Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Urine Cop tape/ Disgust live

Eric from Blockade/ Slaughter Strike and Adam from Winters in Osaka collaborated recently to release a 15 minute tape on Coffin Crawl.

Expect blown out noise and blast beats, like an ultra lo-fi version of One Handed Christ Destroyer from the Blockade Unearthly Trance split but with more variation in the drumming. Influenced by World and the like and the last song, which is by far my favourite is apparently an Ildjarn cover.

If you want to relive (or pretend you were there) the days of receiving obscure noisecore tapes from far away lands (hey, Ohio was pretty far away when i lived in Newcastle) then this is probably the nostalgia trip for you.

Nostalgia or not i enjoyed this release a lot.

Urine Cop also played their first and last ever show recently which was a great night out; Cannibal Ferox 35mm print on the big screen followed by a power electronics show just up the street.

Eric did vocals at the end of the set, i wish he`d do more. Every single time i`ve seen Eric do some vocals he`s totally into it, then just loses his place, laughs to himself off microphone and gives up. You can usually anticipate him wrenching all power supplies to his noise gear out of the wall within about 30 seconds of this occuring.

True Music for True Music fans.

Also playing that night were Disgust. There's been a Norton/ Disgust split tape lost in the works for a while now though i understand it's actually coming out shortly.

It was cool to hang out with Mackenzie from Disgust, he's someone who clearly understands the ritual function of art in working through different aspects of personality. I'm not refering to either of the common cliches of catharsis or the interminably crappy "if i didn't play in this band i'd go out and kill people" schtick.

Our understanding of violence in the world match up at the edges and it was interesting to hear his views on the nature of God; i hadn't considered his perspective before (we're from vastly different cultural backgrounds though which has a lot to do with it)

So far this year i think by far my favourite live experiences have been Swans (Toronto; New York wasn't nearly as good) and Autopsy; as i'm getting older i'm suprised to find myself wanting a little more spectacle at shows. Disgust is actually the third most enjoyable live experience i've had this year.

Four guys huddled tightly around a table with a handful of noise equipment; unnassuming, focused, hostile, unconcerned with anything in the room except the table and each other. I feel they would have given it as much had they been playing to no one. There was something intangibly honest about the whole thing that sat well with me.

Power violence dynamics applied to noise and it was everything that a power violence performance should be (and is sadly lacking in most).

Disgust understand the core is the intent; not the useless trimmings holding it together, they come secondary. Genre as a vehicle for greater expression.

Also highly recommended is the Constrictions tape; more power violence approaches to power electronics

Download their demo here and the Zero Discrimination tape here

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inner Light/ a small statement of sorts

New Joshua Norton Cabal release, Inner Light is out now on CD. In Europe get it from Chimera from anywhere else send me an e mail (it's in my profile).

About 80% of this one was made with reamplified metal and one and a half Trogtronic boxes (the half was a decidely busted 665). I used the Blockade backline at Audiolab studio for an afternoon and made Chris Hegge laugh like a drain as i demanded more and more ridiculous configurations of amps and devices at ludicrous volume.

The last track uses a lot of field recordings i've collected over the years and is the tale of the evolution of my occasionally disconnected mind reduced to a fifteen minute piece.

Originally i had a few vocal tracks recorded as well but for some reason (perhaps a sudden bust of self awareness leading to a lack of confidence) i cut them all and left it entirely vocal free.

Art and layout was done by Joce again (he also did the Blockade/ Unearthly Trance split)

The basic theme of Inner Light is a celebration of the irrational internal flame and how it informs other aspects of my life and thinking.

As someone with close to twenty years of involvement in DIY culture i'm often asked what keeps me motivated to stay involved? Why do i still bother? Sometimes it seems like these questions are daring me to speak to all of the ultimately petty ills we could all share about the more frustrating side of hardcore/ noise/ metal/ avant garde/ youth based cutures. Generally i don't need to do that in public too much; if you want to hear other people piss and moan i feel you can look to any cock on a message board and get your fill there.

Of the many answers i can give the easiest one is a very simple "it's pretty much all i know". It's the same with my choosing to not eat meat. Sure, i had a solid ideological reason a long time ago and for a while there i was definitely every cliche of the vegan police you could think of, but after more than two decades it just becomes normal. If pressed i could undoubtedly give you a long list of reasons why it's important to me, but it would be delivered with all the passion of why breathing air or learning to read is important.

Anyone who's familiar with anything i've written over the last five years or so will be aware i tend to fall down the rabbit-hole when it comes to discussing the symbolism and semiotics of whatever culture it is i belong to (these days i feel i'm unable to say what it is i'm attached with any degree of precision by merely saying "hardcore").

One of the questions i've mulled over a lot recently is "if we base much of our public front on rejectionism (and *we* really do, just look at your record collection) what are the values and acts that we find beauty in? What are our standards beyond refusing certain models of interaction with the world?" What is said by its exclusion in dialogue?

With that in mind an aspect of Inner Light is my ongoing quest to determine what it is i personally find beauty and value in.

One of the things i've been very aware of for a long time is the current that runs through my life that informs all other aspects of my self identity. It informs my creative urge, it informs my way of thinking, it informs my career path and pretty much every other aspect of my life i can think of. Taking every individual aspect and putting them together does nothing to really illuminate what this current is though.

Unfortunately anytime anyone ever attempts to speak to a sense of calling the connotations are often too closely linked to a religious impulse. Or worse we invoke the modern soft-agnosticism of refering to things as being "spiritual" which has become a term even less meaningful or agreed on than Anarchism in this day and age.

In this blog i've often reduced it to a necessarily simplistic reference to The Occult, which as any boring pedant can tell you merely means "hidden".

I see a lot of other pop references to The Occult in culture and in particular modern music. From some quarters there is the knowing nodding head of assent, from others the open frustration that nothing is ever really specified and from the rest either outright rejection and calls of "bullshit" or an utter disinterest.

My own feelings on the matter (like it's a single "thing"...) are that if any ideology you subscribe to in this life is not a living, evolving system/ praxis that enables you to negotiate meaning in the world then you should give it up. I don't think it matters that much how you negotiate meaning, as long as you do it.

And finally, though i reject (for many many reasons) the god awful cliche (as it's become) of the personal is political, particularly when applied en masse to the drabber ends of the hardcore spectrum in the 1990s; i think there is a huge validity in the also cliched notion of becoming the change that you want to see in the world.

Lest you think i'm some kind of yoga mat carrying hippy let me qualify that by saying that this is not an inherently fuzzy and nice concept. The change you might want in the world could be utterly hostile to the change i want and vice versa.

More people need to practice or at least understand the principles of agonism and pluralism.


Pimp Action Slutgun - Body Scrap LP
SFN - Itching 7"
Autopsy - The Tomb Within 12"
Gunter Saxenhammer - Interstellar Overkill CDR
Universal Order of Armageddon - discography CD


well, entering a masters program is kicking the shit out of my ability to read for fun (and also my opportunity to write music) but here's two books i've enjoyed recently

Wendy Doniger - The Implied Spider
Roland Barthes - Mytholgies

Quitting my job was the second best move i ever made in my life (the first was immigrating to Canada). School is particularly novel to me as i don't actually have much in the way of a formal education.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

small victories

Last week the laws around prostitution in Ontario were changed (perhaps only temporarily). You can read the full details about it here.

Several years ago Sex Professionals of Canada launched a constitutional challenge on laws that made it illegal to "communicate for the purposes of prostitution". The argument being that if sex workers were robbed, assaulted or raped on the job then reporting these crimes was self incriminating.

The courts agreed and felt that the laws were both unconstitutional and added more potential violence and danger into sex worker's lives.

About seven years ago i wrote a song called Pimp Killer for The Endless Blockade; it's the first song on the Come Friendly Bombs ep. As ever at it's heart was a sense of frustration and inability to change things i personally felt were wrong with the world.

I recognise that language is in an almost permanent state of flux and one of the reasons that English is such a strong language is its ability to constantly adapt (obviously discussions on colonialism and language can be skipped here).

I guess my issues with the word pimp came at a time when quite by chance i was involved in several different projects that involved sex workers. I'd delivered several housing workshops to different groups of sex workers and one of the community development projects i was leading involved taking a popular education (Paulo Freire and all that jazz) approach to empowering groups to form their own coalitions and advocacy groups that included several sex workers in their numbers.

And if you can mediate a group of active drug users into politicised roles you can pretty much do any group facilitation...

Anyway, someone around this time referred to my handsome pitbull (who was at the time wearing a slightly altered child's fleece with a Man is the Bastard patch sewn on the back; it was winter time) as "totally pimpin'!" Quite what that actually meant i have no idea but at the time there was clearly a move in our society to change the word pimp (Pimp My Ride for one other example).

Having moderated several groups in Toronto involving sex workers and the amount of crisis intervention work i did in Glasgow with sex workers who'd had the shit kicked out of them buy their johns, pimps and lawyers (an ugly story indeed) i wasn't impressed by this move and wrote a completely emasculated song from this perspective.

And slightly related the song Black Economy on our first LP was inspired in part by Alan Young's book Defiling Justice (he was the lawyer for SPOC)

A music related post coming later this week, i promise.