NOTE- I do not support the actions of the pillagers at all. I believe that violence is the ultimate political tool and any force hoping to achieve social change, but these pillagers have no organisation and no political goals or motivations. What occurred tonight in London was criminality. Nor do I support the police and government unconditionally. The circumstances surrounding the death of Mark Duggan at this point still has questions to be answered. Both parties have provoked certain questions by their actions. The real question you need to be demanding from your MP is, why is it that disaffected youth has seen fit to take to the streets in this way to indulge in criminality? What has happened to us to cause this? And what is the cure for what ails us?
NOTE 2- This isn't a regular In Seach of Space (if there is such a thing), it is a musical moment, very specific in time and place. Earthless's Live at Roadburn is an excellent recording at any time, but specifically on monday night/tuesday morning, it seemed the only album worth indulging.
00:07 – 9/8/2011
London’s burning. London’s burning with boredom now. I write this at just after midnight and it is going to be a music moment, not a straight review so buckle up. Album is Earthless, Live at Roadburn. I’ve got the television coverage on and the lights off and we’re just watching it all unfold. Various minsters and mayors are cutting short holidays as the populace has taken to the streets in the name of wanton destruction, arson and naked criminality under a veil of righteous protest stretched so thin it has now become completely transparent. The situation is fluid. No reports of injuries or deaths which seems almost as astonishing as anything else. The soothing, rollicking guitar tones of Earthless playing masks it all. Nobody knows why this is happening and the police seem to be a completely impotent force for stopping it.Do you remember 9/11? Watching with awe that endlessly repeated image of the second tower hit? The flames gushing out and into the sky, rattling and sending sparks flying? These are different images, we haven’t been attacked, our society is eating itself, but the feeling is the same. A kind of sickening miniature gut-wrench as if you can’t really comprehend what you can see occurring all over the city. Everywhere police are standing in scary-looking lines staring down crowds of disaffected youth who cannot be intimidated by material destruction like mainstay society can. How can you be intimidated when you have only your chains to lose. No interviews conducted with the looters. One sided coverage.
Like this footage, the live album just seems to go on and on. Never staying the same, playing through a staggering amount of chords, like several Karma to Burn songs bridged with space-rock. The dreamy jams recall all of the human darkness that plays out on TVs all across our detached world. Bill Hicks jammed with his band while the second Persian Gulf War started on TV. The music ripples with intricacies, moving and shifting and fluxing and changing as I watch the world go to hell. Arab Spring has become London Summer, don’t forget your raincoat. The jam continues unabated. It just goes on and on and on. For over 80 minutes of voiceless psychedelic jammage. Rocking riffs give way to rocking riffs, held up by energetic basslines and bookended by organic drumming.
There are no new pictures coming out of London tonight. I guess all the cameras have run out of film and the helicopters have run out of fuel. Now it’s time for the pillagers and the police to sort out their differences in a violent way, only to be filmed by shakey iPhone cameras and pored over by internet conspiracy theorists. What amazes me about this album is the production quality. Earthless were bumped to the main stage at Roadburn at the very last minute and played for nearly an hour and a half, but the recording quality is top-notch. It almost sounds like a rough dub studio sampler, of the sort that find their way onto the internet.It’s time for commentators again. It’s 12:27am Tuesday morning according to my watch and the newsmen have no new pictures to show us, they’re cutting away to speak to someone in the studio, or on the phone. Hopeless individuals who have been brutally terrorised and are abruptly cut off as if life itself is being snuffed out of them by this vicious prowling menace creeping our streets in packs, willing to destroy anything in pursuit of a quick buck. It has sharp teeth and wields weapons. It uses fire to cleanse all of our greed and unnecessary embellishments. We are being changed. These riots, I can sense, are going to change the world. This album isn’t. Unlike the riots, when something amazing happens in a live session, as the recording goes just right and the combination of crowd and the portion of musicians blood that isn’t blood conflates together to produce a special kind of chemistry that can spark and set fires; when this occurs on stage, at a festival or in a studio and for a brief moment the musicians reach a state of Nibbanna and, through the cables and wires pouring out into massive stacks of noisemakers, are able to communicate that to the audience. Every so often that happens, and when it does, it isn’t reported at all. The state of psychic transportation is so temporary that not only does it only occur to people paying specific attention and aware of the warning signs, unless they are paying very close attention, can even report that they were taken from their bodies and moved into a plane that was part corporeal and part spiritual where like holes lining up in pieces of paper and allowing one to see the world beyond; that triumphant moment of the human spirit where the world seemed at once to be fixable, a solution could be found for what ails us, it is right, it is good and nobody has to be trampled under the jackboots of progress, and it all comes out of ridiculously overpowered amplifiers and three men using their musical prowess while not entirely present. This occasionally happens, it is miraculous to be certain, and it is never reported. If you take someone by the hand and sonically lead them into a state of momentary bliss, they forget everything. If you attack them and burn their car and smash some windows, that’s a problem, and people like to deal with problems. A state of bliss, people can’t really comprehend. This state of bliss does happen, that it does often is the miracle of rock and roll. Almost like the aligning of the planets, give a group of men instruments and the right attitude and they’ll made something that’ll shake the world if we let it. The images coming out of the capital city of the United Kingdom will circulate for perhaps a week if it doesn’t get any worse (and it will) are utterly contemptible. And we are a part of them. Like watching a fight between family members, this is all our responsibility and our kin. I like to use music to help me understand horror on television, and escape from it.
Written under duress by Steven