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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:

Interview:

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.

AP

Some of you may know I have a soft spot for the box of ideas that people call techno. Now, I am not one of those discriminatory listeners that sets up border security in my brain around genre labels. I happen to dislike genre labels, since they do more to close off listening habits than help you understand sound. However, I do happen to enjoy the toolbox of themes and emotions brought out with “techno”.  This may be obvious from the fact that the only outside interviews and mixes I have done in the last 5 months have been with Penélope Martin and Chance McDermott. Both artists play with techno ideas in different, but I think interesting ways. Today, I continue exploring what like-minded artists outside our scene are doing with sound.

Alessio Pili is an artist I have grown to really enjoy his music over the last year. I first found him while exploring the back catalogues of Panel Trax Records when local artist Plural released an EP on their label a while back. I checked out Pili’s soundcloud and was really drawn in by his EP “How The Few Control the Many” for Aconito Records. As someone with a love of Sci-Fi and dystopian futures, I was immediately drawn to the release and how he articulated a cyber-punk aesthetic with his music.  “Melancholia” just really griped me with its fragile “boot-up” loop that dances over the top of his aggressive drum and synthesized backdrops.

“How The Few Control The Many” also really interested me. The track teeters on the edge of anarchy for its entire duration, which brings to mind the sonic equivalent of how a powerful regime would bend and flex in response to external challenges.

Frames of thought

This same approach is highlighted in his label Frames of Thought, which is a collaboration between Pili, Scam, & Ness. Their first release builds on Pili’s core sound, and shows how Scam & Ness are working with very similar ideas in their music in equally interesting ways. Just listening to the samples from the EP demonstrates that all three of the artists are embarking on the kind of sonic ruminations about the state of the world that drew me to Pili’s solo work.

Listening through this back catalogue, it is evident that Pili has paid careful attention to past forms of “electronic” music, but he has carved out his own unique approach to creating sound that really captures the tension of living in the 21st century. Due to this, I felt I wanted to share his story and a mix he created for this project with our community. I hope you enjoy it and support him by picking up one of his releases.

Alessio Pili – “Local Autonomy Mix”

Local Autonomy: How did you get your start producing & DJing?
Alessio Pili: I started when I was 18 years old on my first technics turntables and a very simple mixer. I remember the day really well! My life was completly changed! During that period, I lived in the country, and so I spent most of the time listening to music. So, the step was natural! Later, in 2007, I started to produce. I think it is the same for everyone. If you are a dj and you really love the music you play, the first thing you need is try to create your own music.

LA: What has it been like growing up in and around the Italian dance music community?
AP: In the past, I really enjoyed the Italian style. Until 2003/4, there were were a lot of big producers in Italy (especially in the naples and rome scenes). Later, with the arrival of the “new” minimal style, everything changed, and I felt like the italian scene was losing his quality. However, I always prefered the uk and german scene in Europe, and obviously all the detroit scene! Fortunately, there are now a lot of interesting producers coming up here, so I’m confident for the future. Moreover, I’m Sardinian and I have to say that in Sardinia we have lots of great artists, and this is really inspiring for me!

LA: You are open about your love of vinyl. Why do you think vinyl is still important in the digital age?
AP: For sure, I think vinyl can keep the actual underground techno scene alive and can keep it at a state of high quality. I’m happy to see a partial rebirth of this music medium. Vinyl had been in decline for years. Eveybody says that it doesn’t interest to them release in vinyl, but if they could choose, I believe everybody would choose to have their music released on vinyl. The new technologies are welcomed, but are a little bit abused. I heard a lot of boring sets made with controllers. If you buy vinyl, you are more accurate in your choices. Now, everybody can become a dj in a really simple way. But true passions needs sacrifices. The record industries are inflated by thousands of labels that are born every day! HOME MADE MASTERS and strange mixes. I think the audio quality in the gigs has decreased due to this. It’s my personal preference ,but I like to hear and see good DJ’s. I like to see their hands working, repairing errors, foreheads sweating! This is, for me, what a dj has to do! It is much more than just pushing the sync button.

LA: I love how your music creates a sort of soundtrack for a dark dystopian future. What makes you so interested in thinking about the sounds of the future?
AP: I dont know how the music could be the sound of the future. Sincerely, when I’m making music, I dont try to make “the music of the future”. I think that in the electonic music all has just been written. When I think about the music of klaus shulze or brian eno (and many others), years & years ago, I think it is almost impossible to make it better with virtual instruments and PCs. Today, to make dark stuff is cool. I really like this moment in the underground scene, but for me, the music of the future is still the old electronic music. In those years, people were afraid of the cold war, possible atomic explosions, radiocative fallouts,and the music was contaminated by this elements. Now, we live similar times in a climate of uncertainty, and consequently I think techno is becoming “dark”. Since my childhood, I have been really interested by all the post apocalyptic and cyberpunk culture..books,movies,videogames etc. Now, I found my way to make music inspired by this background!

LA: What ideas/themes/emotions were you working with in this mix?
AP: Usually when I’m doing a mix I am full absorbed. I have no time to think. I work with all my collection on my side, so I don’t choose tracks before. I think doing this in the moment is the better way to put what’s in your mind in the mix! I always play new and old stuff toghetar, because I think techno music knows no time. Instead, there are only good and bad tracks, and with every new good release it increases our musical baggage and our culture.

Alessio Pili 
http://www.discogs.com/artist/Alessio+Pili

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