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Holopaw’s “Academy Songs, Volume I” is out via Misra Records.
http://holopawmusic.com / http://holopaw.tumblr.com/
Please check out our post about photographer Karlheinz Weinberger for one of the video’s historical references.
To state the obvious: this is not a review. I have no taste in music and I have no desire to cultivate a viable critical voice regarding musical authenticity, innovation or their less appreciated opposites. Planningtorock is always seductive and I am always easy. Instead, this is first a brief review of some the reviews of All Love’s Legal followed by a series of questions activated by the new subject, Jam, within the larger project of Planningtorock.
Samuel Tolzmann of Pretty Much Amazing manages to reduce the album to: “45 minutes of ‘Born This Way,’ only it’s also not very catchy.” Fair is fair. Jam borders an excessive amount of sloganeering within the album. Tolzmann grieves her inability to sell him the appeal of ending patriarchy (Trigger Warning: Total Dude Review). But I must say that thoughtful politics rarely stem from music. Emotional politics however, are fed by song and let us for a minute not value former or the latter, instead allowing them to simply be.
For me, the immaturity of these lyrics reflects beautifully the unimaginative present of gay politics and it’s hijacking of human rights dialogue. Reviewers of the album link it with the Sochi Olympics, exotic counties who punish homosexuality with death, and of course the more evolved Western “shift” away from “inhumane and outdated ideas around marriage.” Released within the same year the Associated Press Style Book declared that no human is to be described as illegal, All Love’s Legal must have a more layered intention than simply gay marriage… legality and love are never comfortable in bed together.
How, within the sweeping universality of Jam’s lyrics, can we only relate one singular image of a love that’s possibly illegal? From a gay perspective alone, aren’t there multiple forms of criminalized love? Sex work? Man/Boy? CHEMSEX? Public Cruising? Sero-discordancy? Anonymous monetary domination? Polyamory? Indeed, these are disparate examples but love exists in all of these places regardless the legal positioning of the Nation/State.
Isn’t the idea of a citizen put to death for being homosexual terrifying because it reflects the infinite capacity for violence within and by the Nation/State? A nation putting any citizen to death is the real horror. Isn’t the reading of love by the Nation/State inherently violent regardless homosexual inclusion because the Nation/State requires permanent otherness by its very nature? Doesn’t legal consideration eliminate and manipulate love?
Who is the ‘you’ Jam speaks to when she says “You can’t illegalize love?” I read it only as a statement to the Nation/State… it’s the only universal application of the lyric that aligns with her utopic message. Indeed the failure to hear anything but a gay agenda in this song, reiterates the lacking imagination regarding a stand against queer oppression in Russia: rather than challenging the laws of our own countries with the aim of making asylum and a path toward citizenship viable to persecuted Russians, we simply held slogan signs in our undies and staged kiss-ins. Challenging the path to citizenship works not only on behalf of queer Russians, but also Syrians and other victims of nationalist violence. Isn’t this equality our goal?
“Love is the one thing that gives life its purpose.” Planningtorock
When law and Nation fail us, love is supposed to sustain us. Are we criminal if it doesn’t? I believe many lives are given purpose outside of love. And love is a slippery slope. The struggle to cultivate, define and maintain measures of authenticity in one’s love life is its accompanying violence: She’s not in love, she’s having an affair. Look at the younger guy with his sugar daddy… he must just want his money. His wife was once a man so actually he’s gay right? Suddenly our most private ‘sustaining’ love-partner relationship brings everyone else’s private lives to be judged and labeled because our love must always be different, and better.
The globalized values of capitalism have fingerprints all over our love lives. We believe we invest in relationships, and that longevity inherently produces more. We believe our children owe us and our parents cheated us. Our friendships become banks of love to withdraw when needed, and store for later while we leave all other love transactions to clear their approval ratings.
Clearly a humanist politics of love as universal doesn’t digest well for me. And a genderless society sounds about as hopeless as believing we no longer have to ‘see race.’ But perhaps now somewhere there is a frustrated lonely teen jamming out in their room to these anthems of refusal. Gender is not just a lie in the scope of the world, gender has a very real gravity and violence in reality… but for a moment maybe our previous teen gender deviant selves would have relished such explicit and catchy belligerent refusals of reality.
Planningtorock’s “All Love’s Legal” is out via Human Level.
Expatriarch Radio has been running on a monthly basis since early 2010, collecting transgenre music selections with a queer-feminist focus, placing special emphasis on Berliner artists as well as international acts touring through Berlin. The 50th episode dropped last week, premiering new, unreleased cuts by Alexander Geist (produced by Snax), Rodeo and Perera Elswhere (in the form of a rRoxymore remix). It’s now streaming online at Expatriarch’s site (along with all past episodes).
The documentary “Sounds Queer” by filmmaker Dan Bal will previewed in conjunction with the Marry Klein event series at the Harry Klein club and the DOK.fest in Munich tonight. The film portrays the three Berlin based DJs Tama Sumo, Resom & Ena Lind and gives insights on their work and everyday live. For more information on the event please visit the clubs’ website or the event’s Facebook page (both in German), for an English summary of the film please check out its Vimeo page.
Video 2/5 from Black Cracker´s new album “Poster Boy”, out on Gully Havoc March 20th, 2014. Record release party at Prince Charles in Berlin on March 20th, with Black Cracker (live w/ band) + DJ sets by Planningtorock, Stimulus, Tokyo Hands, and more.
+++ Rodeo: “Final Light” +++
Yes, hip hop has seen a queer revolution in the last two years, and it was pretty exciting to see it happen. But unfortunately this shift had no actual effects on the gender balance in the hip hop business. It feels more like the opposite – while hip hop music performend by women was pretty successful in the late 90s/early 2000s with artists like Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, Eve or Foxy Brown, it is nearly invisible in today’s mainstream hip hop. But of course it’s not like there are no great female MCs out there. How big the gap is I realized when I started researching music for my DJ evenings at the Berlin based SISSY party, where only female hip hop and R’n B is played. Before the first gigs I actually believed that it would be a tough job find enough music by female artists to fill a 2-hours set. But I just needed to do my homework to find out how many amazing artists are there and how ignorant I have been, especially as someone who believes to have a feminist mindset.
It is really not my aim to re-establish the term “female hip hop” with the following list or claim that there is a new female movement, this is something my music journalist colleagues would do. But I really want to share the experience I made in the last few weeks, because it has changed my perception of what contemporary hip hop is like. Some of you might already know the following artists, because many of them have been around for a while. Please feel free to use the comment section to extend this list. For others I hope this list can be an inspiration to dig a little deeper and reconsider their hip hop listening habits. And happy International Women’s Day by the way.
Brooklyn based rapper Junglepussy is definitely one of the most exciting female MCs at the moment. Her style is weird, sexy and suberversive, her rhymes are bold and straight-in-your-face, her beats are as dark, hypnotic and might remind you of NYC rapper LE1F, who also works with with producer Shy Guy. After releasing two videos in 2013 and opening for Lil Kim at the WestGay party in June 2013, Junglepussy just recently has announced a debut album Satisfaction Guaranteed, which will released this month. Check out her Soundcloud page for the laid-back title track of the new record.
22-year old Brianna Perry from Miami has started her rap career at the age of 10, when rapper Trina featured here on the track “Kandi” from her 2002 album Diamond Princess. This caught the attention of Missy Elliot, who signed her to her label “The Goldmind Inc” and invited her to support her on tour. But due to “creative differences” Brianna resigned from her contract and since then has regularly been releasing free mixtapes, which are all still availale online. I especially recommend Symphony No. 9 from 2012 and Face Off from 2011. Her debut album Girl Talk is still TBC.
After the quick demise of Witch House and Sea-Punk’s losing its popularity, the deliberately trashy, overly emotional and teenage-y face of underground electronic music has surfaced. The new sub-genre combines an attitude of 90′s boy bands and Mariah Carey-y heartbrokenness, inspiration from adolescent love stories, video/computer/console games, basketball courts, imagery of tribal tattoos, roses and modified cars with processed or auto-tuned vocals and hip hop/dance music with strong ambient undertones and sometimes with a Latin American take.
Here is our picks of love-hurt boys and girls:
PALMISTRY – CATCH
Palmistry is a South London-based producer, who has worked with Triad God on his previous and upcoming releases. “Catch” is his first solo release from Mixpak Records.
E+E – FIRE GUTღ
E+E is a producer from Los Angeles releasing independently on Bandcamp.
YUNG SHERMAN – C2SL VOL. 5
Member of Gravity Boys, Yung Sherman hails from Stockholm.
SHLOHMO & JEREMIH – NO MORE
Not obscure at all, but WeDidIt Collective producers Shlohmo and Jeremih quite often answer to our description. “No More” is their freshly released collaboration.
ECCO2K – MIRAGE (Prod. by ALOEGARTEN)
ECCO2K and Alóegarten are also members of Stockholm based Gravity Boys.
o F F Love – EVERYDAY (PROBABLY LOVED)
Paris/Berlin based, bandana-bedecked o F F Love has a distinct ghostly and melancholic sound.
MERELY – HELIOTROPE (SUN ANGELS REMIX)
Merely from Gothenburg and Sun Angels from London meet on this dance track rework.