Monday, June 14, 2010

black yoghurt, glasgow, johnny white, crude

I waltzed up to a local photographer at the gig and in typical apologetic style labelled it an 'intimate' show...and he curtly corrected me...'Not's exclusive'...
'Twas a scantily populated show, a symptom of a few things I suppose, the recent weather, another show at the crowns 'old man bar' that night, and the slew of gigs earlier in the week. So the show had that incredibly intimate feel - real laid back, jokes between audience and performing artist(s) as if each were simply sitting at the bar.
Black Yoghurt is Sefton Holmes going solo. The Laptop is an essential weapon here, Holmes effortlessly selects from a vast pool of ready-made beats and sounds, dials up a suite of sound softwares and transfers the mulch through the public adress system with the finesse of an AI from 2050. His solo work is very much evolving into a stylish strain of idm. A joy to behold.
John White has a musical history that tracks back to the 90s when his band Mestar titillated crowds of indie kids...Whites' craft has evolved since then, playing noisier stuff in the Zoo Polluters, contributing to Cloudboy, playing noise in Amalgam, touring and recording in Europe and Asia, freestyling with the enigmatic 'Mental Health Triangle' and finally settling into a solo routine. A fey pop sensibility is the adhesive factor throughout. Last Visible Dog saw fit to release Whites work and in 2003 'Mogwash' was released. White recruited Richard Scowen and Justin 'Sci-fi' Ulu from Horsehead Nebula as back-up for the set and the result was a dadaesque soiree of casiocity. Form and formlessness. Obnoxious late-80s keyboard percussion slice'n'dice in manual mode. Ting ting ting.
Crude got humping next. With sober dexterity I honked and spattered horn'n'yawn o'er
cackling dicky-beats, pop and piddle, sporting this seasons merino, paddle-pops and
lauded lands, the great blockade on Gaza and the psychology of zionism like lightening through my brain, the history of Saudi Arabia in mind, the great philanthropy of Prince Al-Waleed bin Taleed, the bizarre cartoonish facial-features of King Faisal, last weeks power bill and the trickle-up effect of economic austerity measures. 'You wawlkd eeeein, thyen y' wawlk raaaght bayk out agayn'. Stand and deliver.
And finally, Glasgow: John Glasgow that is, weaponized music - an arsenal of pedals in an array, wired up and fed through a mixer, pure sound arrested and processed, each new effect punched through rhythmically and unpredictably, Glasgow holding our attention with wild gestures in perfect sync with the noise. So much can be done with one tone. The noise shooting through each device like a screaming spectre, revolving and overlapping and chattering.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

grezzo - crude installation

opens tuesday july 6th at none gallery dunedin nz with performance and public adress, closes Saturday 10th july with closing 'ceremony'

Saturday, June 5, 2010

grey sunday

Life lurches forward like a relentless juggernaut. We speed towards our last hours at a wholly uncontrollable tempo. Do we trust in the sacred texts of the 3 Abrahamic faiths and monitor our behaviour for the sake of the hereafter? Do we diligently reject Maya like the Hindus and Buddhists for the sake of our next incarnation? Or do we live for the moment and lust and cavort and live according to the dictates of material science, secure in the knowledge that our death will be the end complete? I have no idea what the truth is. I have no intellectual center. I am a knowledge slut, aligning myself with philosophies as I consume them, a hater one day, a devotee the next. My values are inconsistent and brittle. Is this the post-modern condition? Is religion divine revelation or is it a human-made instrument of mass-control and de-politicization? And why am I still asking these questions?
Delving into the online repositories of Muslim knowledge confuses me further. As one of the Abrahamic creeds it calls for an unshakeable faith and submission to the will of the one true god, Allah, lord of the worlds, ruler of the day of judgement. Its' holy book is a guide to be followed to the letter. Further guidelines are to be found in the published deeds and sayings of the Holy Prophet. Is faith in the last day and the hereafter something that develops over time after becoming a muslim or is it a pre-requisite attitude? From what I can see, I think that its the social aspect of Islam that gives it its cohesive power. Muslims really seem to dig each other, to look after each other - perhaps the strong bonds generated within these communities are a big factor in Islams' appeal to young westerners - especially to those tired of late modern capitalism and its 'kill or be killed' ethos. Islam even has a system of welfare. No wonder the Americans don't dig.
I was brought up in a fiercely secular household in southern New Zealand, as far away from Islam as possible, but much closer geographically to Jesus. Christianity is the same deal - there is Heaven or Hell for you after death depending on your deeds and your intent. You reach the Father through Jesus Christ, the redeemer. Judaism is the same, although Jesus dosent play such an important role. As I moved outta home, it wasn't jesus that found me, but the dark metaphyics of the ancient Chinese.
I have found great wisdom in the veritable godlessness of Buddhism and especially Daoism. These Far-eastern religions are human, gentle, logical and real. Buddhism seeks to lift the veil, to unclog the mind from impurities, of waste. Daoism observes nature and in it's movements and cycles is revealed our ultimate guide - a universal force known as 'the way' or 'Dao' . It looks within and without, the body plays a role, it is part and parcel of the universe and therefore the Dao. One aligns ones body, mind and spirit and when this alignment is perfected, one merges with this force. The creepy western new-age movement usurps screeds of material from Daoism, Buddhism and Hinduism.

And so - point? Perhaps its this - perhaps searching for the truth only leads one away from it. Religions, especially the 3 Abrahamic ones, purport to have all the answers - its all there, in black and white on the pages of the Holy Bible and the Noble Quran. I suppose if you do submit, and believe, yes, a certain peace would overcome you - your days would be filled with meaning, life would have a definite pattern to it. Day in, day out. A mission. A course. A clear-cut path to Heaven.
But I can't supress this DOUBT inside me. Perhaps its the secular upbringing. Its DOUBT. As I watch footage of a group of Muslim extremists chanting 'Allah-hu-Akbar' as their executioner takes 7 blood-curdling minutes to seperate a prisoners head from his neck, I can't help but think....wait a minute?... Of course, war is geo-political and these fighters are engaged in politically motivated conflict, but the cameraman uttered the mantra in quiet, trembling and deeply disturbing repetitions one got the impression that he was trying to reinforce within himself that this butchery was Halal, each pronouncement more solemn than the last as the meat tore and gristle throbbed..the prophet indeed sanctioned this activity...
And then you read about the Catholic priests and their activites, and then you read about the Spanish Inquisistion, and all the blood spilt in the name of religion...where is the truth of it all - who is the ultimate authority, and where exactly does this being reside...what does it mean to be human - and what is pious? Where is reason? How far must one go? Are these texts to be believed fundamentally, or are they metaphors? Will there be a grande clash of civilizations this century?
Who is right and why? Is atheism the answer? Is religion a phenomenon created to give meaning to our place in the universe? Can we not accept ourselves as we are? Can we not accept ourselves as insignificant pieces of dust adrift in the universe? Is religion not thus egomaniacal and solipsistic ?