Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Throwback Thursdays Retro Video Project Presents; Cabaret Voltaire pt.2

More in my ongoing retro video project. This time more Cabaret Voltaire, pt.2, mid-period recordings.


This video for a remixed track recorded in 1974 which eventually turned up in a shortened form on the second album. The footage is from a short art film made by Wolf Vostell for a Dada film collective called Flux Films who made a series of such shorts in 1965-67. I think this one really captures the feel of the Cabs early vids.

In 1983 Cabaret Voltaire did a soundtrack for an obscure film called "Johnny Yesno". I took a couple of these tracks to make videos of.


For this one I used a short art film, "Tails", by Paul Sharits. This film spliced together the faded, underdeveloped ends of other films, hence the title.


Another from "Johnny Yesno". For this one I used one of DW Giffith's first film (from 1908) about a home invasion. I also used this film for a Monoton video but couldn't decide which I liked better so I kept both.


This track is off the 1981 "Red Mecca" album. The video uses newsreel footage of the Red Baron's funeral and wreckage of his plane from 1918.


This track is from the 1988 album "Eight Crepescule Tracks" using a performance art film from 1968 directed by Dutch art film-maker Franz Zwartjes.

Besides these found film videos I also made a few collages using still images.


For this track off the second album about the 1970's terrorist group I used newspaper footage of the group.


OK; the idea of three (very) pale white English dudes covering the theme from a 1970's blacksploitation flick may seem ill-advised but you can't argue with the results. We're just talkin' bout Shaft. Shut your mouth.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Throwback Thursdays Retro Video Project Presents; Cabaret Voltaire

Lately my newest hobby is making music videos by taking old silent movies and adding music to them, usually from 1980's Post-Punk, New Wave and Proto-Industrial Bands whose music has a certain cinematic quality. I remember growing up in the 1980's early days of videos when a few such bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Severed Heads and Sturm Groups made such super low-budget videos using a mixture of "found footage", abstract art films, grainy super home movies and excerpts from various old movies and TV shows. And for a couple years such videos could actually get played on TV, at least on Much Music in Canada if not on American MTV.

So far I've made about a hundred including such old faves as Cabaret Voltaire, Simple Minds, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Clock DVA, Destroy All Monsters, Savage Republic, Killing Joke, Ultravox, Wire and The Silver Apples. I've already uploaded them on to Youtube so for the next while I can collect them in one place here. Starting with;
CABARET VOLTAIRE pt.1 (the early years);
One of the founders of Industrial Music, before it became techno-metal dance music, the Sheffield trio actually started recording their experiments in tape-collages, feedback, analog synths and distortion as early as 1974, although it took the post-punk fallout in 1978 to actually get around to releasing anything or doing actual gigs. They were not exactly welcomed by punk audiences of the time, at one gig the audience actually stormed the stage, assaulted the band and smashed their gear. However their noise experiments and theories about what they called "Industrial Music" became hugely influential, along with those of their even more outrageous (albeit less talented) compatriots Throbbing Gristle. Partly due to their aloof image and lack of any stage stage presence whatsoever the Cabs also pioneered the use of video presentations. The use of visual backdrops using film clips, slide shows, light shows and smoke machines was nothing new going back to the psychedelic era with bands like the Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd (Syd Barret era), Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and the Creation, but Cabaret Voltaire took these ad-hoc displays with their own moody electro drones into fully realized video art.
My videos attempt to invoke this era of video art using found footage;


This piece is an early sound collage and the video uses another Flux Film op-art film made by Paul Sharits for a Dada film collective called Flux Films who made a series of such shorts in 1965-67.


This track is a simple analog synth doodle using another Flux Film short.


Another early sound experiment, this time I used old newsreel footage of the aftermath of an explosion shot by Edison Studios.


Yet another early sound experiment, this time I used old newsreel footage from the Graf Zeppelin, probably from 1929.


This video uses another Edison Studios film, however this one is not a newsreel but is instead a recreation of the execution of the assassin of President William McKinley along with some shots of the actual prison.


Another early synth noodle. This time I used an a short by the pioneering Spanish filmmaker Segundo De Chomon who was a contemporary of the more famous Frenchman George Melies upon whom Chomon built his own style.


A snippet from of a track from the second album using a George Melies film "Gold Fever".


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Rock The Vote 2017 Edition

The latest in our series of Rock N Roll politicians; AMERICA;
Bernie Sanders; in 1987 while he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders recorded an album of folk tunes about which his wikipedia page tactfully points out "Sanders was not skilled at singing" which is somewhat of an understatement.


Jill Stein; Stein also had a folk music background, but showing a bit more commitment, as well as having more free time, she had an actual serious band called Somebody's Sister which recorded four albums and was twice a finalist in "Musician Magazine's" Best Unsigned Bands contest.


Chris Hightower; Campaign manager for Republican Rand Paul's 2008 Kentucky Senate Run and subsequent media spokesman. Until it was revealed in 2010 that his last gig was as a singer for a thrash metal band named "Commander". OK; so your thinking, what's the big deal? Did I mention it was also a White Power Thrash Metal Band? Sorry, Kinda buried the lede there, oh well. At any rate his musical resume became a tad embarrassing for Paul, not to mention Hightower and once this became public he was eventually shown the door. It wasn't embarrassing enough to stop him from running for, and winning the nomination for a seat in the Kentucky house in 2012 but he ended up losing in the general election in a deeply red state.

Clay Aiken; After coming in second as a contestant in the 2003 season of "American Idol" Aiken went on to a career as a recording artist before announcing he would run for Congress in South Carolina as a Democrat in 2014 but was unsuccessful.


Rob Quist; A Country singer-songwriter from Montana who has had his songs recorded by Michael Martin Murphey and Loretta Lynn as well as solo and has won awards. He was appointed to Montana Arts Council by Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer. In 2017 he announced he would be a candidate as a Democrat for a soon to be open Congressional seat currently held by a Republican.


J.Everett Dutschke; A member of a Mississippi self-described hard-rock'hip'hop rock band called Dusty and the RoboDrum which sounds pretty terrible. Although not as terrible as Dutschke later running for for the Mississippi state house in 2007 with an especially nasty but unsuccessful campaign for the Republicans. But that was not nearly as terrible as getting charged with sexual assault or sending a series of letters laced with toxic niacin in 2013 to various figures including President Obama which he tried to frame a rival blues singer/Elvis impersonator. Dutschke was quickly caught and sent to prison for a long stretch.

Robert Fisher; A Republican member of the New Hampshire State House, Fisher had previously distinguished himself as a far-right blogger known for his hateful rants about women and (of course) bragging about his prowess as a pickup artist. This is eve more obnoxious than his other sideline as a one-douche-electro band the Five-Nines with several recordings.

Kathryn Allen; A Utah doctor who has announced her intention to run as a Democrat for congress against Jason Chaffetz before he surprised Washington by announcing his own intention to resign. Besides being a doctor and former congressional aide Allen is a musician who plays the accordion who is running on a pro-environment, pro-education, pro-health-care and pro-arts platform.

Justin Brannan; Guitarist w/Strait-Edge Thrash band Indecision has recently won the Democratic candidate for a city council seat in Brooklyn


Tony Erba; Singer for 1990's Cleveland hardcore band Face Value also ran for mayor and got a few hundred votes.


Kid Rock; Real name Robert Ritchie, is a a Nugent style dirt-bag Republican who is threatening to run for the Senate next year and polls have given him a huge lead; over potential GOP primary opponents at least.


Stephan Jenkins; Singer for the San Francisco based alt-rock band Third Eye Blind is currently the subject of a vague campaign to draft him to run for office as a Democrat. Somewhere. Although he has not really been known as an activist previously.


Gordon Hintz ~ A Democratic Wisconsin State Assemblyman and possible 2018 candidate for Governor also has an earlier claim to fame the claim placed second in the 2003 National Air Guitar Championship, which is apparently a thing.

Dana Rohrabacher; A Texas Republican Congressman is pro-pot but otherwise right wing anti-environment pro-Putin nutjob who also fancies himself a folk singer. which really shouldn't be encouraged.


Stephen Fincher; A former Tennessee (from a town called Frog Jump) Republican Congressman and currently in the State House who is eyeing a run for the Senate after the retirement of Bob Corker is also a singer in a White Gospel group called, appropriately enough, The Fincher Family and another called the Frog Jump Quartet.


Lee Thomas Miller ~ A Grammy Award winning Nashville country songwriter who has worked with Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, and Chris Stapleton and who is now running for nomination as a GOP candidate for a Congressional seat. His other qualifications include being the leader of a group called Praying Parents who save schools by praying over them. So there's that.


Sam Ervin; A conservative Democrat Senator from North Carolina from 1954 to 1974 best known for chairing the House Committees during the Nixon Watergate hearings. A colourful character he also recorded a bizarre album with him drawling his way through various pop and folk songs.


Brad Wall; The current (who recently announced his intention to step down) conservative premier of Saskatchewan is also a bluegrass banjo player.


Kevin O'Leary; As one of the co-hosts of reality shows "Dragons Den" (in Canada) and "Shark Tank" O'Leary often loved to show-off his prowess on his collection of electric guitars. In 2017 he announced to much fanfare his intention of running for the leadership of the opposition Conservative Party. He quickly became one the front-runners but dropped out at the end of April when he made the startling discovery that his lack of French might be a bit of a drawback. In Canada.


Tony Clement; Longtime Ontario Tory MP and former cabinet minister both federally and provincially also has an equally longtime rock star fantasy claiming the Clash as an influence. Luckily for him Joe Stummer is dead.


Jim Carr; Current Winnipeg Liberal MP since 2015 and provincial MP and deputy leader from 1988 to 1992, now serving as minister of Natural Resources. Previously he was an oboist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra,a music writer and Director of The Manitoba Arts Council. Has has returned to play with the Orch.


Jennifer Hollett; An NDP candidate in the last election, Hollett started out in the 1990's as a member of an all-female hip-hop dance troop called "Shebang!" who worked with Nelly Furtado and Le Tigre. She later became a host on Much Music before moving into politics running unsuccessfully for the NDP nomination for the Toronto Rosedale riding before getting the nomination in the neighbouring riding in the 2015 election which she then lost to the Liberals.

Sean Panting; A singer/songwriter in Newfoundland bands Drive and Kelly Russell & The Planks as well as solo as well as acting in the series "Republic Of Doyle". His father was leader on the Newfoundland NDP in the 1970's and Sean ran as candidate in the 2015 provincial election where he lost to the Liberals.


Stephane Moraille; a singer with Canadian pop band Bran Van 3000 who had hit singles in the 1990's. Later became a lawyer and ran for the NDP in Montreal in 2013 and lost to the Liberals.


Edgar Breau; Singer/guitarist with late 1970's cult art-band Simply Saucer and later a solo singer. He ran for a seat in the Ontario Provincial Assembly in 1999 for the right-wing Christian Family Coalition Party but got just over 1% of the vote.

SIMPLY SAUCER ~ MOLE MACHINE" (video done by yours truly);

Tommy Banks ~ Juno Award winning Jazz pianist, band leader and host of a CBC TV show in the 1970's who also served as a Liberal senator from 200-2011


Tim Farron; MP and Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2015 to 2017 was a member of an obscure synth-pop band under various names such as "Fred the Girl" and "The Voyeurs" but he's been vague about the band's history. He ran for parliament successfully in 2005 and has been reelected since but stepped down as leader after the party's dismal results in the 2017 election.

Dave Rowntree; Drummer for 1990's top-ten Britpop band Blur. He later became a lawyer and ran for the Labour Party in 2007 unsuccessfully and again in 2008, 2010 and 2011, so far with notable lack of success.

BLUR ~ "SONG 2";

Brian May; Guitarist for mega-successful pomp-rock band Queen. May has been a Conservative supporter but is also well known environmentalist and supporter of historical preservation. In the 2015 election he announced he might run for parliament as an independent but later declined and endorsed the Green Party.


Jon Gnarr; Known as the Punk Rock Mayor of Reykjavik and founder of the Best Party, a progressive protest party in 2009. He started out as a bassist for an obscure punk band named Nefrennsli ("Runny Nose") before becoming a comedian for many years. The Best Party was formed in response to the 2008 financial crisis and became a shocking success, as mayor Gnarr was known for his spiky hairdo, jeans and black t-shirts. He was a popular mayor but did not run for reelection in 2014. There was some speculation he would run for Prime Minster but did not although he has not ruled out running in the future.

Einar Örn Benediktsson; Singer/Horn Player with 1980's pop band the Sugarcubes and later Ghostdigital who went on to co-found the Best Party with Jon Gnarr. Orn would also win a seat on the Reykjavik city council in 2010 but like Gnarr he did not run for election.


Claes Andersson; Poet and jazz musician who served in the Finnish parliament from 1987 to 1999 for the Left Alliance and the Finnish People's Democratic League where he served as Minister Of Culture. He later served again in 2007-2008.

Mikko Alatalo; Folk singer with many albums to his credit who ran successfully for parliament for the Center Party starting in 2003 and has served since either in parliament or Tampere city council since.


Kike Elomaa; A beautiful blonde professional body builder who also had a brief career as a pop singer in the 1980's and became an MP for the right-wing True Finns Party since 2011.

Tony Halme; Pro-wrestler, actor and singer who ran successfully for the far-right nationalist True Finns Party from 2003 to 2007 where he distinguished himself by attacking Finnish President Tarja Halonen, things went downhill as he was arrested for firing a handgun inside his house and possession of steroids and later driving while impaired. In 2006 he was committed to a mental institution. He did not run for reelection and was found dead in 2010 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Kari Peitsamo; Multi-instrumentalist and singer with verious art-pop bands from the 1970's onward. He has also unsuccessfully run for parliament several times for the Communist Party from 2003.

Anni Sinnemäki; Former leader of the Finnish Green Party and member of Finnish parliament from 1999 to 2011 who served as minister of labour as well as serving on Helsinki city council. Previously she was a poet and lyricist for her husband Kerkko Koskinen's band Ulta Bra who have several albums.

Tommy Tabermann; A romantic poet and singer who was elected to parliament in 2007 for the Social Democrats but he died suddenly of a brain tumor in 2010.

Veltto Virtanen; An eccentric and theatrical singer who ran for parliament as a protest candidate a few times, actually winning in 1995 and again in 2007. Originally he ran for a Finnish version of the Green Party but later switched to the right-wing True Finns Party.


Other Europeans;

Vardo Rumessen; Respected Estonian classical pianist and musicologist who was a leader of the independence movement from the USSR he became a member of the Riigikogu (1992–1995, 1999–2003) dying in 2015.

Hilbrand Nawijn; A typical fat, white, far-right politician who had an untypical career path in that after his electoral career petered out he tried his luck as a contestant on a Dutch talent show and even though everyone agreed he was devoid of talent or looks he manged to get a recording deal and recorded a couple of hit singles.


Ruslana; A hugely successful singer and sex-symbol in the Ukraine, she has also been heavily involved in supporting figures like Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko along with a high profile role in the Orange Revolution, activities which have gotten her banned in Russia. She has suggested she may run for the presidency.


Krzysztof Cugowski; Polish rocker who served a term in the Polish Senate.

Cicciolina; The Hungarian born Italian porn star (real name Ilona Staller) who gained international notoriety by getting elected to the Italian Parliament in 1987 running as a Green candidate serving one term. She had actually been running for office since 1979 and would do so again, both in Italy and Hungary without success. She has announced her intention to run again in the upcoming Italian elections to be held next year.


Gilberto Gill; One of the best known musicians in Brazil since the 1960's, with his fusion of samba, reggae and African music, Gil was an international star as well when he became Minister of Art & Culture in the government of Lula Da Silva from 2003 to 2008. Gil was also known in Brazil for his opposition to the military governments of the 2970's and 80's which got him banned from the country in the 1970's. After serving in government Gil returned to his musical career.


Ana de Hollanda; Succeeding Gil as Minister of Art and Culture Hollanda had also previously been a singer whose brother, Chico Buarque, has been a popular singer-songwriter and author since the 1970's.

Francisco Everado Oliviera Silva; Known by his stage name Tiririca, he is an highly popular comedian, clown and singer-songwriter who ran for Congress as a joke in 2010 on an anti-corruption, help the children and support the arts platform using adds in which he sang and danced while wearing a clown hat and mocked other politicians. To his surprise not only did he win, he won the second largest vote getter in Brazil's history. His time in congress was not happy though and he announced he would not run for reelection.

Susana Baca; A respected singer and folklorist of Peru's Afro-Latin music Baca became Minister of Culture in 2011, she left later that year but became President of the Commission of Culture for the Organization of American States from 2011 to 2013.


Manno Charlemagne ~ 69 ~ Haitian singer-songwriter, guitarist and politician, Mayor of Port-au-Prince (1995–1999)

Attila The Hun ~ No not that one. This Attila (real name Raymond Quevedo) was a highly popular Calypso singer from Trinidad in the 1940's known for his songs attacking the wealthy and establishment figures (and a tribute to FDR) who successfully ran for Port Of Spain city council in 1946 and later for the national parliament for a time.