bush warfare 2006
liberation chabalala versus the war on terror
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2006. Halfway through the second term of Bush the second, and there are plenty of reasons to despair about the US war machine. The occupation of Iraq continues, and Iran finds itself in the crosshairs. Political debate in the US hobbles from one domestic scandal to the next, and mass media culture hardly reflects the fact that the US isin fact at war.
But stop for a moment and listen: since 2001 there has been a wave of material put out by American artists who want no part of the regime's overt aggression. And this music draws on a longer tradition of opposition to senseless war in the name of imperial expansion.
2006: the most exciting of avenues of music and sound research have begun to converge. The DJ mix has become more sophisticated as DJs replace turntables with laptops and digital audio workstations. Bastard pop and mash-ups give us previously unthinkable sound clashes, melding sometimes obscure pop culture references in ways that not only fill dancefloors but tell wry jokes about our hypermediated world. And the influence of appropriationist sound research like that of Negativland and John Oswald becomes more urgent as intellectual property debates continue to occupy the court rooms. With all these tendencies and resonances it is clear that the DJ mix/cut-up/soundklash is one of the most fertile places to engage with the links between popular culture and politics today.
BUSH WARFARE 2006 is militant cut'n paste soundklash, the bastard child of the war against piracy and the war against terror. In 80 minutes the mix samples more than 320 sources, most of them protests against the the new age of war and its most prominent leader. And yet this is only a tiny sampling of the wealth of anti-war material that has recently been recorded by musicians ranging from rock giants like John Mellencamp and the Rolling Stones to the internet only releases of anonymous folkies. Then there is a long history of films and music that have referenced war and terror in the context of US military interventions. The Apocalypse Now soundtrack, for example, is still probably the most vivid aural image of war ever produced, and the Rolling Stone's psychedelic ode to depression, Paint It Black, became an anti-war song by way of Full Metal Jacket. Amidst this sonic collective memory it was important to include our time's voices of conscience: Harold Pinter, Anundhati Roy, anonymous voices from indie-net broadcasts. And then there is the voice of Bush, recorded/remixed here in some of his most mashed-up moments.
March 2006, Atlanta GA)