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A quite readable article even if they leave out a chunk of how things developed between the time that Cosey took her kit off in an artistic way and the recent Nachtmahr-Combichrist-Adversary conflict. That stuff did not happen overnight, you know? There was a logical and fairly depressing development.

On Misogyny in Industrial Music"

Funnily enough, some of the arguments in this discussion match the constantly regurgiated discussion on "Nazis in Goth", particularly when it comes to the demand that an artist should step away from their work and comment on their actual opinions/thoughts on the matter in order to quell a possible suspicions. Laibach, as the article states, "hasn’t broken character in over 30 years of interviews" and still nobody seriously suggests they might actually be Nazis or calls for them to unambigiously distance themselves from the Nazis that attend their shows.
Death In June/Douglas P., on the other hand, has (admittedly reluctantly) stepped away from and commented on his work on occasion, as well as confronting fans that found the rainbow flag onstage incompatible with their political beliefs. Yet, his explanations are simply discarded as false excuses, his contradictions are seen as invalid/irrelevant and he remains the poster boy for Nazis in Neofolk. Frustrating!
YMMV on this, but IMHO there is nothing wrong with an artist presenting him/herself onstage as a baby-eating, this-that-or-something-else-hating, satanist monstrosity calling for death, destruction and eradication of this, that or something else. That stuff has worked well for decades in metal and it probably will remain popular. As long as they don't show the same attitudes off-stage as well, it's fair enough. (Or if they do, they have to live with the consequences. That is what distinguishes Varg Vikernes from Marilyn Manson.)
This approach requires the listener/fan to critically approach the material, though, to not raise their arm to a salute when the artist does. Think of "Tomorrow belongs to me" from "Cabaret". It is rousing and if it is staged well, you do want to join in and the moment you catch yourself wanting to salute, suddenly forced to face something dark inside yourself, is the moment when the magic happens.
Reaching this critical moment is hard, particularly if the artist in question has built a complete entity that almost entirely lacks any "cracks" to begin an analysis/deconstruction with. Laibach's "cracks" are things like their avantgarde past and their usage of seemingly innocent pop songs. It bewilders the listener, thus making him/her think.
Death In June, on the other hand, have been fairly consistent and "crack"-free since essentially becoming a one man show.
Zentriert Ins Antlitz's "Geschäftsfrau" drags you out on the dancefloor with its catchy beat and then faces you with a fairly tough conversation, which hopefully let's you hesitate for a second and go "Hang on, what am I dancing to? What have I been dancing to all night for that matter?"
(To be continued)
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There were actually people at the Agra handing out flyers saying: "Bats need no gasmasks" and "Schlauchköppe? Nein, danke!" ("Hose-heads? No thanks!") with a symbol of essentially "No cybers!" inbetween.
Now, I have no problem with cybers. It really isn't my cup of tea and I do greatly enjoy the fact that one can find many a industrial-disco in Berlin where one does not run the risk of having to listen to Combichrist et al. all night long, but as long as I know which clubs I have to avoid and which to frequent, it is all the same to me. I sometimes feel that, if you need a symbol for what has gone wrong in the "Gothic Scene" in terms of mainstream sexist bullshit suddenly being very prominent in it as well, the whole Cyber thing might be a prime candidate, but then maybe my experiences with equal-opportunity-moshing metalheads are not representative. (In related news, check this out.
Combichrist and Nachtmahr both also played WGT. Adversary was not invited. In terms of the responses, Andy Combichrist comes over quite reasonable in this. YMMV on his point of view but he seems to really take in and consider what is being said about him. Thomas Nachtmahr, on the other hand, comes across like a spoiled brat.)
In any case, on the one hand, I could not help but feel slightly impressed by the fact that some private individual actually felt strongly enough about "their" scene to go to all this effort, on the other hand, I obviously think that this is all pretty pointless and ill-considered.

One thing that impressed me in Leipzig and I guess that this must be a common experience is just how much visible the festival is all over the city and with how open a pair of arms all the "weirdos" are greeted with (Yes, yes, I know: lots of money). The feeling of pretty much every way a visitor wishing to express themselves being accepted and tolerated is quite impressive, even compared to Berlin.

For me, this was particularly notable during the neofolk and industrial concerts. In Berlin you get a fair few Haus Arafna and Crunchy Techno shirts but people tend to be hesitant when it comes to wearing much else. During the WGT there really is the whole range of band t-shirts and patches on display with nary an eyelid batted (outside Connewitz, but I suspect they don't want any goths or other outsiders in their area full stop). Quite besides the fact that the record stalls in the Agra sell a fantastic range of albums and merchandise. So much of my money was left there. :-D

WGT 2012

Jun. 1st, 2012 02:18 pm
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So, that's my first Wave Gotik Treffen over and done with. And on the whole, it was fab. We were lucky with the weather and there was rarely a concert or event where I did not know at least one person there. On the other hand, looking at the pictures and videos that other people shot, I occasionally get the feeling that they were at a different festival. But then, I tended to visit the more leftfield and less showy concerts.
There was shitloads that one could do and see and trying to do it all would probably be a rather futile effort. Personally, I was mainly there for the concerts although the Heidnische Dorf (Pagan Village) was visited on two occasions and used for perambulation and pigging out on fruit wine and roast pig (Mmmmh, Mutzbraten!). In hindsight, more could have been done in terms of socialising but on the other hand I was there with a group of friends who I saw a fair bit of anyway.

There will be another post on the issue of tolerance at the WGT soon but for the moment, I'll just give you a quick overview of the bands/concerts:

Les Jumeaux Discordant: Neo-classical, ambient industrial, ritual: Quite decent, I thought. Good enough to buy their CD, in any case.
Gallerie Schallschutz: Industrial. Okay, but nothing special.
Cut Hands: A side project of Whitehouse, only far less noisy and with a strong african beat. I've seen them before and was quite keen on seeing them again in a different setting. This is an act that IMHO really works far better live with background projection than on record. Are they trying to say something about the way that Africa and its inhabitants have been treated over the years or the way they are seen in Europe? Maybe, but if there was a message, I did not get it either time. This time round there was also a gogo-dancer on stage for two songs. I assume that she was supposed to look cheap, crass and uncoordinated, possibly to say something about popular culture in Africa. Maybe not.
In Slaughter Natives: On CD they may sound different, but live they were like a death metal band with the guitars substituted with ambient drones and noises. Quite good.

The Kuppelhalle of the Volkspalast is an ace venue, by the way, even though it really wasn't used to full effect this time round. The speakers should be directed into the dome or there should be a band without acoustic sound-sources taking advantage of the natural reverb. Where is Test Dept. when you need them? Or Apoptose with the Fanfarenzug Leipzig?

Minamata: frantic industrial noise with hints of breakcore and a well utilised back-projection. Definitely worth checking out.
Ex.Order: Much calmer industrial, a bit like power electronics without the aggression. Didn't really win me over.
Cent Ans de Solitude: This did. It was already a joy to watch that man set up with amplified metal things but it was even more of a joy to watch him elicit all kinds of sound from it. Back projection of industrial ruins and a performer who took the applause in an almost embarassed manner, as if he was surprised that people really enjoyed his music.
He had no sense of time-keeping though and had to be reminded by the stage manager that his time was up, something he ignored for a while until they started setting up the next band while he was still playing.
Which was a bit of a shame, as the next band was Thorofon, who except for one or two "hits" I found relatively forgettable and almost poppy. For my money, CADS should have just carried on.
And then came Brighter Death Now. What he produced in terms of sound was noisy and atonal but never really took off IMHO. What was far more of a problem, though, was that he was completely off his face, stumbling around the stage and taking occasional naps at the back of it. The stage manager had her hands full with him. She had also found it necessary to fill the orchestra pit with all the security personnel they had at their disposal staring at the audience. Presumably this was in order to prevent anybody from taking a shot at Mr. BDN (an idea which must have occured to a few people) but it also added wonderfully to the aggressive atmosphere. Possibly all of this was just an act to antagonize the audience, and if it was, it worked. All in all, a memorable but unsatisfying experience.

Solblot (Swedish Folk): This one I did not watch but only listen to from the hall. There is nothing wrong with it, it's very pleasant and ticks all the boxes but at the same time it's nothing special.
Vurgart (German Neofolk) Do you like Sonne Hagal? Then you might like this. It's essentially a side-project of some SH-people, slightly more rock-orientated. Meh!
Ain Soph (Italian Rock): They were okay but I was always hoping for them to become more industrial/noisy/ritual, which they never did, hence I felt disappointed. Maybe I should give them a second chance on CD. This was rock, plain and simple.
Gnomoclast and Luftwaffe were essentially the same band in terms of people involved, both playing more or less neofolk. I slightly preferred Luftwaffe, as they had a bit more power towards the end. And noisy elements.
Derniere Volonte (french military pop): More than decent, especially in light of the less-than-ideal show I saw at New Year but they are becoming more and more of a synth-pop band with each release, which sadly also means they are becoming more generic and less satisfying.

At this point I started to suspect that I just wasn't in a neofolk mood and would probably not enjoy Of the wand and the moon, so I relocated to the big Agra Hall and watched Diary of Dreams. Which was pretty good, a rock concert putting me in mind of my teens, slightly cheesy but very well done. And there were pyros! :-D I rocked my little socks off and had a bloody good time doing it.

Subheim and Legion I didn't really see. I was too late for the first and too bored by the latter. This is not to say that they weren't good, just that I really wasn't in a mood for electronic drone industrial then.
Bad Sector did something similar but with more of a noise/glitch slant and an interesting back projection.
Tzolk'in did something similar to Cut Hands but used live tribal drums and a more melodic basis. I think there was something about the Mayan Apocalypse that they tried to communicate but the music would have been good without it, too. Think a chill-out version of Winterkälte.

Download/Dead Voices on Air: Techno/IDM with some abstract elements and distorted vocals once DVOA entered (after about an hour). I like DVOA and I like Skinny Puppy but this left me mostly cold.

Näo: Best new discovery of the festival in my book. Beat-orientated electronic music with krautrock/shoegazer influences. Had me and the Kuppelhalle bouncing in no time and left us literally screaming for more.


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