Tag Archives: dystopia

KF Signing

[Failure performing with Pink Reason]

There is a street in the SUMMIT.3 sector called smt.1 that lies just off the main thoroughfare of our city. It runs parallel to the streams of people, transportation devices, and popular notions that populate the safety of GRID 1. However, spatially and socially, the sector of SUMMIT.3 could not be more far removed from GRID.1. Its boulevard smt.1 may run to the heart of the city just like the roads of GRID.1, but as one walks down the smt.1 it feels like the segregated zone that the cloud has labeled it to be. There is a quiet to the sector that comes from its social isolation. However, despite the tension that hangs in the air like the humidity on a hot summer day, the sector at least has fewer heat-lock cameras and you don’t have to deal with the pretensions of the folks out on GRID.1.

One thing is for sure, the people who have found there way to SUMMIT.3 don’t seek out the comfort of the orthodoxy. These folks may have found themselves in this sector by ascription or by choice, but the fact remains you can search for ideas, sounds, or object here. That’s why I live in SUMMIT.3. The sorts of things I am searching for aren’t found to be profitable for consumption by the nebulous cloud of global capital that controls 95% of what is produced and sold in GRID.1. If you ask me, things started going down hill when we let an A.I. decide what we needed to produce based on the aggregated yearnings of our social media ramblings. The cloud has created a mainstream culture that has become an endless mirror of itself. A cascading descent into simulation from which there is nothing but slight tweaks on past ideas. For many folks in SUMMIT.3, this is the reason we call this sector home. We are deep-sea divers dwelling in the heeps and mounds of “out-moded” styles, philosophies, and objects that have been cast off as the fat of the empire. We don’t need the cloud to produce for us and tell us what to consume. We don’t need to be spoonfed culture. We will decide what to produce and consume for themselves from the remains of the mainstream. Sure things ain’t as shiny as they are in GRID.1, but at least we have our own path to explore.  At least we have our autonomy from the cloud.

Future Maudit September Poster

[Flyer from September Future Maudit Show]

One of the most exciting developments to happen musically in the SUMMIT.3 sector recently is the work of Kevin Failure and his Future Maudit shows. With some of his contemporaries like Tyrant Manque, they have thrown out the manual on how to throw shows centered on synthesized sound. He and his associates have embraced an inclusivity and no-boundaries approach to shows that is celebrated widely around SUMMIT.3.  It makes sense his approach would resound with the locals. They don’t just give the audience what GRID.1 promoters and performers would give them. There is no polish or packaging. There is no pretense.  He gives them art. He gives them an experience that approximates the reality we all live. He gives them noise, experimental electronics, techno, improvised improvisation. He gives them the musical equivalent to the philosophy that guides their lives. He gives them a rough, unpackaged pieces of art that allows them to explore their own autonomy in a not-so-perfect world. This is all anyone in the SUMMIT.3 sector ever wanted: A haven where they could experience a soundscape that spoke to their lives. A place where all the bullshit of the manufactured simulation of GRID.1 fell away and we were left with the skeleton of human experience.

Savage Quality

In addition to the Future Maudit shows, Failure runs a record label called Savage Quality that releases EPs and LPs from his past band Pink Reason and other assorted projects of industrial and experimental music. Failure kindly passed on one of these records to me and it oozes that same boundary-defying qualities that all of his Future Maudit shows push. It is a sound born of another sector, but it is of and about the SUMMIT.3 sector all the same. It doesn’t try to fit into a niche. It boldly steps out of the niche and begs you to turn it off. It pushes your buttons and makes you bend your ears to understand what it is all about. It features a glitchy sound of technology gone haywire that forces you to confront the inevitable decay of that shiny GRID.1 reality. It forces one to confront the reality that in the age of the cloud all is not made to last.

Future Maudit Poster

Luckily, Failure, Tyrant Manque, and my compatriots THE FALLEN will be throwing another Future Maudit Show in the tonight in the  SUMMIT.3 Sector with glacial23, Kaptin Kirk, and Jacoti Sommes at Cafe Bourbon Street (DETAILS HERE). Next Door at the Summit the comrades CC & Dustin Knell will be playing with Nosferatu, Ethan Eschelon, and Shirtless Midnight at NIGHT MODE (DETAILS HERE). The SUMMIT.3 Sector will be bopping tonight with both of these crews exploring the far reaches of sound that we all want to hear. Hell, maybe even a portion of the GRID.1 element will explore these sonic outposts and convert to the teachings of our rhythmic bible. In the mean time, enjoy this interview I did with Failure in advance of the show:


Local Autonomy: You have been in a band for over ten years, program music at Cafe Bourbon Street, and study the history of certain strains of music. What does music and sound more broadly mean to the way you live and experience life?
Kevin Failure: Music is like oxygen, or language. It’s how I live and communicate. It’s my hustle. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. I’ve been in the band I’m in now over a decade, but I’ve been playing in bands for over twenty years now, and have been booking shows for eighteen.
Everything positive that’s ever happened to me has come from music, and music has literally saved my life many times over the years. It’s also probably indirectly responsible for plenty of the bad shit I’ve experienced too, but, what’re you gonna do?

Local Autonomy: What does the future maudit event mean to you (i.e. what is the name supposed to capture in the experience you are trying to create)?
Kevin Failure: Our policy makers, scientists and technology producers are inspired by the same dystopian science fiction that inspires us in the counter culture. While we largely read these books as warnings or prophecies, they read them as instruction manuals. We’re holding a shattered mirror up to our contemporary reality.

Local Autonomy: One of the most interesting parts of the future maudit parties is the open format approach to programming with diverse genres being represented. Why do you think its important to have spaces where noise, techno, experimental, industrial, and punk can be heard side to side?

Kevin Failure: With the exception of punk, I think that the boundaries between the other forms you mentioned were probably defined by media and marketing teams with no real connection or loyalty to the underground. During the 90’s, I’d read about Merzbow in Massive magazine, the midwest rave bible. I’ve seen plenty of Skinny Puppy references in the techno community, in interviews, on records, and a large percentage of the people I know who ended up into electronic dance music and going to parties fell into that through industrial dance music. Techno is an experimental musical form. Some of my favorite tracks are all of those things mentioned at once, and maybe that’s where the punk comes in, is in the attitude and the presentation – not giving a fuck about arbitrary rules and definitions. 

Local Autonomy: I really enjoyed thinking out loud with you about if it was still possible to create new paradigms of music in our world where many people say everything has been done or is a re-hashing of something old. Do you think creating new music, new revolutions in how music is heard and experienced is still possible today? How do you think we do it?
Kevin Failure: These things will happen organically, whether we appreciate the results or not. I just like to keep things fun and challenging, for the artists as well as the audience.

Local Autonomy: We talked at length about the role of dance in communities and cultures across the world. What role do you think dancing and music broadly defined as “dance music” plays for our communities?
Kevin Failure: It’s obviously a primal need shared by humans of all backgrounds. It’s simple: Free your ass… and your mind will follow.

So today I am trying something new. I am reaching outside the boundaries of our city to feature an artist whose work I am listening to a lot. This doesn’t mean I am abandoning our community or leaving the idea of “Local” behind. Quite the contrary, I think since we are so informed and shaped by the music we listen to I figured I would give you a glimpse into what I am digging at the moment by getting an artist to do an interview and throw down a mix for our community.

I first heard Penélope Martin’s collaborative work under the moniker ArD2 (a collaboration with Ekis) on the Myles Sergé Radio Show (6one6, Re(form), Space). Sergé (Or Plural or FBK who were guest DJ’ing with Sergé that night) played the Heinrich Mueller (alias of Gerald Donald of Drexciya and Dopplereffekt) remix of their track “Inside the Rock”.

I was instantly hooked.  I loved the remix, but I enjoyed the rest of the “2084” Album even more (You can stream & purchase the 2084 album on the Frigio Bandcamp). The work was dark, haunting, and provided a sonic backdrop for a dystopian future that seemed all to relevant for the Sci-Fi times we all live in.

After enjoying this initial offering, I delved into her back catalogue. I was again impressed by her work with the Zwischenwelt project. Zwischenwelt was the collective name given to the collaborations of Martin, Susana Correira, and Beta Evers. The three worked together to create an album, under the guidance of Gerald Donald, entitled “Paranormale Aktivität”.

It was a CD/vinyl release on Rephlex Records that featured 13 wonderful tracks exploring the depths of the paranormal in our lives. The release really resonated with me. I often just let it float in the background of my daily activities while I am writing and reading. Its provides a nice sonic companion to get you through the long hours spent doing whatever it is that you do.

These experiences prompted me to ask her some questions about her craft and get her to create something for the Local Autonomy Project.  What she sent me was beyond what I could have imagined. She did an interview and created a great mix called “Agharta”. I have had the mix on steady repeat since I got it. In an age where mixes are so disposable, she has created an enduring piece of work that I will be going back to again and again. It really helps also that she elaborates on some of her background as well in the interview. I hope you enjoy the mix & the short interview she did with me below.

Local Autonomy: How did you get into dance music?
Penélope Martin: As a child I liked to listen to my father’s tapes while we were in the car. He used to play everything, from Rock music to Kafwerk. I remember feeling the futuristic sound of Krafwerk more than guitars and stuff like that. A few years later, when I was curious enough to find my own music I found myself playing records with heavy synth lines and electronics beats. Then it came DJing and after that production. So I guess everything came naturally.

LA: When did you get your start DJ’ing and producing?
PM: I stared Djing in the early 90’s, at first it was a good excuse to hang around with friends, then I got more serious and started recording mix tapes and getting gigs locally.
Production came a bit later; I got myself a Mac computer and a copy of Logic. Lots and lots of hours later I managed to learn production and started to make songs.

LA: What has it been like being a woman in a very male-centered music genre?
PM: It’s been OK; I seldom found being a female a problem to work with other producers. It’s better to let the music speaks by itself, but if someone that liked my music wouldn’t want to work with me because of my gender, I would think that this person has a huge insecurity problem.

LA: How did ArD2 get started?
PM: It was while I lived in Brighton, me and Ekis were living and making music together, so we decided to team up and created ArD2. Then Desh joined the crew and we started to develop the sound and concept collectively.

LA: It seems that much of your work with ArD2 & Zwischenwelt deals with issues of futurism, power, and resistance. What makes you interested in these ideas?
PM: Futurism’s always fascinated me; I love the idea of having robots at home actually living and interacting with you. And with power and resistance it’s just that sometimes I get tired of the media trying to manipulate us, treating us like we were idiots.

LA: What themes/ideas/emotions were you exploring with this mix?
PM: I was looking for a laid back feel, something more relaxed, I picture the listener listening to the mix while doing something else. Like background music. By the way, the very first track of this mix is an unreleased track produced by myself. Hope you enjoy the journey…

For More of Penélope Martin’s Work & for Updates: 

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