Of all the artists lumped into the hauntological category, Brooks is perhaps the most classically melodic in his approach, in the main forgoing arcane atmospherics for taut, well-defined lines and contours. Inspired by the library music of the Radiophonic Workshop and the proto-electronica of the 1970s, Brooks is clearly in complete control of his material, which makes From Out Here a particularly satisfying and coherent listening experience.
'The one thing that came through more clearly when doing the chapter in Retromania, was the extent to which my idea of Hauntology-as-music-genre, and my affection for it, is based around nationality. And I make this opposition between nationality and nationalism. Nationalism is political and it’s an ideology of national greatness or exceptionality. Nationality is pre-political I think – it’s the things I share with all other Britons including so many I have nothing in common with politically or in terms of chosen allegiances (musical, artistic, etc). Nationality in that sense is the pre-chosen, the given rather than what you consciously seek out or align yourself with. There’s this term people use, I’m not sure of the provenance in terms of either who coined it or even what discipline it comes from (Sociology? Anthropology), but the term is “lifeworld” – and I guess it means the realm of customs, everyday life, accents, gestures, rituals, routines, habits, common sense, food etc. I suppose Antonio Gramsci would say this kind of stuff is actually ideological, it’s part of hegemony (Roland Barthes also analysed this kind of thing under Mythologies). But to me it’s more like the common inheritance of phrase and fable, idiom, and also, the arbitrary stylistic and design quirks of the typography used on everyday articles, the look of shops and public institutions, etc.' - Simon Reynolds
'In his recent book Records Ruin the Landscape (Duke University Press), David Grubbs discusses precisely this process of attempting to understand, and even attain some authentic connection with, a distant locus of artistic production via recorded media. Taking as its focus the plurality of avant-garde musical practice of the ‘60s — now only accessible through archival releases, reissues, and online archives like UbuWeb — the book’s title is adapted from one of John Cage’s characteristically pithy comments made during an interview with Daniel Charles:
DC: Records, according to you, are nothing more than postcards…
'We are all time travellers. On his newest, former Ultravox frontman John Foxx utilizes a limited template of archaic synthesizers and drum machines, to simulate the sensation of breaking through the screen + falling through time. It could be an alternate soundtrack for the 1980 film Somewhere In Time, starring Christopher Reeves, if he had fallen in love with a blurry VHS image.'
'This modern phenomenon, in which our memories of the past seem always to have a continued life in the present and continue to permeate through our current culture, is particularly of relevance to those of us who grew up in the video age when the home video revolution first made possible the personal archiving of individual obsessions (a few hours on YouTube makes it abundantly apparent how there was a great deal more of this going on than one would have imagined at the time) which can now be uploaded, stored and disseminated to all who may wish to access them. But perhaps still the most evocative, spectral and shadowy experience of the Hauntological moment belongs to those of us whose formative memories reside in that hinterland from just before home video recording became so ubiquitous, wherein many moments of our childhood cultural heritage were often only partially preserved in fragmented form in the records, due to the BBC’s past policy of wiping and re-using its videotaped programming to save money and storage space.' - Black Gloves
'If there is any essence of left-accelerationism, it is the call to rigorously discriminate between the emancipatory potential of social and industrial technologies that have emerged within capitalism from the oppressive potentials that will inevitably be actualised should we fail to stop them. If technosocial acceleration means dystopia, then this is because we let it, and we have the option not to.' - Dialectical Insurgency blog
'Given that hauntology is predicated on the notion that the past will continue to intrude into the present, it seems to me to be a perfect mode of analysis for perennialists. The cyclic view of history recognizes that any particular culture must grow and develop according to certain principles, that there is a morphology of history, and also that history is cyclic. When this is realized, it will be seen that the Marxist view of history falls short because it posits a utopian endpoint. And, as Spengler observed, optimism is cowardice. In the perennialist view of history there is an inevitable unfolding, a flowering, but it will always lead to death (and then rebirth). So, just as for an individual, “the child is father to the man,” so for culture, “Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future And time future contained in time past.”
Hauntology is right to suggest that Marx can be resurrected because the past can never be finally laid to rest. But it doesn’t go far enough. The communist phase does return, but it returns at the end of each cycle, again and again. There is no endpoint, just eternal unfolding.' - Christopher Pankhurst
'Accelerationism is the name of a contemporary political heresy: the insistence that the only radical political response to capitalism is not to protest, disrupt, critique, or détourne it, but to accelerate and exacerbate its uprooting, alienating, decoding, abstractive tendencies.
The term was coined to designate a certain nihilistic alignment of theory with the excess and abandon of capitalist culture, and the associated performative aesthetic of texts that seek to become immanent to the very process of alienation. Developing at the dawn of contemporary neoliberal consensus, the uneasy status of this impulse, between subversion and acquiescence, between theoretical purchase and aesthetic enjoyment, constitutes the core problematic of accelerationism.'
'Ghost Box will be putting in an appearance at this year's Greenman Festival in South Wales. On the afternoon of Friday 15th. Jim Jupp and Julian House will be Disk Jockeying between talks in the Talking Shop tent. The set will precede a rare and exciting interview with Shirley Collins. So the serenely summery mix of electronics, psychedelia and soundtrack will have distinctly folky flavour. (Folk Militants please note: Its not quite what's billed on the GM website !).'
From Out Here is available now on LP, CD and download from the Ghost Box shop , your usual online retailers and finer record shops around the world. The LP version comes on heavyweight 180g vinyl and includes a free download code.
From 2011 - 'Created using a mixture of rare vintage video equipment and experimental techniques the new video for Believer takes us deep into the often blurry yet always determined world of John Maus'
R/J/L-H: In relation to music, specifically, Simon (Reynolds) say's that he has now come to prefer the term Memoradelia. Any thoughts?
MF: I think Memoradelia only captures part of it. The spectral dimension is a very important part of Hauntology. This idea of lost futures isn't about memory, not straightforwardly anyway, it's about anticipation, it's about... For me a key aspect of Hauntology is the age of the virtual, as I call it. The capacity of the virtual to effect things. A lot of what we call spectral, ghostly, can be classified under that term. The reason why the concept of haunting seems so apasit in the 21st century, was the sense of we live in the ruins of lost futures, really, the future failed to arrive, in the 21st century. Not a specific detrimental future with had in mind failed to arrive, but the sense of futurity had disappeared from 21st century life. It's that pang, that longing, for a future that failed to arrive, seems to me one of the curial dimensions.
These works are united by a singular approach that characterizes a cultural moment in the early years of this millennium: they paradoxically do not represent-either through style, content, or medium-the time in which they are made. This "atemporality," or timelessness-also present in contemporary literature, fashion, and popular music-is manifested in painting through the reanimating of historical styles or by recreating a contemporary version of them, sampling motifs from across the timeline of 20th-century art in a single painting or across an oeuvre, or by radically paring down an artistic language to its most basic, archetypal form.' - MoMA
'Mulholland has finally elevated from the ashes of the Mount Vernon Arts Lab, raised in resurrection with The Norwood Variations. More albums will follow, provided he finds the money to release them. He's also writing books on psychogeography, folklore and hauntology. Avant-garde composer and musician, one-time guitar tech for Patti Smith and academic lecturer, Drew Mulholland has graced his fans with his first album in 11 years.'
'What we’ve got in the 21st century is a confusion of the contemporary with the modern, in fact the contemporary cannot deliver the modern; there’s a kind of depthless contemporary. I think this is something that really started to become clear to me in the ’90s actually.
But in the ’90s there was a clear distinction between this emergent disavowed retro culture via Blur and Oasis – the pseudo opposition between Blur and Oasis that was more sort of a battle between mediocre class stereotypes. Students slumming it, as Ian Penman put it about Blur, versus this utter neanderthal cartoon of the working class, as if they were the only options available. But actually at the time the real opposition was between things like that and things like Tricky, jungle and various iterations of techno. There was an absolute plethora of alternatives to that disavowed retro culture of the ’90s. But it started to become clear to me then, that in 1995 the ’60s had been a lot closer than they were in 1980. I mean Oasis could have existed in 1980 more or less, but they would have been like fourth on the bill in a small pub. There just wasn’t that level of tolerance for ’60s throwbacks at that time. There was a sense of historical narrative and a sense of time having moved on. But time since the ’90s has got increasingly flattened out, such that exactly that kind of phenomenon can happen.' - Mark Fisher
'We need to revive the argument that was traditionally made for post-capitalism: not only is capitalism an unjust and perverted system, but it is also a system that holds back progress. Our technological development is being suppressed by capitalism, as much as it has been unleashed. Accelerationism is the basic belief that these capacities can and should be let loose by moving beyond the limitations imposed by capitalist society. The movement towards a surpassing of our current constraints must include more than simply a struggle for a more rational global society. We believe it must also include recovering the dreams which transfixed many from the middle of the Nineteenth Century until the dawn of the neoliberal era, of the quest of Homo Sapiens towards expansion beyond the limitations of the earth and our immediate bodily forms. These visions are today viewed as relics of a more innocent moment. Yet they both diagnose the staggering lack of imagination in our own time, and offer the promise of a future that is affectively invigorating, as well as intellectually energising. After all, it is only a post-capitalist society, made possible by an accelerationist politics, which will ever be capable of delivering on the promissory note of the mid-Twentieth Century’s space programmes, to shift beyond a world of minimal technical upgrades towards all-encompassing change. Towards a time of collective self-mastery, and the properly alien future that entails and enables. Towards a completion of the Enlightenment project of self-criticism and self-mastery, rather than its elimination.' - Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek
'I want to situate accelerationism not as some heretical form of Marxism, but as an attempt to converge with, intensify, and politicize the most challenging and exploratory dimensions of popular culture. ... A certain, perhaps now dominant, take on accelerationism has it that the position amounts to a cheerleading for the intensification of any capitalist process whatsoever, particularly the “worst,” in the hope that this will bring the system to a point of terminal crisis. (One example of this would be the idea that voting for Reagan and Thatcher in the ‘80s was the most effective revolutionary strategy, since their policies would supposedly lead to insurrection). This formulation, however, is question-begging in that it assumes what accelerationism rejects—the idea that everything produced “under” capitalism fully belongs to capitalism. By contrast, accelerationism maintains that there are desires and processes which capitalism gives rise to and feeds upon, but which it cannot contain; and it is the acceleration of these processes that will push capitalism beyond its limits. Accelerationism is also the conviction that the world desired by the Left is post-capitalist—that there is no possibility of a return to a pre-capitalist world and that there is no serious desire to return to such a world, even if we could.' - Mark Fisher
'We are told our lives are too fast, subject to the accelerating demand that we innovate more, work more, enjoy more, produce more, and consume more. That’s one familiar story. Another, stranger, story is told here: of those who think we haven’t gone fast enough. Instead of rejecting the increasing tempo of capitalist production they argue that we should embrace and accelerate it. Rejecting this conclusion, "Malign Velocities" tracks this 'accelerationism' as the symptom of the misery and pain of labour under capitalism. Retracing a series of historical moments of accelerationism - the Italian Futurism; communist accelerationism after the Russian Revolution; the 'cyberpunk phuturism' of the ’90s and ’00s; the unconscious fantasies of our integration with machines; the apocalyptic accelerationism of the post-2008 moment of crisis; and the terminal moment of negative accelerationism - suggests the pleasures and pains of speed signal the need to disengage, negate, and develop a new politics that truly challenges the supposed pleasures of speed.'