[Weekly Jams] 3/5/11 The Synthetic 80’s

By the end of the 70’s, both the drug culture and the music scene were making a rapid shift towards something completely man made. Our manipulation of nature’s building blocks had achieved such ingenuity that, by the time the 80’s came around, MDMA and other amphetamine-like drugs were ferociously hitting the club scene. In contrast, disco was largely being replaced by the works of Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. Unfortunately, there were many other fantastic, influential artists whose work led up to the mainstream branch of New Wavers known as “Synth Pop.” This is an article dedicated to some of those who may have slipped into a bit of obscurity, but deserve another listen.

First up is She’s Leaving by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, off their 1981 album, Architecture & Morality.

What can I say? Either you love it, or you hate it!

Here’s one for you Soft Cell fans out there. Sure, everybody’s heard their version of Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love, but not many have been fortunate enough give their other music a chance. Here’s a prime example of what you’ve been missing.

So perverse! So… QUEER! Where did the inspiration for that come from, you ask? Well actually, according to Marc, he got the idea for the song from a local newspaper headline and he felt it needed to be immortalized in his music.

Bonus song: This is one of Dave Ball of Soft Cell’s solo works. It’s pretty damn good. Enjoy.

I’m probably going to make a part two to this so stick around for more synth pop in the near future.


A Letter Against Christian Fear Mongering

I wrote this letter to my uncle today in response to a chain letter email sent to my mom which amounted to nothing more than citing the history of National Prayer day and how Obama has failed to recognize it anymore.

Dear Uncle Tom,

This is your nephew Robert replying to this email after you “scared” my mom into showing it to me. Quite frankly, I think it’s sad that Christians and right-wingers are more worried about this kind of bullshit than the real politics happening across the country. Anyone willing to take a moment to stop and realize that this happened over two years ago can see that Obama still hasn’t turned us into a Muslim Nation and should be able to see this email for exactly what it really is: extremist right-wing and Christian fear mongering. In June 2007 when Obama declared the nation was no longer a Christian Nation, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. In fact, all he was really doing was abiding to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Here is a direct quote from the First Amendment(perhaps you’re familiar?): “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” And in case the meaning isn’t clear, here is a direct quote from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, Jan. 1 1802, to the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” Honestly, though, the true problems do lie within laws and not arbitrary holiday’s for prayer, as I think even God would scoff at them, recognizing them as nothing more than a silly political appeal. And so, I find it hard to get angry or even care about the fact that Obama did pray with a group of 50,000 law-abiding, peaceful, American Muslim citizens–a group of people whom have been on the losing side of relentless discrimination for the past decade in light of the events which took place on September 11, 2001. After all, both instances cited in this email were in effort towards achieving the same goal. It’s not about making us no longer a Christian Nation(which we technically never were) or about making us a Muslim Nation, nor is it about making us a Religious Nation or a Secular Nation, but a Nation United, tolerant and accepting of one another’s beliefs and values. Extremism and terrorism are far from specific to only the Islam faith, and so it is extremely unfair and ignorant to hold such a thing against the individual Muslim as many Americans do out of blind hate. Forget not the Crusades which lasted for centuries, or for some more recent examples, the several instances of violent Christian Militias in out very own country just in these past few years(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/us/30militia.html) or the anti-homosexual campaigns led by the Westboro Baptist Church(http://www.godhatesfags.com/index.html), claiming that God is punishing our country for not making sodomy illegal–a favorite slogan of theirs to use when picketing the funerals of our dead soldiers. So long as religion and faith exists, there will people who will use their divine inspiration for an infinite spectrum of causes, whether they be charitable and helping, such as many church-run homeless shelters, soup kitchens and used clothing stores are, or greed driven, violent pursuits in the name of God. And, of course, there will always be the byproduct of panic and fear, and those who will knowingly or unknowingly continue to spread these unwarranted, primeval feelings along every step of the way–I’m looking at you Billy Cooper, whomever you are!

Robert Majchrzak

Rave pt 2 – The Cock Molecule

Part 1 – Seeing Red

The Cock Molecule

Some shitty local band is up playing their loud post-industrial thrash dance fag music and all twelve of their friends are headbanging like it’s the new shit to hit the scene. I notice they actually got some decent chicks to come out trying to start a mosh pit and it crosses my mind I might get laid if I exile from the majority of bored onlookers impatiently waiting and join them. Ahh, fuck it! I tell myself and walk away.

“So what are in these?” Dan asks.

“I have no idea what the difference is between the blue and the yellow, and neither did the guy who sold ’em to us. Just said they’re all good and he rolls every night.”

The three of us each pop a yellow one and wait a bit. Dan starts walking around claiming his vision trails behind images of people and flashing lights like there is a lag between his external reality and his brain’s processing of the information. I can’t stop talking. Ryan just looks pleased. I start to get sweaty all over and the fellow ravers gather in the gassing room. Steam vapors containing methylenedioxypyrovalerone fill the lungs of all the daring and I’m not even sure they know what they’re in for. Groovie Mann takes center stage and the show starts with loud thumping industrial clangs of percussion paired with a synthy dance beat. I rush into the gassing room with the others and my head starts spinning, falls right off my damn shoulders starts rolling on the ground before I know it everybody’s all touchy feely like they’re rolling but more aggressive, more aggravated, less rubbing gently sliding fingertips across one another’s laps and more clenching faces, grabbing and pulling, punches and screams until all of our clothes are seared off and the naked flesh bares little resembelence to something human. I begin experiencing hypersensitivity to auditory stimulation but the beat of the Thrill Kill Kult is undying and harsh, and I can see everybody else is thinking the same things, feeling the same pressure and pain, arriving to the same conclusion. Throbbing cocks start plunging, filling all orifices as all the women aggressively straddle nearby humanoid bulges of flesh, mimicking the pure male sexual energy in the room.

Meanwhile Ryan and Dan are just dancing like mad to the harsh rhythms performed like a couple of fags and the men with really big guns and faces like pigs, jutting with obnoxious snouts for sticking in other people’s shit and ears alert to the sound of these fucking Narcs who squealed on us, and it’s time for us to split.

Rave pt 1 – Seeing Red

Seeing Red

Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Can’t help but feel I’m being watched. Dusk is just setting in. The warm summer night breeze fills the streets of Milwaukee. Short steps. Quick. Unfocused, almost natural, automatic, inconspicuous. Left. Right. Left. Right. Useless chatter killing time. Where are we? Thirty-seven blocks away from the concert with no recollection of how we got here. More useless chatter. Both my friends are out of their fucking minds, but so am I. Wired and hungry.

“Where the fuck is this Pizza Shuttle?”

“It’s not much further.”

“We’ve already walked like five miles dude. Where the fuck are we?”

“Uhh… we just gotta take a left here, and then again around the corner, and then one more—ooh! Look! Parallax!” Indeed, parallax. The rows of concrete columns overlapping and playing tricks on my depth perception are spellbinding.

We keep walking. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Anxious. Tension slowly builds among the three of us. Faster steps. We’re all getting impatient. Red light like a sniper dot starts following our steps on the cracked city sidewalk. I see Dan’s phone out in his hand. “Knock it off!” He looks at me and pretends he has no idea what he’s doing. I can see right through his facade of fucking lies. Worst part is I know he’s just fucking with me, but it pisses me off anyway. “Knock it off, dude! I can see your cell.”

“What?” He looks at me again and I point to the red dot on the ground following us, almost directly below his palmed phone.

He opens up his clenched hand as he looks back up at me and the words ring loud, screeching before he even says, “It’s not me.”

The little red dot makes it’s way along the pavement, picking up slack, and up onto my chest.


Allen Ginsberg – Father Death Blues

As much as I love sharing my own work on this blog, it makes me sad to see the work of some of my favorite artists of the past century starting to fade from society’s conscience. Here’s one of my favorites, a somber piece from the beautiful heart of Allen Ginsberg, legendary beat poet and friend of Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Please enjoy and keep works like these alive.

Carried By the Gust

I wish you could come with me
for now I must leave
as leaves of fall have lived life once
now carried by the gust
they leave behind their origin
the roots that held their tree in place
the tree that held them up in life
gave color; flourished in the sun
until the autumn breeze had come
I leave you happy, having fun
to go become a Dharma bum

Staring At the Stars Past the Sword With A Face

Galactic shades of violet and indigo mark the space beyond sky while the yellow-white light particles beam through our cosmic bubble into the minds of youth’s deviant ways. Abandon ship! As if, the human body floats in water, but the soul sinks to the darkest depths. Masses of bodies left swept under the current, pulled and pulled and pulled until giving in only to drift to the center of the amorphous blob of indeterminable cultural background influence.