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Tag Archives: politics

“Northampton-based rapper Slowthai caused the biggest stir by performing with a dummy of Boris Johnson’s severed head, which he held aloft as he performed Doorman, a track about wealth disparity in modern Britain. … he explained the song, like the rest of his album, aimed to give a voice to “the people from small communities that have been forgotten about”.

“It’s time to let people in,” he said.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49754224

I’ll start by saying that I am an ideal reader for this book – its like it was written for me. Whether it’s down to my teenage empathy with country blues, record collecting, the hi-fi enthusiasm, the field recording fetish, or the suburban childhood. I’ve read some William Burroughs, idolised Brion Gysin and heard Bob Cobbings perform concrete poetry in a small room in London. Then there was the work of Pierre Schaeffer and R. Murray Schafer that I was in awe of at a distance.

The obsession with the ‘authentic’ black solo blues musicians from the first half of the C20th was a huge part of my UK early Sixties Mod culture and through people like John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers, it led to the volcanic rise of British R&B that proceeded to world dominance. The old blues singers got almost nothing – perhaps a European tour if they were the later generation and in good health. I saw Sonny Boy Williams 2nd close up in a pub in Chertsey c 1965. 

This book provides a critical analysis of what was going on with that. Simplistic conclusions there are not. Relief! My own rationalisation of our blues obsession is based on my British history, which is not Seth’s in this book. Mine was that British working class culture was wiped out in certain aspirational sections of the population, to the point at which many of our families stopped singing, and into that terrible void, blues expressed something deeply felt but un-articulated by bodies such as the Labour Party, about cultural oppression. I’m not saying there was an equivalence or anything. And it does beg the questions of the crass exploitation of the labour of those bluesman. (even if they got to cut a disc of their song, they might have been the lucky few as Kunzru points out… young American Negros were being regularly forced into labour and arbitrarily killed during the period in question.)

And of course folk and blues songs were passed around and changed before the rise of printed music copyright laws. So it seems fine for Kunzru to mix lyrics from the rebel versions of songs such as the classic John Henry;

“John Henry told his captain,

A man ain’t nothing but a man.

Before I’d let you beat me down,

I’d die with the hammer in my hand.”

Or Jim Jacksons recording of:

‘I’m Gonna Start Me A Graveyard Of My Own’ 1927

“This song is at least as old as 1900; Billy Cheatham, who is not known to have recorded, was performing it live in that year. If the 1930 census was right, Jim was 24 years old in 1900.” Brazilian Atlantis from comments. 

The background is heartless profiteering – capitalism. Transmorgrified from brazen slavery and forced labour into industrial scale incarceration.  The children of those slave/bourgeois prison owners choose between a heartless existence as family firm executives or to ‘rebel’ as whimsical artists on a parental leash – here shown as without much talent.

Kunzru’s insight into the  discordance of inter-class dialogue is unnerving. The picture of how powerful are the forces that appear out of the social ether if you take a path of non-compliance dramatises something that is usually only inchoately felt. The class analysis is incisive in instances such as the way the captains of industry use the legal system to produce seamless class separation, And to deadly effect!.

I gave up writing this review at this stage, after going on Goodreads I realised there is no chance of anyone reading it at this stage with over 1000 other reviews! But in case your wondering I’m recommending this book its serious literature mind, its gets tough, the language goes through some choppy waters, but that is all in the cause of wringing a deeper truth from the subject matter. This book is about my experience.

Abdurehim Heyit

May his music not be forgotten!!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdurehim_Heyit

depthsofhell

1979 album cover

Podcast here

 Late but great Agit Disco ‘playlist’?!

Alan Dein writes: “Aleksander Kulisiewicz spent six years in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, imprisoned soon after the Nazi invasion and their attempted destruction of Poland. In the camp he found a unique role both as a composer and living tape recorder of the world of the unfree and the damned. Blessed with a photographic memory, prisoners, many of whom knew they were to be killed, would ask him to remember their songs. Songs of resistance and defiance, songs of love and home, songs that captured the brutality of life and death in the camps. He would also write 50 of his own songs. Performances would take place in secret, at night, away from the eyes of the SS. Kulisiewicz survived a death march at the war’s end and recovered to become the foremost chronicler, in song, of the world of the Concentration Camps. He would obsessively document memories and songs until the end of his life in 1982. In the 1960s he became an unlikely attraction in festivals of folk song for youth rebelling against the silence of their parents generation. Strumming his guitar liberated from Sachsenhausen, performing in his camp uniform, Kulisiewicz would sing his songs from the depths of hell.”

 

 

 

The history of post-war popular music has been closely associated with concerns for social justice. It is not only that particular ideals (equality, community, rights, an end to oppression and discrimination) have animated the public sphere; it is also that those ideals have – whether we look at blues, gospel, world music, punk or hip-hop, for instance – been central in many music genres.”

#btmconf

http://www.balancingthemix.com/

The conference will be at University of Memphis on the 30 March 2019

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-44999599/georgia-s-rave-revolution

a 15 minute video by Ed Ram.

Georgia’s rave revolution.

In May this year, riot police raided the country’s most popular nightclubs prompting thousands of young Georgians to rave in the streets in protest.

But the events also revealed an undercurrent – a clash between liberal youth and conservative far-right groups.

‘Opportunity Costs’ spotty playlist created by Death, Sex and Money

Anna Sale host of an NPR Podcast called ‘Sex, Death and Money’ invited podcast listeners to contribute to this playlist.

 

The x5 ‘Opportunity Costs’ podcasts. in which people talk about their feeling about their class, can be found here:   https://www.wnycstudios.org/shows/deathsexmoney/episodes

Thanks to Sherry Linkon of

for this intelligence.

noda tsutomu is the ele-king editor who made the Japanese edition of Agit Disco happen. This playlist is first published on ele-king columns: http://www.ele-king.net/columns/006153/

noda has written this ‘basic’ playlist “to explain what is agit disco to our young readers”!

01. Billie Holiday And Her Orchestra ‎– “Strange Fruit” (1939)
02. John Coltrane – “Alabam” (1963)
03. Bob Dylan – “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” (1963)
04. Nina Simone – “Mississippi. Goddamn” (1964)
05. Sam Cooke ‎– “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964)
06. Aretha Franklin – “Respect” (1967)
07. James Brown – “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” (1968)
08. The Beatles‎– “I’m so tired” (1968)
09. ジャックス – “ラブ・ジェネレーション” (1968)
10. Sly & The Family Stone ‎– “Stand!” (1969)
11. The Plastic Ono Band ‎– “Give Peace A Chance” (1969)
12. Curtis Mayfield – “Move On Up” (1970)
13. Gil Scott-Heron – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (1970)
14. Jimi Hendrix – “Machine Gun” (1971)
15. The Last Poets ‎– “This Is Madness” (1971)
16. Timmy Thomas ‎– “Why Can’t We Live Together ” (1972)
17. Funkadelic ‎– “America Eats Its Young” (1972)
18. 友部正人 – “乾杯” (1972)
19. Sun Ra ‎– “Space Is The Place” (1973)
20. Bob Marley & The Wailers ‎– “Rat Race” (1976)
21. Fẹla And Afrika 70 ‎– “Sorrow Tears And Blood” (1977)
22. Sex Pistols ‎– “God Save The Queen” (1977)
23. Steel Pulse ‎– Ku Klux Klan (1978)
24. The Slits ‎– “Newtown” (1979)
25. Joy Division ‎– “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)
26. The Pop Group ‎– “How Much Longer” (1980)
27. The Specials – “Ghost Town” (1981)
28. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five ‎– “The Message” (1982)
29. Time Zone Featuring John Lydon & Afrika Bambaataa ‎– “World Destruction” (1984)
30. The Smiths ‎– “Meat Is Murder ” (1985)
31. Public Enemy ‎– “Rebel Without A Pause” (1987)
32. じゃがたら – “ゴーグル、それをしろ” (1987)
33. N.W.A _ “Fuck Tha Police” (1989)
34. Mute Beat – “ダブ・イン・ザ・フォグ” (1988)
35. RCサクセション – 『カバーズ』 (1988)
36. Fingers Inc. ‎– “Can You Feel It (Spoken Word: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) ” (1988)
37. Underground Resistance ‎– “Riot” (1991)
38. Sonic Youth- “Youth Against Fascism” (1992)
39. Bikini Kill ‎– “Rebel Girl” (1993)
40. Goldie ‎– “Inner City Life” (1994)
41. Autechre ‎– 「Anti EP」 (1994)
42. Radio Boy ‎– 『The Mechanics Of Destruction』 (2001)
43. Wilco – “Ashes of American Flags” (2002)
44. Outkast – “War” (2003)
45. Radiohead – “2 + 2 = 5” (2003)
46. ECD – “言うこと聴くよな奴らじゃないぞ” (2003)
47. ゆらゆら帝国 – “ソフトに死んでいる” (2005)
48. Digital Mystikz ‎– “Anti War Dub” (2006)
49. 七尾旅人 – airplane (2007)
50. Kendrick Lamar ‎–Alright (2015)
次. Beyoncé ‎– Formation (2016)

Noda writes about item 35: “RCサクセション was  like The KLF or Sex pistols or John Lennon, a little bit, that’s band leader, his name is Kiyoshiro Imawano is very famous here, and he has been anti-establishment singer in the j-pop field.
He is very important man for us.
If you [could] understand his lyrics, you’d like him.”

article mentioning Imawano here:

No 49. is ‘Nanao traveller’ a singer songwriter. ‘airplane’ is a track from a three-piece album “911 FANTASIA” which was a response to the 9/11 attacks.

 

This looks like a hip one. Interestingly, it includes a Cornelius Cardew composition. He was a big part of my life and is central to my latest book ‘Improvisation Rites’ . I also learnt new people, like Heiner Goebbels, and I looked up Red Krayola, and listened to them for the first time. The question marks indicate that I don’t know the track because it is in Japanese (Japanese readers can see photos of pages below)

01 ? (2007)

02. Heiner Goebbels/ Alfred 23 Harth – ‘Berlin Q-Damn’ (1981)

Evokes, for me, the horror of Kristallnacht 9-10th November 1938

03 ? (1991)

04 Cornelius Cardew and Scratch Orchestra ‘The Great Learning Paragraph 2’ (1971)

05 Charlie Mingus ‘Orignal Faubus Fables’ (1960)

06 Frederic Rzewski – 36 variations on ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated’. Variation 13 (1975)

I nearly heard this in Athens in 2017 … but lost my iphone in a taxi on the way there. Earlier I had been having a meal with Federic and other members of Documenta 14 in a wonderful cafe in which he was frank in his views. Interesting to hear a US communist!

07 ? (1971)

08 ? (1968)

09 ? (1973)

10 ? (1994)

11 ? (1971)

12 The Red Krayola with Art & Language – ‘Keep All Your Friends’ (1981) from Kangaroo? album

Art & Language are a leading English Conceptual Art group. The Red Krayola experimental US rock band, who remind me of the ethos of the Scratch Orchestra, were formed in 1966 by Mayo Thompson. In 1996 They/he provided the soundtrack for a short film Japan in Paris in L.A.

14 Archie Sheep – ‘Attica Blues’ (1972)

15 Happy End – ‘Turn Things Upside Down’ (1990)

Now here’s an interesting one. This is a Robert Wyatt song done by an English 20+ person left-field political band formed by Mat Fox in the area of London I was squatting in at the time (1983). Their name is taken from the title of a 1929 musical play co-written by Bertolt Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann, with music by Kurt Weill. They played over 150 benefit concerts for miners during 1984 strike. Their last concert was in 2000.

BUT it is also the name, I learn, of a highly influential Japanese band 1969 – 72. Even known as the Japanese Beatles. They are credited with bringing the use of Japanese back into Japanese pop songs (from 2000?). So ‘Happy End’ is quite evocative to Japanese people.

https://youtu.be/I5Uo2UXGNbI

Any Japanese readers who could translate items 01, 03, 07 – 11 please let me know!

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fullsizeoutput_2021

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http://www.ele-king.net/books/006107/

Heavy-Metal! A-side selection by Love Kindstrand

Statecraft’s ‘Bloodshed revolution’ (Video blocked to me) pretty hardcore death metal? Going on other Statecraft tracks…

Firstblood’s ‘Conspiracy’.

“I’ve liked these dudes since I was 13 back in 2003. Damn I was an angry teenager. Their lyrics still ring true to this day though. Especially since I’m now a combat veteran.” Youtube comment

In the first English edition of Agit Disco we didn’t engage with Death Metal genres – did the genre seem too tainted with right-wing style anger? But I do recognise that Metal goes into that war violence and madness scenario that haunts humanity. Some of this stuff is a nightmare (for me) to listen to. But for people who’ve lived through anything from domestic violence, to rape, to gang fear, to actual imperialist warfare, then maybe it’s a mild echo of those realities that we have to find ways of healing from and emerging from.

It has been said that Heavy Metal springs from the echoes of the C20th British ‘Heavy Industries’ merging with rock and roll. It is, for sure, in its roots, a blue collar music. But in its celebration of noise it also relates to bands like ‘Test Department’ and Paul Burwell and Anne Bean’s art orientated Bow Gamelan Ensemble. Finally: One of the main good job options in the area I grew up in, if you weren’t singled out for academic upward mobility, was to become a metal ‘panel beater’.

So anyway, I wonder what ‘Love Kindstrand’ has to say about it? I see ‘First Blood’ are vegan and drug-free… and of course ‘First Blood’ is the title of 1982 Rambo film.

AA-side selection by Koya Suzuki

Noodles girl band  – NO FAN  2013  J-pop?

 

Les Rallizes Dénudés – White Waking (Cable Hogue Soundtrack Version)

Mysterious and fascinating Japanese rock band that formed in 1962 as a musical theatre troupe then became a Velvet Underground like band, with associations with The Japanese Red Army!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Rallizes_Dénudés