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Monthly Archives: April 2013

My Robot Friend is Your Robot Friend. According to his own words, he’s a sexy model type robot. I first stumbled – and accidentally so – on one of the remixes done for him by Solvent, another civil rights’ activist, righteously fighting in the analogue synthesisers’ field. Both share nothing but sheer enthusiasm for technology and one-man come together in a friendly conversation.

Clock DVA were once exploring the so-called “man-amplified” concept of modern technology applied to man – only with a much darker twist. While this side of “man-amplified”, My Robot Friend is funnily cynical and black-humourous, still after exposing yourself to any of his melodies, the sun continues to shine and the mood is always blowing roofs in cheerful’s favour. Solvent’s remix for one of My Robot Friend’s still current affairs, the single “Waiting” – which features a gorgeous lead vocal by Alison Moyet – was truly amazing and made me reach deeper into his robotic realm.

The treasures hidden there date back to early 2000s with some of the wittiest and most uncompromising pop-core stuff. When asking him to contribute with some unreleased masterpiece of his, My Robot Friend pointed to his cover of a Jeffrey Lewis song, “Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane” – originally released by Rough Trade in 2001. In stark contrast to the acoustic original, this (acid) rendition adds extra energy flashes of sheer techno-genius. Your body won’t mind moving all over the place. The exercise is welcome. Healthy. Be reborn. This is acid.

It’s a wild cartoon that is My Robot Friend, with adult content – in one of his rare interviews (around 2009), My Robot Friend expresses interest in sexual intercourse and melody to make a perfect match. With a selection of countless voice presets for every occasion, My Robot Friend presents this amazing game of plug and play – a perfect machine with longlasting battery, teaching you how to dance and sing… and have sex (with).

Back in 2004, My Robot Friend’s debut album “Hot Action!” is now incredibly hard to track down a solid copy – all the way through to “Soft-core” (his still-current full-length album) he created a wide pallette of sounds, that range from pixels to radio-friendly tune. “Robot High School”, originally the opener to “Soft-core”, was at one point, remixed to stunning effect, by In Digital Form. Amazing story of social automation with a killer lyrics sheet – “I went away on a government vacation, wasn’t best time that I ever had; ship me back home from a secret location, my legs came back later in a plastic bag…” / “Memorized the rules and learned to behave, but when I got to school I forgot; so they put me ina special classroom, where everybody is a robot.”

One of my other favourites is undoubtedly “Sex Machine”, a piece which, if unheard easily confuses, as if being a cover of a James Brown standard. However, it is by all means a My Robot Friend standard, head to toe and back again with a silly social message behind the lascivious title.

Don’t be waiting for him such a long time – My Robot Friend is here, he wants to fuck the human race, he is all yours and you’re all his. Enjoy.

1/2, Feb ’13

“Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane” originally written by Jeffrey Lewis and released on Rough Trade (RTRADECD027, 2001). My Robot Friend version previously unreleased, used in “Small Doses” by kind permission.

“Robot High School” written by My Robot Friend, originally from the album “Soft-core” released on Double Feature Records (CD-DBL-0004, 2009). In Digital Form remix previously unreleased, used in “Small Doses” by kind permission.

Further information:
myrobotfriend.com
soundcloud.com/myrobotfriend

Image borrowed from blog.modernmechanix.com

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The word Holocaust forever remains a term that expresses tragedy beyond belief – and beyond any quotation marks. In a book by Gerald Greene, written in parallel to a late 1970s TV-series adaptation (starring Merryl Streep, among others – who would also rise and shine in her equally thrilling role of Sophie Zawistowska, in 1982 film adaptation of William Styron’s shocking masterpiece novel – “Sophie’s Choice”), we are witnessing one among many (real-life) family dramas. In Holocaust, we meet an aristocratic Jewish family that refuses to accept reality, which will sadly work totally against them, as each member of the family slowly and painfully perishes in the utter social madness of war and the merciless nazi-propaganda.

One question which forever stays is – how tragic is mankind in itself – accepting nazism as form of “pop-culture” or “form of easthetic” today, while staying judgementally doubtful towards the Holocaust? Historical events and facts, well covered and documented, continue to cause friction in the society. The climate of today’s world events somehow caused the Holocaust falling flat on relative terms – from being “one among many tragedies” to senseless doubting “it never really happened”. How (anti)fascist is the actual world we live in today? Can one festival succeed in its educational quest, addressing the whole of the society that is continually drenched in crisis by global – political and social – hypocrisy?

“Zagreb Jewish Film Festival” is one of the world’s specific events that, bringing together the cultural and historical facts, vigorously fights against the problem of “reasonable doubt” regarding the Holocaust. Relying on ordinary lives of the people that survived to tell their own stories, JFF fights for the truth in favour of objective and constructive opinion – especially considering current affairs that shape public opinion about the formidable past and the even more formidable present.

Nataša Popović, the main person behind “Zagreb Jewish Film Festival”, talks about the ideas and visions of the Festival and its future events. This year, the Festival welcomes us for the 7th time.

SD: To start with, “Zagreb Jewish Film Festival” is active for how many years now – and were you, as its art director, involved with it from the beginning? Of many films that have been presented throughout the years, can you choose one in particular – which speaks out regarding the Holocaust, in its most in-depth kind of way?

NP: “Zagreb Jewish Film Festival” was first organised in 2007, as the only regional festival of Jewish film. The initiative to start one such festival in Croatia came from London’s “UK Jewish Film Festival” as early as 2006 – I became the creator and originator, also the first investor, of one such cultural event in Zagreb. Pretty soon after the first “Zagreb Jewish Film Festival”, I was lucky to be joined by the famous double Oscar Academy Award winner and the Holocaust survivor, Mr. Branko Lustig, who is the honourary president of the Festival. Ever since then, Mr. Lustig actively participates and helps choosing film material, holds lectures for the young about his personal experience in Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen concentration camps. He also participates in defining the direction and development of all key segments of the Festival, including the activities implemented into the Festival’s programme throughout the year. Domestic public interest for the Festival is growing more every year and with support from the organisation of the Festival, including financial support from numerous intellectuals and other prominent arts representatives, both home and abroad, the Festival becomes an attractive destination for various foreign guests, investors and donours, with the emphasis on the American domain.

The question of culture, language, history – and in accordance with the Holocaust, and generally the position of Jews in the world – in the last two years it also focuses on subject matters which various minorities today seem to deal with – whether these are of national, sexual or religious nature. The Festival is more and more occupied with the idea of spreading tolerance in practice and in all segments of the society – with special objective and learning to respect diversities, the tolerance being the very basis of a healthy society. By keeping it as basic reference to all segments of the programme, the Festival provided a lonesome regional monument to tolerance – in both, cultural and educational terms. So far, through its actions and gaining recognition from numerous institutions and individuals alike, it is proven that the Festival offers a programme, very much needed – not only on a cultural development level but also in the more sophisticated area of tolerance and respect for diversity in society, which experiences depreciation, recession and moral crisis.

For the most part, the films’ repertoire is consisting of the exceptional, mostly awarded – feature films, documentaries and short films about the Holocaust and tolerance, while most evening projections are current production, focused on contemporary life situations, thematically close to the Festival. In the last six years, there have been more than 210 films presented. Definitely one of the most interesting among these films, is an Israeli-German documentary – “A Film Unfinished”, which investigates the truth behind one of the most mysterious nazi-propaganda films ever recorded within the Warsaw Ghetto. In it, various notes intertwine, made by people living in the Ghetto and during the propaganda film making – with statements from survivors who still remember that film shoot. Also for the very first time, the documentary includes a rare segment of questioning protocol by a German camera man. Comparing those recorded scenes to reality behind the very camera, “A Film Unfinished” shakes up our uncritical trust in the power of recorded material and the way in which we perceive history.

Of feature films, I’d like to point out “Sara’s Key” – which opened the Festival last year. It is a French film, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, playing the role of an American journalist married to a French man. She is hired to write an article about the notorious raid, known under the name “Vel d’Hiv”, that was implemented in Paris, during 1942. While working on her article, she discovers a family secret that will forever link her to the destiny of a young Jewish girl called Sarah. Kristin, playing Julie, finds out that the apartment – where she intends to move in with her husband Bertrand – was in Bertrand’s family possession 60 years ago, when Jewish lodgers were deported from it. Julie is determined to invetigate further what happened with that Jewish family. The more she discovers about – especially about Sara, the only survivor of the raid – the more she learns about Bertrand’s family, France – and herself.

SD: Historically speaking, is the Holocaust considered a collective guilt of the society?

NP: It’s a complex question. The word holocaust comes from the greek word that means “completely burned” (shoah in Hebrew), but if we realise the fact it marks a period of more than a decade – from 1933 til 1945 – during which the nazis have persecuted and killed Jews, as well as people of other nations and religion, it is also hard to ignore the fact all across Europe, there were concentration death camps, where during the Holocaust, approximately 60 million people were killed. After facing these facts, it is hard to conclude whether the society had avoided any collective guilt for the Holocaust, considering the escalation of the brutal measures by the nazi authorities and their helpers. The pinnacle of all this being “The Final Solution” (or “Endlösung”), in nazi terminology serving as an euphemism for mass killing and extermination of the entire European Judaism, as well as the systematic killing of the Roma, homosexuals, mental patients, the disabled, politial opponents and many, many others…

SD: Unfortunately, we are witnessing this constant “boom” of the right wing extremism, as well as the social narrow-mindedness – in Croatia, throughout the last 20 years, again has risen this inexplainable, bizarre fascination with NDH iconography. How sensible are the younger generations regarding history facts and how big the victims have they become due being imbued with this sick illusion of “better past”, often by their elders?

NP: We are very aware of the rise of right wing extremism today, in Europe, America and especially in our region. Complete operation and activities that we present in public, are focused particularly on educating and warning people about the neo-fascist ideas, symbols and such actions throughout history, with pointing out the reflections of it in today’s world.

Considering all this, the 7th “Zagreb Jewish Film Festival” will speak out more about today’s problem of nazi and fascist activities – through film, education programmes and exhibitions. It’s important to point out “Educational mornings”, intended for young people, that continually run from 2009 – the programme dedicated to educate about the Holocaust and the need for tolerance and respect for diversity, all in order to establish happy coexistence, intended to motivate the younger ones to practice tolerance in everyday life. We are very focused on educating and warning about the omnipresent neo-fascist iconography in public, on the territory of the former Yugoslavia – including the graphic speeches of hate, as invoked by the skinheads, neo-nazis and hooligan extremists, the speeches of hate we often turn our heads away from instead facing the problem.

These symbols are all around us today, we witness them daily – sometimes very well hidden behind big spectacular sport events, especially football games, as well as music concerts or ideas of patriotism. The environment in which we live, the environment in which the Festival operates, neither properly woke up and faced the horrors that happened, nor it clearly faces the consequences of these horrors – that is why this Festival became an important public platform where, year by year, louder and louder, and with bigger public interest, it is to remind of these horrors of the dark history of mankind, which are not to be forgotten!

SD: Today, with greater access to information, it is astonishing how dilemmas still happen to shape opinions in the society – especially regarding hystorical events, and tragedies among them – despite the fact, these tragedies happen to be well documented and covered by surviving witnesses. According to you, where is it that the educational system is at fault – just like many other systems are at fault – when it comes to dealing with social prejudice against the Holocaust and similar examples of human suffering?

NP: As far as teaching about the Holocaust in our school system is concerned, the evident problem is in the curriculum’s rather reduced schedule. That leads to a necessity of interdisciplinary coverage – through a variety of school subjects; history, ethics, religion, Croatian language and the like. If there is a good dialogue between teachers, pupils can be more adequately approached with such a complicated theme. However, if this method fails, the adequate education of young people also fails. As a result, there are pupils that know very little – or nothing – about the Holocaust. This is what we witness in most of the Festival’s “Educational Mornings” gatherings. As part of every “Educational Morning”, tiny questionnaires are given to pupils, through which we get more of a real picture of their education regarding the Holocaust – as well as their evaluation of the Festival’s offered programme of institutional education about the Holocaust.

SD: We are living in time when tragedies of ordinary people are often exploited for someone else’s political goals. Unfortunately today, due such actions, the Holocaust of the Jews during World War II became the subject of tasteless relativisation. How much can justified reminders of one tragedy reduce the intensity of the other one, more current tragedy – the one in mind unfortunately being the Middle East conflicts? As a promoter of “Zagreb Jewish Film Festival” and an active participant of the Jewish community, what are your views and opinions of the situation?

NP: As I am not living in that area, it is actually hard for me to be objective. My life principle is that every man must have the right to life, the right to opinion and the right to realisation – regardless of whether one’s own opinion or attitude is close to mine, or not. What matters the most is that all of us must realise our differences can be transcended without killing and hatred, by mutual respect of dissimilarity and individuality.

SD: Speaking of tolerance as the Festival’s main focal point, indicating compassion and empathy with those who survived the horrors of Holocaust – and according to the previous question – is there space in the Festival’s schedule for these, more current themes? In that context, a Palestine production film – a story told from the “other side”? Can JFF contribute to a more proper dialogue between two sides that are still at conflict today?

NP: The Festival transformed from Jewish film into a tolerance festival at the request of the audience – by recognising the messages we continually and clearly carried out through our prepared film programme throughout the years, that were recognised by the public as universal, key issues of which we should speak out here and now. Ever since the first Festival, our programme is consisting of films dealing with the subject matter of the Middle East conflict, without taking sides. It’s interesting to view the broadness of democracy in Israel, considering the fact many films carrying out the story of the Middle East conflict are mainly documentary and openly criticise the political activities of the state of Israel, whom at the same time, these films are financially helped by.

SD: Is the Festival, in terms of some of its segments, a political festival after all? If so – how necessary do you find it needs to be politically active? Or does it tend to stand aside, speaking objectively and observing all the problems and complexities surrounding one particulacular tragedy, which remains the ultimate symbol of suffering of innocent people?

NP: Considering the fact, this is a Jewish film festival, that it is focused on a certain minority, there is a necessary political tone to it, although the Festival’s very intention is to speak by humanitarian means, to present its contents and make it interesting on both, cultural and educational level. However, on some level – mainly due regional issues – I guess, political context is hard to avoid. Still, the Festival sends its message in various forms – especailly as a minority type of festival, recognising and actively speaking about other minorities’ problems – whether these problems are of ethnical, religious, sexual or other nature. With that in mind, the Festival considers and presents a much wider picture of social issues we’re all dealing with on a daily basis – which makes this whole event reaching far beyond lonesome issues of the Jewish Community alone. The Festival speaks about contemporary problems – in recent years, through cultural programmes, we intensively speak of problems that Roma, women, children, homosexuals and other marginalised communities and groups deal with: the injustice we’re all aware of, witnessing its practice against others, who are different. Thus we become interesting to the media, but we also get attention from high political structures.

SD: This year starts the 7th “Zagreb Jewish Film Festival”. In the context of the Holocuast, what were the topics present previously and which topic will be this year’s main focus of the Festival?

NP: In recognising various needs of the society, in terms of publicly questioning the tolerance and the democratic social practice, we ourselves become the Festival of Tolerance. From the very beginning, it has defined various topics – “Children – victims of the Holocaust and the wars”, “Righteous among the Nations” and “Women In Holocaust”. With the sixth Festival we’ve become even more focused on tolerance due which it shapes and presents its programme.

A shortened version of the Festival is prepared to be presented in the cities of Rijeka and Sarajevo. In Zagreb, for the first time, the Festival will be held in two locations – at the Cinema “Europa” and “KIC” (The Cultural Information Centre), between 19th and 25th of May. On both locations, we will provide screen projections of more than 50 films, both of domestic and international production, in the category of short film, documentary and feature-length film. In Rijeka and Sarajevo, there will be presented a selection of twenty films altogether chosen from the main programme schedule. In most part, the selected films have won numerous awards on other world film festivals. Besides those recorded and presented in mother tongue, we arrange all films to be properly translated, that way making them accessible to visitors from abroad. The audience is also invited to participate in discussions with other participants of the film festival, after each projection. In order to reach as many visitors of the Festival, the tickets are free of charge.

Zagreb Jewish Film Festival starts on May 19 until May 25, 2013
For further information please visit: jff-zagreb.hr

Image detail: Saturn devouring one of his sons (Francisco Goya, oil on canvas, 1819 – 1823)

Man Machine is an either-or situation of a one-man band. Amazing, raw electro-pop music that at first listen sounds more like a pisstake of the world, but then you realise under the surface these songs have amazing pop-potential that will probably never be fully developed – and then again, that’s the beauty of Man Machine. It’s a mixture of theatre and anti-drama, mysanthropy-come-fun and indifference towards life’s ends… The name itself can very easily be confused with the most delicate minimal wave type-of band out there – and very probably there are dozens of minimal wave bands that culled their stage name from Kraftwerk already, but this version of Man Machine alone is probably the most representative of true (un)emotional relationship between the man and the machine. Once this machine’s functions expire, it will probably remain that way. A funny way to remember it. In this tiny interview, Man Machine talks about his inner feelings and told a stunning joke at the very end. But be patient, read the full interview.

SD: If you’d choose between a man and a machine, what would you rather be?

MM: Man himself is actually a machine, only the purpose of this machine isn’t quite clear, neither is the performance that great. But if you think in terms of classic division between a man with emotions and a machine without them, I would definitely rather be a machine.

SD: Are some of your songs based on personal experience? The lyrics to individual songs seem quite ironic, I dare say misanthropic even, insidiously aggressive (“I Hate Human Race”, “Maybe Death Is Home”) – but in spite of all this, there’s also a breath of optimism (“A Dreamer Is a Dream Too”)… Do you consider only particular subjects of interest, or are subject matters that don’t interest you at all, also an issue?

MM: All my songs are my own thoughts based on personal experiences. The song “I Hate Human Race” came out when I saw some horrific violent video in which a group of racists mercilessly beats the immigrants. This song is a statement of the moment, in which a man is disgusted by the human race – and there are moments like this all around. The song “Fuck War And Everything About It” speaks of war films, war songs and stories about war heroes and everything else that glorifies the war. “Maybe Death Is Home” is an attempt to try and see death from another angle. I think death is a happy moment because eternal life would be tremendously boring. And so on, and so forth… I am not thinking about songs in terms of pessimism or optimism. I write them the way I feel they should sound. When I’m satisfied with the result, I consider a song been done. I am a misanthrope. To me, the history of mankind is one long sequence of slaughter, rape and theft – and I think it will never change. Whenever there’s a mention of global warming, the nuclear war or any other catastrophe that might exterminate mankind, I immediately feel glad at heart. I hope the human race will disappear forever and that nature will recover and the universe will continue to exist in the bliss of its unconsciousness. The insidious aggression is very probably the outcome of personal character or maybe even the lack of upbringing. I explore only subject matters that interest me.

SD: Your stage performance seems quite relaxed, spontaneous, funny… Is Man Machine a slave to certain music parameters or is he, despite the preferred electro-pop (especially due to his choice of name), more aspired to the element of confusion?

MM: I’m in electro-pop (if I am) because it’s the simplest way to do it. At home I programme the synthesizers and then carry them over onto stage, play, sing and that’s it. What interests me in music is what someone else has to say. It’s irrelevant how he’ll do it. All this storytelling about the scene, genres, studios, guitars, mixing racks and producers are so boring and pompous. And utterly redundant. When I listen to music, I am not at all interested how or with what it is been recorded, when it is recorded, who recorded it and in the end who wrote it and played it. I am interested in music alone and that’s it. I realized it is not me who is important, it’s the music… therefore, I decided that it is absolutely irrelevant what is happening when I’m on stage – meaning, I am relaxed while my funny side takes place forth (laughter).

SD: At one moment, you mentioned that you don’t pay that much attention to music… Can that be considered advantage in terms of creating your own music? Is greater music knowledge and listening a form of strength or is it a weakness?

MM: When I was around 14 – 15, I started listening to music obsessively. I was manic about it. Music was everything to me, there was nothing else – except maybe some friends and soft drugs as well. This thing lasted for some ten, fifteen years – a period in which I’ve absorbed absolutely everything I possibly could, and fell in love with what I found appealing. For me, that’s enough. During this last couple of years, I get happy when I discover something worth of my attention, but I cannot really say that music makes such an impact on me like it did before. When I’m at home, I enjoy being in silence. Greater musical knowledge/listening is neither strength nor a weakness. I think, hearing hundred-fifty-thousand songs never helped anyone in writing a good song on their own.

SD: What’s the most frequent reaction by the audience at your concerts?

MM: I pay attention to the audience very rarely during my performances, so I cannot really say it from my own perspective but most of the time, people mainly express compliments.

SD: You wrote a song called “Elvis Is Jesus Is Elvis”… can this obession with idols, whether the real ones or those that are illusory, be cured?

MM: No, I don’t think so. It is hard to accept the fact that we’re nobody, we’re nothing. Actually, Elvis and Jesus don’t have that much in common, except for the fact there are countless people that have their images on their bedroom walls – which I find pretty ridiculous. Regarding Jesus, there is no actual evidence that he actually ever existed so I cannot really discuss his persona but Elvis was simply this modest guy who fancied guitars, cars, girls and his mum. I am not saying this is not enough of a reason not to put his picture on the wall, but then again (and very probably) you can also treat a picture of your neighbour that way just the same.

SD: Did you ever put a joke into music, or were you ever considering to do such a thing? What is your favourite joke?

MM: The art of telling jokes is something I have no talent for. I am truly and desperately bad in it. But I really do like good jokes. My favourite joke:

A cowboy rides across the desert, had a job to do, got some money and he wished for some whiskey. He arrives to a small town and notices people are running away, hide their children, shut their windows. He asks some bloke – “What’s goin’ on?”, and the bloke responds in fear – “Do not go to town, the black rider is coming.” The cowboy thinks for a minute and decides – “well, what the hell, I’ll still have that whiskey and then I’ll leave, I also have the gun, screw the black rider!” The next moment, he stops by the bar, ties his horse, steps towards the bar… all of a sudden, a man runs out of the bar and screams at the cowboy – “Are you freakin’ nuts?! Whatcha doin’ here, get out, the black rider is coming…!” – and runs away. The cowboy again thinks for a minute and then says to himself – “… now that I got this far, I’ll drink that whiskey, no chance I’ll run away now…” – he enters the bar in which the owner was already putting away the bottlesm the glasses and everything else that might be smashed. The cowboy orders some whiskey. The owner of the bar looks at him, part angry, part scared, and asks him – “Are you mad, better find a hole to hide, the black rider is coming!” The cowboy replies – “Oh, cut the crap with this black rider bullshit, gimme some whiskey and mind your own business!” The owner gives him a bottle of whiskey, grabs the money and runs away, hiding into the cellar. The cowboy pours himself some whiskey and just started to enjoy the drink, when all of a sudden he heard the sound of footsteps approaching. Besides that, the only sound was the howling wind. A tall, fearsome man dressed in black enters the bar – the biggest and scariest person the cowboy had ever seen. He stops looks at the cowboy and points a finger at him, saying – “You…! Get over here and suck my cock!” The cowboy’s legs started shaking of fear, so he thinks – “well, whatever…” – kneels before the black man, unzips his pants and starts sucking his cock. After a couple of minutes, the fearsome guy looks down towards the cowboy and nervously yells at him – “Come on, hurry up, man! The black rider is coming to town!!!”

Further information: manmachine1.bandcamp.com/

Man machine / Brigitte Helm in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927)

During my stay at Mike’s apartment in Vienna, late in December 2012, we listened to some damn good recent LPs – among them, there was this tiny oddity he played, called “Seasick 6″ – a split 12” record, released in conjunction with another group, called “Les Profs de Skids”. Not only that I never heard of them, I haven’t seen such an enthusiastically executed LP for quite a long time (an audio-visual cross link between Bruce Licher, Zoviet:France and No Basement Is Deep Enough, respectively) – and with such an ingenious band name, no doubt one Stephen Stapleton, Jim Thirlwell or David Tibet would definitely kill for.

At the same time frightening and uncontrollably funny – the illustrations happen to be rather violent in their childishly satanic mannerisms – but then again, I prefer saying, Seasick 6 are much closer to a merry street-gang portrait, inspired by nihilism and extreme dark-humour, that would fit in with the “ultraviolence” concept of Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” anytime. However, their mind therapy of choice is Surf Rock, not Beethoven.

SD: What is the idea behind sea sickness, polar bears and Satan?

S6: Polar bears are figures for Les profs de skids, who live near the moutains so their aesthetic is about snow and ski. We live in a town, far away from the sea, we wish we were tall blond surfers but we’re just crappy (sea)sick folks. Satan is our friend on facebook.

SD: Are there actually six of you? And for how long is this “sea sickness” going on?

S6: There’s always been 4 of us since the beginning, in the fall of 2011, but two of us have bipolar disorder. And the pun wouldn’t work otherwise.

SD: To you, who is more “boring” – Satan or Sonic Youth?

L : Sonic, i’ve always prefered The Mario Bros.
M : Sonic Youth, definitely. I like some of their noise but the voices are mostly boring and I think I’m more fan of the bands inspired by Sonic Youth. Satan, on the other hand, is what you make of it, in your mind – so it can be a much wider way of getting inspired and tripping about.
L : Who is Sonic Youth ?
E : Satanic youth !

SD: Surf is your musical weapon of choice – what about your favourite sports?

L : Table soccer
M : Escalator skateboarding
E : Lindy hop.
L : Curling on tv

SD: The LP you recorded is released on donation – in collaboration with Les Profs De Skids. Is this donation a form of humanitarian act?

S6: Here in the French alternative/squat scene, it’s quite common to give the price you want at the entrance of gigs for instance, so that anyone can afford the fee. We knew that it would work to sell the record this way, except that we can’t sell it in shops, and anyway we’re bad with numbers (above 6…).

SD: BTW, who are Les Profs de Skids? Is it a different band altogether – or is it the other side of you?

S6: Les Profs de skids is another surf band from Grenoble (we’re from Toulouse). They found us in a basement and took us with them on tour so that we could see the light. We fell in love together and made a split LP.

SD: Is there a scene in your town and how supportive the crowds and the music groups are between themselves?

S6: There is a good  scene in Toulouse with lots of different styles – noise, free-jazz, punk, hardcore, hiphop, electronic stuff, etc. We’re lucky to have squats where the gigs, visual arts and benefit events can happen, so there is also a political and artistic side to it. It’s not all only about the music. The crowd and the bands mix a lot of different people who are all together supporting the scene, sharing gear and ideas and having parties. We especially have an ultra-supportive group of kids following our alcoholic drummer everywhere and singing along.

SD: You sing in one of your demos – “I’m designed to kill and destroy…” Both – your designs and music, radiate with childishly aggressive content. Are you childish? Are you aggressive?

S6: Laura and Miquel have desperately tried to grow up but they still look like they’re 14, Estelle and Lea have tried to be pacifist but it only made them more agressive.

SD: Are you disappointed the world didn’t come to an end in 2012, after all?

E : Very disappointed. You can’t rely on any news these days.
M : What? I don’t believe you, and you will never pull me out of my bomb shelter.
L : I’m counting the days until the 2036 meteorite.
L : The world ended when Seasick6 started vomiting fuel oil on innocent Sonic Youth fans.

SD: Musically, you prefer noise… are you afraid of silence?

L : I have Tinnitus so I can’t remember silence.
E : I prefer when some noise bands remain silent. I wish that Kim Gordon could really shout though.
L : Silence hurts my ears.
M : …………………………….

Seasick 6/Le Profs de Skids split LP released March 2012 on Alternative Dans Ta Gueule (TOFU32),
copies still available directly via the group’s official website. Check it out also for some exclusive music downloads.
Further information: seasicksix.free.fr/

Illustration borrowed from vintageprintable.swivelchairmedia.com

No Basement Is Deep Enough by now is a very well known, amazing cassette label, reaching way deep into the depths of the most obscure, abstract music one wishes to hear – that comes along with beautiful, authentic packaging that is reaching way beyond the depths’ extreme. It’s a two-men operation – Ignace De Bruyn, who curates and Milja Radovanović, who designs, giving NBIDE’s cassette releases a weird life of its own. I was first caught attention when seeing the packaging for Magma Trakt’s s/t masterpiece. Why is it that everyone (but absolutely everyone) in their own right, falls for an object of beauty? To me, accepting this radical principle of design is the essence of visual affinities and most of all – visual culture. The medium in itself, if not given character is plain dead and boring – when you find a vinyl record in a dull factory (no not THAT factory) cover, not to mention nameless CDs forever doomed to their plastic jewel box concept, and then there is the cassette, the third in a row among these most popular audio exponents – which can also suffer when lacking a proper visual accompaniment. Even when you spot the most lush de-luxe edition of your favourite album in a standard record shop, be aware that it might not be as convincing and seductive. It’s all in perception – why is it that hand-made product knows no rival? to be honest, I was never entirely happy with cassettes. Ever since I was a child, cassettes were the only thing that I could afford – the tape cartridge was certainly more practical to handle but most cassettes I was frustrated with due tape damage, which captured some favourite music further into loss. LPs and CDs were always more of a favourite, ever since I could have afforded to buy them – but in the end, the CD which at one point seriously endangered both, the cassette and the LP, as a successful hybrid carrier for the new digital age, now degraded in even worse conditions. The reason – analogue things never go out of style and maybe the reason why cassettes happened to be back is not necessarily for hip reasons as for pure intention of radical art sake. However, cassettes, just like vinyl records, are turned mostly (and sadly) into expensive (read: over-priced), exclusive collectible items nowadays – depending on the production costs and the exclusivity factor attached to it, the customers are ready to pay a small (or large) fortune to get a copy of something that might degrade and then all is lost (once again).

While No Basement Is Deep Enough is not an exception or better, isolated case in the history of radical packaging, it is certainly as unique, honest and economical – providing common sense for the most senseless noise that accompanies the label’s scupture-like handmade shells. It is inevitable to compare NBIDE to one true cult group of experimentalists, that linked music with physical form – Newcastle’s Zoviet:France. As they were putting out their records and cassettes wrapped in tin foil, asphalt, tissue paper, jute, thick cardboard or ceramic, it became the ultimate relic situation – one object that would never live a life without the other. And listening to these pieces of primitive, abstract beauty, it is inevitable to rely on the sound and the package, a couple in (im)perfect audio-visual matrimony. Also inevitable to mention in this context is London’s Touch, a label which helped pushing cassette culture to a more sophisticated aesthetic level earlier in the 80s, featuring the luxury of printing special graphics gracing the tiny plastic cartridge with desired visual content. Sadly, Touch neither produces nor re-releases any cassettes, but remembers it dearly and continues to push boundaries, maintaining its own obscure legend behind the post-punk’s multimedia genius.

With NBIDE, it’s an identical situation, but not in terms of the copycat syndrome. It is this label, alongside Zoviet:France and Touch’s fascinating oeuvre, that singlehandedly requited my love (or better, respect) of cassettes – not that I still miss doubts about them, it’s just they deserve enjoying real life (and death). And this is it. The basement, endless, in all amazing discovery.

SD: How deep is no basement after all? And then, how spontaneous are the releases?

MR : Well, after every release I think that we have reached the bottom of the basement but we always seem to find a gateway to yet another hidden complex of fallout shelters. It’s as much a surprise to us as to anybody else. If we are digging, somebody else must be digging too. It is only a matter of finding the right underground passages.

IDb : Basically she’s talking about non-ventilated marihuana millionaire shafts, decorated with excavated vaginae dentatae on the left and origami Obamas on the far right. Luckily they’re all ratfucker-free because today’s underground soil is getting more and more marinated in Wittgenstein’s purge fluid, suavely dissolving the rotten noses of the historical avant-garde, which still sniffed the ashes of yodeling yokels like Nietzsche. The smell remains the same though.

MR : Also, I would be lying if I were to say that the outcomes are completely spontaneous because that would imply that we are as egocentric as an overbearing mother pushing her child towards greater achievements. There is always a reference, as absurd as it is sometimes, to the content of the cassette and the artists themselves – we want to amplify and accentuate their work, not to put all attention on us. Besides this fluctuating form of unity, these semi-automatic associations on the content are sometimes not so clear, because we want to avoid any sort of CATEGORIZATION. So this would be a referential outcome of a specific and very personal working process with aspirations towards the unlabeled.

SD: Your cassettes are relics in the truest sense of the word. Radical in the same way Zoviet:France for example… how do you choose which material to work with and would you consider going in even more radical direction, in terms of production – like picking the strangest of materials, like Zoviet:France did with some of their early releases?

MR : At the beginning of every ‘production’ process, we always end up toning down the our ideas, but mainly because something like “live” materials would raise some shipping and duration questions. Limitations of practicality exist but I hope that it is obvious that we try to minimize them as much of possible. Inspiration for materials lies in the music as well : when a master sounds ‘metallic’ then screws come into mind etc., hence the tape we did for Gerard Herman. In terms of radicalness our first release – a Preggy Peggy and the Lazy Babymakers/Kommissar Hjuler und Frau split tape called “Schwangere Polizei” that needs to be shoved in and out of a cloth pussy – depicts pregnancy, birth or reincarnation very naïvely but consequently, and implies interaction. All other releases got pushed into equally strange waters and reek of outdated symbolism. We don’t try to dig through our subconscious for associations – they are au contraire very direct and tautological, so very childlike too. We all know that inspiration comes from the outside but once you have to drink a lot of gassy juice in order to save the bottles for future plastic cover parts, some of it pours inside as well.

SD: Among the music’s popular medium devices, which one do you find your personal fetish, and which one is the most radical in terms of production, so far?

MR : Cassettes are unbreakable! I’m talking about the physical sense of the word. They can endure all the raping that I put them through. Delicate Sister Vinyl would crumble 20 times over. Tapes can also be put against your cheek and be kissed, if you are a fellow fetishist. Listeners, watch out for the germs, I was sick last winter!

IDb : I’m stuck in a green-brown anti-audiophile puddle so I’m not aware of all codes to crack but Emil Beaulieau showed that the anti-record is more beautiful and useful to wipe off your pig sweat than any piece of cloth resembling a flag. So, yeah, when you look for instance at that “Slechts Voor Seuventig % Afspeelbaar” vinyl box that Peter Fengler and Dennis Tyfus pulled out of their well-oiled bums recently, or the limited bondage puppet series that Kommissar Hjuler generously made as a bonus to Mama Baer’s “The Island” elpee we released on NBIDE’s strictly femhell offshoot Male Bonding, you know that our future could be even more radical (komma dude).

SD: Are some of your amazing packages also discussed with the artists, or do you produce them mostly on your own and then surprise these artists, shock them…? Was there ever a negative reaction to some of the packages as unacceptable?

MR : Until now every packaging was plus/minus a surprise for the artists, and we never got a complaint, on the contrary.

IDb : Limpe Fuchs did nag about an insert dealing with the laughing windows of 19th century occultism but that was mainly because the hypnotist-in-service was such a slick rick (Limpe is a great woman who loves her men hairy) and because I didn’t explain her that the woman on her knees in front of him was actually an inverted crux, everything that the always amazing Gena Rowlands would hate.

MR : But concerning all the non-Bavarians : whether they are choked mute or think we are a bunch of sociopaths which are not to mess with… I don’t know, but then they are not aware that hail and praise from their side feeds us and makes us come up with even crazier stuff. Blame it on them, it’s their fault! Shock is never the intention, we actually find our babies to be mostly cute. And whenever somebody insists on making their own covers, they are more than welcome, then we don’t even try to interfere. Collaboration delivers amazing results.

IDb : I anyway believe that everybody who joined our flatulent caravan of noise- fanfares has a similar view on this topic as for instance Allon Kaye of the Entr’acte label, who states that he, back then living in London among the so-called creative people, really got fed up with this designer culture of fetishizing every possible object, and that that is the reason why he started vacuum packing a lot of his releases in military grade pvc.

MR : That is a perfect example. We are doing the same thing as Allon, only from a different perspective. I couldn’t agree more with Allon when he is talking about saturation of content, especially in this digital era. What makes our position different is that we actually are fetishists. Every collector tends to have as much obscurities as the other and more. If we were to condemn this kind of behavior, we would be neglecting some primal and bestial instincts. The need to collect doesn’t come intrinsically from this consumerist society. Therefore, it is not our intent to over-decorate but rather to do something for nothing. Every aspect of our covers is totally useless. Instead of binding ourselves to pure functionality, because of its rationality, pure lunacy sounds more logical. We want to produce a reaction, because this IS made for people, not for ourselves, and we want to remind them of the times when they used to enjoy the process of creating.

SD: Which one is your favorite artwork from the lot? How much time does it take to materialize one such idea – and then multiply it?

MR : The favorites are always the ones which are yet to come. Every new tape gets the full attention and care, so in those terms everyone got and will get an equal amount of luv. Qua time, I’ll put it like this : when the Belgian part of NBIDE starts strictly and very well organized to molest and bully the lazy Serbian part, then with a lot of gipsy curses, Diesel-lingo and spitting on the ground, the job gets done last minute. The diverse materials are plucked straight out of our basements, attics and an occasional crafts shop, which makes it clear that all of them are handmade, so it takes a long time to multiply. The labor is surprisingly enjoyable though. Pleasure is the paycheck. When I think about it, there wasn’t much profit either – the tad bit of money that is left when we covered all expenses, goes directly into the producing the new batch. I think we’re just basically having sex with the tapes!

IDb : Keeping the Dutroux Rap in mind, that having-sex-with-our-babies line should have been mine.

SD: Your label’s repertoire refers predominantly to the abstract, absurd and noisy. How do you choose which artist to release and is there a chance that NBIDE puts out a more “standard” music (of course in the context of music that you’re aspired to)?

IDb : Although the basement floor is covered in non-genre grit, we are off course attracted to the ‘weirdo’, ‘outsider’, ‘misfit’, since they are semantic prisoners of the false prophets of the cultural hegemony. Les extrêmes se touchent, so using the archaic lingo of a far-right fossil : better lone wolf in the forest than fat dog, chain around its neck. But every thirsty mosquito leaving the nest on a quest for the real people deal will notice that there is a community of restless, jolly good entrepreneurs operating in the borderless province of the mind. I never liked the concept of “the scene” but this particular version is able to unhinge its undogmatic jaws : situated on a unique location at the corner of past and future, opened day and night, free entrance for everybody who can find the door. Something else that makes our poppers pop is the luscious curves of a phenomena of which I often have the impression it’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown in our contemporary Western society : humor. In other words : recordings that don’t paint a smile on our blubbery faces will not get released. Even the more ‘serious’ inner gumbo we’ve put out like the Club Moral 10” breeds a couple of giggles among the gargles. I don’t know if AMVK and DDV will agree – which doesn’t even matter since Barthes and Foucault announced the birth of the reader – but a piece about a leading Belgian socialist theoretician ending up in the Nazi-collaboration has a tragi-comical appeal to me. And I don’t think Erik Vloeberghs was not in a prankster mode when he hooked up with Club Moral to record the infamous “Auschwitz War Wunderbar!” cassette. Just as in our label announcements, which are sometimes deliberate anti-promo, a ton of self-relativation feeds the youthful ardour of all these wonderful witches we worked with. I think that that is a healthy stroll away from autovampirism and socio-economical hypochondria. Do mind, we hate irony-pour-l’-irony and leave that up to the above mentioned cultural cripples who feel the need to polish every fart. Our task is to ponder over polyester’s place in a smoothie bar society.

By the way, thanks to the elaborate efforts of A Hogon’s Industrial Guide and NAUK.rs to expose us to the raunchiest rhizomes of ex-Jugo 90s skronk, we also try to squeeze material from this region and time period into our release roster, especially because it’s fascinating to me, originally a bloody Belgian, how these artists burped out such a succulent drug-drawl without getting entangled in all too nationalistic nonsense or gazing too much into the crystal ball of the West. So, sure, if I ever stumble upon a flea market find in the form of, let’ say, an Orthodox version of the Concrete Rubber Band or The New Creation, a more ‘standard’ elpee reissue would be in the pipeline.

SD: Cassette Gods blogspot declared you “Label of the year”. What is cassette to you and do you consider it the ultimate DIY artefact that will never die (despite one of the bands that you released – Cave Bears – stated “DIY spells DIE”)?

MR : You said it! DIY actually doesn’t spell DIE. That’s how we understood it anyway.

Further information:
soundcloud.com/nobasementisdeepenough
flickr.com/people/nobasementisdeepenough/

Leifert, s/t, CD (self-released, 2013). Featuring in their first interview for Small Doses #3, Leifert finally released their first proper debut. Some of their earlier masterpiece tracks were given re-recording treatment, plus new material that altogether grace this beauty of an album. Highly recommended. leifert.bandcamp.com/

Baden-Baden, Overdue (2013). An enigmatic quintet, mixing garage rock and electronics into their own fundamental mould. Amazing. At the moment, the group prefer to perform live more,  but let’s hope for a full-length release soon. Looking forward to it. baden-badenmusic.bandcamp.com/

Motherfucking Christians, Welcome To the Bummer City, free download (Sacrifarce Records, 2011). Are they race-ists?! Are they not? Are they at all? Seeing them live was an out-of-body experience, a group that stands for chaos, kitch, theatre and, er, Mary – Mother of God. GG Allin would be proud (not?). motherfuckingchristians.bandcamp.com/

Sahasrabhuja, Priroda (2013). According to Nitkov Vitebsk of nauk.rs, this is celestial body music. Somewhere between the grandiose operatic-type melody, orchestral, massive drumming and vocals that vary between Slobodan Tišma and operatic tuning-ins. Sadly, no link at the moment – except YouTube.

The Bridge (2013). A stunning minimal electronic project by Richard Anderson. Sharp cool synthetics to please the ear. So far no official release, but plenty can be heard via his official link – soundcloud.com/this-is-the-bridge/

Novva Falla, Tapes of Valkenburg, cassette (s/t, 2013). True analogue dreamer in the digital world. novvafalla.bandcamp.com

David-Kim Hermsdorf. Also the mainman behind his project Dawn Of Prudence, many treasures still lay, remaining undiscovered. To break the silence, visit his profile at: soundcloud.com/david-kim-hermsdorf

Utilizer, Red Dice, digital download (from the v/a sampler “Dalekovod V4 – Guardians of Electro”, Crobot Music, 2012). Old-school electro enthusiast and perfectionist, Utilizer provided a stunning electro-set recently at “Dalekovod” event (Močvara, March 2013). “Red Dice” being part of the set. For more information please visit: crobotmuzik.bandcamp.com

Markantonija. A highly productive household duo of “Mark” and “Antonija”, two people in love and in love with music. Discreet, experimental, acoustic, spontaneous and a bit imprisoned from the outside world. soundcloud.com/m-pravnasluzba-1

Image borrowed from coolstuff4819.blogspot.com