Hello my little freaks!
We have a very special show for you this time, paying tribute to contemporary Greek noise musicians and sound artists. This show was curated and put together by Andreas Kavvadias, and all acts featured are currently active in the underground electronics scene, which seems to be going nothing but strong. You’ll discover a variation of sounds, noise and melody on this show; from claustrophobic harsh noise and meditative drone to modular electronics, analogue beats and breaks, spacey ambience, and avant-garde experimentation. Three of the acts included (AZA, d E, PS Stamps Back) will be playing a live show tomorrow in Athens, and you can find more info here.
The last couple years have seen many scenes and sounds resurface – history repeats itself after all – whether for the first time or as a second or third wave of regeneration, not least among them beatdown US hardcore, noise as art, experimental trap and witch house, African psychedelia, Arabic pop, Eastern EDM, early UK house, and minimal techno to name but a few. For me what was interesting was the rise of electronic music among punks. Sure, a lot of us have been listening to electronic music in all its forms since forever, but that wasn’t the case for everybody.
Whereas in the past, “shitty dance music” or “Eurodisco” was laughed at (two unfair blanket terms often used by punks I know to describe electronic music, often played after punk shows at European gigs), things have changed. Electronic music, be it funky disco house or heavy industrial noise, is increasingly moving from bedroom projects and house party mixtapes to indie radio shows and underground basement shows, with electronic projects playing alongside punk bands, headlining festivals and releasing material on typically punk-leaning labels.
Fine examples I witnessed recently are the B-side of Limp Wrist’s most recent record Facades, Pharmakon headlining (and perhaps polarizing) a punk fest, more and more punks getting into and playing techno, exploration and reissues of early electronic acts like Delia Derbyshire. I will attempt a future show with electronic (side)projects done by punks, so stray tuned if that’s your jam, and if you’re a closeted punk electronic music producer (whether you use analog or digital means) send me your projects – I wanna hear them.
This is not to say punks weren’t listening (many of us have been) just that we weren’t necessarily congregating around or collaborating with our respective electronic music scenes the way we have done with punk. Things have changed and personally I couldn’t be happier. Surely the mix of punk and electronic music has been happening since the inception of both those sounds, and I find this crossover of ideologies, practices and ideas can only lead to better things.
Collective and personal electronic projects currently exist across most punk scenes around the globe – whether mixed with rap, techno, funk, disco, hip-hop, ambient, noise, folk, field recordings or anything in between. What was often (narrowly) misunderstood by a lot of punks to be a one-dimensional genre made of inorganic 0s and 1s (“digital computer music”) created by obnoxious, trendy DJs lusting after mainstream success, has been acknowledged as a diverse, driving and longstanding force of music history worldwide. And in part I think that’s because, much like punk, a lot of these underground electronic scenes are and have been independent and working on their own terms. When talking about techno for example, what was often thought of by many as a wannabe-mainstream genre made to satisfy drug-fueled party people with little taste for quality has in fact proven time and time again that it is an extremely musically varied scene with a rich history and astonishing output across nations, decades, formats, and subgenres.
Punk often closes itself off from other scenes, assuming it is the only one to function in an underground, anti-conformist and DIY manner, but that has never been true. Since the beginning, the global underground electronic scene (like rebetika, or early hip-hop and disco culture), has supported and amplified voices often silenced or marginalized, and operated outside the mainstream, creating communities of solidarity and havens of creativity. And while capitalism encourages the popularization and ‘legitimization’ of sub- and countercultures, that lead to their appropriation and ultimate erasure or normalization and control (the punk MET Gala a couple years ago was one inescapable example of the mainstream co-opting and capitalizing upon something it once opposed) I believe that this crossover, the exchange of information, experiences and knowledge ultimately creates and uncovers opportunities which might have previously been overlooked. Free the beat, “amplify each other.”
We live in dark times, but I read recently that perhaps this is not the dark of the tomb, but the dark of the womb. Much could be said (and better) about the history and impact (and future) of electronic music. For now I’m just happy I get to share some of it with you, and be part of a growing wave of interdisciplinary, global musical thought.
Until next time, do what you do with love and believe in yourself. With love from outer space,
GRIM MACHINE – Untitled 12, from Heterodoxa (E.D.A. / E.C.T, 2017)
LAST DAN’S MOTE – Spoiled Penny’s Dream, from VA – Συνθετικό Παράγωγο, (E.D.A., 2015)
EMDY – Os2 da kos 4 Synchropainted Penalties, from Synchresis (self-released, 2012)
FUN WITH NUNS – Vinyl Side B Part 1, from Fun With Nuns (Wax / More Mars, 2012)
POPI’S ORCHESTRA – Once Again, the Dream in the Garden, from Popi’s Orchestra (B-Otherside, 2015)
THE ZYKLONS – Doxology I, from (Still) Unknown Traditional Music (self-released, 2017)
LOVE EXOTICS – Love Suite (Part 1), from Mediterrana 3 – Exotic Sounds From Athens (Lampros Tsamis Archives / Kworks, 2017)
CHRISTOS CHONDROPOULOS – Sequence of Three Stars, from Fingerpainting (self-released, 2013)
ADAM_IS – Mars Attacks (excerpt), from Mars Attacks (self-released, 2014)
KOSTADIS – Part 1, from Slumber (self-released, 2017)
COEL – Athens Fahrenheit 110 (unreleased)
DROG_A_TEK – I Sea Things, from Homeland (Inner Ear, 2010)
ΦEY – Ηχω 1 (excerpt) (unreleased)
ILIOS – Gis Mi Trovita Vian Lumon, from El Amor Es Mi Motor (Αntifrost, 2009)
PS STAMPS BACK – Περτούλι – Νεραϊδοχώρι, from Μουσική Για Διάσχιση Δασών (1000+1 Tilt, 2014)
AGGELIKI K. – ΕΛΔΧ (excerpt) (unreleased)
d E – Overload (unreleased)
AΖΑ – The Bitt (excerpt) (unreleased)
GRIM MACHINE – Exotera Schemata, from Heterodoxa (E.D.A. / E.C.T, 2017)
Z64 – B5, from Xtematic/Z64 split (E.D.A., 2016)
MEZZO COPRANO – The Four Of Us Are Dying (Retreat) (unreleased)
PANDELIS PANDELOPOULOS – V – Trio (unreleased)
LOST BODIES – Έτσι Μίλησε Ο Ζαρατούστρα, from Υποτροπή (Lazy Dog / Res Integra, 2002)