Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Freeparty Photobooks

NO SYSTEM Vinca Petersen (Steidl)

Vinca travelled around with various teknotypes in the mid-1990s. A lot of these snaps feel like holiday fotos and she's really good at capturing the freedom of being in a convoy of trucks drifting around Europe. Good times.

There's a fotodisplay from the book and more stuff on her website. You can buy it from her for a tenner or for £250 on amazon!!!

3672 - La Free Story

A French book, quite glossy made by some people associated with Paris sisdem Trouble Fete, a journalist and a professional photographer. Lots of flyers. I can't vouch for the texts, I haven't got round to reading them but the fotos are excellent quality and weird stylistically. There's no speakers, no people dancing, just lots of people asleep and/or wearing baggy trousers. But, as a document of a scene which had lots of people asleep or muntering horizontally, it does convey the feeling of being at a rave in the morning with a lot of done in people.

It was available here for free but the author got it taken down.

No System, que l'on doit à Vinca Petersen, fut le premier recueil iconographique sur une tribu de "traveller" (Total Resistance). Wilfrid Estève, photographe ayant sévit au côté de T. Colombié (Technomades - la piste électronique, Stock) a eu la bonne idée de conserver sur pellicules une partie des soirées et festivals auxquels il a assisté en France. L'esprit libre et contestataire de ce mouvement musical nous est restitué par le texte emprunt d'ethnologie de Sarah de Haro. Cet ouvrage participe d'une meilleure compréhension d'un phénomène dont les médias n'ont traité que les dérives (consommation de produits psychotropes, nuisances diverses etc.). Il est à noter qu'il se fait l'écho du travail de réduction des risques mené, entre autres, par Médecins du Monde ; Techno + etc.

SONiQUE VILLAGE by C. Van Bezouw (Self-published)

Christel made this nook in edition of 500, i think. The feel with this one is a group of friends growing up, going to parties then putting them on themselves (which is what it is, it's ZMK family). There's a lot of atmospheric fotos at parties and doodles suggesting the altered states and weird thoughts that the quicksilvermix of sound and drug can pull out of nowhere. I like it. [The title is French but it's Dutch, but there's no text]

Overground by Tomski and bze (editions alternatives)

Met the two people who made this when they stopped at our squat in Robodam. It's a strange mix of counterculture wiht lots of fotos of protests, peircings, parties, porn and so on. The texts in French are pretty impenetrable, lots of slang i guess.

Paname san dessus dessous! by Frotte Canard (Colours Zoo)

A book documenting the Saoulaterre people who do parties in the catacombs under Paris.

Brand new book devoted to the underground Paris and its legendary life of the Catacombes. Made by the FC, a crew of graffiti artists and musicians, "Paname Sans Dessus, Dessous", with none censorship, is a hallucinating dive into this world always and still alive, according to their motto "DONT STOP ACTIONZZZZ ".

OUT OF ORDER by M.Macindoe (Tangent)

Molly's book documenting seven years of the London squat party scene. I went to a lot of these parties but remember them rather differently. These fotos present quite a dark, macho image of squatparties. That was certainly part of it but we had a lot of fun too. Guardian

I like the way all these books focus on different facets of parties, and none are made as I would make them. Sonique Village is like an art book, handbound and is full of memories. Out of Order is pretty bleak, but reminds me of the power of a full-on London multi-rigger. No System tempts me to go travelling. Paname reminds me of the time I nearly went to a catacomb rave at Xmas then we lunched it and everyone got arrested and harrassed by French cops. 3672 shows the power of the French scene as it was, and I guess Overground does too.

Venetian Snares

I went to see Venetian Snares on Monday. It was the fourth time I've seen him I think and like last time, a year or so ago, I was left a bit confused. It's pretty cool to hear Snares mix his own stuff together, but it just ends up feeling like he's throwing the kitchen sink at you. The bits of stuff I recognised were sometimes mixed well, sometimes quite badly. The whole thing went on a bit too long and ended rather indulgently with Snares packing up his bag whilst making some feedback with his fancy CD dex. I tried to get a friend who likes punk to come, I thought she might get inspired by the the breakcore, but actually I'm glad she lunched it - if you weren't already a fan, an hour and a half of a big mixed mess probably wouldn't convert you. I'm glad I went but it could have been loads better.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Time flies

Damn I've written a long piece about the various freeparty fotobooks I've acquired over the years and now I've sat on it so long, I've fucking lost it. Grrrr. Anyhoo, will try to dig it out...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Truth" about young people and drugs revealed in Guardian survey

A fifth of young drug users admit to taking "mystery white powders" without any idea what they contain, according to an international Guardian survey that reveals the extent of reckless behaviour among a new generation of high-risk drug takers.

The poll of 15,500 people by the Guardian and Mixmag magazine also found that more respondents in the UK and US admitted taking cannabis than either tobacco or energy drinks. Those who defined themselves as clubbers were more likely to take ecstasy than smoke cigarettes.

The headline findings from what is one of the largest ever surveys of drug use raised alarm among health experts, who pointed out that even those who think they knew what they were taking could be consuming another drug entirely.

John Ramsey, toxicologist at St George's medical school in London, said: "It is amazing that so many people take mystery white powders. The truth is nobody knows what the risks are and it is patently dangerous to take untested drugs."

The survey found 15% of respondents say they have taken a unknown white powder in the past 12 months, a third admitting it was supplied by someone they didn't trust.

But younger drug users were much more likely to take risks with unknown substances, with a fifth of all respondents aged between 18 and 25 saying they had taken mystery powders. Respondents who spoke to the Guardian were confident that they could balance drug taking with their careers and relationships, and regarded the side effects of drug use as often no worse than a hangover.

One respondent, James, a financial broker, told the Guardian: "My daily life is sensible, regimented and very stressful, so at the weekend I want the opposite. When I go out, the last thing I want is to think about work and responsibilities. I just want to lose myself for a few hours."

The survey also reveals:

• There are signs of an emerging "grey market" in legally prescribed painkillers and antidepressants, often acquired from friends, dealers or through the internet.

• Mephedrone, which gained media notoriety and was banned by the British government in 2010, is falling out of favour, with reports of more harmful side effects compared with other substances.

• Survey respondents caught in possession of small amounts of illegal drugs are unlikely to be punished heavily by the law, and stand a high chance of being let off.

• Alcohol is used regularly by almost all drug users, and, apart from tobacco, is the substance respondents would most like to take less of. Two-thirds of male respondents and 60% of women reported drinking at hazardous or harmful levels – though a fifth of regarded their drinking as average or below average levels.

Some 7,700 UK drug users and 4,000 from the US and Canada took part in the detailed survey, carried out online in November. Respondents were asked a range of questions including what drugs they took, how often, and what the health and legal consequences were. It was conducted by the independent drug use data exchange Global Drug Survey, in association with the Guardian and Mixmag, the clubbing magazine and website.

One of the strongest underlying messages is that this group of drug users report as happy, healthy and educated, and feel at ease with their recreational consumption of a range of illicit substances from cannabis to ecstasy to cocaine. They are not in rehab, prison or in trouble with the law and do not take heroin or crack.

The mean age of UK respondents was 28. Nine out of 10 were white, three-quarters were in work and earning between £10,000 and £40,000. Some 55% were educated to degree level or above.

Dr Adam Winstock, a consultant addictions psychiatrist and director of Global Drug Survey, said: "This is the largest assessment of current drug use ever conducted. What is overwhelmingly tells us is that people are not defined by their drug use, but that the harms that drugs can have are defined by the way people choose to use them.

"The challenge for government and policy makers will be how to regulate and craft a public health response which remains credible and respects individual choice."

The drugs most likely to be used by respondents were overwhelmingly alcohol and tobacco, with 92% of respondents saying they had drunk alcohol in the last month, 53% had taken cannabis, 34%, MDMA and 22% cocaine.

One in 10 respondents said they had been stopped and searched for drugs in the past 12 months. Of those found with cannabis, just under half were let off. Over a third of those caught with MDMA were let off.

Niamh Eastwood, chief executive of the drugs charity Release, said the findings suggested the police might be reluctant to criminalise this demographic group for carrying drugs.

"If you sent the same survey to different groups – young black males in inner city areas, say – it would tell a different story. The survey probably does represent the experience of middle class people who use drugs."

David Nutt, the former government drugs adviser sacked for suggesting LSD and ecstasy were less dangerous than alcohol, said he was not surprised by the survey findings about the extent of drinking and the concerns people had about it. "That's what I expected. People understand. The message is out there and people know alcohol is the biggest problem. It confirms what the evidence has been saying."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Critical Beats #4

Might sludge along to this-

Critical Beats #4: Sound Systems

From 19/04/12 to 19/04/12
Location: London Stratford Circus, United Kingdom
Special Events

The series of symposiums on electronic dance music and club culture, co-hosted by The Wire and the University of East London, continues with a panel discussion on the culture of sound systems. With Julian Henriques (author of Sonic Bodies: Reggae Soundsystems, Performance Techniques And Ways Of Knowing), Colleen Murphy (Lucky Cloud Sound System) and others tbc. London Stratford Circus, 19 April, 7:30pm, £4/£2.

Whose hardcore continuum?

Over the last ten years, the music journalist Simon Reynolds has developed the concept of the hardcore continuum ('nuum' for short) to describe a scene which began with rave and progressed through various styles including drum n bass, jungle and 'ardkore through to dubstep and grime, then to 2step to funky in the present day. He draws out connections between genres in terms of labels, dubplates producers, pirate radio stations and places. But he's missing out as much as he leaves in.

I'm more concerned with underground music than following fads, and despite dabbling in therory, Reynolds seems to ignore the fact that capitalism consistently recuperates any challenges to its hegemony. Thus labels and people sell out, pirate radio stations become mainstream to develop an audience, free parties become recommodified as commercial festivals like Lowlands or Glade or Bangface. Just because pirate stations like Rinse used to play drum n bass and now play garage, or certain artists have developed in the same direction, doesn't mean that garage is in any way hardcore.

Whilst I like some of the ideas behind the nuum I'm not sure how relevant it is to me, since I'm more interested in dark fucked up sounds and sonic experimentation (the real progression of hardcore, surely). The last time the nuum got me going was dubstep and I don't think there's anything hardcore about funky.

To be fair, Reynolds did say in 2009:

It's even not the only dance continuum I'm interested in as a listener or as a writer, for instance I've written a lot about another music called hardcore, the gabba tradition, European four to the floor kick drum pounding terror techno, I'm a big fan and defender of that

... but then he hasn't mentioned it much lately. At a 'Critical Beats' talk in 2012, he even seemed rather dismissive of gabba, possibly because he has lost touch with its offshoots through living in New York and listening to shit like Burial.

Yet as we all know, one offshoot of rave, the faster hectic strand hardened into gabba which then itself influenced many forms, such as happy hardcore, french tekno, speedcore and breakcore. Various subgenres have splintered off and sometimes form into valid scenes themselves eg flashcore.

Where does that leave us now? Well, we are in the future. You tell me. Having gone through explosion then death, whatever breakcore now means nowadays still throws up a shitload of good stuff, since experimentation and sonic deviance is explicitly welcomed by its broad parameters. Wrong Music pioneered a return to weirdness and now bassline (Kanji Kinetic, Figure, Warlock) is getting people raving on the dancefloor again.

Personally, what I'm hoping for would be just as dubstep bass infected dnb basslines, we'll end up with a fast return to the darkside, with massive basslines anchored on 220 bpm beats.

At the Critical Beats talk the heroes seemed to be Zomby and Burial. I'd prefer to sit down and talk about Venetian Snares, Enduser, Shitmat, La Peste, No Name and Mouse. Vsnares is on mu-ziq records, Enduser is on the consistently interesting AdNoiseam (among other labels) but these names didn't get mentioned once.

That's a bit weird, since these people really are maintaining some sort of hardcore continuum (although that name's taken already). For example, VSnares frequently drops in references to allsorts of stuff in his tunes (commercial drum n bass in 'Fuck Toronto Jungle' and 'A Lot of Drugs',' punk in 'Abomination Street', rave in 'Husikam Rave Dojo' and 'Calvin Kleining', gabba all through the Winnipeg album and so on).

Reynolds is correct to identify how a scene develops in reflexively self-referential style, which can be almost impenetrable to outsiders who don't know the heritage of the scene. But he is wrong to track continua as they mainstream and become commercialised. It's personal choice I suppose, but surely it's much more interesting to stay underground.

Flint Michigan wrote in the initial manifesto for Datacide magazine that it was:

A communication tool of the trans-european Undo*round, it is intended to give the a deserved coverage to those who do things, not for the kudos, prestige and cash it might bring in but for the buzz of inter-activity and mutual respect

There is an underground quietly bubbling away, partying at the weekend, communicating through zines like this one, creating music of all sorts with a seriously anti-capitalist and anti-commercial attitude. That's what gives me hope and what I see as the real hardcore continuum.