Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Precious, precious prurience

As the development of pulp paper, printing technology and literacy progressed at the turn of the 19-20th century, it very soon became obvious what people wanted to read about: sex & violence. And preferably sex & violence that made "the others" suffer (specifically as in other immigrant groups in the rapidly growing American cities).

There was also a thriving underdog cult around that actively idolized criminals – especially if they managed to stay free for long and thereby made fun of the police. Many things were pooled together – the crime cult, prurient interest and/or ditto ill will, the will to make a fast buck in a new medium etc – and suddenly the True Crime phenomenon was born.

In a recent tome from mighty Taschen called True Crime: Detective Magazines 1924-1969, we can literally dive into a lurid world of tough men, femme fatales and devious plans to overthrow everything that's good and decent. Whether based in real crime cases or feverishly creative editorial minds, the magazines (and their artwork, often staggeringly brilliant) here become blinking beacons of sordid pleasures and double standards. The esthetics alone signify a very special synthesis of attraction (real) and repellation (imposed).

What made these magazines truly thrive was the intelligent application of "justification": "Sure, mom, the girls almost have no clothes on, but it's not a dirty magazine – it's a detective magazine". So, perfect, millions of men and, I'm sure, a great number of women too could enjoy a world of no rules, rebellion, crime, violence, drugs and damsels in dire (and deserved!) distress. Double standards in a very seductive packaging.

The readers loved these crime "fighting" magazines. The cops did too. J Edgar Hoover wrote for them occasionally. But of course, what sold them were mainly the covers, at first beautifully painted but later, from the 1950s and onwards, using photographs of tied up women and brutal gangsters. Always with screaming sensationalism in haunting headlines and catch phrases: "I was queen of the stag party strippers!", "Human stew in Hell's Kitchen", "COD: Cyanide On Delivery", "Honky Tonk Murders", "I had nothing to lose but my virtue!" etc. Suck on that, contemporary copy cats and kittens.

This book is a phantasmagory-ical trip through a publishing culture long gone. Spread after spread of a colorful cornucopia of crime and carnage. Immorality dressed in morality's best outfits – the best combo ever! Texts by scholarly minds and people who worked with the real mags spice things up even more. I'm perplexed at how much I love this book. It's an active time machine back to a time when men were men, women were women and you couldn't trust a single soul. Those were the days!

True Crime: Detective Magazines 1924-1969. Taschen 2013. Written by Eric Godtland and edited by Dian Hanson.

All material on this blog is copyright © Carl Abrahamsson, unless otherwise stated.
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Edda: Intellectual Party Swedes

There is a new term for young Swedes working in Norway: "Party Swedes". It basically means that you're young, Swedish, work hard in Norway and spend all the money on partying. After Edda HQ went to Oslo this past weekend, there is now an extension of this: "Intellectual Party Swedes". It means that you come to Oslo to work hard with cultural events and then spend all the money on books. La vida loca!

The first event to re-establish the intellectual viking trail this time around was the opening of Edda's own Fredrik Söderberg's exhibition at Galleri Riis. Jag är den som begraver gudar i guld och ädelstenar (I am he who buries gods in gold and jewels) is a phenomenal exhibition. So phenomenal in fact that Edda at the same time released a book called Haus C G Jung together with Galleri Riis to celebrate it. More info about this book can be found at Edda's web site.

The exhibition is a magical trip through the psyche of Carl Jung, complete with both the Küsnacht and Bollingen façades, mandalas, a majestic portrait of Jung and much more. As always with Fredrik's stuff, it's multifaceted, psychedelic and totally über-rich in possible interpretations. If you have the chance, see the exhibition. If not, make sure you get a copy of the book soon – it's selling well and quickly.

Fredrik Söderberg (to the right)
The evening began with an artist's talk, in which Fredrik discussed his point of view, Carl Jung, Rudolf Steiner and many other interesting people and things together with myself and Swedish radio ace Eric Schüldt.

The later part of the opening evening included a wonderful concert by Fredrik, Christine Ödlund and Andreas Kalliaridis. They were squeezing their Indian Organs sensually and made soothing and cosmic drone music together. Wonderful people present and really good times!

Great artist Sverre Malling and Kjettersk Kjeller's Didrik Søderlind.
Evening number two meant an Edda evening at Oslo's most delightful bookstore and place in general: Cappelen's Forslag (Bernt Ankers gate 4). It was the official launch of my novel Mother, Have A Safe Trip (more on this in coming blog posts, rest assured...), and hosted by club/concept/think tank/etc Kjettersk Kjeller's own Didrik Søderlind. A lot of people stirred up a great energy. To be the center of attention in a wonderful environment like Cappelen's Forslag felt great indeed. Didrik moderated a chat between Fredrik and me about our most recent releases. It felt like a pleasant flashback, as we did more or less exactly the same thing more or less exactly one year ago. Very nice though.

Edda HQ on the road... Proud Intellectual Party Swedes!
And we didn't even have time to finish off properly before it was time to move on to the next attraction... We drifted into the Sound of MU (the venue, not the state of mind), where Mark Pilkington of Strange Attractor fame talked about music and magic. And then exactly that happened: Finnish prime primalists Arktau Eos performed at the little venue and transported everyone back to primordial times with their ritualistic droneanza. Amazingly archaic and alluringly alchemic aural adaptions of oscillating oceans osmosically oozing of oneiric orgasms, to say the least.

I was knocked out by their brilliance at the celebrated Equinox festival in London in 2009, so this was a most welcome new injection. Where were we now? At a small club in Oslo's "bohemian" area (which basically means young people screaming on the sidewalk, plastered) but at the same time/space in some Finnish forest or cave a couple of hundred thousand years ago. Brutal! Powerful! Magical... Sisu for fucking ever!

Arktau Eos – Sisu-drenched and primal!
After a good night's sleep (well needed), we then finished off by taking in the majestic Munch 150 retrospective at Nasjonalmuseet. An incredibly great show displaying Munch's very finest paintings, printed works, a recreation of his legendary Berlin exhibit from 1902, sketches etc. Almost too much to take in. That Edvard Munch is one of the originators (unwilling, I'm sure) of Black Metal became very apparent as one drifted through his estheticized morose angst in these jam packed halls (400.000 people have attended this exhibition... I wonder which Swedish artist could draw that kind of number in Sweden?). Very impressive stuff. Many thanks to project manager Rikke Lundgren, who showed us around this very stressed and very last weekend of the massive Munchorama.

Edvard Munch and the Norwegian franchise trolls: ingredients of the true Black Metal psyche.
Then we had simply had enough of Oslo. It's a great place but so expensive that even if you make money you're bound to lose it all on something as trivial as taxi trips, eating or having a beer. To be an Intellectual Party Swede in Norway, you have to come well prepared financially. And if you do, you know you have to go to Cappelen's Forslag and spend all the money you brought. You'll regret it for a short while but you probably won't regret it later (sweet compensation).

Norway, mighty land of wealthy vikings! Thanks for being such great Edda-friends!

All material on this blog is copyright © Carl Abrahamsson, unless otherwise stated.
WWW.EDDA.SE – Great books on subjects that matter and matters that subject!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Hafler Trio Workshop

The recently released book " '''''''' " (being an exposition and elucidation of an eternal work by The Hafler Trio) is part of an overall strategy that is mainly concerned with a workshop situation/time/space. Please check out this video interview with The Hafler Trio's Andrew McKenzie, in which he tells you more about the background, the concept and how it's done. Highly interesting and magical stuff!

Further down you can also read an explanatory text that, together with the book, will give you a bit more to chew on. We strongly recommend participating in one of these workshops and/or help set one up. Those who have so far have been mightily impressed!

The book can be ordered straight from its publisher TRAPART.

The Hafler Trio & Simply Superior Present ” ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘ ” (Strategies and Techniques of the Creative Act Workshop / Performance)

As life in the modern world quickens, shallows, intensifies in quantity and not quality, having the tools to take control of perception means that you can deal with situations which until now, you thought were beyond your power to control, leading to a place where the deepest desires and their manifestation in the world are available in a state of real Freedom.

“ ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘ “ is a multi-day workshop-type experience dealing with techniques for Time Distortion, Hypnosis, Power Focus, Deep Concentration, and new ways of thinking fused with the best of the old. At the end of the week, participants will be using a set of tools that will be the difference that makes the difference in your life, whatever they do, and will be equipped to take part in an unprecedented performance using the techniques they have learned lasting 14 hours – taking them to places that they never actually even thought about dreaming of!

At its root, “ ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘ “ is a piece, and a workshop, dedicated to these premises. Developed over the last 7 years, it is the culmination of 35 years active research, mistake making, experiment and application of and into techniques and practices of development over a wide range of human endeavor by Andrew M. Mckenzie, the founder member of The Hafler Trio and inventor of the concept of ‘Complemation’.

Andrew M. McKenzie, core of The Hafler Trio, Instructional Designer, Hypnotherapist, Mood Engineer and Maker of Strange Things guides you through the processes that will allow participants to take control of the power in their lives, from the basics to indications of where the advanced may well lie. Drawing on over 30 years of experimentation (learning painfully so you don’t have to), research, practice and practical implementation with a wide range of disciplines and techniques dealing with the REAL issues of power and control, a new relationship from a new set of perspectives with Technology and the Self becomes not only possible, but extremely desirable.

What if, for example, your imagination could contain the following:
- being able to extend time in any direction at will
- being able to focus many times more brilliantly than you know how to at the present moment
- develop concentration that is both flexible and laser-like
- being able to experience life intensely, mindfully and appropriately, learning to “drive your own bus”

The question, then, becomes: how far are you willing to go down this path?

Undergoing the training and execution of “ ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘ “, the possibility for development becomes apparent. Rather than provide easy answers which can be explained in a few sentences and then forgotten, the “ ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘ “ process is something which stays with the participants by virtue of its multi-leveled nature, built on direct experience of working with many disciplines, structures and strategies, so that a glimpse—a foot in the door—may be obtained.

This workshop and performance will show you what you know, and what you don’t know that you know! No musical training or technical knowledge necessary.

© The Hafler Trio / Simply Superior

For more information about participating, arranging, booking or learning more, please contact SUPERNATANT. Or go to their web site. Thank you.

All material on this blog is copyright © Carl Abrahamsson, unless otherwise stated.
WWW.EDDA.SE – Great books on subjects that matter and matters that subject!

Friday, October 4, 2013

A new TRAPART site

As some of you may know, I run a little publishing company called Trapart. Nothing much has happened since I released my own Fanzinera photo book last year, but now things are progressing nicely. For instance, a brand new book has just been released: " ''''''' " (being an exposition and elucidation of an eternal work by The Hafler Trio).

It's a poetic description of experimental music legend The Hafler Trio’s ongoing series of workshops and ideas. Part musical creation, part personal development, part experimental Gesamtkunstwerk and part complementary education. Limited to 500 copies. A special edition of 23 hardbound, hand-numbered copies in a custom made box, including also a facsimile of the sheet music from one of the performances, signed by Andrew McKenzie, will be made available during the autumn of 2013. The standard edition is available right now.

There is also a brand new site for all the Trapart fun there is right now. And soon, there'll be more too. The best thing to do is to sign up for the newsletter at the site, so you won't miss out on any interesting new books, films or editions.

Thank you for your attention. See you soon in the TRAPART universe!

All material on this blog is copyright © Carl Abrahamsson, unless otherwise stated.
WWW.EDDA.SE – Great books on subjects that matter and matters that subject!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Wordship comes a'sailin'

When Cotton Ferox began as an active project in the glorious year of 2000, Thomas Tibert and me had made the decision that we would work together with a diverse bouquet of talents when it came to the vocal contributions. As the first album grew, this also became the case. For First Time Hurts (originally released on CD in 2002), we collaborated with Krister Linder, Michael Moynihan and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. A powerful mix, to say the least!

The sessions with Genesis turned into seductive lyrics and performances on the tracks Snake Hiss and Amenema. These were, however, basically recordings that were left over from material for our album number 2, Wordship, then already in progress. Not left over in a qualitative sense of course, but definitely in a quantitative one.

Wordship is an album that was made entirely together with Genesis in Stockholm in 2002 (originally released on CD in 2004). There was also a DJ set at Kulturhuset and a sold out lecture at experimental haven/venue Fylkingen, about a legendary career spanning from Coum Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle, Psychick TV and to the then active Thee Majesty. Genesis showed some rare archival footage and I think almost all those present were mind blown to some extent during what turned out to be an amazing evening...

Neil Megson was the person that I was born and named as by my parents, and in 1965 Neil Megson invented a game. He invented a character, Genesis P-Orridge, and he let him loose into the world. In the beginning Neil was being Genesis, and Genesis was responsible for what the Art was and for the creativity, but Neil was the puppet master of this alter ego and he was in control. But then, as Genesis took himself more and more seriously, or as Neil did, he changed his name, and people would meet him and it was only Genesis they were speaking to. And there was no Neil any more. There was a point then when Neil was actually forgotten by Genesis. It’s a strange question that puzzles me now: does Neil still exist? (from the 2002 Stockholm lecture)
Genesis at Studio Konst & Ramar, Stockholm 2002.

Of course we had the previous similar project in memory and mind: At Stockholm, by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge & White Stains (originally released 1990, now available through Highbrow Lowlife). But we wanted it to be different and more modern. If we succeeded or not I leave for today's discerning listeners to decide. But we were happy with the album. We still are.

What made me proud was when someone told me that the album was like nothing she had ever heard before. To me, that's the finest review one can get. Although distinctly in the spoken word-vein, Wordship does manage to transcend the definition and I, at least, feel compelled to just shut down that kind of simplistic genre-jockeying. The long pieces Soul Searching and A Debris Ov Murder are like two very throbbing and hard working gristles, flanked by recurring organic themes and twists, yet always with distinctly different poetries and paces. Genesis' lyrics and the overall performance on this album are still among the finest I've ever heard.

So it is with pride and joy I announce that the album is now available in the digisphere. Listen on Spotify and/or buy where you buy. Please buy from the Highbrow Lowlife web shop if you like (this would make us happy). No matter what, tune in, stay focused, and you will be immersed in a lovely, emotional, haunting, sad, desperate and disparate soul searching megatrip unlike any other. Safe journeys!