Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cut and Paste Abstraction

Empire is still a word we are very afraid of in America, but the spread of western influence to the four corners of the globe was a long, forceful process that has been the focus of many nations and empires. It seems that since American aggression is more subtle and patient during this time period, it is fitting that the fruits of these conquests are so long lasting and relevant even today. The victims do not “die” immediately like in traditional battle, but rather whole cultures are taken over and modeled to be profitable for investors and overlords. These trends exemplify the movement as one of ongoing strikes from labor unions, a loss of public trust in the incumbent government, fear over terrorism and international entanglements and a general breakdown of a seemingly comfortable new world order. You are probably pretty aware that the biggest revolutions come out of the most depressed areas culturally, but this created an atmosphere where censorship was not very necessary because the artists were too afraid to do anything radical or had fled the country. Let’s start learning about the protest of the Chicago Democratic convention in 1968, when the MC5 started playing and were supposed to be backed up by their brothers and sisters in rebellion, and find themselves all alone with the police moving in. The Northeast was very frightened of losing their political control with more territories added to the Union, so the FRC allocated stations different bandwidths in order to eliminate the chaos that had characterized early radio. Basically, these white people thought that their dark skinned fellow humans were of a completely different history and completely incompatible with white values and traditions. I was particularly surprised that the loyalists of Napoleon were looking for a place to put their fallen leader in Eastern Texas. We go to great lengths trying to convince ourselves that everything we do as a nation is done as selflessly as possible. Obviously, this country did not want to support any art that digressed with their world view or criticized them in any way. If I was molded during the same time these educated representatives of American interests were, I would most likely be one of the oppressors. The popular opinion is that American interference in other countries is for the good of the invaded, not for empire building. I just wrote this song called, “Tampa Tried to Kill Patti Smith,” because she fell off a stage in Tampa and broke her neck or something here in about ’78 or so. Overall this was an uncertain time, filled with many obstacles for everyday life. Do you think this area of suburban Florida or maybe faux city environment has shaped your music or personality in any way or ways? The natives could not defeat the invaders because they could never completely unify against their oppressors. It is only foreign because today every single thing in the world seems state sanctioned, especially the happenings on the continental United States. They did this to capture a raw sound, but there are times when the music was so loud that members of the band couldn’t hear what was going on. Stations would come and go on specific tunings, making the listening experience a kind of experimental practice. It is also unfamiliar that all these people were raising arms and armies and attacking places practically independent of state support. Governments around the world spent trillions of dollars over the next month beefing up their police forces to keep the revolutions down. These characteristics simply lose some of their importance when they are mass produced, especially the texture and size.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

They're at it again... or My Letter to My Congress People 4-22-07

None of us can afford our own radio station. We spent many years stuck in the gutter of broadcasting hell. Corporate rule over the airwaves has completely homogenized them and their power castrated our every attempt to take them back. The fees that have kept broadcasting in the hands of the elite have completely sucked the life out of FM radio. There is no reason to support Clear Channel stations because they play only lowest common denominator music that is not challenging or interesting in any way. If we are to survive this cultural wasteland we have created for ourselves, we need a way to find new sources of art and and music.

Internet Radio gave us such a choice. We can listen to radio stations or podcasts without the hampering of corporate control and the horror of premeditated playlists. Also, these internet radio stations that are completely virgin to corporate domination actually play music that would not be heard otherwise. It might be that the music is too advanced or follows no marketing trend, but these artists deserve a chance to get heard. I can see no reason to homogenize everything that has a chance to be free in this country and this is definitely a question of freedom. Don't forget- corporations are not citizens. They should not have more rights than voters do, regardless of how much money they contribute to whom. The people of this country deserve better than to be pandered to by music trends that meander and linger on until we all want to put a bullet through our radio sets.

All in all, these fees against the internet radio community is a crime against American cultural development. I'm sure everyone in Washington is tired of having citizens bring up the First Amendment, but we just can't help it. What is free about corporate owned opinions and music? What is free about squeezing the life out of something that makes so many people feel better about their existence? Finally, what is free about letting corporations rule this country instead of the people?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Notes on Microwave Windows- 4-20-2007 or Tarpon Springs Strikes Back

Screaming, pulsing waves of electronic frequencies sliced through my every molecule for the sake of cultural experience. I'm not one to mince words, and Microwave Windows' set at Bridie Gannons on 4-20 kicked the snot right out of Tarpon Springs. She didn't see it coming. The sonic onslaught began with textured analog synth manipulated through a table-full of junk processors and effects. The sound echoed off every corner of the irish bar and shook up the complacent crowd. The guitar pulsed repeating ooze out into the windy Tarpon Springs night and chimed with ecstasy at every face turned to delight or retching. All of a sudden, this hip old lady, drunk, at the bar starts yelling "It sounds like fucking Star Wars!" while textured samples of American dialogue began shitting out of the speakers. "Kill-Kill-Kill-K-Kill Iraq Iraq Kill Iraq" stumbled over the other sounds flowing throughout the room. Apparently, all of this cacophony caused the bartender to shit his pants. The frequencies removed the control of his bowels and he had no faculty over his normal excretive functions. He motioned to turn it down-and it was turned down a little... but like a good Ravi Shankar mind fuck, the momentum builds upon itself organically until someone either gets it or tells him to turn it off. Sadly, the bartender with shit in his pants pulled the plug on Microwave Windows. This set exists only in the memories of the few who attended and the nightmares of the shit-stained bartender, but it was worth every second. Windows of perception opened for me over a Rolling Rock in a nice little bar with the sound of the apocalypse pounding and chiming while the textures ebbed and flowed through each and every one of our beings... whether we welcomed it or not.

Friday, April 20, 2007

To begin...

Society-Consumerism-Capitalism-Corporations-Art-Rock n' Roll-Conviction

Words grow thin as we fail to see the connections or relevance in our own lives. We remain complacent and hope to move forward without speaking out or standing up. Are these words on top of the page really that taboo? Are we allowed to address these issues of conformity and mediocrity that plague our very being? I don't think that a blog is going to help change anything, but maybe I can explore some themes that America is afraid of through records and opinion in order to help myself transcend this cultural wasteland. There are precious few voices in the wilderness, and most of them are mocked for taking themselves too seriously. Screeching suburban landscapes cram my head full of doubt while I desire optimism. Most importantly, the words independent and generation have become marketing tools in order to trap us within our own convictions. I'm not treading new ground or bringing up points that haven't been around for decades. In fact, I believe that time began to stop around 1974 and hasn't progressed since about 1980. Accepting or ignoring, the only two attitudes expressed so far regarding this phenomenon, perpetuate the stoppage of time indefinitely. I resolve to stop letting it get me down and use these words of conflict to create debate and stir up confusion and fear... or at least allow these feelings to be addressed.