Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Art That Kills, Tape Delay, Apocalypse Culture, Secret and Suppressed

All very good publications. I'm going to focus on Art That Kills and then touch on the rest more briefly.

Art That Kills is a compilation of interviews with people who were/are associated with the industrial music genre as well as fringe culture during the '80s and '90s. It has interviews with Satanists, makers of degenerate art, folks who write to serial killers and collect the art they make, film makers who break all the rules, on and on and on. You may notice that Marilyn Manson is on the cover of it. In case you didn't know, Marilyn Manson is probably the most mainstream of all the folks they interview. It's sort of a descent into madness, decadent madness, of a very good kind. It and all the rest of the books are also tests to see if you're really for freedom of speech or not. It's easy to defend folks when they're somewhat on your side, but lots of people featured here make a career of thumbing their noses at '80s style political correctness, which is a different animal altogether from the stuff right wing radio hosts call political correctness.

A classic example of that would be Mike Diana, a cartoonist who was prosecuted and convicted of obscenity in Florida....and who the ACLU didn't touch. Mike Diana makes art that regularly features things like gigantic cocks splitting people in half while they're being mutilated by the person who belongs to said cock. I think Mike Diana is great, and not just for the shock value. Many of his stories have a great dark, sarcastic, sense of humor, like the one about the Magic Wiggle Woggle. The Magic Wiggle Woggle was a miraculous creature a kid caught one day. He claimed to have psychic powers, and convinced the kid to kill his best friend. After the kid did it the Wiggle Woggle laughed, said it was just a joke and that he didn't really have psychic powers, and swam away...


I like most of the folks featured in the book, and am not intimidated by the mere presence of right wing Satanists. I'm more grown up than that, quite frankly.

Anyways, if you like the fringes, and for me at least the fringes are a comfortable home, than this book is an essential introduction to the real underground. I know, I know, this isn't all that underground culture consists of but it's a huge big whopping part of it and one that's rarely acknowledged even by "underground" writers.

Next, in a slightly different vein, is Tape Delay

Tape Delay is subtitled "Confessions from the Eighties Underground" and unlike Art That Kills is focussed solely on recording artists. The dramatis personae have quite a lot of overlap with Art That Kills. Here's a list from the blurb:

"Contributors: Marc Almond, Dave Ball, Cabaret Voltaire, Nick Cave, Chris &Cosey, Coil, Einsturzende Neubauten, The Fall, Diamanda Galas, Genesis P.Orridge, Michael Gira, Matt Johnson (The The), Laibach, Lydia Lunch, New Order, Psychic TV, Boyd Rice, Henry Rollins, Clint Ruin, Sonic Youth, Mark Stewart, Swans, Test Dept, David Tibet (Current 93)"

Then, well, Apocalypse Culture and Secret and Suppressed need little introduction. Apocalypse Culture features cultural overlap with the artists featured in Art That Kills, while Secret and Suppressed has the distinction of mixing real suppressed culture with conspiracy theories that have a higher likelihood of truth to them than most.

Both are good. We're in the realm of "industrial music for industrial people", and these books are sort of an acid test to discover if you fit that bill or not. Are you an industrial person or aren't you?


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Renegade Eye said...

Interesting post.

There was a Yale art student, who had an abortion, for her master's thesis.

Art died when Warhol became accepted.