Nodalities: Gaika, ‘Basic Volume’

Gaika’s first LP proper Basic Volume (Warp Records) enters the continuum of the ghostly matter that we call musical (sub)culture at the cusp between aesthetics and politics. There’s a feeling of Gaika as a nodal point triangulating a problem of the contemporary. This LP is part of that emerging aesthetic project the groundwork of which has been in motion for some time now.

 

This idea of time is central, with futurist dystopia inscribed into London territory as if the antagonism of urban life produces this out-of-jointness in temporality itself. A gothic time. Gaika’s resonance, and ability to tune into and amplify this warped sensibility is exemplified in his cross-referential musicality, playing through British-Caribbean soundsystem culture and industrial electronics. There’s a crispness in production, with the likes of SOPHIE and Jam City contributing, which is part of a configuration of contemporaneity that is embedded across the tracklist bringing a particular intensity and density. This intensity, in typical gothic fashion, forms an affective atmosphere of impending violence. A colonial trauma bringing forward the proximity of a third world landscape, reinscribing a race-class analysis that connects the global south with antagonisms in Britain. This seems to be working against current ideas of race and identity which are increasingly defined by ones proximity to Britishness and normative conceptions of identity.

 

The aesthetic work put-in runs along the icy lines of embodiment and disembodiment. A bounded embodiment is shown throughout his live performance, visual focus on the body/face and interest in fashion, something he’s followed through with his fashion label Armour in Heaven. This textilic and tactile materiality is set against a disembodiment engendered through the overproduction of voice in his music. This voice triggers a sense of history, historicity even, like channeling a ghostly transmission of The Spaceape’s poetics of force. There is religiosity at play. The dedication to the memory of Gaika’s father furthers this idea of history and dis/embodiment. His announcement note reading: ‘We live in turbulent times. I hope this work inspires those in search of a better world. This is dedicated to my Father. Dad, I put the reggae song on’.

 

 

 

The force of history Gaika is channeling a reinscription produced through the aesthetic labour that undergirds and maps the Gaika project. The question in contention would remain in how this aesthetic critique can reproduce and manifest a socio-political prospering within – or after – the degeneration of an urban masculinity endemic in ‘immigrant sons’. Or put another way is there a critical transformation of social form at play here amidst the aesthetics of desolation. 

 

 

scattered reports on black art and iconographs

Originally published on Southern Discomfort Zine (15/1/2018)

 

A disjunctive genealogy, some conjectures into the state of things. Reinscribed remembrances, no flag-waving exercises though.

I retro sweeps

A couple of retro sweeps swaying in the winds. Soul of A Nation a big-hitter. Abstraction, multimedia, sculpture, traced out through geographical scenes. Tate’s white walls. Industrial history.

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Romare Bearden Pittsburgh Memory 1964

Basquiat capturing all. Textures doubling, social immanence, colours the street onto canvas, the musicality seeping out reifying scenes of NY institutionality. The prehistory of/in the canvas. Never trust the sovereign [curator].

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Basquiat, Untitled 1982

II Established abstraction to film to planetary / multimedia narration

Established abstraction played out with black Atlantan Frank Bowling, from Soul to a solo London Fishes, Wishes in Summer Blue (companion-NY-exhibition-took-place-simultaneous [Metropolitanblooms]). landscaped visions against shoreditch facades. And in that visionary planetarity a prefiguring already in that prehistoric predicament – the colour before / facing /

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Frank Bowling

Akomfrah purple vigenettes shades of

                                      Jarman blue screen multi-channeled

                                                             Industrialised reproduction / dystopic worldings

 

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Akomfrah, Purple

 

Keith Piper’s encoded research

Video variants on cultural critique                                        — xx

 

 

                                               Arthur Jafa snippets archived network                                                                                                                                                                   (‘Love is the message and the message is death’)                                                                                Digital interfaces textilic arrangement                                                                                    

                                                Embodiment cut and undercut notorious and harlem                                      Sages gurus sants auric tremblings avatar-ic historicity

                                              Cut along the strand, desertions beached                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                           (‘Everything at once’ was said)

 

III Future [transmedia]

Hannah Black’s ‘situation’

                                    //Shredded sociality [‘Some Context’]

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Kudzanai- Violet Hwami – fine art played through the digital
Processed — reprocessed  
                   montage layed over
                                          emphasised embodiment                       social image ~~~ reinscribed           

                                   figuration on the white wall / baker street shopping bustle coffee cups

 

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Kudzanai-Violet Hwami 2017

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IV Iconographs

Elysia Crampton
Aymara desedimentations
Lectured rhythms cut-and-paste

Specified matrilineal flowed out
transmedia
Iconographic pre-histories

 

Dadi – repository
Icons and images strewn and collected
A deep-set aleatory archetype
                             //animating animinsm
crumbling visages deft tales in hanuman’s grasp

                                   //A [pre]-historical glimpse colouring the dormant
                                   scattering scalability
                                   transference inferred ~~

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Photos by Anuka Ramischwili-Schafer and myself

Making History/histories-being-made: Mourinho – Ronaldo – Príncipe Discos

Originally published on Southern Discomfort Zine (12/9/2016)

[Note: Three pieces accumulated with an imperial thread: Jose Mourinho’s dramatics, Cristiano Ronaldo’s glory, Lisbon record label Príncipe Discos’ differed modulations]

I

The contingent played out, playing on. Jose Mourinho an icon at the end of history – the ‘special one’ and his latent (post)modernist ideas of the Chelsea family – corporatism borne from the impasses of a Portuguese modernist modulation. Mourinho descended from the social base of a fascism nonetheless. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves

jose-chopper

 

Where does a story begin? Was it when Roman was flying on helicopter enamoured with Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane forgone? Was it Monaco and Hugo Ibarra’s fucking hand

Ranieri Zola Hasselbaink Desailly out / Drogba Robben Carvalho Mourinho in?

Was it 1992 and the establishment of the Premiership?
Finance rolling in, New Labour fulfilling the Thatcherite dream. Maybe it was Ken Bates and his electric fence – headhunters spectralised.

And its these hauntings, the speckled of the violence at the beginning, the irretrievable violence of the forming of our financialised, hyper-circulated sociality. The violence of inauguration and through those silent species: Chelsea ‘has no history’. West Ham the flip-side; honest working club. Honest local boy Frankie Lampard Jr. corrupted by Tory blue finance-rich Chelsea, right? (We’ll see what Stratford’s gotta say about that, haunted by Anish Kapoor’s towering inadequity).


But that’s Roman’s Empire. Success without history, without narration. Within Post-Soviet space ‘cosmopolitan’ capital deterritorialising (Usmanov, Ivanishvili, Venky’s, Singha etc.)– we’ve got the best league in the world for a reason – commodification of diversity. But commodities can speak, labour speaks, plays. Week-in-week-out.
And our passions toll to the rhythm, transgressing the simplicities of ‘pure ideology’. Within, against, and out. Escape.

Desire, instinct, skill, power, communication, tactics, strategy, style, passion

Critical theory never knew a better partner

Its acceleration, intensity, sublime temporalised into 90 minutes along green territorialising topographies. The club as kin(g) rings true. Unsovereign, subcultural, subaltern, fascist. Mass a difficult bunch, dirty, infectious, splitting ends.
And it all ends in Munich, with Di Mateo’s beaming face and Drogba’s verbose performance, speaking in, through, and out. Riefenstahl move aside. History being made. Through the codification of a trophy won, social life as irreducibility bubbles below. Cos its all about Chelsea being racist actually. Tired attempts to narrativise phenomena beyond the grasp of ‘think-pieces’ and sardonic cultural criticism, circulation and recirculation making – breaking – as raw desire is translated to public interest. But commodities can play.

dimatteotrophy_ap
Subterranean myths bearing out through chants, sedimented in re-presentations. Far beyond chronologies and public uses of finger-pointing ‘racist’ ‘sexist’. Reasoned arrogance, step aside bitte. History made and made again, produced and reproduced and failed subjects, failing at coherence, failing at politics, failing at becoming failing at codifying experience ‘speak for a moment’, circulating irreducible social forms beneath the market. Re-circulation as revolution. (Hobbes) Retrograde Copernicanism, Cruyffian totalities.
Total football, total late capital, total topographies disseminating the spirit
Recurrence as spectres return, spirit reassembled. Football as total contingency, determined continually to lose, post-war English through and through. And its Mourinho and Franco’s Furio, Van Gaal usurped, Guardiola in the wings, Wengerian banality

cruyff_turn-large_transnsmkfrkrkipwvipd9zwhtfeztrrnor_gbeaju43rwum

02-spain-211

 

II
Myths of Zidane, the Kabyle,  Sufi away from (ab)original, badawi
Mourinho, the Fascist and the Late Capitalist

We all start somewhere: Sat immersed in settee, spit flying HD. Zinedine’s sinews stretched, A 21st Century Portrait, its glossy animation of limbs articulated, wings jerking against Kantian clippings, imagining bodies beyond rusting imperial metropoles and their hematological-surplus, indebted the bare play, lifeblood and labour selling but not with full intent, inscriptions on the walls, piss dribbling, quotidian droll, and its footie! But the bits aint for show. Immediates ungraspable.

 

III


The myths run on.
The Portuguese did it.
The Africans it were,
diasporic warriors of a yester-
year you might say.
The French did it before of course,
Arabs and Africans,
this time round not quite.

And it was Cristiano Ronaldo’s show,
his eventual absence
spiriting the scuffling climax.
Traces of Cape Verde through
Madeira culturally trading-up with the black-
hybrids, postcolonials of another vanished era
Angola Mozambique Guinea-Buissau Sao Tome
and Principe peppered along
Ronaldo’s rippling body
stretching into moulding sovereignties,
Renato Sanches William Carvalho
Nani Ricardo Quaresma Pepe
Eliseu Joao Mario Danilo Eder, The Empire Strikes Back…

gilroy

 

What does this kind of juxtaposition in motion really inscribe,
where do we locate the bodily indulgence,
the passion of decomposition,
the beautiful game turned into the dirty great game
Ronaldo as world-historical icon
We were black radicals once, original hybrids
Originary facticity, literary utopia an image escaping away
IV

jose_mourinho2_1626709cCFT164 00797 001_59726457_por_salazar_reviews_troops_jose5leniriefenstahltriumphofthewill
So what does it mean when Jose Mourinho once grandly declared: ‘We are the Portuguese community’, the dark heart of the Thames spilling sweat. Louis XIV, of course, said about the same. Corporatist to the bone, his wife a Portuguese settler in Angola fled to acceleratingly-capitalist West London. Love/Hate don’t seem to do it justice. Neither does political denouncements. The invisibility of market rationale, or should we say Abramovich, Buck, Arsenon, Zahavi’s web of intransigence marking a juncture of sorts. Social life irreducible, right? What does that mean for Post-Communist stalwart Roman and Post-Fascist tactician Mourinho.

“Post-colonial Ronaldo”? Perhaps
V

stamps_of_germany_ddr_1978_minr_2293


And somewhere below the sovereign, a dancefloor.

“As to strategy, we learned in the struggle; some people think that we adopted a foreign method, or something like this. Our principle is that each people have to create its own struggle. Naturally, we have something to learn from the experience that can be adapted to the real situation of the country. But we bettered our struggle in the culture of our people, in the realities of our country, historical, economical, cultural, etc, and we developed the struggle, supported by our people which is the first and main condition: the support of the people.”

Amílcar Cabral
Principe Discos, a label, a movement slowly emerging out of Lisbon’s African estates, fast heady fizzing meditative abstracting black atlantic sound – Zouk Kizomba Kuduro RnB house all mediated against the background of culturalising global capital, a little enclave an overview could never do justice – in some of their own words:
“PRÍNCIPE is a record label based in Lisbon, Portugal.
It is fully dedicated to releasing 100% real contemporary dance music coming out of this city, its suburbs, projects & slums. New sounds, forms and structures with their own set of poetics and cultural identity.”

 

VI
So into the industrial beast we go, up into personified grief, Mancunian malcontents marauding – Pep and Jose. Managers and philosophers. Commodities and culture. The cotton millers residually dominant, virtually total. Cutting both ways, and cutting something out. The myths of victory archaic and the future critically written out the mouths of serious veritable football journos. Europe splintering, capital gesturing the siege. The siege of Lisbon as the siege in viewership, pubs all round, the siege slipping out, possible passions and critical intent.

Gods walk this earth, and they lose.

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220px-kali_by_raja_ravi_varma

 

VII [adze]
there is the fullness of ronaldo’s body and your disparate, ‘peppering’ words… maybe i am looking for more body? but maybe wanting to look for that body — a gathering up of ronaldo’s HD bodybuilding montage adverts — maybe that wanting is the space emanating from your writing (on page 2)

like, i almost want it to start with page 5 (/but commodities can play/, Recurrence as spectres return, spirit reassembled (beautiful!!)) and reorder the text… but surely i am wrong

general vibe:

a peppering of families, splintered into muscular separate bodies, shot down by bullets of dollar bills, strewn across a burning football pitch that is europe: resembling plastic bags billowing across the astroturf— is it a ball or is it rubbish, it is maurinho’s head, can you feel the beating of Roman’s helicopter, the beating around and out that is principe?

❤ ❤ beautiful.

 

VIII [disorient]

its always difficult to comment critically – maybe for the end you need to go to Lisbon in more depth – your journey, experience of the music, the dancefloor/club, –the empire striking back on Mourino’s homeland etc… Mourino going north of england — to the heart of the industrial empire — not sure — Portugal the in/out/ of europe, the place where is it all really comes home, on the edge, multiculture— no future of capital etc…capital to a different history, an outside inside europe…. just thinking aloud…. i think only needs a couple of more paras…