Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Other Side of Eden...

The lack of updates to this newly-started project has meant that I've been working on the new physical issue of Warbound, which will be available starting this weekend at the Tearing at the Roots Conference in Baltimore, MD, where I will be presenting some of my work regarding the roles that intoxication/addiction culture and animal liberation play within the larger confines of domestication.

If you desire a copy of Warbound, they are available on a donation basis, which can be arranged via email: deloslobos@wildmail.com, or through mail at the below address:

15 Berry Avenue, Lower
Lackawanna NY 14218
(may take 6-8 weeks for response)

Now, for this installment I have provided an mp3 version of an interview conducted by the BBC program
Outlook with Hugh Brody.

From their site:

"Hugh Brody is a writer, anthropologist and filmmaker. From his experiences of hunter-gatherer culture gleaned from years of living and hunting with the Inuits of the Arctic and the salmon-fishing tribes in the Canadian Northwest, Brody reaches through everyday realities to reflect on the human condition.

Speaking to Outlook about his latest book, The Other Side Of Eden, Brody introduces us to the hunter-gatherer way of life and explores the misunderstandings and the historic division between hunter-gatherers and farmers."

It's a very short interview, but it's got some amazing observations from Brody, and I cannot recommend his book enough for those looking for more anthropological insight into the unsustainability and unhealthiness of domestication, which is available from Black & Green Press.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cacophony: Noise Music as a Critique of Civilization

Before I begin:

"The environment we live in is no longer connected to the mix of planetary processes which brought us all into being. It is solely the product of human mental processes. It is real, but only in the way that a theatrical play or a fun house is real. Our artificial environment is there and we can experience it, yet it has been created on purpose by other humans. It is an interpretation of reality, it no longer reveals how nature works and it cannot provide much useful information to human beings who seek to see their own lives as part of some wider natural process. We are left with no frame of reference untouched by human interpretation."

-Jerry Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (New York: Quill, 1978), 87.

Mander brings to attention something that I think is vitally lost on a regular basis by people in general and anarchists in particular - EVERYTHING HAS CONTEXT. Failure to examine whatever is at hand without first recognizing context has and continues to be a major problem when addressing civilization, domestication and opposition to all that prevents a liberated existence. I can only imagine the dismissals applied to Warbound and inevitably to this blog, or to any participation I have in the culture that I say I resist...

With the concept of context in mind, I choose to begin this project with what many even in anarcho-primitivist circles would find to be a strange subject.

I have recently had the pleasure of speaking with a few different artists in the noise/integrated sound (its hard to generalize here) world about my interest in the genre as a critique of civilization.

My original interest in this genre originally began with the singer of Integrity's harsh noise project PSYWARFARE. His eccentricities aside, I found the content and form of Psywarfare to be terrifyingly exciting - a chaotic bombardment of feedback, white noise, eerie samples, and even a Blondie song backwards! From there, I was exposed to another Cleveland group, the infamous LOCKWELD, who are known to incorporate power tools, machinery and weapons as part of their music - oftentimes resampled, looped, processed and distorted with the use of an analog synth. In live performances, Lockweld have used power tools such as sanders and metal grinders, and often start fires. In interviews they often cite the dark industrial landscape of our shared hometown as inspiration for the harshness of their sound.

Then, in March of this year, I had the pleasure of seeing Father Of The Flood during and after a performance by the band Deepen The Wound. FOTF is essentially on the opposite side of the integrated sound spectrum, using elements of everyday life and minima, often droning electronics to create striking and stark compositions. Since DTW was very outspoken on their stance against civilization, I assumed that FOTF would share these sentiments, and as I was leaving the show I was able to strike up a conversation with Daniel, the person solely responsible for the project. It turns out I was right, and since then we've had a wonderful correspondence and a growing friendship. An interview with Daniel is availble HERE.

From there, i began contemplating the relationship between the noise genre and a critique of civilization. An incident from my childhood immediately came to mind. When i was younger, my mother suffered a complete breakdown (readers of the first preliminary issue of Warbound will be familiar with this) and was later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. Once, after an episode where she had to be medicated much stronger than usual, she made the remark, "There is so much racket in my head, i just can't take it." Needless to say the entire situation has and to this day does affect me greatly, but that always stuck with me.

"There is so much racket in my head, I just can't take it..."

I feel those words, so real for my mother's everyday experience, are a perfect metaphor for how this culture has invaded our lives. We are a domesticated species, constantly bombarded by a relentless techno-industrial cacophony. Most of the time, we are shell-shocked into submission by the culture, but as always there are some who don't take the breaking - some of those people are the ones who choose to resist in hopes of returning to wildness, but sadly many of the untameable are left broken and neurotic - witness the widespread panic and pathology inherent in these final hours of civilization.

We are overwhelmed, and addiction is a fantastic example of the civilized mentality of "can't have enough"... I think it's interesting that many "overdose" scenes in movies seem to be accompanied by overwhelming noise or intense music...

Sady, domestication also manifests an inverse effect - an increased isolation of ourselves, emotionally and physically, psychically, and so forth. The human animal becomes an island, crammed up against 6 billion other islands, desperately seeking connection, and finding only frustration.

So, you have the extremes in a dance macabre with little hope for our species well-being - there's always a connection between overshoot and collapse, even when we are speaking of the ecology of our "spirit" - and what is more appropriate to complement these extremities and extensive kinds of experience in regards to our environment than a genre that goes from projects that quietly fragment pieces of our everyday experience such as Father Of The Flood to Lockweld using metal grinders and concrete to express the sheer terror of the industrial process? In noise I find a sort of naked expression of the aural experience of civilization, and in that I am absolutely fascinated...

Through my exploration of this issue, I was happy to find yet another project that shared these ideas with me, the Australian outfit Cull, who on their website describes the effort as "one of many voices of the Primal War." I was lucky enough to get an interview in with Cull as well, which is included HERE.

In closing, the latest issue of Green Anarchy featured a piece by John Zerzan entitled "Silence," which provides an excellent compliment to this piece. Read that HERE.

interview with FATHER OF THE FLOOD

FATHER OF THE FLOOD interview. july 2008.
[x] please give a brief summary of Father Of The Flood's history, origins, etc.

i began "Father of the Flood" during the winter of 2005. At that time i was strictly documenting improvisational sketches of "songs" on an old cassette recorder. in July of 2007, i began performing and releasing pieces on cassette and cdr regularly.

This project was created primarily as a means of coping with the psychological assaults we are confronted with by our civilization and ourselves, whether the dangers of self-introspection or the traditions and practices we have accepted and continually participate in.

The sounds that are at the source of these pieces are collages of field recordings - completely riddled with interference from the surroundings they were created in, as well as, deep drones meant to mimic and bring awareness to the vibrations we as people and machines constantly fill the atmosphere with.


[x] What are your thoughts on the relationship between the totality of domestication in your daily life to FOTF?

The reason why i have been working to make this project more of a public endeavor is rooted in my belief that in any of our actions we are essentially accountable for the impact of those decisions. Because of this belief, i have encountered and been the source of so much guilt that i am continuously unsure of as being (un)necessary.

Due to the chaotic nature of our everyday lives and the violent consequences of our actions - we exist in an unrelenting crisis of values. Yet, upon any instinct we can grasp escape in a tangible form that has been formulated to directly tranquilize or keep us consumed in that spectacle, whether through synthetic drugs that sometimes "find" their way into our drinking water if we haven't already sought them out for our own discretion, or simply televisions selling us insecurities and enticing our emotional being with scripted "living", all the while laying the foundation for learned behaviors in just how much attention and ultimate control we allow towards our imaginations.

i want to create pieces that allow space and encourage contemplation or self-abandonment at will, that are composed largely by actual sounds from our urban enviornments that offer the listener an opportunity for a naive ear and a more self-focused position of judgement.


[x] Do you think that ambient/noise/soundscape/whatever you wish to call it music plays into a critique of civilization, technology, etc. knowingly or unknowingly?

It is unavoidable that much "noise/integrated sound" reflects civilization and technology. Especially with so many artists actually constructing their own synthesizers, effects, and other tools and the actual sounds born from these inventions. However, i can't say that each artist is aware of their own intention and how it compares to the structures around them, i can't even say they want to be.


[x] I know that i am very passionate about the Warbound project, along with other endeavors that are intimately tied to the existence of civilization (such as our means of communication right now). With that in mind, and with the almost certain reality of major collapse within our lifetimes, what are your feelings on what will inherently mean a loss of your ability to create in this format and others?

i can not be certain or sworn to my desire to create musically, especially in relation to such a collapse, but i do know that i am presently faced with concerns to the inadvertant harm this project is essentially creating. You know, just more packaged goods, just more plastic. The fact that i tour and am doing so by driving a very inefficient vehicle.

i must accept the inevitable collapse and understand the forces which are fueling it. i must also be trusting and selfless in the reality of the vitality it will yield. granted, i have not also dissappeared with our common means of living - i will continue in practice of listening with a naive ear and trying to remain thoughtful of our direct impact upon things (especially when that direct impact can be implemented beneficially).

For more information and mp3s from Father Of The Flood, you can check out the link in my "Musicians" section, although the reader should be aware that many of these compositions were meant for analog listening, and I encourage everyone to acquire the tapes that are available through Daniel's label, Featherspines.

interview with CULL

CULL interview. july 2008.
[x] Please give a brief summary of Cull's history, origins, etc.

I got into the noise and industrial genres back in my teens. There seemed to be a kind of purity of expression in this “music” - not bound up in chord structures, and 4/4 rhythms, the noise/power electronics and industrial artists could move me as much as even the most powerful traditional music. Eventually, like a million DIY/punk kids across the globe, I finally decided that I could do that, too. So I started making noise about 5 years ago. For a brief time I was trying to pander to the whims of the power electronics scene, which has a lot of severely dodgy and even moronic elements, finding a way of introducing eco-ideas to that subculture. So Cull was originally couched into some bullshit concept of “Green Totalitarianism”. I quickly got tired of suppressing my real “political” position to pander to dickheads, so now Cull is a more honest expression of my own experience and desires.

While it’s been 5 years since Cull started I’m one hell of a procrastinator (emigrating to the other side of the world didn’t help). There’s been some .mp3’s produced, a track released on the R.I.N.O. compilation on Roil Noise records (
http://www.roilnoise.com), and some collaboration work. I’ve finally got my shit together and actually know where I’m going with Cull and will hopefully have the first album,“Scream,” out by the end of the year if I can find someone suitable to release it.


[x] What are your thoughts on the relationship between the totality of domestication in your daily life to Cull

Cull is very much a reflection of my experience. It’s an expression of both my feelings of loss and of rage. Like you, and all of us trapped within civilization, I’ve had to watch loved ones being destroyed in various ways by the violence of this system. I’ve had to deal with my own acts of abuse, upon myself and others, passing the violence further down the hierarchy, and the guilt that that brings. Cull reflects all this and more.

An aspect in particular that I want to explore with Cull, and possibly in some writings, is a stage of my own attempts to “decolonize my own mind,” as Ward Churchill might call it. This isn’t my culture. Being a white European male, it’s often easy to fall into the trap of thinking that in some way I am the cause, or at least a contributor, to all this. For me it’s important to realize that civilization was imposed in Europe as it has been everywhere else. A particular inspiration for me in this regard is a monologue in Tacitus’ Agricola, which is attributed to a Pictish leader called Galcagus. Galcagus describes the invading forces of the Romans in a way that would be clearly recognizable to any occupied peoples around the globe. Coming across this text some years back really realigned my perception and in a way deepened my feelings of loss by having it in black & white that we too have had our wild culture stolen from us. No doubt along the way I’ll be throwing in themes related to Feral Edge. Not in the dogmatic "True Til Death" way of the traditional straight edge movement, but, having been an abuser of various substances in various times of my life, I think it’s an important element of my experience of civilisation and should be discussed in my art.


[x] Do you think that ambient/noise/soundscape/whatever you wish to call it music plays into a critique of civilization, technology, etc. knowingly or unknowingly?

This is an interesting question. In some ways I’d say absolutely it does, and even to some extent it has been a knowing critique at times. Back in the old days there were artists like Throbbing Gristle that were directly critiquing the structure of society. While it may not have been a critique of the totality there was certainly a critique, and a mirroring of, the mini-industrial collapse in the North of England in the 1970’s and early 80’s. There’s was influence from writers such as J.G. Ballard, and even the Situationists, in the depiction of the banality of modern and post-modern life. Even the exploration of serial killers, the Nazis, and other themes, that are so passé in the modern noise scene, are in some ways a critique of the totality.

Unfortunately, in these days, as with the punk scene, a lot of the critique is gone with just hollow shock tactics used by people fitting into the power electronics/harsh noise ghetto (something, as I mentioned in the first question, that I was guilty of myself in the early days of Cull). There are still artists that genuinely have some analysis, from The Grey Wolves with their “cultural terrorism”, to the rise of explicitly anarchist noise artists such as Militia and Black Bloc.
Then, there's the fact that we’re taking various forms of technology and subverting them - taking a synth, for example, and creating an intentional sound that a more traditional musician would think makes it sound broken. In taking these instruments and sounds that are normally so mediated with melody and rhythm and unleashing them in different ways, we’re kinda inadvertently critiquing the notion of domestication itself.


[x] I know that i am very passionate about the Warbound project, along with other endeavors that are intimately tied to the existence of civilization (such as our means of communication right now). With that in mind, and with the almost certain reality of major collapse within our lifetimes, what are your feelings on what will inherently mean a loss of your ability to create in this format and others?

I actually think about this a lot. It comes up occasionally with people opposed to the anti-civ milieu (primarily other anarchists, sadly) calling me out for using technology, such as computers and synths, to create my art.

I tend to look at the issue in two ways... the first way I look at it is that all this shit - the internet, the CD’s, the DVD’s, my music project, all of it - is just a variety of anti-depressants. While I’m trapped within this system there are certain things that make life less unbearable. When the collapse reaches that tipping point (it being a process rather than an event) in which I can no longer use this stuff, I probably won’t need it anymore. Once I’m living in a less mediated state and can fully engage in daily life and the process of healing, I’ll be able to wean off these anti-depressants. Just as, even now, when I’m out in the woods or at the ocean, I feel no urge to stare at a screen or scream into a microphone. It’s only when locked in the city I need these things.

The second way I look at this question is that Cull isn’t just a noise project. Cull is an expression of my experiences. In a post-collapse world Cull will become part of the healing process. Cull will become stories around a fire. Cull will be the knowledge of where we’ve been so we know what not to do again.

However, there’s a part of me that worries that instead of channeling all this rage and loss into Cull I should be out there taking it down. It’s like that whole Derrick Jensen thing of writing or blowing up a damn. There’s a nagging voice inside that tells me I’m making the wrong choice. Perhaps one day it’ll get loud enough to have me change tactics, who knows? The other motivational doubt I have is about Cull as a propaganda tool. I know that music doesn’t really change shit, the popularity of Rage Against The Machine proves that one, but there’s a part of me that hopes that someone somewhere will stumble across my noise shit and be inspired or at least find something that shines some light on their own experience. I think rather than Cull as propaganda maybe I’m just reaching out, trying to “find the others.”

Sunday, July 13, 2008

method - s/t 7"

this record featured a member of killtheslavemaster, and has quickly become a favorite in regular rotation around the warbound office (coming to a living room or library near you!). the lyrics for the first song are incredible, and in 1996 are clearly ahead of their time - it must've been 2-3 more years before another outspokenly anti-civ hardcore band came out...

Culture bleeds us dry. Civility breaks us. Rapes our instinct. Culture leaves us barren. Foundation anchored in the flesh of nature, this flower wilted when its roots were burned. We stoke the fire but this cinders forever cold. This cinder's ash. Worthless, the fossil that cannot shed this lie. Cast away by the hand that created. Forsaken by the soil that shaped life. Suffer the alienation as the bond is broken. Choke on the wrath of our mother betrayed. Roused from our slumber to hold hands with death. Sentient grown barren, now dwells in the forest of pestilence. Soil lies empty, we walk within death. Torn from our instinct, rendered dead. Forever exiled from our nature, we are nothing.