okay so we're back. hi.

I'm probably going to catch shit for this, but Refused is at this point the Beatles of anarcho-punk rock. They spent their time in the trenches, playing along genre lines, surpassing expectations in that regard (see 'fanning the flames of discontent'), then they go and take a giant leap forward in terms in technical prowess and sheer visceral inspiration. And, in ultimate anarchistic style, break up at the peak of their influence. No need to kill your idols if they take themselves out of the picture, right? Plus, um, they had those matching black clothes... okay, enough of the Beatle analogy. Point is, Refused cast a long shadow. To this day 'The Shape of Punk to Come' still strikes me as one of the most optimistic albums; at the time it aroused in me desires and emotions I didn't know I had. Especially, 'tanhauser/derive'. Somewhere in my skull, that scream is still echoing:
alive... living... aannnddd ssseeeaaarrrccchhhiiinnnggg!!!!!!!!!!
but i digress.
So then Refused break up, and Dennis goes to the International Noise Conspiracy, and the others, well, hmm... all the legends seemed to point to a less-than-amiable breakup; even the liner notes indicate this to a degree. A falling-out over politics? Perhaps. But Dennis is still into it, right? I mean, with that whole retro-1968 thing he's got going with the T(I)NC...
'kay, I never much enjoyed that band. It seems like they were trying to fly under the radar of mainstream culture: they had the whole 'retro' thing (although it's the wrong decade for hipster appeal), the faux-ironic politics ('capitalism stole my virginity?!' c'mon!)... it just wasn't gelling for me. The band is like a Marxist trying to 'mingle' with hipsters, slipping them pamphlets while sipping on an (ironic) martini. The liner notes though? Still awesome. I believe their hearts are still in it, but I question the efficacy of the way they go about communicating their beliefs. I guess this isn't really a political criticism, just a personal one. There's no accounting for taste. Bottom line is, keep my music earnest, dammit!
but i digress....
Here's the real point of this post. The rest of the band went and formed TEXT. Or rather, the rest of band participated in TEXT, because it appears to be a loose collective of various artists and musicians. TEXT is... very strange music. The whole album is available for download with the blessing of its authors, so download away... after working up the patience to listen to the thing the whole way through, I guess you can call this... Swedish dub?! Yeah, and did I mention it's another long step forward for musical progression?!
The first track is people shouting in latin.
The second track I initially wrote off as some kind of attempt at pop, but it's got a heavy dub bassline and quickly morphs into something different. Anyone who noted the 'broken radio' feel to 'the Shape of Punk...' will recognize a similar meandering quality to this album, as musical elements fade in and out. It's as if the band is rethinking the dimensions of this thing we call a song.
The 'Collages Desertes' trilogy is an epic electronic dub song coupled with narration about torture. Similar themes to Foucault's Discipline and Punish. There are great musical moments in it, and then some moments that only bring to mind an A&E special on acid. The first part of the trilogy is my favourite. Still, you might listen to them all to hear the narration all the way through. Interesting, but grisly and definitely a bad acid trip.
Two standouts for me: 'We have Explosives! Shmexplosives?' sounds like a sketch of a kickin' Refused song. No lyrics, but all the musical elements are there. Finally, there's 'The Huntsville Treaty.' Phew. This song is a headbanging electronic song, taking the inspired production of Refused and just running with it. When the singer starts screaming 'My language is Dead!!!' it sounds like joy, and maybe... a theme perhaps?! The song shifts gears into jazz territory and comes to gentle landing, just in time to finish the aforementioned trilogy. If you are going to download only one song, this is the one.
Is TEXT a political band? Well, I don't know if it matters, (isn't every band political?) but the chorus to the second song is this:
Black is the light that shines in my path, Black is the colour of Freedom.
Good enough for me. So let's revise the popular perception of what happened to Refused: Dennis goes on to front a band whose purpose is the infection of popular culture with subversive political discourse. The rest of the band retreats to labour away in seclusion, intent on 'killing' the language of music. One band intends to carry a destructive payload in a catchy and innocuous vessel. The other intends to create a vessel that is in itself destructive. Both are political paths, both are legitimate. But which is more inspiring?

And hey! Since I'm acting like the friggin' "Scene Police", why don't we make this Shit-talkin' Week! Where we talk shit about the subculture's most visible personalities! We'll talk about Mack Evasion's movie deal*, we'll paw through Naomi Klein's garbage, Rimbaud faked his own death, sold out and changed his name to Ezra Pound, Ian MacKaye smokes pot and smells like patchouli, um... Rob at LoveEcstasyCrime has a story that involves the International Noise Conspiracy... but that's his to tell if he feels like it. :)
Shit-Talkin' Week. We'll decorate this place to look like Entertainment Tonight, maybe hang some dirty diapers from clotheslines and gain twenty pounds and wear magenta lipstick with a ugly-ass brooch.

*this is true!


At 1:53 a.m., Blogger Robert said...

another great post, Eric

i dont even hafta print this one up cuz i actually read it online...which i never do

i TOLD you that story? why is it that almost every time i see you, i get so drunk i black out? wow, i gotta stop drinking

fuck, if u think the INC story was funny, you shld hear the one about when Snow pulled an uzi (no, not a real one) at a rent party, and i wound up with a shotgun in my face

i gotta go public with these before i die or something :)

At 1:59 a.m., Blogger eric said...

I heard that one too Rob.
but Snow doesn't have much to do with...
(where we talk shit about people in the scene) yaaaaay


speakin of drunk, i'm it right now.
btw i hear eric is a total asshole
i was tonite

At 6:58 p.m., Blogger Robert said...

aww, i doubt you were much of an asshole...youre too damn NICE, cagsnabbit

and besides, we all hafta howl at the moon occasionally :)

ok, i told the INC story

Snow tomorrow...im sick as a dog right now

At 3:39 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh sure, where was the good cheer (ha ha ha!) when rob was making fun of krystal because she thot the super skinny kids from the band Refused were cute

who knew angst wore beat up converse sneakers!

At 2:14 a.m., Blogger Jake R. said...

I just wish to say superb post, and thank you for reminding me of TEXT, I had heard about that a while ago but forgot about it until I read this. I agree with you about the (I)NC and Refused, although I perhaps enjoy the (I)NC still quite a bit.

At 4:30 p.m., Blogger eric said...

hey Quinlan, thanks for the kind words... i figured you must be a fan, what with the kickass blog title.

anonymous... krystal? i have no recollection of that event.
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At 11:13 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my my .... skinny as the fingers on my hand ...

i saw the kids from refused do a music video for the song 'New Noise' and it was them in an empty studio, wearing all black, jumping around in converse sneakers and serious looks on their faces... real serious like they're trying to turn their coal eyes into diamonds.

which is funny, really, that this little group of boys made my heart sing, since half the kids in the movement look about the same ...

which is what robly pointed out over a beer at a fundraiser, that i could really have the pick of the room if i wanted to ... but then again, i'm an asshole ...

(pirate queen of unrequited love)

At 1:37 a.m., Blogger Robert said...

ok ok, ill admit, it was me what made fun of ya fer saying that the Refused wuz "cute"...no, the INC are cute, in the sense that they are innocuous, kinda pleasantly bland and ultimately entirely forgettable...the Refused are HAWT!

but you, Krystal--like Eric--have the ability to make me forget what i said (ty ty ty, by the way)...i dont recalll saying that we are all generic weirdy beardys that you cld entirely fail to differentiate...if i did, that was awfully arrogant of me...oh well

Quinlan, awfully nice blog you have going on there

ill post the Snow story tomorrow...im still feeling like my head may explode at any moment :)


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