Instead of the dreaded summer school sessions to improve on what you failed at in public school(i.e. compulsory educational torture til you comply at the expense of your summer break others are enjoying), these are sessions to simultaneously build upon the strengths of 2020’s George Floyd Rebellion while exploring music inspiring liberation and revolution in theory and practice. Last year’s rebellion on the streets, despite this COVID-19 pandemic amid outdoors ventilation, was derailed in parts by electoral politics and the Back The Blue efforts(the causes of this train wreck run deeper than those byproducts of this society as it is ultimately this capitalist society). While more public consciousness,compared to 2019 let alone 2011, has grown to question and fight systemic white supremacy, anti-blackness, the police, xenophobia, etc., there still needs to be ongoing social interrogation fused with collective concrete creative activity to uproot an unhealthy society.
Perceptual hierarchies(including time, language, media, advertising, numbers, racial categories, etc.) reinforce bureaucratic ones and vice versa. We need to pull the rug out from under our own feet. Complacency with this society simultaneously connects us in painfully contradictory ways: others misery providing our pleasure, rich neighborhoods next to impoverished ones, reactionary conditioning with mutual aid, non profit organizations that help poor and working class people while collaborating in deceitful ways with authoritarian Federal agencies such as ICE, and so on. They feed your pride with boredom and lead you onto war.
Culture is the spectacle that makes us buy the other spectacles. How can music be more than just something you consume like cigarettes and laundry detergent? Can music be used as ways to organize ourselves instead of relying on the rules and methods of governments, non profit organizations, union bureaucracy, etc.(Ex. Music as part of the collective decision making process.)? How does music fit in with dialectical and pragmatic praxis ( i.e. conscious theory and practice in daily life to fight deeper and wider collectively to create local and global conditions/relationships beyond current limits)?
For those unfamiliar with dialectics: The dialectical method that runs from Hegel and Marx to the Situationists and other ultra left Marxist/anti-state/anti-Tankie communist tendencies as well as some post left anarchists( as opposed to Socrates and other ancient Western pre capitalist versions) is not a magic formula for churning out correct predictions; it is a tool for grappling with the dynamic processes of social change. It reminds us that social concepts are not eternal; that they contain their own contradictions, interacting with and transforming each other, even into their opposites; that what is true or progressive in one context may become false or regressive in another.
Pragmatism is used to test a theory by putting it into practice. We draw conclusions from mistakes and/or successes. Yet pragmatism can become a dogma. Pragmatism can be reduced from trenchant science into numbing submission to existing unhealthy conditions. Passivity can hijack assertive critical thought and practice when a big failure or greater amounts of failure occur in your own life (and/or big failures among others occur). Dialectics fused with pragmatism check and balance our theories and practices/praxis results.
Raya Dunyaevskaya https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raya_Dunayevskaya came up with a dialectical response to separations of theory and practice,”absolute negativity as a new beginning,” which means: first the unity between the working class and others marginalized together fighting existing capitalist/ hyper hierarchical conditions (i.e. the first negation) and then transcending the collective abolition of current society through us creating new relationships for new possibilities (i.e. the second negation).
The need for both negations(absolute negativity together) can be felt in music. Music, despite capitalist contradictions with art and commodification, can be used to build up and test ideas unseparated from deeply felt emotional aspects. We can start with the radical use of music as part of praxis in daily life; we know music means more to many than political parties, miserable jobs, debts, etc. therefore, we can use music affinities as a start to encourage expanded affinities for pleasure unseparated from necessity. We need to seize the means of production but culture is also the means of capitalism’s psychological-ideological reproduction. Now as it was with the decades before, the economic reductionism of vulgar Marxists and the moralism of some anarchists, pacifists, faith communities, etc. are obstacles to fluidly yet precisely subverting culture’s reactionary and boring aspects.
The contradictions of ourselves within culture and the goal of maximalist revolutionary praxis globally need to be synthesized through music and other immediate creativity/conviviality. Theory unified with practice needs critically picked heterodox recombinations to prevent becoming what we are fighting against. Little Richard could’ve told you that!
Screemz will review some nice or better new releases with a new feature on obscure oldies that are worth visiting which might even challenge dominant music critics and public views of People’s/secret history. These hopefully will inspire some praxis outside your comfort zone. A cushion could be used to kill you, after all😉.
First Negation Sounds
Sete Star Sept https://shop.7s7.org/album/bird
Yasuyuki Uesugi https://yasuyuki-uesugi.bandcamp.com/album/out-of-control
The Body has managed to throw curve balls at metal and noise rock mutants throughout their over two decades existence as an avant doom/sludge/metal duo composed of Chip King and Lee Buford. They long left the tar pit most of their Paleolithic peers were relaxing in while munching on qualuudes after hunting for ancient Sunn, Orange, Ampeg, and Peavey amplifier heads guarded by a more advanced Reptilian cult which would use their technology to steal and scatter such amps across Reverb and Craigslist websites. However, that is another story for another DIY comic book.
The Body’s collaborations prove they also enjoy exploring increased risks with others as well pursuing broad interests. Check out their collaborations with the Assembly of Light Choir ,which brought on some of a Jarboe era Swans feel as well as a serious horror movie (dark documentary?) soundtrack vibe, Haxan Cloak’s digital industrial dance designs, Japanese shape shifting band Vampillia, that stands out when many other Japanese bands have done and do idiosyncratic genre hopping( “black metal and noise, there’s post rock and metal, shoegaze, café pop, classical, EDM, hip hop, progressive, folk, contemporary and modern academic music, and ambient, etc.”so said Toilet Ov Hell about Vampillia https://toiletovhell.com/vampillia-in-praise-of-a-truly-unique-band/), etc.
On I Have Seen All I Need To See, The Body are doing it as a duo dual power of their own against music industry and subcultural expectations. They return to double trouble; yet, by just increasing the distortion levels with manic EQing and recording techniques synced with the massive dark minimal with tribal flashes drums, they end up supporting scientists theorizing eventual universal collapse with dark heavy matter crushed by gravity contracting. Chip’s guitar tone emits entropy. The drumming sounds like particles colliding in University of Helsinki’s particle collider at times. Drumming with such nuance while sounding like Brontosauri traveling on the I-90 Expressway at rush hour, should bring on a science journal interview.
“Eschatological Imperative” has electronically processed vocals which are mixed low enough to sound like the last human on the planet,via a faint short wave transmission, ranting their last act of defiance at Cybermen taking over the Earth without The Doctor’s interference.
“A Pain of Knowing” has slightly mixed louder vocals still distorted but now sounding closer to an absorbing fusion of drone metal and death industrial.
“The City Is Shelled” and “They Are Coming” bare faint traces of dub with the later coughing up blasts of discombobulated or disembodied dub step in the middle of crisis. Babylon isn’t burning this time. It feels as if the contradictions of this society are pulverizing all metropolitan areas brutally yet efficiently to dust.
“The Handle/ The Blade” kicks up the drumming to slightly complex tribal tom tom beating ; “The Path of Failure” Lee manages some subtle Bebop finesse gliding to manic free jazz finesse on cymbals with the drum set set on grand almost mid-late 60s Keith Moon destruction reinforced with black hole guitar embodying cosmic/corporate/government/psychic negation. What a conclusion to paint on the planet!
I haven’t seen any interviews with Chip and Lee about I’ve Seen All I Need To Say yet. Obviously, this could represent just a cathartic outburst over the reactionary and COVID-19 effected state of America and/or the world.
However, some of us can hear simultaneously their disgust and despair collectively shared and one of many soundtracks to accompany our rising up to create a better world on its ruins.
Metal’s doom and gloom historically came out of the 60s and 70s Vietnam War and the post WWII Cold War laced with heroin and other hard drugs. Metal’s early era drew heavily from the electric blues ; blues protest ,at least among many white blues rock and metal pioneers, was expressed existentially. It wasn’t til punk and metal fused that actual radical physical intervention in daily life was attempted more by punk and metal participants. The Body is one project out of multiple children birthed from generations of punk metal fusion.
We should absorb the critical energy from I’ve Seen All I Need To See to help our praxis. Existing conditions force us to attempt liberating ourselves further than previous generations. The irony of such a strong minimalist reductionist recording is it also inspires maximalist revolutionary praxis among those who know venting needs ventilation and circulation. The need to move among those who know deep and wide changes are needed but are held back by themselves as much as the daily grind.
Hide didn’t have much to hide when I first caught them at a Do Division Street Fest the Empty Bottle music venue and others held in the summer of 2018. While industrial music has always been confrontational, I was sort of surprised they were going over well in broad daylight among a diverse street fair crowd. Vocalist Heather Gabel was provoking scantily clad over the electronic artillery strategies of my friend Seth Sher. Imagine if Diamanda Galas and early harder Leather Strip or Valerie Solanas and Nervous Gender played a set at A Taste of Chicago. It felt like a confrontational/ sexy/ hard electronic/rocking blast of energy from a black hole as opposed to the summer sun. After they finished, I told Seth that this was his best band next to The Coughs( a great defunct Chicago noise rock band you should know about but if you don’t read this and links in the article https://m.chicagoreader.com/chicago/best-fallout-from-a-breakup/BestOf?oid=10031481). He agreed with me.
Hide released other recordings since 2016 including the Black Flame Ep of that year. Those songs were inspired by the misogynistic murder of Iranian woman Reyhana Jabbari who allegedly killed a man that tried to rape her. The EP dealt with Iranian reactionary religious zealotry’s effects on modern Iran without opposing it with American xenophobia and Xtian fundamentalism. For more on Heather Gabel’s views and experiences, see https://www.revolvermag.com/music/hide-turning-fear-back-predators-post-industrial-siren-songs
In the hands of others, Hide would sound and act like another early industrial(late 70s/early 80s) formulaic exercise with a little post industrial sampling. As the paragraph before stated, there is more compassion mixed with concrete targets as opposed to posing and abstraction. They are definitely a Chicago band in the sense of utilizing a no holds barred approach on scum bags of all stripes. Interior Terror makes themselves clear.
While their press release says they are not as interested in songcraft on Interior Terror, they never composed catchy classics on the levels of say Stevie Wonder or Sparks. Interior Terror says memorable things while experimenting a bit more. Just listen to “Price of Life,” which sounds like the inside of a glass house demolition, “Daddy Issues,” “Fear,”and all of these songs.
The song that stands out the most is “Don’t Bow Down.” It captures the defiance of the George Floyd Rebellion found in the youth and others on the streets making it clear through fire, occupation, looting, toppling statues symbolizing centuries of racism/white supremacy, etc. We still want real change not more chump change! We contested the Super Ego of Trump, his militant supporters, and the Trump Party( the former Republican Party til /if it implodes or it is retaken by the “centerists”) behind the bourgeois humanist mask of privitized capitalism. I mentioned the recuperation of the few months we fought back harder than before nationally in the Summer Sessions introduction. But this track, perhaps not directly about last spring and summer, works as an anthem for being realistic and demanding the impossible!
Overall, Hide continues their incandescent invigorating industrial exercise course on Interior Terror. They guarantee highly improved results through their musical workouts while attempting dynamic tension through our hands clasping the throats of “scary monsters ,super creeps.”
Sete Star Sept has existed since 2004. The Tokyo duo of Kae on vox and bass and Kiyasu on drums has paradoxically mastered their approach to grindcore subgenre noisecore ( noise punk and/or harsh noise and/or atonal experiments combined with grindcore brutality and speed). Of course bands by the truckload still approach this subgenre with a deliberately tossed off cavalier attitude, yes bands that try to be like the infamous fucked up defunct Anal Cunt, yet Sete Star Sept are dedicated to maximum effort. You can see them online live practicing seriously when they notify fans globally.
On the aptly named Bird Sete Star Sept sound like thought fragments, from humans, perhaps insects, and other mammals rather than just variations on one or two riffs. They achieve a tightness with some fluidity like a continuation of manic free jazz in response to worsening conditions under capitalism.
Some say a lot of their recordings sound the same. Those of us who really listen and developed an affinity for multiple Japanese noise, punk, grindcore, power violence, noise rock, genre hopping bands, etc. over the decades notice nuances as well as quantum leaps of development. Bird is worth listening non stop each time( not just because these songs clock under a minute each).
While this is no concept album, unless they say otherwise somewhere online, it feels to me as much a rewarding experience as listening to a great jazz album ,especially live recordings, through its full length or full album sides. Maybe you might even form your own concept out of these short sharp shocks to the system( your nervous system and THE SYSTEM)?
I would like to hear them collaborate with Keiji Haino, K K Null, Sigh, Cornelius, Laetitia Sandier (of Stereolab, Monade, McCarthy, and solo projects), Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, etc. If any of you know Kae and Kiyasu, please let them know about these possible collaboration suggestions. Sete Star Sept play noisecore but they also standout.
Yasuyuki Uesugi is Out of Control but navigates the compromising capitalist contradictions like the rest of us(more on this to come).
I am a sucker for dynamic harsh noise( while there are harsh noise walls of static loops or locked anti-grooves I want more dynamics and curve balls after awhile). A lot of Japanese noise does have dynamics happening with often overloaded busy maximalist electronic blasts( see Merzbow, Masonna, and C.C.C.C.) as opposed to early British power electronics which had some spaces around and in between the static and feedback for creepier unsettling effects.
Japanese noise has roots in earlier Japanese electronic experimental music as well as to a certain degree Western free or avant garde jazz (Ex. Sun Ra’s noisiest keyboard calamity(in the best sense) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_shOnQCqVgU&feature=youtu.be). Also, Japanese late 60s to early 70s counterculture played a part with louder heavier rock bands that led to more experimental approaches in and outside of rock with ear bleeding high energy.
Out of Control is the latest recording from Yasuyuki Useugi who has been cranking out several releases since at least 2019. Labels include the Attenuation Circuit label which released some marvelous lesser known Japanese noise ( see https://emerge.bandcamp.com/album/tincture-of-japanoise) which I played tracks from on Reality Radio that ran on Loyola University’s WLUW from 2003 to 2016). Out of Control is simply five movements of “Out of Control.” Yet Yasuyuki has mastered the ability to add dynamics within the kinetic energy overload white noise carnival.
Oddly enough, although much Japanoise harsh noise is prickly like swarms of electronic mosquitos and bees flying from electric energy plants ready to fry up electronic devices connections in the process, I hear some extra younger peppiness. The colors are bright like an ice cream parlor glowing due to the rainbows of flavors they sell. In the future, this could be used as children’s music as much as an audio fireworks display.
Out of Control could work as a sound weapon to drive off some authorities and counter the State’s sonic cannons bass frequencies; OOC used strategically to distract the sonic cannons and their users. It is possible the British government’s sonic cannons or crowd control vehicles might’ve been inspired in part due to Throbbing Gristle’s work with deep bass frequencies somehow studied by British government agencies.
Yasuyuki lists the companies that made the effects pedals, power supply, power distributor, multi-track recorder, and cable he used. If he is receiving pay or free gear from these companies, including Death By Audio which makes some good and great idiosyncratic boutique effects boxes, he should ask automobile manufacturers, NGOs with grants, and/or junkyards to help out his crowd funding project which in turn could be used for prisoner support and bail, revolutionary projects, comrades rents, mutual aid, veterinary fees for low income people with pets, opioid addicts, etc. Any musicians open to such corporate support should use the corporations/The Enemy for our struggles whenever possible or when it turns out to be the best option at the moment.
Yasuyuki Useugi might be better known one day. He might end up like Masami Akita ,who does Merzbow, through playing museums, touring the world, collaborating with all kinds of bands outside of harsh noise, etc. I don’t know if he wants to be a “star” commodity but I enjoy this young man’s energy and dynamism. His noise could crumble walls. I don’t feel worn out and bummed out at all with Yasuyuki Useugi’s harsh noise. His noises of destruction sound like the first negation becoming the second negation (see the Summer Sessions intro paragraphs about absolute negativity as a new beginning and dialectics if you forgot). Both first and second negations meeting briefly before they synthesize into a new world of relationships and healthier richer possibilities outside of capitalist social separation.
Yasuyuki, even if you are feeling manic and ill at ease as you perform this noise, you are doing us noise nuts favors. Your noise reflects the energy of younger people who know they need to go further than where the older generations stopped trying to win the prizes to really end our crises. Good luck with your health and remember subversion is your friend.
Second Negation Sounds
These three recordings are united in their technotopia feel which could be one result of many creative autonomous egalitarian social experiments during the passage from the collective abolition of capitalist society into new relationships local and global. Instead of tolerating the current domination of business, government, and specialists over science and technology, and in other areas such as distribution and housing, great social input,resulting from continuous collective abolishment of social separation, can determine what can still be produced/researched as is, modified, or trashed. Creative conscientious collective solutions are more likely to be realized with levelled collaborations between those that hold specialized knowledge and experience and those with other experiences and concerns who live together locally and/or through online live broadcasts for the world to watch and participate in when required. All participants will learn better from each other and more about themselves than previous submission allowed.
Granted, there will be those who will try to push for a return to the ruthlessness of centuries of invasion/colonization/ genocide/ tyranny(perhaps current opportunist reactionaries in and outside government as well as some billionaires). A global revolution will carry counter revolution among those who want the comforting nostalgia of their repression and oppression so will give their lives to redirect our progress back to bigger cages and chains.
Still, there will be many who transcend their past miserable roles and dilemmas due to the continuous radical liberation process generating greater concern for fellow humans and the interconnections of life on the planet. The ongoing abolition of social separation and commodification of life will make advances simultaneously pleasurable and necessary. When given a new start that really isn’t more rearranged previous bullshit, many people who bring us and themselves down now will try to make up for it by contributing while enjoying new possibilities they never dreamed of.
While we contemplate deep questions and solutions for achieving a world utterly other, how about some refreshments from the lobby?
KCPG Music is a Chicago faceless retro electronic music project which unintentionally makes second negation music. These sounds conjure up 80s video game music ,both arcade machine and home systems, with appropriate titles “Joystick Rag” and “Level Up.” These also sound like music for commercials (holy Residents !)as they are short,nothing longer than a little over a minute, but are fun to hear as no real corporate or government commercial messages are implanted. Your mind is free to relax and/or subvert their intent.
These “fun, quirky, positive, instrumental synth themes” make me think of people enjoying Fourierist https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fourier combinations of pleasure and tasks or “attractive work” arranged by passionate attraction and rotated so people won’t suffer being stuck for long durations doing one thing. People would have opportunities to learn varieties of interesting, inspiring, and useful things through other tasks and people.
“Joystick Rag” feels like music for a maternity ward (a reference to Raymond Scott’s “Soothing Sounds For Baby” comes to mind) complete with an automated baby washing station but better than The Three Stooges automated dog wash https://youtu.be/p2waiMgtMNc. While we are at the hospital, “Tappin’ It” and “Level Up” sound like mood music for sex breaks in polyamorous polysexual conjugal rooms hospital workers could have after operations and long hours put in ( of course longer versions would have to be composed).
“Sails Up” sounds like it could fit in with pre teens/teenagers learning how to create innovative yet fun architecture with prefabricated systems assisted by those with architectural and construction experience. “Winging It” starts off like a tribute to fallen comrades but then turns into a dance party (almost like an Irish wake or New Orleans funeral jubilee)to celebrate life as well as the deceased. We will be doing both.
The KCGP Music project on Quirky Sounds makes rewarding short ludic with sentimental moments instrumental electronic music that plays to late capitalist nostalgia. However, I feel these are just as ripe for “nostalgia for an age yet to come.” Positive music for the pleasure zones of second negativity.
Retrogamaniac from Italy obviously plays the retro video game music game on Hyper-Squad Galsyan but with a little more seriousness due to a space opera theme. An imaginary game with Japanese characters with a good guy and a “misanthropic psychopath with a foolish worship for chaos” (sounds like some anarchist nihilists and nihilist communists)bad guy. The good guy and his fighters have to avenge his planet and stop the bad guy from…ho hum.
Instead, I see scenarios of mostly conflict resolution, restorative justice, community defense, and even violence that is much more manageable than what we have now.
Retrogamaniac rocks out more than KCPG which befits a space opera with spaceship dog fights. “Stage 1 Theme” sounds like a community gym self defense training session similar to Chicago’s free trans, queer, and cis women friendly Haymaker Gym. “Stage 3 Theme” sounds like an entire community together fighting fascists who are attempting Road Warrior type scare tactics.
The “Bosses Theme”fits the first negation scenario of chasing the bosses out of town ,even reviving the tar and feathers treatment, but also a second negation rejection of self ordained new bosses trying to revive old world reaction .
I like the energy, the catchiness, and the enthusiastic drive Retrogamaniac pumps out. I could see a fusion of blackened thrash and mathcore attempted with this music as well( now that would be an out of this world game). Let’s hope Retrogamaniac explores some of the territories explored by chip thrash, Nitendocore, cybergrind, etc. subgenres in Matrix space. His compositional skills plus those subgenres manic deviance, intensity, and humor will potentially help us test theoretical physics as a part of human community theory as opposed to helping corporate and State strategies against us. In a space for encounters everyone can hear Screemz of delight!
Artetera might already inhabit a parallel universe where second negation adventure and whimsy is as common as the daily grind is in ours. Exotic Estorique is not a video game soundtrack. Instead, this is a travelogue of different worlds collaged together from electronic junk samples floating around our capitalist globe. I’ll let Artetera talk: “Exotic ésotérique Vol.3 is the third chapter of explorations in the lands of the melting people as well as of their unfurling sonic languages and future pidgins: a lysergic documentarian cartography of the e-ukiyo: the internet’s floating world. The beloved Italian nefarious underground corporation presents once again its skewed aural manifesto marking the new unfolded boundaries and exotic topologies freshly charted by means of fictional superimpositions between different real and unreal auditory worlds.”
As I listen and type, I can hear some connections to again The Residents (especially their Eskimo and The Mole Trilogy records), African Headcharge from their Drastic Season and Environmental Studies albums, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Aksak Maboul, Brian Eno, Dada(the German art movement not the bland alternative band), early Negativland, etc. Artetera certainly fits in with those avant gardners. Their distinct imaginary worlds soundtracks/ electronic exotica come off feeling strangely utopian. This is a Surrealist safari through an extranational globe painted black with drips of dayglo electric glow in the dark colored paint.
Tracks such as Giorgio Dursi’s – “Cubisferulo Madrigale,” Star Searchers-“Orca Daemons,” and Timelash – “Amrita Hive Forager” manage to be playful yet dark and provocative enough to engulf you boa constrictor style. Other tracks like Ludwig Berger – “Kin” and Señor Service – “Levanidovo” radiate the charm of liberated children’s cartoon characters finally tasting ganja with mushrooms while trying to engage in wordplay and magic tricks they learned from exotic birds that imitate CB Radio frequencies.
Exotic Estorique Vol.3 is the embodiment of where tourism ends and adventures in generalized self management based on collective self realization begin. Although they use descriptions such as digital folk, fourth world music, fifth world music, psychedelic, tropical, hip hop, exotica, etc. to shine their modus operandi, I can guarantee this stands out from much music going on now. So far one of 2021’s best releases to lose yourself in. If you want more than a postcard from this psycho-topographical map of kicks and tricks which could possibly happen once perceptual hierarchies are dealt with collectively,then listen and think about how we could try to surpass mere digital recordings for creative concrete social interventions in other areas of daily life.
Founding Dadaist Hugo Ball https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Ball along with other comrades responded not only to the tragic irrational rationalism of World War I but also the general fucked up conditioning capitalist society forces on us from childhood onwards. Dada as an art movement knew that we can’t win by playing along with their zero sum games.
Dada had to use asymmetrical tactics with their cultural assault. Sound sends immediate effects on us and other biosphere populations. Poetry was constricted by the official language of the Master. Ball knew what had to be done in 1916. The birth of sound poetry as a tactic along with Dada as a movement then still hss global historical repercussions in this current moment.
Nonsense became a weapon with its meaningless being the meaning in sound and vision. From there, repressed energy was rechanneled into manic liberatory blasts at capitalism, the State, official culture, nationalism, police, roles, bourgeois customs, genocide, etc. Ball was interested in Mikhail Bakunin https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Bakunin while other Dadaists were generally sympathetic to communism from Marxists and anarchists.
Hugo Ball’s and other Dadaists sound poems have been recorded onto vinyl, CD, and tape formats. The Talking Heads set his poem “I Zimbra” to a gripping post punk funk workout on Fear of Music which led to the full blown Afro funk/post punk funk fusion classic Remain In Light.
The spirit of Dada brought me across a 7″ 45 version of six sound poems with Ball and other Dadaists including his lover Emmy Hennings on Bandcamp! Who would have the great taste to put this on a format radio and club DJs could further enhance with their own creativity(i.e. scratching , mixing into musical backing, playing with the speed, etc.)? Righteous 45 from Westbury, England that’s who.
I will thank this label for having stellar tastes covering early rock and roll and R&B, musical and/or non musical oddities from the 50s and 70s mainly. I will devote a write up about Righteous 45 in an upcoming Screemz edition.
After hearing these poems, I feel they could be considered simultaneously first and second negation experiments. First because the Dadaists were attacking their era’s capitalist perceptual hierarchies which also reinforced WWI; Second these sounds can also be consciously adapted to form a new language to varied degrees which would fit in to new relationships beyond what dominates now.
The fluid playfulness the Dadaists came up with also expressed deep anger, concern, fear, empathy, Eros, humor, frustration, etc. Communication of sound poems is also the poetry of communication. Communication being activity between two or more people (or bugs, bats, cats, etc.)not merely conversation. Poetry also meaning the realization of radical theory.
So Hugo Ball and company on these six recordings symbolize the two negations which could also merge into a third negation or intermediate stage (Ex. 1.5 negation). One thing that makes Hegelian Marxist dialectics a subversive tool is it is not limited to one or two results. Contradictions can lead to multiple transformations over time. I’m sure some of you want to talk about Giles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri. Maybe in another Summer Session but despite my eccentric eclecticism I don’t separate praxis to neither be chained to academic insulation nor reactivism controlled by left capitalist activist organizations. We have multiple ways to intervene in daily life. You need to both dance to Hugo Ball and think to Sete Star Sept.
C.C.C.C.(Curios Circumventing Cult Closure): Hopney–Cosmic Rockout 1977 https://youtu.be/XJ1W_tSzXE0
Welcome to the first installment of C.C.C.C. ! This column is dedicated to old obscurities that have been dug up by other album archeologists with passions for oddball releases forgotten or rejected by other buzzards in the vinyl/CD food chain. These albums might be rightly rejected for some creative and/or technical flaws yet sometimes the flaws might be the best qualities these releases offered. They all capture aspects of their era when released. Some even innovated to degrees more noticeable years later. It is all about visceral gratification and contradicting and challenging official history which ultimately constricts us from making our own collective history.
I came across Hopney’s Cosmic Rockout on You Tube. This was posted by a guy who somehow considered this 1977 eclectic and a bit eccentric album to be Southern Rock mixed with psychedelic blues rock by a NYC guy Patrick Hearns who used the psuedonym Hopney. Cosmic Rockout recorded it in Miami, FLA. Patrick was in an obscure(what did you expect? Blue Oyster Cult?)band The Sapians. This was produced by Mike Pinera who previously produced Blues Image and Iron Butterfly.
This album doesn’t sound much like Southern bands I actually like such as Black Oak Arkansas ( with “Jewish hillbilly” “Big Daddy” James Mangrum and Ruby Starr both deceased) Blackfoot(the rare indigenous Southern Rock band), ZZ Top, etc. I also didn’t hear much of say The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws ( I can see some of you gagging a maggot), etc.
What I heard was more NYC in 1977. I felt a slightly off kilter blues rock/faint 70s glam and power pop/ funk mix propelling some good songs among ok ones. The vocals by Hopney are another story. Imagine Richard Hell, Nikki Sudden https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikki_Sudden, Marc Bolan, and a more detached Ray Davies stuffed into a pipe. Hopney smokes and exhales them vocally while stroking and coaxing his guitar.
Surprisingly, his batting average on Cosmic Rockout sends more than one or two worthwhile songs out of Shea Stadium via Miami( he was testing a quantum physics theory while recording too). “Another Gaudy Night” sort of sounds like Richard Hell and the Voidoids “I’m Your Man” meets the country side of 70s British pub rock. “Hey Girl” feels like late T.Rex funky numbers off Dandy In The Underworld; the funk grows stronger with a sweet synth squiggle spurting out for a few seconds on “Love Trap.”
“No Particular Home”tacks on a moment of lite reggae towards the end but starts off almost like The Talking Heads “Artists Only” with Dave Edmunds backing his vocals. “Is There A Doctor In The House” sounds almost cartoonish. “I Can’t Stop Now” reminds me of Big Star with more of a blues feel with Lou Reed singing.
The drawbacks from Hopney include some half assed songwriting and what feels at times like the producer or even some of the session players holding back the band. Since they had to push many albums to break even, the playing on the album should’ve been as intensified as if they couldn’t leave the studio til their takes were not ok but ASTOUNDING! They needed Floridian pro wrestlers in the studio guarding the doors. Also, the album cover art didn’t help. I know friends who came up with better record cover designs with less of a budget or no budget(i.e. recycling album or 7″ sleeves from other recordings).
Cosmic Rockout is a night album for me. I came across it in the middle of the night. I am writing about it past 4AM but time as we know it is illusionary, eh? These songs gain some power in the wee hours. This might’ve fared better if it was pushed harder on night time FM radio station shifts. He has two other albums I found out (Perils of Love and Ends and Means) but I haven’t run across them online yet. You probably wouldn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars collectors are asking for Cosmic Rockout.
Although he wanted commercial success, Hopney inhabited a zone where he was neither as hard /nor wild/nor clever enough to be accepted in the first wave of NY punk and/or second wave of power pop. He also didn’t appeal to AM top 40 stations especially if there wasn’t enough payola involved.
In the coming total revolution, I think there will still be some who don’t quite fit in but who also don’t want to reside in worse past conditions. For now, Hopney is proof that many people possess worthwhile contributions for larger circles but it will be both a rewarding and challenging effort trying to please or engage greater numbers of people outside your smaller circle. Only conscious collective reorganization of life can move past many current dilemmas/absurdities including embracing demographics at the expense of our progress in abolishing social separation.
Harmful Matter (Some reading material podcasts, and videos to help understand and intervene in too late capitalism at multiple points. Perspectives cover mixed ultra left, anti-state communism, Situationists, Surrealism, anarchism, etc. tendencies and projects. Enjoy. Discuss. Share.)