mlat57: T.s. Flock
[Seattle, USA. October 29th, 2011] Eccentric Seattle based writer collects and projects a few abstract notions for Halloween. His offering exists in two parts.

PART ONE:

♫ mlat57 - T.s. Flock (part 1).mp3



Apotropaism
1. Little Marcy - Devil, Devil, Go Away

Invocation
2. Astrobotnia - Everyone
3. Teargas and Plateglass - Simplify the Landscape with Darkness
4. Nurse With Wound - Glory Hole
5. Sunn O))) - Cursed Realms
7. Funkstorung - Try Dried Frogs
7. Throbbing Gristle - Invocation Summoning Rite of Death (live)

Seance
7. Joy Division - Dead Souls
9. Janis Joplin & Jimmy Hendrix - Summertime (live)
10. Nico - Eulogy to Lenny Bruce
11. Townes Van Zandt - The Velvet Voices
12. Neko Case - Deep Red Bells
13. Diamanda Galas - Let My People Go





PART TWO:

♫ mlat57 - T.s. Flock (part 2).mp3



The End of Desire...
14. Genitorturers - One Who feeds
15. David Lynch and John Neff - Mountains Falling
16. Fever Ray - If I Had a Heart
17. Sneaker Pimps - Spin Spin Sugar
18. Portishead - Machine Gun
19. Tricky - Tear out my Eyes

...is Oblivion
20. Demdike Stare - The Stars are Moving
21. Suum Cuique - Even in Death
22. Beautumn - Too Much is Unsaid
23. A Silver Mt Zion - For Wanda
24. The Knife - Still Light
25. Mum - Now There's Fear Again

Evocation
26. Nick Cave and the Dirty Three - Time Jesum Transeuntum Et Non Riverentum
27. Little Marcy - That's Why We Say


How have you been and what have you been up to these days?

Oi. Let's just say I'm glad that autumn is here. But then, I'm always glad when autumn arrives. There were plenty of reasons to hate growing up in the southeast, but the summers there are always near the top of the list, and so I've only in the few years since I've moved to Seattle decided that summer is not to be feared. I think this was the first summer in my life I even attempted to tan. All the same, autumn will always be my favorite season. It is the season of retrospect, the real beginning and end of the year to my mind, and that always puts me in a better space creatively.

What are some interesting projects that you have been involved in lately?

I always have this huge list and I jump between them. It's been a bit manic. One minute I'm working on a biography, the next I'm working on an academic essay, the next I'm putting together a Web site, the next I'm writing poetry or fiction, or composing music, and somewhere in the mix I find ways to keep my visual arts from completely atrophying. The whole world is going crazy, it seems, so it's good to know that I'm not the only manic one and that there will always be material for artists and writers who want to respond to the contemporary world in a meaningful way. Right now, my top project is getting a Web site running where I can post more arts writing and criticism. We have a robust arts scene in Seattle, superb for the modest size of the city, so much great talent in every medium and form, but very few are writing about it in earnest. Everyone is putting their work out into a void. I'd love to make my own creative work a priority for myself, but it seems my talents are best used in creating a larger dialog in the arts community and helping that dialog reach the larger population. I'm not getting enough traction through salons and forums. I need to expand the audience. I also have a couple secret projects. I'm loving where those might lead.

Any regrets to report this year as you approach All Hallow's Eve?

Oh, there are always things that I would consider regrettable, such as certain projects that have imploded and relationships have changed in unfavorable ways. For myself, though, I have few regrets. Regret is self-annihilating. It suggests that we aren't happy with who we are and we should be someone else because of something that we did or something that happened to us. It seems to suggest that the person we are at any given moment should not exist, should be someone else. But like I said, this is the season of retrospect and one can't help but indulge in hypotheticals. That can be the start of a creative work, a healing process, or wallowing. And it's only human to do a little of all three.

Although, maybe I can say I regret that humans need to sleep. That's something that isn't so much on me as nature. Damn nature.

How do you feel about everything around you come Halloween this year?

These are interesting times. The sort of unrest that we are seeing around the world has been building for a while. I've been watching it build, and--I know the astrology thing is ridiculous to some people, but I find astrology and divination to be useful tools for meditation and creative departure from a subject, and this sort of madness and the breakdown of faith in longstanding hegemons and systems and a push for sweeping change is written in the stars. It's been funny to watch. So I feel pretty good, not because I have some misguided certainty about my life or the fate of the human race based on star charts and the like, but because I've already grown accustomed to uncertainty and the fact that things will get crazier, and if we survive it we'll perhaps be witness to something new...for better or worse.



You wrote a great piece last year for us to coincide with Burial Hex's Halloween podcast. Any new 'big' thoughts to contribute this year?

Hahaha. Always. Just like everyone else, I guess. And I could say a lot about how all the unrest I just rambled about ties into elements of Halloween. For all the high rhetoric in western civilization right now about these gigantic, convoluted, abstracted systems we have created, in the end we are all so bloody primitive. The market is an abstraction of the wilderness. It's still just resources getting moved around, and it is just as heartless and predatory as any natural system. It is supposed to create a buffer from the elements and have some ethical heart, but it doesn't, and people are aware of that. Add to that these polarized factions that form in the disagreements about these systems, and what do you have? You take a step back and see that it is all quite primal, us against them, fear-mongering and bloodthirsty. It's a wilderness with just enough restraints to keep us from clubbing each other to death, but I'm wondering how long those restraints will hold, frankly. In some parts of the world, they have already been ripped apart. We're hoping that as people collect themselves, it will be better for a while, but let's just say it's hoping against hope.

So as for Halloween, it used to be about our relationship with the dead and the time of year for such reflection was right because life and death were so intimately bound in the harvest and the cycle of seasons. Now we don't commune with people whom we have buried, but more with the id and instincts, the parts of ourselves that have been buried as a race, as a culture, and as individuals. We're seeing very clearly just how primitive, how doomed we all are. It's entertaining for me.

Still, in spite of considering all this, I prefer to make Halloween all about affirming life and merrymaking, the way it should be. Halloween was Satan's day in my Christian household growing up. We would not take any part in the holiday. Some years, we would sit in our house in silence and darkness, pretending to not be home. Even giving out candy to neighbors was like taking part in Satanic ritual. I have since had enough crazy Halloweens that I feel caught up by now, and I can actually sit alone in darkness and silence and meditate on the season and symbols and be content. I guess I have come full circle in a way! This year I'm particularly excited about a butoh and modern art inspired tea ceremony at midnight hosted by Miko Kuro on Saturday. That will follow a wild house party with several local bands I really like. I guess I couldn't ask for anything better.

Have you picked out a costume?

I've done those involved, uncomfortable costumes in the past that require maintenance all night. I'm not in the mood this year. II've designed some nice ghoulish makeup inspired by sugar skulls. That's always a crowd pleaser, and if you want to be funny you can come up with a story. A few years back I was a Log Cabin Republican. I had intestines hanging from my abdomen, because they are gutless. I had a grotesque, feculent-looking mixture of chocolate frosting and oats around my mouth because they are bottom feeding. I did my eyes to appear gouged out because they are willfully blind. And I had stab wounds all over my back. Aren't I subtle? If anyone asks this year, I'll just tell them I'm Steve Jobs.

Could you talk about your mix, and perhaps reveal why you structured it the way you did?

I knew I wanted to bookend it with Little Marcy from the start. For those who aren't familiar, Little Marcy was the alias of this crazy fundamentalist woman named Marcy here in the Northwest in the '70s who released a few albums. It was a little ventriloquist dummy version of the singer herself. She's singularly disturbing. Or in the current vernacular, totes cray cray. She had to go at both ends.

The opening section is the "creepshow," if you please. I listen to these bands frequently, though, especially when I'm writing or designing. Sunn O))) is local. I knew I had to include them. I liked putting them alongside Nurse With Wound, too, to place the wicked female and wicked male voices side by side. The next section is all voices of and for the dead. And dead voices for the dead in a couple cases. I had to chop a lot from my idea list here, including Wesley Willis. I figure you can just play any Wesley Willis album and it would do well for Halloween. Black Triage [by Teargas and Plateglass] would be another good one in that vein. Neko Case and Deep Red Bells was an instant "must-include," too. A dear friend was peripherally involved in the Green River Killer case and has described being around Ridgeway. Talk about a creepshow...

I have been listening to Plague Mass on a loop this month, largely out of gratitude. I'm HIV+ and just starting on medication, so I am just really grateful I don't have to go the way that so many others did in the '80s. It's no picnic even now, but I don't experience the horror and fear and alienation that others did and that inspired Galas to compose that amazing, raging tribute. I also liked having a lot of live recordings in that section. I don't know about you, but I can't help thinking "Most of those people are dead" every time that I see a crowd in an old movie, or hear voices from a crowd in an old recording. I was like that as a child, but then it was in the context of being Christian and marveling at how crowded it was going to be in heaven or hell and wondering how many people in that crowd went one place or the other. And because I was raised watching only parent-approved old movies and listening to classical music and Motown, no pop culture to speak of, I dwelled on all of that a lot. It kind of shaped me in my belief that one of the many consequences of externalizing information and recording life in so much detail, surrounding ourselves with constant facsimile, is that we are constantly in the presence of life made immaterial, of bodies without substance. We are surrounded by ghosts, essentially. I didn't have the language for it then, but I had a strong sense that the world was a pretty dull place without art. You at least need an imagination to bring these ghosts to life, to make them speak a little truth and not just yammer on about canned meat and hair gel and life insurance. Anyhow, it seems appropriate to have a lot of "live" music in the seance section, and to give all the ghosts a long round of applause for making it out of the pit for a bit.

As for the last sections, I wanted to give a section to desire, which some people rightly say is the root of all suffering, but frankly it's what defines us as individuals. That is, our behavior is dictated by our desires. I am not certain if there is altruism. I'm not even sure that there is free will. But I am pretty sure that having all your desires met or having no desire at all is essentially oblivion, and there is the irony, because oblivion seems to be what most people fear most, why people want to believe in an afterlife or the immortality of the soul. It says to me that we desire for the sake of desiring alone. I'm quite content with being space dust when I'm gone. That doesn't scare me. I am happy to say that an afterlife seems highly improbable, because it's just a perfectly ghastly concept. It's particularly ghastly in the Christian idiom that I knew as a child, that had me wanting to become a missionary for so many years. I couldn't bear the thought of my O-so-loving god damning all those poor people in Africa to hell for not hearing about his love and reciprocating. I needed Nick Cave at the end of the mix because that song really sums up everything I pondered while making the mix and it had a nice twist on a Biblical message. And of course, Little Marcy is the cap, because when you really examine what she sings about in that last track, with humanity as a slave race at the center of creation, happily glossing over the disaster and misery in the world, the disappointment and fear that this concept alone causes... Well... It doesn't get much scarier than that.



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PART 1

1. Little Marcy - Devil, Devil, Go Away [Word Records]
2. Astrobotnia - Everyone [Rephlex]
3. Teargas and Plateglass - Simplify the Landscape with Darkness [Waxploitation]
4. Nurse With Wound - Glory Hole [RRRecords]
5. Sunn O))) - Cursed Realms [Southern Lord]
6. Funkstorung - Try Dried Frogs [!K7]
7. Throbbing Gristle - Invocation Summoning Rite of Death [live]
8. Joy Division - Dead Souls [Factory]
9. Janis Joplin & Jimmy Hendrix - Summertime [live]
10. Nico - Eulogy to Lenny Bruce [Verve]
11. Townes Van Zandt - The Velvet Voices [Poppy]
12. Neko Case - Deep Red Bells [Bloodshot]
13. Diamanda Galas - Let My People Go [Mute]

PART 2

1. Genitorturers - One Who Feeds [Cleopatra Records]
2. David Lynch and John Neff - Mountains Falling [Milan Records]
3. Fever Ray - If I Had a Heart [Rabid]
4. Sneaker Pimps - Spin Spin Sugar [Clean Up Records]
5. Portishead - Machine Gun [Island]
6. Tricky - Tear out my Eyes [Island]
7. Demdike Stare - The Stars are Moving [Modern Love]
8. Suum Cuique - Even in Death [Young Americans]
9. Beautumn - Too Much is Unsaid [Infraction]
10. A Silver Mt Zion - For Wanda [Constellation]
11. The Knife - Still Light [Rabid]
12. Mum - Now There's Fear Again [Fat Cat]
13. Nick Cave and the Dirty Three - Time Jesum Transeuntum Et Non Riverentum [Warner Bros]
14. Little Marcy - That's Why We Say [Word Records]