WTM #1067: Mankind’s Abstract Testicles

wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3
Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies
31 August 2009 // 17.00-19.00

Our Weakness is our Strength. Experts at Nothing, We are Fresh and Naïve, Curious and Open to all Discipline, Media, Philosophy or Technique. That said, we have an Opinion on Everything and will Speak it regardless of whether it is asked of Us. We find Comfort to be Perplexing. We strive for Imperfection. We privilege an Equal Partnership with Technology. We will submit, on occasion, to the Will of the Machine but only in an Exploratory and Temporary Manner. We Know What We Are Doing. We recognize the trappings of the Feminine Condition, We favour its Benefits. We seek out Beauty as well as Trouble. Transcending the Palpable and the Impalpable, We are Mankind.
Mankind Manifesto

Moon Dance > Johannes Welsch & David Hess & Paul Hinger [Stunderthorm / Sonic Flame]
Miles End Throat Singers > Mankind [Ice Machine / Ambiences Magnetiques ]
Salle D’Attente > Mankind [Ice Machine / Ambiences Magnetiques ]
Omaggio a Gyorgy Kurtay part 1 > Luigi Nono
Nordique > Mankind [Ice Machine / Ambiences Magnetiques]
Omaggio a Gyorgy Kurtay part 2 > Luigi Nono
My Favorite Aggression > Mankind [Ice Machine / Ambiences Magnetiques ]
Tulugaak & the Origin of Life > Charity Chan [Somewhere the Sea and Salt / Ambiances Magnetiques]
+ This Bloke Comes Up To Me > Peter Cook & Dudley Moore
Nwk Safety > B/art
Shimmy Shimmy Koko Pop > Little Anthony & the Imperials [24 Groovy Greats / Telerad]
Five-Hudred Echoes Charity Chan [Somewhere the Sea and Salt / Ambiances Magnetiques]
The Lake > Johannes Welsch & David Hess & Paul Hinger [Stunderthorm / Sonic Flame]
Dil Da Rog Muka Ja Mahi > Gaudi + Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan [ Dub Qawwali / Six Degrees]
Pre-Set #3 [Out in the Woods] > Liminal [Pre-Set / Knitting Factory]
+ A Cowboy’s Soliloquy > Wallace McRae [Cowboy Poetry Classics / Smithsonian]
Looking at the Bible > Rothkam [Frank Genius is Starstruck / Rothkammusic]
Droneskipclickloop > Gen Ken [Pondfloorsample / XI]
Ya Ya > Lee Dorsey [24 Groovy Greats / Telerad]
Droneskipclickloop > Gen Ken [Pondfloorsample / XI]
Train Stn. Alexanderplatz > Ned Bouhalassa [Graate-Cité / Empreintes Digitales ]
Ideal > Buddy Tate
Droneskipclickloop > Gen Ken [Pondfloorsample / XI]
Charming > Mankind
Comme Bella a Stagione > Connie Francis [Sing Italian Favorites / MGM]
Abhi Apna Abhi Paraya Hai > Gaudi + Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan [ Dub Qawwali / Six Degrees]
Deja Vu > Lena [The Uncertain Trail / Sounds Around]
Post-Colonial > Mankind
Train Whistle Blues > Kenny Roberts
Ciao Ciao Bambina  > Connie Francis [Sing Italian Favorites / MGM]
Charming > Mankind [Ice Machine / Ambiences Magnetiques]

The Canadian duo known as Mankind [Alexis O’Hara and D. Kimm] has produced my favorite CD of 2009. They combine a teen punk insouciance with an electronic sophistication presented in a raw lo-fi fashion that breathes new life into a corpse choked off all signs of life by the introduction of easy tools and electronic editing that has sucked all humanity and error from its soundscape. Trash poetry, scatology, cut-up techniques, Dada, punk noise aesthetics, voice transformation, literary and audio allusions, produce a work on the level of DJ Shadow, which means using a wide variety of techniques and resources readily available but perhaps neglected to create an aural manifesto that gives them their vitality. Its true dynamics comes from an ability to produce hi-fi using lo-fi aesthetics, to create an elegance out of a tapestry of audio detritus and communication strategies that are post-internationalist – they traverse numerous genres, tactics, languages and eras, which all evokes a Burroughsian dystopia that is not wholly without it compensations and rewards because paranoia and vision imply knowing the patterns and hypocrisies behind information and facing all of this head-on with their psych-sexual analyses of power and its media adjuncts. Live they present an evolving ad hoc multimedia performance using backdrops, video, costumes and this cut-up feel bleeds through on their CD.

Ellen Waterman [professor, composer, musician involved in improvisation and soundscape strategies edited the excellent book Sonic Geography Imagined and Remembered (Penumbra 2002) to which I was a contributor] interviewed Mankind’s Alexis O’Hara in 2007 . Waterman: “Unapologetic feminist politics were presented with humour, atmospheric poetry, and a definitely edgy onstage tension by these doppelgangers in blonde wigs and fire engine red outfits. Trained as an art historian, writer, dancer, and dramaturge D. Kimm is known for her poetry and as director of Les Filles électriques, an organization whose mandate is to create multidisciplinary artistic events based on oral and written literature. Les Filles électriques produces the Festival Voix d’Amériques. O’Hara has a long history as an intermedia artist: a humorous writer, performer, and video artist, working with a broad spectrum of artists from rock to electronics…

AO: “…at this point we’re more interested in exploring the idea of being noise musicians than we are trying to be spoken word artists. I feel like ‘spoken word’ is this tag that is like one of those leg bracelets that Martha Stewart had to wear… It’s just this shackle. Even though I personally have been putting out musical CDs, doing interactive performances, and working more towards the contemporary art milieu, I still end up getting saddled with the ‘spoken word’ tag for what I do because there’s text involved in what I do. It makes me crazy because a lot of people don’t like spoken word, first of all, but also because I just don’t feel like it is evocative as a term or as a medium. My own aspirations are more experimental….”
AO: “When you think of men – the voice of authority – there are so many different facets of that, but for women you have a few different roles. There’s the schoolteacher, the mother, maybe a nurse, an educator, these sort of things, the TV weather girl (what in French we would call la speakerine), somebody who’s like a presenter (one of those Bob Barker girls that’s demonstrating things), the Vanna White: these showpieces that are there to demonstrate. There’s also this kind of niceness that exists, and a sort of cordiality that’s welcoming to the audience. … Fuck the apologizing, especially because we’re women and that’s just a trope that we need to get the hell away from. For me, the idea for Mandkind … it’s very ambitious, and it’s this all-encompassing, we’ll-do-everything… And I’ve always liked the idea of being the “robo sapiens”: you’re completely connected to the machine, and yet the machine is also like this pet that is unpredictable. You don’t know what’s going to happen because we’re working a lot with feedback and with electricity and with all these guitar pedals. You move this knob a tiny increment and everything changes. You’re doing things in a rehearsal space, and you think, “Wow, this is great,” but even if you were to take notes and try to remember exactly what you were doing, it is very difficult to reproduce what you were doing. So, there has to be this acceptance that we’re in this moment of flux, that we’re all changing, and a sort of calmness about it all. We’re just here to ease — we’re the stewardesses for this sonic air voyage that we’re taking.

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