Audioccult Vol. 24: What is Goth? Baby don’t hurt me…

 

Light a candle. Draw the required sigils. Now, raise your arms above your head and slowly, gently, exhale your soul. You won’t need it here. This is Audioccult, and it’s time to get low.

Right now this is me: one two and three. Life and various things got my stress peaked, and between you and me, computer screen, it feels a bit like unraveling. This, my blackblacknails chillin’ on the front page of EB.net and the rainy Berlin sky makes me feel like it’s the perfect time to talk about goth.

Last year I was asked to do an interview for a book about goth. This was very weird to me. Even as a goth I never called myself goth (which of course made me even more goth); most of the people around my age that I knew in my big-hair days were deathrockers (oh yes, that’s loads cooler), and I sort of was as well. It’s where a lot of the good dark underground rock music was in 2003. Most of these same young people also hopped right back out of deathrock, because, though it pretends to be cooler than the rest of the goth scene, it’s just as stifling, restrictive and backward-looking (and also tends to deify poor dead Rozz Williams in a bizarre way). As a post-goth I’ve been either apathetic, dismissive or downright hateful toward the mainstream goth scene (yes, that is a thing), and I was being interviewed about my blog Gucci Goth, which was, in part, a reappropriation and dissection of goth. So I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The author was a very sweet woman, though, and since I’m not a dick for the sake of dickishness I was happy to do it. Today, I was asked to once again to give an interview on the same subject, leading me to wonder if I’m generally perceived as a goth even now…if there’s something inherently gothy about me. It’s a strange idea; I certainly don’t perceive myself as such. Just because I wear a lot of black, and Docs, and creepers, and really really like Coil and fog machines and occasionally painting my nails black and vodka-cranberries…fuck.

But what does goth even mean anymore? My tagline for GG was ‘Fake Goth is the Real Goth’ because, while many legit goths hated Gucci Goth, the ideas, images and music I promoted were tied more closely to the original goth scene than ‘real’ goth has been in years. What was OG goth? Just kids dressing fucking crazy and fabulous, partying at clubs and exploring new music. It was punk with a death-glam veneer, jacked-up and jacking off. Most people were poor, and everyone was hungry and excited. Somehow that spun into a 30+ year subculture with giant festivals and progressively lamer sub-groups…most of whom are just super normal bitches with a different outfit and a false mental veneer of ‘outsiderness’ to make themselves feel special. I would consider both of the following tracks by Ethelwulf & Chris Travis and Bestial Mouths equally perfect to play in what I would consider a modern real goth club, which is why I make the parties I do.

 

 

There are two goth scenes right now: the goth scene and the goth scene . The former is, indeed, the former: the Wave Gotik Treffens, the Whitby Gothic Renfairs, the multitude of soulless and stagnant parties where people pretend to whip each other to EBM tracks they’re not even listening to. This is Mainstream Goth. The latter is what I consider ‘Whatever Goth’. Which is not meant to be a genre tag, because WHATEVER, fuck it—it’s not one thing. It’s just music for freaks. It’s the parties where you show up and Flocka is transitioning into White Ring and there’s fashion people and art kids and poor weirdos and just general mutants, regardless of dress code. It’s the oddball blog darlings reconceptualizing sounds: the Mykki Blancos, the Grimes and the Death Grips. It’s noise and pop, a dissolution of genres rather than the embrace of it. Why is it still called goth? Well…I do like those black clothes…

 

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Audioccult Vol. 21: Goth, Ghetto, Gold

Light a candle. Draw the required sigils. Now, raise your arms above your head and slowly, gently, exhale your soul. You won’t need it here. This is Audioccult, and it’s time to get low.

I can’t really count the number of times I’ve had to explain to people just what my ‘deal’ is, only to have them smash the MIND-DEATH button and scream ‘NO DEAL‘. When I started doing this column, the point wasn’t that the music be centered around a specific format; rather it was to bring a more diverse sound to EB.net in the vein of my personal blog Gucci Goth (now BlackBlackGold). In my world of sound, the dirty R&B house of Brenmar fits perfectly beside the blackened noise-metal of Gnaw Their Tongues and the baroque breakcore of Nero’s Day At Disneyland. This make sense to me, and this column is an attempt to make my sense sensual for you. Yet I still get emails sometimes asking me to explain myself: is this a goth column? is it ‘witch house’? Is it meant to be ironic? These are questions people usually ask when what they really mean is ‘I’m a really musically straightforward person and I don’t get oddities.’ Which is fine, if totally boring for me, but it does make me feel sometimes that perhaps I’m not being direct enough—especially if people feel that my style of writing is meant to be insincere or ironic.I promise you, the reader, that while I may be silly, or weird, or writing through a haze of mind-altering substances (or memories of them) that I am entirely sincere and entirely lacking in irony, which hasn’t been an interesting social tool ever since people decided it was a good replacement for a personality. Audioccult, and in fact anything that I promote, is exactly this: things that I think are interesting, regardless of genre. I draw from my youth as a goth, my love of hip-hop and bass music, and my experience as a music promoter and musician. I hope that the past twenty entries have been interesting for at least some of you, and that, in some way, I have turned you on to my aural world. Twenty entries from now, I hope I still do.

 

With that in mind, here’s a bunch of goth shit.

 

A$AP Rocky‘s LongLiveA$AP is high on my list of anticipated releases; even more so after hearing A$AP Mob‘s latest mixtape Lords Never Worry. The best cuts do tend to be the ones that feature Rocky, with ‘Thuggin’ Noise’ at the front both literally and figuratively. The laid-back, casual grimness of both the lyrics and beats make this one of his most memorable since…well, anything he’s done with Clams Casino, I suppose, but that’s more on Clams. I will say that I was disappointed that ‘Bangin’ On Waxx’ wasn’t a Blood & Crips cover. Meanwhile, A$AP’s current #1 beef SpaceGhostPurrp made his fans salivate with the free release of his Mysterious Phonk instrumentals. I remember how pissed off a lot of 4AD lovers were (and are) about his debut being released on their beloved label; to them I say listen to these beats and tell me they’re not as dark and underground as anything 4AD has ever released and I’ll laugh and clap that Lil B x Cocteau Twins atcha.

Melding hip-hop with dark beats is hardly a new phenomenon. Pretty much anything to come out of the South has a sinister vibe that would make Andrew Eldritch shiver (possibly even more than looking at his mess of a career), but it’s more recently that reconceptualists have been incorporating the heavy dancefloor cyberpanic of industrial dance. Fostercare‘s last mixtape for LONG Clothing featured a fantastic mashup of Distorted Memory‘s ‘Black Fields’ and Lil’ Kim‘s ‘The Jump Off’ that’s been unstoppable in my iPod these last couple weeks. I really need to do a mixtape entirely made up of this sort of stuff… or someone else does (hint hint). Speaking of mixtapes, Liver Diet just dropped a brand new one. Curated by High Park, it’s packed with plenty of sounds that should be familiar to regular EB readers including Gesaffelstein and LOL BoysIt does err a bit close to techno for my taste, but it still has enough divergence to keep me interested.

If you saw last week’s Skrot Up recommendation, you probably also found out about Submissions (if you didn’t, then do; nearly everything on that label is gold). Normally I don’t go in so much for vocalists who sound like Ian Curtis and aren’t Ian Curtis, but these kids are very much ‘inspired by’ rather than not ‘ripping off’. ‘Get To Dying’ is the perfect blend of industrial-tinged post-punk sounds reminiscent of early Godflesh and the like, peppered with squawking shrieks and submerged in layers of chugging guitars and reverb-laden drum machine. It’s all extremely satisfying. Recent discovery Hirsute Pursuit creeps closer to the post-industrial acid of audio warriors Psychic TV, and it’s no wonder when you consider the group’s alumni. The bear-centric project features legends (however you chose to think of such a term) of their scene including sadly departed Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson of the great Coil and Boyd Rice, whose cheez-shock tactics and suspicious White Powerisms I’ve never really been fond of (if he means it he’s a douche and if he doesn’t that basically makes him the industrial Marilyn Manson). Here, however, he delivers an explicit and thoroughly enjoyable cover of David Bowie‘s ‘Boys Keep Swinging’.

 

There’s more, of course; there’s always more. But for now I’ll only say: be open. Be weird. There’s enough one sided-music fans in the world, and there’s enough wonderful and fascinating music to change them. The days of playing an US vs THEM version of social musical chairs should be left for the past. You don’t have to like a single damn piece of music that I’ve posted here, today or otherwise, but I hope that you allow yourself to experience it (and the vast variety of other non-commercial music that exists) on some level. Otherwise, how can your soul breathe?

 

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Audioccult Vol. 15: The Silent One

 

 

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Perchance, to dream

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Bogner’s TV Guide No. 10

Bogner’s TV Guide No. 10 If you’re interested in modern day culture or have a Facebook profile (our deepest condolences to Gucci Goth, now BlackBlackGold, who is no longer part of that exclusive club –booo Facebook!) you couldn’t have missed it: Sunday was Breaking Bad day! On July 15th, the first episode of Season Five in the epic TV show aired on AMC.

“This is a big deal why?” you may ask, but only if you don’t know anything about recent TV history. Amongst many masterpieces like The Sopranos and The Wire, Breaking Bad is one of the best shows in this new millennium. Of course, you may come up with other choices, but to be honest there’s not really room for discussion. Sorry. It’s a fact, like having to eat or the Earth moving around the sun. And this upcoming fifth season, which is also the final season, gives Breaking Bad the chance to prove it’s the one to rule them all. So yeah, it kind of is a big deal.

Brief rundown for those living under a rock: set in New Mexico, Breaking Bad is the story of Walter White, a high school teacher who gets diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Doctors say he has two years left, which isn’t enough time for anyone, let alone for Walter. Money is already tight for the family, especially with a daughter on the way and medical bills that have to be paid. Like every father, he wants to provide a future for his family: college funds, mortgage payments, etc. So the chemistry teacher comes up with a plan. Together with his former student Jesse Pinkman, he starts cooking and selling meth.

Walter gets sucked into the drug business further and further in a vicious circle. If you are a living, feeling person (as opposed to a dumb, desensitized zombie) you will come across moments where Vince Gilligan makes it very hard for you to keep watching. Like a really good horror movie, Breaking Bad gets you yelling things like “Don’t do that!” and “Damn son, you cray!” Probably because you care for the Whites and you’ve been living with them for years. That’s the magic of the show.

In the beginning, Breaking Bad was a story about a man who was forced to do the wrong thing in order to escape adversity, but it was his own decision to stay on this dark path. Walter White turned out to not be a very likeable guy. He ain’t even one of those badasses who we root for because we know deep down he’s good. Mr. White is actually an evil person who does despicable things. He stops at nothing to keep his family safe, and yet we still stick with him. Well, at least for one more season.

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Audioccult Vol. 14: The Catharsis Edition

Light a candle, blahblahblah: WHAT THE HELL IS UP FACEBOOK.

Out of all the Tumblr-culture whatever type things, I’m pretty sure mine was the only thing to not try to cash in somehow. I never made shirts or stickers or anything, because I have nothing to sell. I just talk about music and fashion that I liked and posted weird nonsense because that’s what I love, and having a 15K fanpage was an incredible way to promote weird underground stuff I love. So thank you, Facebook, for knocking down a music fan and leaving Gucci Mane alone to make the same song for eternity. I know why the caged bird sings.

This weekend was something of a catharsis for me. I played more pop music than I’ve played in a while, which surprised even myself considering how aggressive I felt inside. Somehow feeling like I just railed a fat line of bull hormones made me want to drop track after track of Top 40, not even sure how it got on my hard drive but maybe I’m just a genie in a bottle, baby. Naturally, it’s not entirely straightforward. That would be boring.

From re-imagined rave classics to repurposed Three 6 Mafia tracks, I covered all the bases in the weirdest baseball game ever. Meanwhile I’m punching walls in my brain and everyone on the dancefloor is flinging vodka in the air, three people come up to request Frank Ocean and I spit centipede venom in their eyes: no elevator music.

My finger is twitching toward the array of Coil tracks I keep positioned to shine ’em on between Rihanna and Lindsay, I’m not entirely sure how emotionally constipated this crowd is, if they can feel this like I feel it or if I’ll wipe the floor clean and I say fuck it, if you like it then you should have put a White Ring on it. And the beat drops.

The truth is that nothing is permanent in this plane or the next, and I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing or not. I already feel like a ghost.

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RIP GUCCI GOTH FB PAGE
2010-2012
DEAD AT 15K

You used to be my playground…..

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