WTM #1017: Mesmurmurings and Cultural Baggage


Wreck This Mess / Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies
Radio Patapoe 88.3 ~ Amsterdam ~ 


19 mei 2008 // 17.00-19.00
French novelist Stendhal, already steeped and in love with Italian culture, upon a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce with its Giottos and Donatellos and the ornate tombs of the renowned such as Michelangelo and Galileo, collapsed when overcome by the emotions aroused by just a little too much cultural awe and good old hyperventilation [exacerbated no doubt by the masses and their mutually arousing sense of overwhelming awe/hysteria]. A couple of dozen tourists annually experience the extreme symptoms of fainting upon visiting Florence and specifically the Basilica. Some require a doctor’s care, hospitalization and some require psychiatric care. While millions of other tourists walk around with an existential sense of cultural dread that they are really worthless, all of which is further exacerbated by heat, exhaustion, lack of proper diet etc.
Love & Lamentation > Simon Wickham Smith [1]
The Sallie House 2 > Michael Esposito + FM Einheit [2]
+ Waarom > Albert Mol [3]
Trainslation > Steve Roden [4]
Prologue > Chicago Transit Authority [5]
The Sallie House 5 > Michael Esposito + FM Einheit [2]
+ Free Form Guitar > Chicago Transit Authority [5]
Achterbahn > Pole vs Shackleton [6]
The Sallie House 5 > Michael Esposito + FM Einheit [2]
+ The Non-Assassination of John F. Kennedy > Alistair Cooke [7]
A King A Wave Passes > Death Comet Crew [8]
Seven by Seven > Pharoah Sanders [9]
Funky Dream Two > Death Comet Crew [8]
Maledetto [exc] > Kenneth Gaburo [10]
Walz 1 > Gregory Buttner [11]
+ The Non-Assassination of John F. Kennedy > Alistair Cooke [7]
How High The Moon > Pim Jacobs vs Rogier van Otterloo [12]
Hello > Lesonzero [13]
Habanera [Bizet] > Julia Migenes Johnson vs Placido Domingo [14]
Steg Upp > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
Stanna > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
European Football 2000 > Lesonzero [13]
Har Att Gora > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
Hysterical Crowd > Lesonzero [13]
Forklara > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
Victory Goal > Lesonzero [13]
Pa Samma gang > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
After the Victory > Lesonzero [13]
Stor Plats > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
Church Bells > Lesonzero [13]
Du forsokte > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
Street Atmosphere > Lesonzero [13]
Sugar Town > Nancy Sinatra [16]
Musical Roundabout > Lesonzero [13]
Stor Plats 2 > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
Workers in Courtyard > Lesonzero [13]
Love Missile F1-11 > Sigue Sigue Sputnik [17]
De var inte Tva > Marja-leena Sillanpaa [15]
Wat Zien Ik? > Albert Mol [3]       
[1] Love & Lamentation on Pogus. This UK electromusical composer-musician has managed to electronically renovate the sounds of hermetic mystics and monastic types such as a Japanese Zen Buddhist, but also modern poet Rachel Becker and in this piece combining human voice and electronic manipulation with the work of Turkish troubador Asik Veysel Sirsoglu and strangely synergistically the ex tempore psalm singing of the Scottish Isle of Lewis. What happens is a meditative [but not totally placid] sound carpet consisting of waves and rivulets and mnemonic lullings, which creates a mesmerizing swirl as if world musics from forgotten islands, corners, and inlets have been magnetically sucked into some audio-magnetic black hole. Where I once rated music on how it jolted, jump-started a weary heart, or how it aroused indignation through vicious rhythms and beats, I am now more interested in how the music stimulates and compliments my day job of writing and editing before a big illuminated screen and this 3-part composition fulfills this very well, rousingly meditative in ways not unlike some happy unassuming fusion of Zoviet France and Terry Riley.

[2] The Sallie House on Firework Editions.

[3] Wat Zien Ik on Artone 45, 1965. Conversations with a blonde prostitute.

[4] Soundtrack for Variable Fiction on Ytterbium.
[5] Chicago Transit Authority on Columbia vinyl.
[6] The Steingarten Remixes on ~scape.
[7] Talk About America on Pye vinyl.
[8] This Is Riphop on Troublemanunlimited.
[9] Pharoah’s First on ESP / Calibre.
[10] Lingua II on Pogus http://www.pogus.com.
[11] Walze 1-8 on Firework Editions.
[12] Burroughs on CBS.
Lingua II on Pogus.
[13] 100 Effets Sonores on MU.
[14] Carmen Excerpts on Erato.
[15] H&H O&A N&N on Firework Editions.
[16] The Best of Nancy Girl on Reprise vinyl.
[17] Now This Is Music compilation on EMI-Virgin-RCA.
o Italy / Florence: This is the second show right after return from May vacation [vacations now come when Paloma’s school schedules them]. And one notices that Florence is a visual place. The sounds are secondary or backdrop, deep backdrop, music in public places or restaurants etc. is minimal, not dominant, vague. To survive the almost unabsorbable splendor [which is mostly steeped comfortably in the past], the dread Stendhal’s disease or cultural hegemony overload – one can get physically sick, queasy, depressed from too much awesome beauty. I can verify that geographically but also personally, intimately. When I have been allowed, invited into the company of extremely audaciously beautiful women the tension aroused between their beauty, the surrounding ugliness, my humble presence and being invited to partake of it has sometimes led to incredibly nervous [Woody Allenish] moments where the beauty can almost not be placed, consumed, categorized, loved and so you becomeŠ temporarily unstable, unsure, ID vague, and one can end up having the aesthetic beauty open up wounds of existential doubt, what the value of everyday living is, etc.  That I have experienced this blend of sexual arousal, awe, nausea, and invincibility [top of the world] with severe self-doubt with the Italian [and other] women I have dated is something I have not come to fully understand yet. It may be as close as i get to a religious experience. I don’t know.

One way to handle this while on vacation is to step forward wile simultaneously using your camera’s zoom lens and instead of trying to get the big picture [senseless – just buy the postcard] I zoom in for the micro-detail, a sign, a letter on a sign, a detail of an interesting grafitti, holes in a wall, ornate manhole covers. It gives you an alternative view of a location’s beauty, which if not handled carefully in the case of Florence can become this wave of unending, generic, historically overloaded, humbling [in the catholic architectural manner] stimulus that ends up leaving you in this fuzzy frustrating state of trying to crawl out of a hole called culture as dug by years of touristic viewpoint shaping. Where your slide into oppressive awe is only appeased, mitigated [and simultaneously stimulated] by consumption.

Well Bart, the playlists were fun … Glad to see some Death Comet Crew in the last two ! New album being completed these days … no label as of yet.


Stuart, Death Comet Crew <argabright@rcn.com>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s