09 September 2008

A Perfect Sphere

...a perfect sphere, unknown in the Forest... the shattering quiet/weird moment from Merchant Ivory's Savages... spins through the air like an electron, lands in the world of the Mud People, savages waiting for a Pop Group cover, waiting for old (not classic) Nike trainers, Puma tops...

Mark Stewart And The Maffia - Welcome To Liberty City




^^^^^^^^^^ lots more on the Pop Group, MP3s etc, here ^^^^^^^^^^

not the one with PSH and laura linney, not this one...

this one...

the one with all the Danielle Dax lookalikes...



The New Age Steppers came too late, The Slits came too late...

The New Age Steppers - Fade Away


But although the tribal tremblings of those two are perhaps the most obvious signifiers, I keep hearing CocoRosie in my head while it's playing...

CocoRosie - Promise


Bunuel is invoked of course - The Exterminating Angel quoted (I can't remember much about that film, having seen it only once, years ago but I think I can tell how this kind of thing might have lingered in the memory, since watching a series of Bunuel films on telly all that time ago I still retain some residue of what I've seen, to the extent that occasionally, when I'm tired, the world does start to look like a Bunuel film)

And there's the inevitably Freudian riff on returning to the primal...

imagine Arthur Janov, watching both these films and rubbing with glee at the prospect of the middle classes tumbling into his soft-walled centres, eager to dispel myths, eager to let it out, emotional honesty being the holy grail, emotional intelligence being the final link in the chain...

let it out, just so you can prove it was in there in the first place, let it out, just to show that all that education and cultural capital hasn't entirely muffled their spirit, their we-moon, their inner Wolf Child...

scream if you want to go faster...

The use of the croquet ball in Savages is inspired; in black and white we could be watching a wguilt wracked (but, importantly, curious) Oppenheimer uttering his now famous grammatical glitch: "...now I am become Shiva, the destroyer of worlds..." or else it tries to elaborate on a theme that would come much later in the form of



Rogue Traders - Voodoo Child


where humankind were reduced to their essence - chuckling balls of steel, time-racists --- I think the Here Come The Drums refrain throughout those two episodes is an unconscious echo... the drums are all through The Savages, turning to jazzy skitters as the primitives turn to chattering middle classes (which echoes my stepping out of Jungle and Drum N Bass - once the jazzy fills started to take over and 'intelligence' and LTJ Bukem crept into the scene, I walked away and never looked at another Drum N Bass record again...)

another story...

((((((((((( (we are all time racists) - The Pop Group song that never was, the one were the ethnological forgery really took wind and Psychic TV's Themes records were shoved into songforms that pulled society apart at the primal level, alongside bursting samples from old Batman shows and snatches of Keith Levene guitar... The Pop Group never really did it for me, no matter how many times I've come back to them and tried...I want to love them but the earnestness and hectoring and lack of humour (in everything apart from their name) always put me on the back foot, quietly whispering: Yes, I know that... even Crass didn't always preach to the converted in such an obvious way... I'll probably try again, really do want to see what others seem to see )))))))))))))

The Savages uses various forms to tell it's simple tale: mock anthropology film (which is in fact uncannily similar to the real thing - i had a brief anthropology fetish in my teens), drawing room play, surrealism, silent film... and if form and pace (we languish until we love it) dictate over content then that's only because the content isn't there and shouldn't be...

Still got the drag queens (gloriously unexplained) to work out - I guess it could be just ugly women...

Here Come The Drums...

Sacrifice, primitivism, Murderous Rage, Return to the Woods - the ending ought to be the still taken from the latest Sig Ros album cover or maybe from Von Trier's The Idiots, where idiocy is paralled with creativity in the calmest, coldest way possible - though reality TV trumps all, as always....

Like the young Martin Amis during the Oxbridge Interview in The Rachel Papers, I'm not even sure if I liked The Savages.

4 comments:

Nabeel said...

Thanks a lot, Loki

still feeling ambivalent about the post-punk savagery. I think that subjective listener flux and fluctuation are inevitable. There's no eth(n)ically proper ground to stand on. What you've said about the Pop Group and the Slits, not to mention Eno, Talking Heads and the Brazilian take on cultural cannibalism is alive and well in so much (terrific) music today. Was it Woebot that said the Jamaican vocal sample in the dubstep tune functions in a way similar to the sound of jungle animals in the Martin Denny and Les Baxter records. Check out this wonderful article by Phil Ford, 'Taboo: Time and Belief in Exotica': 'We are primitives of an unknown culture': this is the statement of an aestheticized self, a self remade in the imagination of other times and cultures'. Representations, Summer 2008, 107-135. I can email you a copy if it's difficult for you to get hold of.

Still caught liking Muslimgauze, the allure of Ethiopiques grooves, the idea of new or 'other' music opening a space for a different kind of transcultural politics, Rupture's hardcore variations of North Africa, Shackleton's percussion and shortwave orientalism, the collage of some Sublime frequencies. It's seductive. Who is that you quoted on the Pop Group? Simon Reynolds, Ian Penman? Double-voiced, Janus-faced exotica remains powerful. M.I.A. and Leila, Anjali and more and more others entering the fold.

Loki said...

that wasn't a quote, it was an aside!! but thanks for thinking it might be Reynolds or even Penman.... there's been a bit of stuff on exotica here before - taking in 23 skiddoo alongside les baxter et al....

never checked out Muslimgauze as much as I might of.... maybe i will now...

kek-w said...

"Double-voiced, Janus-faced exotica remains powerful"

Gala Drop!

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