Monday, October 31, 2011

Gothic Daydreams (Various Artists, Free MP3 album)

(Review By William Wheaton) The biggest and best surprise in music for me of late 2010-early 2011 was the Metalhit Free Download series from the on-line metal label Metalhit, which I've written about on here. That was six hours of definitive underground metal released for free on-line. This fall the biggest and best musical surprise comes thanks to the same individual. Mike Riddick owns both Metalhit and The Fossil Dungeon, which is not a metal label but rather a gothic label that's been around about ten years, and we have a free mp3 album of material from the Fossil Dungeon catalogue. For awhile I would have told you the best gothic playlist around was to be found by tuning into the station on Riddick here has put together a much shorter playlist of material, but it probably competes with what you would hear if you listened to an hour of the Doomed station. Doomed has a few problems, one being that they play the same sound clips from the original Halloween film over and over. Mike Riddick really has quite an ear, as evidenced by the bands he's found for his labels and by his own band, The Soil Bleeds Black. It could very well be that he owns the one of the best gothic label around these days and one of the best metal label around these days, which is an accomplishment. The only band on here I'd heard before is Mephisto Waltz who recall well from the 90's, their track on here is quite similar in sound to the track "Heaven or Las Vegas" by Cocteau Twins. Other bands on the compilation have more of a neo-classical or pseudo-medieval feel. Riddick's own band Soil Bleeds Black is like that. Caelum Bliss have almost a little bit of a metal element to their sound. A few of the songs sound more like that dance-oriented gothic music played at fetish clubs. "It's Time" by Butterfly Messiah is like that. Across the board,the compilation tends to focus on bands with female vocals, in particular bands that use female vocal harmonies. As you may have guessed, this is not musically revolutionary material. I won't pretend that is. If you go back to the In Goth Daze compilation put out by Cleopatra Records in 1994, and closed your eyes while it played, you might have difficulty determining which bands were 80's bands or 90's bands. It would be hard to place any of the bands on Gothic Daydreams as not being from the 90's or even the 80's without knowing otherwise. "I Don't Want You To Go" by Gifts in Secret on Gothic Daydreams sounds like something that might have played on college radio in 1984. This comes up again and again, but it seems veritably impossible for current gothic/industrial bands to surpass the kind of musical innovation that was taking place within gothic/industrial the 80's. I'm still uncovering obscure gothic/industrial bands of quality from the 80's. I hadn't even heard Brighter Death Now until this year. However, the music on this compilation sounds a lot better then some of the music being made now by gothic/industrial artists left over from the 80's. Psychic TV, a band from 30 years ago, has a new single for sale, which is a cover of a track by Can, a band from over 40 years ago. Some of this music is from ten years ago or more, and Mephisto Waltz has been around forever, but this music isn't as bad as dredging up Boyd Rice,Genesis P.Orridge or Sleep Chamber once again. That I can do without.

Friday, October 28, 2011

arboga teenage riot

going thru some cd-r's the other day and came across this gem from '04. Music made by people i don't know but it might as well have been made by friends—like this one. 10 untitled tracks of electronic disgust—skip track 5 & 10, novelty throwaways. Surprised that someone else uploaded this to mediafire, but then again it made the vaunted aquarius list——in fact the cd-r is still available online from the store if that offers any indication of its listenability. i believe from sweden, the name is a touch misleading in terms of sound. more on point are chicks on speed unraveled by amateur gabber and poser black metal vocals, so basically riot grrl techno stripped of fun.

wild that between the recent ying of suburban bands like blood on the dance floor and brokencyde and the metropolitan yang of ghe2o gothik, euro dreck like this still musters some relevance, if only for its bathetic refusal of electronically mediated joy and the marketable memory of its recent histories. Perhaps a good soundtrack to the recent occupy artist space initiative? In fact that questionable honor would better rest with the young, recently disbanded, realicide. in their squatter-y hands electronic music becomes a means to traverse the discomforting netherregions of lumpen hipster consciousness and anarchopunk agency, a movement accomplished wholly through a spine-tinglingly complete disavowal of good taste; a foreclosure of a memorialized past for the naive intensities of the immediate present. see also this for maximum relevance.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

weltschmertz demo

socially networked grimness. recorded between tape and a blackberry (maybe for an art show in malmo? i forget) this one-man bedroom bm lives up to all the cliches of that tag, perhaps one day aquarius records will praise its burzumic buzz? yet despite its sub-Aske fidelity, the riffs and synth atmosphere suggest deep beherit worship, especially if the band had recorded electric doom synthesis shrouded in the infernal tape hiss of their demo era. actually that might not be all the way true, this record has all the BM essentials covered, the norse kampf of track 2, the bestial throb of track 3, martial triumph of track 4, an approximation of abruptum on track 5 that fugues into what sounds like a mournful early sarcofago—bookended by fat synth'd intros and outros. what else would you expect from an act whose name implies the sorrow that results from knowledge's irreconcilability with the world?

its a fucking trap - s/t

Hailing once upon a time from the punkier mores of olneyville, this ensemble of nine (i think?) unleashed a heap of life-loving, early-00s grinding metallic hardcore with art school flourishes —a barely audible saxophone being one tell-tale sign. for better or worse nary a note of anything from pageninetynine to integrity graced these ears through the agony of my teen years, so i can thank this punk frat for a proper introduction to music that no freshman really needs but seizes regardless. more brutal than local white belt superstars as the sun sets/daughters, this clown car of musicians only ever croaked out one cd-r in early 2003 after many a show played in utter darkness. notable not only for the considerable attention the band has paid t the craft of their riffs, but also for the the band's treatment of the punk convention of call and response vocals. with two vocalists given no other task but to scream, they offer this tried and true convention a novel, glass gargling texture—one that can be spotted even in this album's first few seconds.

given the recent shape of the metal and hardcore media and its entrenchment as an alternative to the softer sounds of gentrification (i suppose one could generalize metal, punk and all their possible combinations as the self-critical sound of gentrification hating itself), had these guys kept up the heat they pressed onto this first album they very well could have played the new museum last week. shucks. perhaps you know some of these guys nowadays? sorry forgot to scan the album art.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011


congratulations Artists Space and Georgia Sagri, your critical efforts have finally been recognized by the public.

After 29 hours of symbiotic occupation, you are both significantly more radical New Yorkers.. Perhaps the best addition to the programming in a long time for your self-critical organization who since 40 years, has stayed at the forefront of critical discourse and socio-economic conditions artists live in. A friendly nod to the right-wing tax-evading constituency of the non-profit industrial complex, the "agendaless" occupiers are once again described as not knowing what they want. Perhaps forcing this out of AS's scribes is their 2nd greatest achievement, after boosting their personal brand in front of curators and staedel students falling asleep at a 3-hour lecture on self-reflexivity and situationism? Everybody wins!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011


(review by William Wheaton)

My friend the painter Paul Richard made the joke which I've stolen and referenced a few times is that since Human Centipede 2 was initially banned in the U.K. and the right wing radio host Michael Savage was banned from entering the U.K., that listening to the Michael Savage show and then going to see Human Centipede 2 would go really well on a first date. I don't know for sure that wouldn't get you laid, because in a certain it way it would put you at a cultural forefront. "Torture porn", extreme right wing "hate" radio- go straight for the meaty subject matter, right? Actually, to be totally honest I think the problem with that is that those are actually both cases of overzealousness on the part of the British officials. I don't find either Human Centipede 2 or Michael Savage's new book Abuse of Power all that shocking. I wrote about the British ban on Human Centipede 2 on here when it happened, but having seen the film now I think it's absolutely insane that they took that film seriously enough to ban it. I wouldn't cry for either Tom Six or Michael Savage. Whatever Tom Six is doing he's got something figured out because I saw the premier at a theater in Philadelphia, and I bought the ticket several hours before the film was supposed to screen, and was told to come at least half an hour early to get seats and Michael Savage's new book, which is his first novel, is on the New York Times bestseller list.
The version of Human Centipede 2 IFC has released for U.S. markets is substantially cut, but the nature of violence in that film is so completely fake and the scatological and sexual material in that film is so over the top I just considered the film a joke. The audience was laughing the entire time. The first Human Centipede film a mad scientist captures three people and stitches them together anus to mouth. The plot of the sequel is a mentally retarded security guard in a bad part of London is sexually infatuated with the first film, so he recreates the first film by stitching twelve people together anus to mouth. The retarded security guard Martin is almost kind of cute, and a few of the people he kills and tortures during the film probably deserve it. The original Human Centipede film was less violent, but this film's violence lacks any kind of realism. It's not family entertainment but I just couldn't believe I was watching Human Centipede 2 when I was watching it because it cracked me up more then disturbed me.

The extreme irony of Human Centipede 2 is that the same week it was released the number 1 iTunes app has been the live stream of the trial of Conrad Murray for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson. It's every bit as grotesque as a scene from Human Centipede 2 with the catch being that it is absolutely real. The live feed of Conrad Murray has gone into minutia regarding issues such as when Michael Jackson's body turned the color blue exactly. If that's the number one iTunes app and Human Centipede 2 is a cult film, then the mainstream is far more hardcore then the underground.
Michael Savage's Abuse of Power is effectively a spy thriller perfect for an airport bookstore, although very clearly written by someone of the political right. Film critics are going on and on about the "meta" element of Human Centipede 2, but Abuse of Power actually has perhaps even more intriguing "meta" elements. Michael Savage made his main character a right-wing journalist whose been banned from entering the U.K for statements he made about Islam in a blatant autobiographical reference. Jack Hatfield, a kind of self-aggrandized version of Michael Savage as a James Bond type uncovers a Muslim terrorist plot. A car bomb terrorist plot is botched when a young black thug carjacks the car, and Jack Hatfield's best friend, a bomb squad expert, is killed in the debacle. The government tries to cover-up Muslim involvement in the attack, but Jack Hatfield is determined to uncover the truth, even if he has to sneak inside England to do it. It turns out to be a conspiracy involving Islamic terrorists and leftists.
It's actually a fairly readable book, a nice little piece of war on terror-era paranoia that plays on fears of Islamic terrorism and WMDs. Michael Savage has flipped out on air about gays and Muslims a few times, at one point losing his MSNBC show for homophobia, and that's about the short and long of his "hate speech" .He apologized for the homophobic statements that got him fired from MSNBC. Michael Savage was careful to incorporate "good guy" Muslim characters into Abuse of Power as if in penance for his accused bigotry. The subject of homosexuality is not explored at length in Abuse of Power either way.

Monday, October 3, 2011


After years of crafting a unique formal vocabulary out of ambiguously auto-biographical references, an often tongue-in-cheek conceptual approach and presentation strategies borrowed from various dematerialized forms of art-making, Jordan Wolfson has managed an impressive "return" to a more standard exhibition format that feels effortlessly adapted to contemporary image distribution requirements for his last solo presentation at T293's new gallery space in Rome. Evoking the playful digital/analog experiments in which digital techniques are used in combination with a painterly sensibility the way peers like DAS INSTITUT, David Lieske, Michael Krebber, and Tobias Madison have been using them to general acclaim, Wolfson re-introduces a cycle of references familiar to close observers of his work (Hassidic Shyloh figures, cartoon characters, infantile nudity, politically incorrect material found on the internet...), cooked up in a set of 14 loosely hung digital prints on canvas and two single-channel videos.
Often described as moving freely across media or even, "post-studio", Wolfson's practice here innovates by delivering its accumulated subject-matter in a subtly presented on-demand response to the requirements of his role and vocation as an artist. Feeding back most of the presentation strategies routinely encountered in the art circuit most visible on blogs such as Contemporary Art Daily to the a gallery prominently present within that circuit, Wolfson's solo show and adoption of a distribution-friendly presentation format casts the ever-changing nature of his formal vocabulary (the artist often produces using skilled outsourced labor like animators, actors and mimes that leave a strong imprint on the technical signature of the work) in a self-deprecating, humoristic light that confers T293's new space a playfulness that will no doubt be repeated by other artists in the roster. In many ways reminiscent of a contemporary hockey rink (banners commemorative of the players' history circling the main play area and providing an inspiring decor for the spectators, two flat screen televisions sets facing each other from either sides of the room like nets..), this exhibition is a one-player, one team championship: Jordan Wolfson, for Jordan Wolfson, scoring a never-ending series of highly de territorializing goals in both nets.