DETAINEES ON MANUS ISLAND & XIL - @MANUSALERT (FST013)

@ManusAlert is an outsider electro track. It features text from migrants who are held in camps on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Australian government.

@ManusAlert will be released under a Creative Commons non-commercial licence. It will also be for sale on Bandcamp. All the money received from Bandcamp sales will be donated to buy mobile phone credit for migrants imprisoned on Manus Island and Nauru (giftsformanusandnauru.org.au/mobile-phone-credit/)

The following text explains the motivation behind the release:

The liberation of the Manus Island detainees is not a moral issue. It’s a question of my own liberation, and yours.

In November 2017 I learned of the existence of a group on the Telegram messenger app called @ManusAlert. Here, to a crowd of around 600 followers, detainees in the Manus Regional Processing Center in Papua New Guinea documented their suffering, the violence they experienced, their hope and despair. Their detention was a consequence of the Australian government’s decision to exile migrants arriving by sea to distant islands, so as an Australian passport holder, I felt uniquely responsible.

The Manus Regional Processing Center had already officially closed by the time I discovered @ManusAlert and in late November, “Operation Helping Friends” was implemented by PNG immigration and police. @ManusAlert was full of reports of violence and humiliation in the forced relocation of around 600 men to alternative camps.

The sense of helplessness was magnified by the medium with which these men shared their stories: a world away, my phone glowed in the grey murk of late Autumn, my fingers slid across the screen to witness yet more abuse and dehumanisation. To close this distance, and so that these days in November would not be banalised by the passing of time. I copied @ManusAlert into a text-to-speech synthesiser, and it became the backbone of an outsider-electro protest song.

Early in 2018, I returned to Australia. Over time, I have become convinced that only through dismantling borders can the cruelty practised on Manus Island and in other migrant prison camps be stopped. No-one that I spoke to in Australia argued against the notion of open borders, but many looked away without answering. Almost all felt that conditions on Manus Island are appalling, but they could only contemplate allowing this particular group of migrants entry into Australia, and not necessarily the next, or any that followed.

The reasons this shift is hard to contemplate has to do with fear. There is a fear that systems will collapse – social security, democracy, the environment – under the weight of so many human beings. There is the fear that cultural values like democracy, women’s rights and the rights of LGBTQ+ people will not be respected by incoming migrants.

Although these fears rest on racist stereotypes about people who choose to travel from the lands of their birth without the requisite passport, income or skin colour, it is true that open borders will bring about immense upheaval. Yet the rise of the far right within fortress Europe shows that these rights are not given even without open borders. I do not feel especially secure as a trans person when my rights are siloed within the borders of a paranoid nation-state.

So long as people desire to move from one land to another, there can be no avoiding the question of open or closed borders. A country can have a very “tolerant” policy towards people termed “refugees”, but so long as a border exists, the will to enforce this border will trump tolerance whenever growing numbers of people are willing to circumvent that border. In this situation, a society has to harshen its enforcement of the border to counteract the desire to cross that border, or else make life unliveable within the nation-state for people who migrated without permission. Examples can be seen in Europe from Italy all the way to Sweden. No matter how humane a society is, any border that it erects implies a potential no man’s land, clad in barbed wire. Or it manifests in an island prison camp in Papua New Guinea, a Centre for Identification and Expulsion in Rome, or a velodrome in Paris filled up with “foreign” Jews.

Though it is not the only factor in totalitarianism, a national community determined by a territorial border always has the potential to metamorphose into something authoritarian, violent and racist when it encounters large numbers of non-citizens, refugees, or stateless people. Volume II of Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism shows how the response of European nations to refugee flows, and the denial of rights to the stateless prepared the ground for the denial of rights to all that would come in the form of Nazism and fascism.

As such, confronting the 1930s mood in this second decade of the 21st Century demands a commitment towards open borders. This will be challenging on the scale of tackling climate change and dismantling neoliberal economics, two seemingly intractable problems interlaced with the question of open borders. It will take decades of work on a grassroots level and will require the expansion of human empathy. Above all, it will demand a massive act of dreaming to determine what kinds of political communities are possible after the nation-state has finally been discarded. The liberation of the Manus Island detainees is not a moral issue. It’s a question of my own liberation, and yours, and the survival of civilisation.

Text: Detainees on Manus Island
Music: XIL


XIL - Cognitive Dissonance (FST012)

Cognitive Dissonance is the first solo release from Berlin producer XIL, of the electro-performance duo HYENAZ. The two-track single, despite its foreboding title, is a forcefield of cosmic electronica.
The title track is built around a mallet riff that cycles in rounds. There is warmth present, generous bass, deep saturated strings but coldness as well, the sound of grinding glass tuned into a melancholy melody. Emerging from the mist, a lonely pitched down vocal croons longingly.
Esoteric Urn is a prayer delivered over a waxy, grit-speckled bassline. High hats sizzle as if on fire, a siren like synth rises and falls over an organic horizon.
Written and Produced by XIL.
High Definition Mastering by Bartłomiej Kuźniak @ studio333.net


KALA - Origin (FST011)

www.facebook.com/KALAofficialUK/

KALA, which in Hindi means the ability to perform in art, is a collaboration between close friends Purvi Trivedi originating from Mumbai, India and Veslemøy Rustad Holseter hailing from Grinder, Norway. The duo met through mutual friends in 2010 whilst studying at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Trivedi, a Sound Technology student at the time and Rustad Holseter a Music student quickly formed a deep friendship over common interests and shared musical influences. In late 2012, the electronic duo ‘KALA’ was born drawing inspiration from artists such as The Knife, Bjork and Grimes. With Rustad Holseter’s diverse vocals and synths, expanding from soft to harsh and guttural, mixed with Trivedi’s otherworldly sound design, pulsating beats and production – KALA has been described as a mix of dark avant-garde electronica, tribal beats and eastern mysticism producing a mesmeric musical spell full of subtle drama.

Their debut release ‘ORIGIN’ is a conceptual album exploring the various layers of human behaviour with each track showcasing a primitive emotion and its complexities such as: Escapism, anger, friendship, childhood, ego, fantasy, sexual desire and falling in and out of love.

Currently living in London and Berlin respectively, Trivedi and Rustad Holseter maintain a strong connection and friendship and are excited to release their self-produced debut album ‘ORIGIN’ on Berlin-based Record Label Freudian Slit, August 2016.

The album features remixes by XIL (xil.one) and RUI HO (soundcloud.com/ruiho).

All Music Written, Programmed and Produced by KALA.
Lyrics and Vocals by Rustad Holseter.
Mixing and Mastering by Trivedi.
Album Artwork by Jose William Vigers.


TUSK - Translocation (FST010)

Translocation, in genetic terms, occurs when information on one chromosome moves onto another, or chromosomes trade information, resulting in a corrupted, mutated copy of the source material.

Translocation, in spiritual terms, is used to describe a host of experiences that challenge the consensus reality model of three dimensional space and of objects and beings moving in one direction along an additional time axis. Out of body experiences, UFO abductions and psychic communication – all of these phenomena count as forms of translocation.


Released January 29, 2016

Music composed and mixed by TUSK
Artwork by TUSK based on a photograph by Claudia Kent www.claudiakent.com


TUSK - LESBIAN VAMPIRES (FST009)

Lesbian Vampires is a psychedelic paean to impossible love and the weight of desire. The EP’s synthpop soundscape echoes the Moroder/Bowie collaboration for Cat People, with sharp, reverb-heavy snares ringing out over uterinal basslines while TUSK’s whispering, calling and chanting intersects with haunting synthesiser leads.


HYENAZ - HYENAZ (FST008)

HYENAZ are one, defiled and immaculate, their androgynous flesh quivering on the thin edge between the digital and the divine. They believe that all beings and matter are intrinsically connected, that we can choose utopia over dystopia, that time is an illusion. The album is written as an infinite circle. An electro-symphony, it is composed not track by track, but as a whole, adapting sounds and samples from around the world and influences from across time.

Spotify / iTunes / Bandcamp


MAD KATE | THE TIDE - WILL BE READY (THE TEUFELSBERG SESSION) (FST006)

“Will Be Ready” comprises droney soundscapes recorded live in the former CIA spy-station Teufelsberg on West Berlin’s outskirts, which now existing only as an immaculate echo chamber. For anyone who has been there, the sight of the giant sphere emerging from pristine forests sticks deep, a fading monument to the human urge to dominate other human beings through knowing. In light of the PRISM scandal, the question lingers, what on earth do these agencies actually want with all the data they collect on us. What do they expect to make of it?

Vocalist Mad Kate fills this cold war relic with the minute detail of human thought, emotion and experience. With more than an echo of the Cocteau Twins‘ Elizabeth Frazer, Mad Kate calls out sentences, words, fragments and moans that depict mourning and loss, freedom and fantasy, while The Tide fills the space with guitar scrapes and chords repeated endlessly into infinity.

With “Will Be Ready”, Mad Kate |  The Tide have transformed Teufelsberg – once a vast data-collecting machine – into a human mind in all its creaky complexity. The EP is a reminder that no matter how much data they collect, information is not knowledge and that even in this information-obsessed era, something of the human mind remains sacrosanct.

More on Mad Kate | The Tide:

Together, the Tide on guitar, loops, electronics and Mad Kate singing, speaking and screaming and moving—grace the stage and touch their audience as they practice ALIVEness: queering our self-understanding in a global context in order to be more effective activists and global citizens. http://tideofsound.net/mad-kate-the-tide/


TUSK - SACRIFICE (FST004)

‘Sacrifice’ is an epic space opera threaded through the rising drones and beats of 1980s and 90s synthdance.
Armed with haunting vocals and synth melodies, TUSK is a dance floor renegade with beats fit for the runway and an escapist sci-fi fantasy bringing, love, sex and desire to the outer limits of this cold universe.

Fusing together a disco rave swagger with the dark arts of a black magic, ‘Sacrifice’ inhabits the nexus point between Xiu Xiu, John Foxx and Kate Bush. The hooks are indelible; the dislocated melodies and beats blast across the spectrum from acid house to future pop, new-wave to rave. ‘Sacrifice’ is danceable music for an age staring into the apocalypse, synths married with science fiction; lipstick shine under blacklights.

Buy it here: Spotify / iTunes / Amazon


MEZ MEDALLION - MOVE TOWARDS THE LIGHT (FST003)

Mez Medallion creates Indie/Synthpop that is uniquely exhilarating, cathartic and charismatic. From aching vocals on a bed of drum machines, euphoric synths & lo-fi psyched-out guitar to 80s new wave shimmer & 90s alt. pop – MM’s bold and uncompromising vision recreates the songs and sonic landscapes that swim deep in his dreams.

Imagine Cornelius working with New Order, The Knife & David Bowie and you’re getting close.

Late 2012 saw the release of Mez Medallion’s debut album, ‘Move Towards The Light’, accompanied by a series of brilliant videos & singles. The album, out through Berlin collective Freudian Slit, was launched at a sold out show in Berlin followed by a tour of Australia & Japan.

A desire for anonymity and solitude, and to push his creative muse to the edge, drew Mez Medallion (AKA Melbourne, Australian born Joshua Teicher) to the nocturnal engine of Berlin. The last 12 months has seen him honing his live show in the clubs & warehouse parties that make the city famous, plus shows and tours of France, Portugal, Iceland, Poland and Germany, and supporting Sub Pop folkers Husky on the German leg of their European tour.

On stage, Mez Medallion has been likened to Prince, Blood Orange, Iva Davies (Icehouse) & James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) as he fronts the 3 piece live incarnation of the music. Keytars, synths & drummachines abound as he jumps on and off the stage with a nostalgic croon and a guitar strapped to his body, soloing obnoxiously in the audience, leading singalongs and together the band build an hip shaking electro wall of sound.


V - V (FST002)

Breathlessly dark, strangely uplifting debut album from V.

With a voice like the later Marianne Faithfull, Berlin’s priestess of dark-pop rings out bass lines that belie her grunge and punk roots. With broken beats and rich layers of synths by TUSK.