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.


New Forces said...

Not really in response to the post, but I'm curious how the Pimp Aktion Slutgun LP is, I hesitated to grab that in the new TR batch

Survivalist said...

I love it; good, dirty harsh noise with no fucking about.

Not HNW by any stretch but it bares minimal resemblance with its abscence of noticable edits as compositional technique

Invisible Oranges said...

Whenever you post glimpses of yourself, you tend to add qualifiers like "but I'm not a [insert stereotype, (e.g., hippie) here]". That's not necessary. You're dealing with very powerful concepts that shouldn't be toned down just because the world is cynical and too school for cool. It is very easy to hate; it is very hard to love. That has nothing to do with yoga mats or scene police or other artificial constructs.

Also, exclusion is nothing without inclusion and dark is nothing without light. Obviously there is a lot of inclusion in your life - a small example is the reading/listening list at the end of each post - so exclusion is just a necessary filter against the world's shitstorm of information. Maybe your sense of exclusion is more defined than most, that's all.

Also, school is cool. If I had the time and money, I would do it. Best of luck on your new journey. May you learn a lot.

Survivalist said...

Cosmo, you're correct in a sense; i do add disclaimers, almost certainly unecessarily at times.

You're referencing the comment about "be the change you want to see in the world" and honestly that's one that can easily be seen as some rotten hippy bullshit if you don't consider that the change some people want does not include the warm and nice feelings i might want from the world on occasion.

So that's one disclaimer i would add regardless; sometimes the world isn't critical enough.

I spend a lot of my non-musical life listening to and being involved in talk about politics and communities and too many people forget that there are communities that are built on exclusivity and separtion. Sometimes it's relatively innocuous, sometimes it's blatant hatred, but it's there and it fits with your remarks about how you can't have exclusion without inclusion.

In my posts i'm often addressing two different and sometimes separated sides of my life. That doesn't always come across very well and is my fault. Hell, people that know me in my non-musical public life would probably be horrified at some of the stuff i write.

Some of the more blatantly negative writings/ lyrics i've done are purely because for a lot of my life i walk people through some of the most ridiculous bullshit imaginable when really all i want to do is scream. But i don't because i generally know the different roles i need to play in this life.

For the last fifteen years the two major factors in my life have been violent music and advocacy for the underdog. There's an ongoing correlation between the two.

Carl Jung said "Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people." My exclusion is very well defined, which isn't that unusual, but my inclusion list is probably bigger, it just doesn't come across so often when i'm talking about music. Like i said, finding new standards of beauty and seeing what's included by what we exclude is important in our culture.

And the reading list is always a small way of inserting information i feel is far more important than the body of my posts or the concerns of the scene. But if this blog was just about that kind of thing no one would ever read it.

Survivalist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Aircraft said...

For those who haven't heard this yet, it's a fantastic release and the artwork looks great.

Any word on the JNC/Disgust split Andrew?

Keith said...

"becoming the change that you want to see in the world" Seems as though there has been a shift from violent extremism in the late 60's and 70s to the extremism that exists today. From the voices of guns to the voices of blogs. From what I gather from your songs and blogs, change for you is more than bitching on a blog. Maybe the question is skewed by my own perspective but why do you think activism and work for change are more of a personal and daily life issue rather than communal revolutionaries? (Not to say there aren't people living in communal living claiming to be revolutionaries) sorry for a question that takes countless books to answer.

For my own personal interest, what is your masters program?

jbalsinek said...

I really like the whole thing but I've got to say I love the last track in particular.. Right up my alley. The first time I listened to the master I knew the track and I would be friends. Now I've heard it so many times that when I listen to it, it sounds so familiar it almost feels as if I'd made it myself.. Which I suspect is because when it comes to noise, I mostly listen to my own stuff, as sad as that may sound.

Survivalist said...

@ Andrew; Disgust split has been held up whilst Small Doses shut down temporarily, sounds like it should be out before the end of the year.

@ Jiri; heh, just as well you liked it i guess

@ Keith, you've asked several questions that i can't adequately answer here but here are two shortish answers:

Regarding the changing face of political activisim. On the one hand i'm not sure community based activism has gone away entirely, it's just easier to ignore talk of community if it's a community we're not invested in on any level.

I've seen a few compelling arguements (though they may not necessarily entirely represent my own) that after the global economic crisis of 1973 that in a sense helped to usher in neoliberalism (Thatcher in the UK , Reagan in the US) there was definite shift to ideas of individualism at the expense of communalism. This may be partly responsible for a highly bastardised version of the personal is political idea taking so much hold in the 1990s.

It's difficult to remember how things were pre Thatcher and Reagan and of course anyone born after 1980 wasn't even alive in the world prior to those two dominant political forces. Hell, i barely remember it myself, being all of six at the dawn of the 1980s. I hear a lot of clearly romanticised nonsense about life before then but there's also some empirical evidence of the drastic change in British society.

(and Emperor Constantine and Thatcher are the two people i thinked fucked up the UK irreparably)

This could go on longer but it isn't something i'm especially knowledgable on.

My Masters program is in Environmental Studies and isn't (thankfully) tied to a geography department or anything else MES programs are often lumped in with.

It's an inter-disciplinary program and the vague outline of my area of concentration is looking at exclusion (meaning both stigmatization and groups/ individuals that exclude themselves) in terms of both mobility (within a specific geographic location and in the sense of social capital) and public policy.

My proposed research study (which will probably change between now and this time next year) is much more specific, but i'm out of time and i'm being seduced away from the keyboard by Hellhammer

Anonymous said...

Are you implying atheism has no meaning, is this why you reject it? I know you hold much opposition to atheism.

Survivalist said...

Neither atheism nor pure theology have ever adequately been able to describe to me how i feel connected to the world.

So personally, yes i reject atheism as meaningless to my understanding of the universe and my place within it.

I see the belief in god (whatever that word even means) as a natural human need and something that no one will ever be able to explain away.

That doesn't mean i'm not extremely hostile to many ideas of what god is or isn't though. I just don't think you can unconvert people from a genuine relationship with a deeply personal vision of god anymore than you can deprogram someone from being gay.

One of the causes of my resistance to describing myself as a pagan, and some people probably would describe me as one is because too many neo-pagans simply swap one unthought out set of beliefs for another.

A lot of them (but by no means all) seem to end up with something that looks pretty similar to Christianity but with a bunch of different Jesuses (did i just invent a word?) and some occasional lip service to matriachy and nature.

And just to be completely clear; i believe in neither the existence of either god/s nor an anthropomorphic "force"