalisation of our thinking as it enters onto cultural or intellectual platforms… But to do that it would have use very undercapitalised platform, autonomous underground venues, collectively run shows, illegal shebeens maybe, but not a gallery. How is it done? How is it done?

 

for more thoughts in this vein see my now FREE ebook…

This blog is to signpost news of agit disco related events and stories that come to my attention though daily media. It does not mean that I agree with he viewpoints offered. Obviously the BBC World Service tends to have a ‘benign’ paternalistic imperialism behind what it does and does not say.

I find the story of the ‘Halal Rappers’ interesting because it shows a flexible and adaptive approach to making culture rather than one that is hidebound by convention.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02v4y97

or try YouTube direct: https://youtu.be/4JMbqSZ42so?list=PLQesuWE5KRGxpSrOD251uO1WhBlgXcDbr

On another side of another coin are the Russian rappers which might be seen as a détournement of local racism by rapping pro Putin!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30153955  or

https://youtu.be/6AqE_yT1XuM

Another one of a Vietnamese rapper living in USA doing agit disco stuff:

BBC blurb “Son Nguyen A.K.A. ‘Nah’, a young Vietnamese rapper studying in the United States, has launched a scathing criticism of Vietnam’s Communist Party. ”   https://youtu.be/8SNESJQ4at4?list=PLQesuWE5KRGxpSrOD251uO1WhBlgXcDbr

The world is full of contradictory tactics.  Am I serving imperialism by lazily picking up on BBseize establishment voice? Maybe… I’d appreciate hearing of more direct sources!?

As a working-class artist, growing up in north London, he realised that “my lyrics were my only power”. The music business was corrupt and he decided to take them on with his LP ‘Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround Part 1’.

Tuesday 27 November on BBC Radio 4’s Mastertapes at 1530 GMT

Pete Townshend gives the inaugural John Peel Lecture and makes a very good point that gets reported around the world about how exploitative of musicians iTunes is. Meanwhile Apple has so much money stashed away it doesn’t seem to know what to do with it… Take a tip from Pete.

Guardian

BBC iPlayer

Rolling Stone

Spider seen attempting to enter Tate Britain. February 2007.
Spider at Tate Britain
 
Mark Wallinger’s recreation of Brain Haw’s one man protest in Parliament Square disturbed me.

Its as if the last 50 years of understanding how meaning depends on context has evaporated in the heat of the new global warming enterprise opportunity. Wallinger has suberb skills as a postmodern artist/artisan. This is how the work can be appreciated from a trad art POV. Awe in the face of the skill of its (re)construction.

But what is also happening is that a spectacular copy of revolt is being made that disposses us of the immediacy of revolt. That replaces revolt by its ideal virtualised facsimile reframed by the state. The illusion is that if the sovereigns Blair and Bush  can be sacrificed in the Tate Britain, with no disturbance to the state, then what can our own pettily resourced efforts achieve… Its is a wind up to the desperate to resort to violence, it is the parallel symptom of systemmic feigned indifference, that causes the teenagers to shoot it out. It is a vacination against the possibility of an epidemic of working class creativity.

But maybe Wallinger has put all future rights to the work of art in the estate of the family of Brian Haw. Or something that undermines these commodity effects and can throw this gripe back in my face. I hope so.

Anyway in contrast I found to my suprise the nearby bronze works of the Chapman Brothers, ‘When Humans Walked the Earth’ to be more radical and subversive in their classicbronze casings. I hadn’t been mad about their work in the past finding it often unpalatably extreme for the sake of shock for the sake of attention seeking. This seems to have matured, but the radical and visual analysis seems to have sharpened.

http://www.parliament-square.org.uk/

http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/chapman/default.shtm