May 1, 2003
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Soft Pink Truth
The Wind-Up Bird
April 30, 2003
Pale Horse and Rider
Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers
April 29, 2003
Set Fire to Flames
"Now, sample broadcast programming..."
Short, sweet, and to the point, Wobbly, aka Jon Leidecker, rips apart a "sample cd" from a corporate broadcasting network--the sort of business that advertises playlists handpicked for various demographics to ensure the most homogenous and advertising-friendly blend of muzak-crap possible, from Top 40 to Country. Wobbly, like a net-hactivist pinging a website to the crash point, responds to the call ... now sample broadcast programming ... alright, sez Wobbly, let's bring 'em through the grinder--and the result is not just a messy noise of angry anti-corporate frustration but a hilarious and subtle reconstruction of intros and extros and pop music and country, all fitted rather nicely onto a compact 3" CD that provides some listening relief from Today's Contemporary Crap. Classic moments include remixes of "Staying Alive"--magnificently ripped and hashed into abstract d'n'b and obscure hip-hop rhythms--and a real mangle of Garth Brooks country into fucked-up broken beats. Indeed, it is the energetic realm of the broken and mashed beats which dominate this album, but never in an aggressive fashion—much like Chris Sattinger's work as Timeblind on his recent album Rugged Redemption.
Yet let us not forget that this work is political to the core. "Wobbly" is a name with historical threads right back to the days of serious fin de siecle agitation, the nickname for nothing less than a member of the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, one of the most successful activist-unions on the planet and one of the most dedicated to international socialism, to the One Big Union and to, as their website http://www.iww.org/ says, "Abolition of the wage system." And yet "Wobbly" perhaps gives the all-so-serious IWW a little twist with his perverted and wicked--yet potentially destructive in all the best modalities--sense of humour. A deep, head-back-and-tilted laughter, perhaps a Nietzschean laughter, that rips apart "Christian Music" into a repetitious never-ending sound of Heaven...y'know, the old joke about Heaven, where everyone is singing with harps all the time etc., i.e. it would be rather repetitious and boring... Although perhaps in this case Wobbly does better than most "Christian Music" and actually makes his re-sampling hilarious--which is also something the IWW needs to learn: the humour necessary for fighting The Man, and this humour comes from realising that the bourgeois, although powerful, elect, and dangerous, are also notoriously stupid. The "broadcast programming" disc proves it--who would seriously believe that a "new adult contemporary mix" would double audiences overnight, as the disc claims, when radio audiences have been declining for over a quarter of a century? The joke is priceless: and so is this CD. Visit http://www.detritus.net/illegalart and http://www.detritus.net/wobbly to get your hands on one of these beautiful gems, a hewn diamond that, although beautiful, cuts through the most impermeable of solid bullshit.
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