the musicians who took part in this event, can very well insist they knew nothing of it. nevertheless, they can not say the same for the countless sponsors like deutsche bank, jp αβαξ (a huge construction company) intercontinental hotel and many others. as it seems artists only "question" things with their art, never as human beings.
anyway. the first day featured costes, z.karkowski/antimatter and scott ardord. i missed half of costes performance. we were waiting outside for friends to come, drinking beers and feeling slighlty uneasy about the prospect of seeing blood and shit. we did enter the building though (a kind of art gallery) refusing ofcourse to pay the 15 euros entrance fee. this caused a small commotion. the guys at the door and the organisers were not happy about it. on the other hand what could they do? massively outnumbered (6 against 12) and somewhat afraid of worst things as already some people showed openly their disgust about their collaboration with remap:km, between getting no money and being punched and getting no money they chose the first. they did whine a bit, though.
to our point: costes and a woman were walking around naked. they we also shouting and they were stained with brown and red markings. after a while costes pushed a head shaped ball and brown goo (chocolate mix) came out looking like shit. as i gathered, the whole shit and blood business was fake. the show was over soon after. the audience (around 15 people) was anyway more shocked by our getting in without paying than costes performance. some of the musicians seemed to freak out a bit with us. it was a reality they did their best to ignore, but still it found a way to invade their night. many people looted the "cds for sale" as well. now, i wouldn't like my cds to be looted when i play somewhere, on the other hand i don't play with fucking sponsors like these and with 15 euros entrance. so, what to say, shit happens. about costes performance though: try to imagine. you come in a new place and you have to stand naked in front of some unknown audience, cover yourself with shit and maybe bleed as well abit, while the audience looks at you impassionately (except some motherfuckers who sneak away your cds). and then take a plane to repeat the same, somewhere else, even colder than here. i mean, what kind of life is this? sad, sad, sad ...
karkowski w/ antimatter followed. started rather calm and became more and more intense with karkowski adding some digital noise, at one point the place was full of noise but then the set was finished. a bit too short. next and last was s.arford. another laptop only set, he played a lot with sound samples, looping fragments of them and then passing them through filters granulating software creating nice, moving rhythms BUT every 3-4 minutes he was stopping the whole procedure starting with a new sample, looping first longer then shorter fragments of it and then repeating the whole shit so at the end it gave you the feeling of exercises of style. live sets with laptop only music tend to be boring anyway and both sets gave you the feeling that you could maybe like them more in another place. inbetween the sets, bill (fbs) played greek (turbo)folk lps passing them through petal effects creating sometimes very intense and nice loops, a bit like strotter instr. we voted his as the best set of the day.
the second day started (after a nice and easy entrance) with v/vm. again i listened only half of it but it was completely unmoving. some pop songs played over petals. 100% boring. many people wondered maybe they could do the same and get their expenses paid to travel abroad. dave phillips who played next, had a video screen showing scenes of extreme animal abuse (stuff like ALF videotapes) interrupted by flashes of text like "what we do to animals we do to ourselves" . he started with some voices and shoutings and the sounds of inflating and bursting balloons (over petal effects) and he was becoming more and more imposing and intense. towards the end, his shouts and extreme bass or high pitched sounds were accompanied by animals being electrocuted, vivisected, clubbed to death, slaughtered, suffering and dying in many unhappy ways, so the music was a huge cry of despair and anger. Imposing and intense, like any really good noise show, still, at the end i was in a very ambiguous state.
i am really sick of the common postmodern distancing of most artists and their tendency to involve themselves with "questions" but never with answers, making comments but never declarations. d.phillips show was a break of the rule, in this aspect. he made an intense and straigthtforward political declaration. but where and to who? to a "selected" audience of avantgarde consumers, in a show paid by sponsors such as deutsche bank and capitalist and state institutions. In a semantic environment of sponsored art. Furthermore, while i still agree with most of the animal liberation politics, i felt strange seeing all this suffering on a public video which was part of a music show. I had a feeling of desecration, of extreme despair and suffering being used as part of an art construct, thus being reduced to spectacle.
it made me remamber, years ago,after we made a public projection of an a.l.f. video with similar content, we all in our a.l. group agreed not to show it again. All these painful deaths created shock and guilt, yes. But not really a change. People should learn what it means to eat meat or use products tested on animals but making a spectacle out of all this suffering just didn't feel right.in d. phillips' case things go even further as people can not help but think " is he using his art to make revolution OR using revolution to SELL his art"? The fact that animals die so horrible deaths is sad but it becomes sadder when their deaths are used to add intensity to a music show. I really hated a guy i knew, when i learned that he made a song out of the telephone message left to him by his girlfriend before she commited suicide, using her sad, despairing voice on that message.
i can not doubt d.phillips' honest intentions (nevertheless shouldn't such a bold political declaration be accompanied by some leaflets, info material etc? in his table i only saw cds for sale, not even a pamphlet). as far as i know he is vegan and pro animal liberation so at least he believes in what he says. what i doubt is the absolute value of propaganda, that things you say can be the same regardless to who you speak or in what environment you say them. and your right to use such spectacularily shocking material to add value to your argument -which is any way reduced by the fact that you are paid to do art so at the end your argument becomes art and not vice versa. it was interesting to notice the reactions of the audience. some felt guilt and a need to apologise for their meat-eating habbits. others considered it as useless preaching and got insulted. d.phillips himself described the best reaction to his set. (i guessed before he said it, though). somebody in japan who told him right after his show, "i also like gore films". he was dead right (although probably not sarcastic).
i was not in the best mood for the next set, again a laptop one. m.gendre produced sounds, some of which were really bassy and heavy, made you stomach feel a sudden weight, but i did not find any link between them, any narrative structure. it was just some sounds, some of them amazinly deep,which makingthe whole building tremble, but nothing more. bill (fbs) used his truntables and petals producing a noise attack out of some old greek songs and after 10 minutes evrything was over and i was feeling a need to go sleep and forget. instead i went drinking and thinking. not the best kind of thoughts (and not the best kind of drinks as well).
the whole 2 day fest. was titled "destructive sound events". destructive for your mood, they should add.