From 2015 - 'Media, Materiality and Memory: Grounding the Groove examines the entwinement of material music objects, technology and memory in relation to a range of independent record labels, including Sarah Records, Ghost Box and Finders Keepers. Moving from Edison’s phonograph to digital music files, from record collections to online archives, Roy argues that materiality plays a crucial role in constructing and understanding the territory of recorded sound. How do musical objects ‘write’ cultural narratives?'
'Monsters are back, or perhaps they never went away. They haunt popular culture and social media. They lurk as images of dread and terror in politics, and figures of thought within academia. As shadows of the past they reappear as the potential biotechnological realities of today. They roam the in-between, making borders and boundaries tremble and shatter; whether these be borders of nation states or bodies, or categories of race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, self and other. In this sense, the monster embodies a promise of disturbances and change, as Donna Haraway argued in her 1992 text “The Promises of Monsters”.'
'Martin Jenkins' project brings together distinct strands of nostalgia—English hauntology, old movie soundtracks, Boards Of Canada-style daydreaming—into a sort of sepiatone kaleidoscope. The music takes a set of worn-out signifiers and creates an artifact of both a non-existent past and the not-so-distant future. So it makes sense that the Head Technician character wouldn't be able to simply reproduce something so idiosyncratic. As Head Technician, Jenkins turns to the classic toolbox of the dance music producer (Roland's TB-303, MC-202 and TR-606) to recreate the Pye Corner Audio aesthetic, like a sketch artist using a pencil to replicate paintings from memory.' - Andrew Ryce
'In the age of global capitalism, vaporwave celebrates and undermines the electronic ghosts haunting the nostalgia industry.
Ours is a time of ghosts in machines, killing meaning and exposing the gaps inherent in the electronic media that pervade our lives. Vaporwave is an infant musical micro-genre that foregrounds the horror of electronic media's ability to appear - as media theorist Jeffrey Sconce terms it - "haunted." Experimental musicians such as INTERNET CLUB and MACINTOSH PLUS manipulate Muzak and commercial music to undermine the commodification of nostalgia in the age of global capitalism while accentuating the uncanny properties of electronic music production.
Babbling Corpse reveals vaporwave's many intersections with politics, media theory, and our present fascination with uncanny, co(s)mic horror. The book is aimed at those interested in global capitalism's effect on art, musical raids on mainstream "indie" and popular music, and anyone intrigued by the changing relationship between art and commerce.' - Zero Books
'In April 2015 I wrote a post in which I drew comparisons between our current times and the social and political upheaval around the time of the English Civil War (upheavals separate to the armed conflict of the civil war itself):
"The whole of Britain (not just England) seems to be in a similar mode of radicalism and revaluing at the moment, albeit that blogs and online articles have replaced pamphlets and broadsheets, and this time they’re talking about landscape, rewilding, psychogeography, archaeology, myth, and hauntology as well as politics and government. The British political landscape has also changed over the past few years: the recent seven-party televised election debates replacing the three-party debates of 2010, the rise of Scottish Nationalism and last year’s close referendum on Scottish Independence (and the inevitable prospect of a second referendum at some point in the future), talk about devolution of central government power to local governments in England as well as Scotland and Wales that might actually happen (although maybe I’m being too optimistic there), and the Snowden leaks that prompted people to re-evaluate the reach of government into private life. I should say that I’m not expecting Britain or England to erupt into civil war or revolution, but I think the similarities in the upsurge of radical rethinking and revaluing is notable, and non-violent change seems afoot."
Since writing that post we’ve seen the emergence of a new left-wing radicalism in the Labour Party, with Jeremy Corbyn as the figurehead, but supported by a huge rise in grassroots Labour Party membership (which I think it’s safe to say reflects a large scale rise in political activism, or at least political consciousness, amongst previously unpoliticised people). This, along with the extending reach of far-right politics, reflected in increased UKIP support and a rightwards-shift in the Conservative Party, has been cited as start of the collapse of the “Neo-Liberal Consensus” or, at the very least, a massive expansion of the Overton Window.' - Paul Watson
'Soundwalk Collective & Jesse Paris Smith, featuring Patti Smith KILLER ROAD from the album Killer Road – A Tribute To Nico'
'Killer Road is a sound exploration of the tragic death of Nico, Velvet Underground vocalist and 60s icon, while riding her bike on the island of Ibiza in the summer of 1988. A hypnotic meditation on the idea of perpetual motion and the cycle of life and death, the composition features Patti Smith lending her unique voice to the last poems written by the artist. Soundwalk Collective uses a travel log of field recordings and samples of Nico's signature instrument, the harmonium, to create a magnetic soundscape.'
'But the future has always been several: how could it be otherwise, when it hasn’t happened yet? The millennial or apocalyptic future, the future that abolishes time itself, is not the same as the prophetic future of a possible or desired outcome, which is not the same as speculative future of science fiction, which is not the same as the future envisaged by a calendar or a to-do list, which is not the same as the future of the high-yield bond, which is not the same as the future which will involve you reading the next sentence, or deciding not to. But what all these have in common with the phenomenological future – the one involved in the direct sensation of time passing, the thing that draws further out of reach the closer you get to it – is their slipperiness. Futures can never be touched or experienced, only imagined; this is why they’re as diverse as the human psyche, and why they tend to be so dreamlike: at turns ludic, libidinal, or monstrous.' - Sam Kriss
'The EVP Sessions takes its inspiration from Konstantin Raudive’s notorious Breakthrough experiments of the 1970s, in which he divined spirit voices from electronic white noise. Each session includes a range of new commissioned work alongside special guests – each performance resonating psychic echoes of technological ruptures and corporeal gasps, peering in at what lies beneath our circuit-boards and screens.'
Location (with MAP): Bluecoat Date/Time: Thursday 8 December 2016.
'Toll shows Norton is surely becoming a master of music that, alongside other modern outlier visionaries such as Daniel Patrick Quinn, is not concerned with purity and nostalgia, but instead pieces itself together from the flotsam and jetsam of sounds and tales that collect all around us. The fact that with Toll he creates a folklore where ancient tales of Breton Princess riding the seas atop a fearsome horse (‘Dahut’) and characters from the PC MMORPG game Dark Age of Camelot (‘Danaoin’) are given equal weight and importance bear this out. The music meanwhile may seem at times poised and controlled - a staple of electronic music created through laptop means – but bubbling underneath is a teeming mass of sadness and loss that evokes the mutable mess of history, myth, and duration.' - Bob Cluness
'Folk Horror is however still something of an ambiguous creature, as parts of the chain may be found in films and other media that simply do not ‘feel’ like Folk Horror. The reason being, and this is a very important factor, the aesthetic and ambience of what may be considered Folk Horror. It is a look and feel that can be particularly difficult to put a finger on. For some of us it is a matter of instinct; a case of ‘you know it when you see it’. There also is a personally subjective element to it (which can make moderating the Folk Horror Revival Facebook group a busy and bizarre activity). A strange aspect of this however is that a lot of Folk Horror can be found in things that are not actually “horror” at all – examples of this can include tribal costumes, New Nature Writing, landscape painting, photography, rural customs, and fairytales. These things and more incorporate a greater and more special place in the heart of Folk Horror Revival than many aspects of a more general horror. The fact that Folk Horror is so sinuous and sometimes so difficult to pin down, is I think what makes it, at least personally for me, so beguiling and attractive. It is not controlled by a solid manifesto, but follows its own course and provides a wondrous thrill when it appears in the most unexpected of places.' - Andy Paciorek
'I remember the stories my grandparents would tell me about going to this ballroom. My granddad sang here, losing out to Gerry and the Pacemakers in a talent competition. Look up any archive photos and the place feels alive, vibrant, you can almost hear the music playing; a hauntology not unlike The Shining. To rub salt in the wound, there’s now a blue plaque on a plinth to commemorate the “27 occasions” when The Beatles played the ballroom. Only in the north west could a building be deemed both suitable to be demolished (which it was after a fire in 1969, a fate that renders any building on Merseyside handily irreparable) and worthy of a commemorative plaque celebrating its historical importance.' - Adam Scovell
'THE FINISHING LINE is equally memorable, but its lingering place in the British psyche is more associated with nausea than tearful sentimentality. In what has been likened to a Python-esque satire (Krish objects to the comparision), THE FINISHING LINE portrays a fantastical ‘sports day’ along a functioning railway line, where schoolchildren participate in a sanctioned barrage of dangerous games including ‘Fence-breaking’, ‘Stone-throwing’, ‘Last Across’ and – most dire of all – ‘The Great Tunnel Walk’. The end result of all of these games is child fatalities, and Krish doesn’t shy away from showing the bloodied bodies of the fallen players. From today’s perspective, it’s a miracle this ever got made, much less funded by a government organization. But I can bet if you saw this film as a kid, there was no way in hell you’d find yourself near a railway line anytime soon.' - Kier-La Janisse
'Ghost and Whispers is a hit from another universe, a sparkling propulsion instantly recognizable as an Ela Orleans composition; light of touch and almost unbearably, ghostlily human. Circles Of Upper and Lower Hell is an honest portrayal of a descent; be it personal or metaphorical and there are times, like on the minimal, string-led Tower, when the listener feels submerged, alienated from comfort. Through-out there's a massive, cinematic scope to the album, rumbling synth textures escalating into celestial harmonies, the stereo-field sparkling with sound, shimmering melodies crackling with the sort of pathos that Ela has made her recognisable trademark. It’s a weighty journey, pitched aurally between Ghost Box records and a mournful classicism, drawing references from literature and autobiography.'
'Library music from the 1960s and ’70s is often visionary. According to Jonny Trunk, author of The Music Library, a new book devoted to the cover art of library music, it is a sonic world of “weird beats, odd instrumentations, albums full of dark jazzy interludes or bizarre garage rock.' - Adrian Shaughnessy
'Not Not Fun, Italians Do It Better, and Mondo are all preceded by the U.K.-based label Ghost Box, whose output—heavily steeped in a faux-archivist narrative regarding pop culture artifacts that never actually existed—was rigorously designed to look and sound like library finds from a parallel world. Its sense of nostalgia, an amalgam of familiar yet slightly “off” touchstones from the ’60s through the ’80s, spurred music writer Simon Reynolds to borrow the Jacques Derrida phrase “hauntology” to describe its time-slipped retro-futurism (which could also apply to Stranger Things). Though much of Ghost Box’s output treads toward musique concrete, both The Advisory Circle and especially Pye Corner Audio traffic in the sort of Cold War-era synth moods we’re looking for here.' - Sean O'Neal
From 2014 - 'The film is a passionate deconstruction of conservative myths about nationhood. At a critical point, the formerly hidebound Stephen cries out: “No, no! I am nothing pure! My race is mixed. My sex is mixed. I am woman and man, light with darkness, nothing pure! I am mud and flame!” Rather than hewing to a belief in tradition, continuity or stability, Rudkin champions hybridity and what Salman Rushdie would later term cultural “mongrelisation”. A while before it became fashionable for historians to talk about the inseparability of “nation and narration” or “the invention of tradition”, Rudkin was arguing that English Christianity was a violently imposed ideology. The family, heterosexuality, militarised manhood: all these pillars of patriotism take a tumble.' - Sukhdev Sandhu
'As Lyotard’s epochal definition puts it, we have grown suspicious of the metanarrative, and in its wake historical teleology and even grand-scaled meaning-making have collapsed into an impossible to summarise plurality of fractured, partially overlapping micro-events. There is of course some truth to these claims, yet as we argue, Lyotard moves too quickly to dismiss the mass belief in ‘the future’ and the big picture trajectory. What has disappeared is faith in the future in the more depressing sense of a better future, while looming dystopian perspectives, of a future of hyper-neoliberalisation, rising surplus populations, and environmental catastrophe have become all-too ubiquitous. Key political signifiers such as ‘modernisation’, for example, have become almost entirely subsumed within a neoliberal framework. The modernisation of an industry, workplace, or pursuit, today indicates privatisation, contracting out, rising precarity and declining wages.' - Alex Williams & Nick Srnicek
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