When British youth first encountered the term Acid House they misconstrued it. In Chicago, acid came from ‘acid burn’, slang for ripping off someone’s idea (by sampling it). But in Britain, it was assumed that ‘acid’ meant psychedelics. So acid house became the soundtrack to the Ecstasy rave-olution, and another classic example of British youth misrecognising and remotivating a black American music. Hardcore Techno has reversed the drugs/music nexus: after four years of rave culture, the music has evolved into a science of inducing and amplifying the E rush. The vibe has changed (from trance-dance to mental-manic) as Ecstasy has become adulterated with amphetamine, or replaced by pseudo-E concoctions of speed, LSD and God knows what. Chemicals have directly altered the subculture’s metabolism, with the beats per minute (last count: 140-150 bpm) soaring in sync with pulse rates and blood pressure levels.
E and LSD activate the fight or flight sector of the brain. In combination with amphetamine, the result is an edgy exhilaration on the borderline of panic reaction: “are you feeling w-w-w-wobbly???”, Xenophobia’s “The Wobbler” enquires rhetorically. Ardkore is just another form of fin de siecle ‘panic culture’: hence the frequent samples of sirens, the ambuscades of sound, the MC chant “comin’ at ya!”. There’s even a track titled “Start The Panic”. But then in Greek, panic’s original meaning was a transport of ecstasy. Speedy E has changed the whole vibe of rave culture, from celebration to a sort of aggressive euphoria. The urge to merge and the urge to surge fuse in a raging oceanic feeling. Dancers’ faces are contorted with weird expressions midway between a snarl and a smile, or glare with a crazed, blazing impudence.
It’s the most brazenly druggy subculture in eons, even less coded than acieed. Pirate DJs send out a big shout to “all you nutters rushing out of your heads, speedfreaks out there, you know the score” or holler ”yes London town, absolutely flying in the studio, 100 mph”. Are drugs essential to get into this music, as Ardkore’s detractors claim? Well, they certainly help hype your metabolism to the necessary frenetic pitch. But once your nervous system has been re-programmed, you can listen to this stuff ‘on the natural’. On its own, it’ll induce memory rushes, body-flashbacks.
Speed has mutated (some say, perverted) rave music’s development, unbalancing it at both the top and bottom ends of the sound-spectrum. Ardkore is all ultra-shrill treble and bowel-quaking bass. Voices are sped up to a 78 rpm, Pinky & Perky shriek, whether they’re samples of ethereal girls like Kate Bush, Lisa Gerrard, Liz Cocteau or Stevie Nicks, or helium-ised eruptions of black voice. Closer to fireworks than ‘soul’, these vocals have been hurtled beyond expression into the realm of abstract urgency, outside the syntax of desire. Sampled and modulated on a keyboard, they become a barrage of intensities without pretext or context, shudders and shivers that are not so much inhuman as infra-human. Incantations from roots reggae are snatched from their cultural context to become animated hieroglyphs. Ragga chants add a grainy insolence that’s perfect for Ardkore’s ruff and tuff uproar. Dub bass impacts your viscera, its alien metre placed outrageously amid accelerated hip hop breakbeats at twice reggae’s pace. Having ‘swallowed hiphop whole’, Ardkore’s syncopation is a radical break with the programmed machine rhythms of early UK Techno. The electronic side of Techno has degenerated into stray smears of acieed bass, pulsation-loops derived from Joey Beltram’s “Energy Flash” and “Mentasm”, fucked up concatenations of blaring samples, and octave-skipping synth riffs whose function is not melodic but textural. And of course, the sheer speed of their oscillation accentuates the sense of headlong RUSH.
At raves and clubs, or on pirate stations (like Touchdown 94.1 FM, Defection, Pulse, Rush), DJs compact rough and ready chunks of tracks into a relentless but far from seamless inter-textual tapestry of scissions and grafts. It’s a gabbling fucking mess, barely music, but as it swarms out the airwaves to a largely proletarian audience, you know you’re living in the future. ‘Trash’, but I luvvit.
It’s a mistake to appraise Ardkore in terms of individual tracks, because this music only really takes effect as total flow. Its meta-music pulse is closer to electricity than anything else. Ardkore has abandoned the remnants of the verse-chorus structure retained by commercial rave music. At the Castlemorton Common mega-rave in May, MCs chanted “we’ve lost the plot”. Ardcore abolishes narrative: instead of tension/climax/release, it offers a thousand plateaux of crescendo, an endless successions of NOWs. It’s an apocalyptic now, for sure: Ardkore fits only too well the model of terminal culture that Paul Virilio prophesies in The Aesthetics Of Disappearance: “a switch from the extensive time of history to the intensive time of momentariness without history”. This emergent anti-culture of instantaneity will be inhabited by a new breed of schizophrenic subject, whose ego is “made up of a series of little deaths and partial identities”.
No narrative, no destination: Ardkore is an intransitive acceleration, an intensity without object. That’s why the MC patter sounds more appropriate for a rollercoaster than music – “hold tight”, “let’s go”, “hold it down” – and why Techno is all you’ll hear at fairgrounds these days. Does this disappearance of the object of desire, this intransitive intensity, make Ardkore a culture of autistic bliss? Certainly, sex as the central metaphor of dancing seems remoter than ever. Rave dancing doesn’t bump and grind from the hip; it’s abandoned the model of genital sexuality altogether for a kind of polymorphous perverse frenzy. It’s a dance of tics and twitches, jerks and spasms, the agitation of a body broken down into individual components, then re-integrated at the level of the entire dancefloor. Each sub-individual part (a limb, a hand cocked like a pistol) is a cog in a collective desiring machine. Which is why dancers so readily pick up moves from each other. The dancefloor’s like a primal DNA soup. It’s pagan too, this digital Dionysian derangement whose goal is to find asylum in MADNESS. (Hence the slang of “mental” and “nutty”, sound systems with names like Bedlam, groups with names like Lunarci, MCs chanting “off my fucking tree” – pejoratives turned into desirable states of mindlessness).
Once more I ask your attention for Transmetropolitan, because it's one of the best comic book series I have ever read. Although situated in a nearby dark future, it reflects our crooked society in many ways.
The ones who might wonder what a comic can teach you about freedom/society/culture/journalism, might be in for a surprise.
"I have often used the term ”underground”, and twice the term ”second culture”. In conclusion, we should make clear what this is. In Bohemia, the underground is not tied to a definite artistic tendency or style, though in music, for example, it is expressed largely through rock music. The underground is a mental attitude of intellectuals and artists who consciously and critically determine their own stance towards the world in which they live. It is the declaration of a struggle against the establishment, the regime. It is a movement that works chiefly through the various art forms but whose representatives are aware that art is not and ought not to be the final aim of an artist's efforts. The underground is created by people who have understood that within the bounds of legality nothing can be changed, and who no longer even attempt to function within those bounds.
Ed Sanders of the Fugs put it very clearly when he declared a total ”attack on culture”. This attack can be carried out only by people who stand outside the culture. Briefly put, the underground is the activity of artists and intellectuals whose work is unacceptable to the establishment and who, in this state of unacceptability, do not remain passive, but attempt through their work and attitudes to destroy the establishment. Two absolutely necessary characteristics of those who have chosen the underground as their spiritual home are rage and humility. Anyone lacking these qualities will not be able to live in the underground. It is a sad and frequent phenomenon in the West, where, in the early sixties, the idea of the underground was theoretically formulated and established as a movement, that some of those who gained recogmtion and fame in the underground came into contact with official culture (for our purposes, we call it the first culturel, which enthusiastically accepted them and swallowed them up as it accepts and swallows up new cars new fashions or anything else. In Bohemia, the situation is essentially d;fferent and far better than in the West, because we live in an atmosphere of absointe agreement: the first culture doesn't want us and we don't want anything to do with the ffrst culture. This eliminates the temptation that for everyone, even the strongest artist, is the seed of destruction: the desire for recognition, success, the winning of prizes and titles and last but not least, the material security which follows.
In the West many people who, because of their mentality, would perhaps belong among our friends, live in confusion. Here the lines of demarcation have been drawn clearly once and for all. Nothing that we do can possibly please the representat~ves of official culture because it cannot be used to create the impression that everything is in order. For things are not in order.
There has never existed a period in human history which could be considered an exclusively happy one; and genuine artists have always been those who have drawn attention to the fact that things are not in order. This is why one of the highest aims of art has always been the creation of unrest. The aim of the underground here in Bohemia is the creation of a second culture: a culture that will not be dependant on official channels of communication, social recognition, and the hierarchy of values laid down by the establishment; a culture which cannot have the destruction of the establishment as its aim because in doing so, it would drive itself into the establishment's embrace; a culture which helps those who wish to join it to rid themselves of the skepticism which says that nothing can he done and shows them that much can be done when those who make the ciulture desire little for themselves and much for others. This is the only way to live on in dignity through the years that are left to us and to all those who agree with the words of the Taborite chiliast Martin Huska who said: ”A person who keeps the faith is more valuable than any sacrament”.
Ivan Jirous (Plastic People of the Universe), Prague, February, 1975
Another local hero who deserves to be in our spotlight today, may I present:
(distortion cunts, KNW, parrafix)
His deep dark doomcore livesets have become quit infamous the last years here in Belgium. Letting no opportunity pass to play, this distortion cunt producer proved us all he has skills, one afterparty at the time. Flapping dark sounds with raising percussion & oldskool thundering bassdrums from his laptop, this little boy will take you on a nightmarish trip to hardcore hell.
As if that's not enough the man has drawing & painting skills too!
Some previews below, I will upload more sketches, drawings & paintings later on.
For today you can download 2 older yet slamming livesets below, enjoy!
SO I GAVE UP ON REHAB FOR BLOGGING.. I MUST I WILL I AM
to do list: try to be less lazy :D~
anyway.. message of the day:
GET OUT THERE
MAKE SOME ART!
D.I.Y. OR DIE: Burn This DVD (DVD) This documentary by Michael W. Dean isn't a manual on how to publish a fanzine or start a band. Rather, it's a look into the very souls of a group of talented and dedicated individuals who have chosen to live as artists, on their own terms and outside the mainstream. Call it the Zen of DIY, if you will; but by any name, it's a wonderfully revealing look into a truly alternative lifestyle as embraced by not only musicians but poets, artists, writers, and photographers. For that reason, there's no one on this DVD who would qualify as "famous" by the standards of People magazine or MTV. Anyone familiar with the world of underground music, though, will recognize such articulate and well-traveled spokepersons as Ian MacKaye of Fugazi, Lydia Lunch, Mike Watt, J Mascis, Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell, circus performer Jim Rose, and photographer/filmmaker Richard Kern. The original title of the documentary, when released on video, was "D.I.Y. Or Die: How To Survive As An Independent Artist," which sums it up perfectly. With the exception of one short passage on Napster, the material hasn't become dated at all; in fact, you'll find the wisdom and insight served up here to be timeless. Whether the person speaking into the camera writes, paints, sings, draws comics, or plays guitar, the message is the same: Be yourself, be true to your art, and do it because you love it (because there probably ain't any money in it.) This DVD version (which, by the way, is deliberately not copy-protected by the manufacturer, so you can burn copies for all your friends) includes 60 minutes of bonuses: You get additional interview footage of MacKaye, Lunch, artist Liza Matlack, and punk-rock roadie Little Mike, new interviews with indie-rock mavericks like Steve Albini and Maggie Estep, mini-documentaries on the making of the video and its original release tour, and the full audio of the filmmakers' interview with Mike Watt (who lectures on the how's and why's of "jammin' econo," his slang for touring cheaply so you can turn a profit without worrying about label support.) And if you keep poking around the DVD, there are even a few semi-hidden surprises, including mildly perverse performances by Jim Rose and Dave Brockie (better known as Oderus Urungus of GWAR.)
"Zijn wij gedoemd om nooit autonomie mee te maken, nooit zelfs maar een moment lang op een uitsluitend door vrijheid geregeerde bodem te staan? Moeten we wachten tot de hele wereld bevrijd is van politieke overheersing voordat één van ons weet wat vrijheid is?"
"De TAZ (temporary autonomous zone) is een guerillatactiek, om in een tijdperk waarin de staat alomtegenwoordig is, een locatie te claimen als tijdelijke vrijstaat. De TAZ is de opstand binnen ieders bereik, het feest dat elk moment kan losbarsten."