Klang Mix 004: Honowski's Unspooling, oder sich einen Film fahren

Mixed live by Honowski in Cologne on 26th March 2023.

Words from the artist:

This mix is inspired by the untranslatable German idiom "sich einen Film fahren", which is a mixed metaphor about "driving yourself a film", and is used to describe hallucinating, being entirely in the grip of your imagination, or following a wild idea. Can you spool yourself a film? See, it doesn't really work in English… Perhaps the closest word is ‘unspooling’, so you can call this mix that too.

The mix begins - as perhaps many things on Klang Mag do - with an online argument. In the middle of the pandemic I posted a comment on a certain online forum about my preference for wrongspeeding Coil records, specifically the one’s made under the influence of the dubplate culture of the early nineties. This comment did not go down well with some members of this forum. However, actually playing the ElpH records at the wrong speed sounds amazing, so that’s how the mix begins.

What never ceases to fascinate me about the late post-industrial period in British music in the nineties is how willing these so-called avant-garde artists were to engage with pop music and culture. On the one hand, this was influenced by the fact that their artistic community had actually managed to have pop hits in the eighties, while on the other it just reflects the radical openness of the best weirdo, out-there artists. Even Bernard Parmegiani soundtracked horror movies, after all.

Witch House is perhaps a more recent nexus for such contrary and coagulating impulses. The art school warehouse noise crowd meets trap producers on Ecstasy. While the cultural appropriation inherent in that scene always needs addressing, Witch House and its close cousin Vaporwave were - in the time it used to take to torrent a movie - then re-appropriated by artists like Lil B and the Goth Money crew. This then led to such trans-dimensional collaborations as Gangsta Boo and Sightless Pit, or Nick Weiss, Jacolby Satterwhite and Satterwhite’s mother’s release as PAT, both featured in this mix. Inspired by Satterwhite’s paintings - he has a great series influenced by Tricky - I have featured the Nearly God track Poems, with the late Terry Hall.

The magpie tendencies of Witch House are a clear but inadvertent prelude to the present playlist era. Music was being pirated so flagrantly and with such genius (see those SpaceGhostPurrp instrumentals) that it is little wonder that we have to re-learn to value our access to it. This mix is all vinyl, and I thoroughly encourage you to seek out all these records and play them so much you have to buy new copies. Analogue might not be necessary, but it is fun. That being said, the freedom inherent in playing records as wrong as you like can also be achieved by using CDJs or a DAW to make edits, so total sonic freedom is yours, whatever the format.

In this mix I have tried to apply the musique concrète toolkit by stitching together longer, abstract ambient passages with pop music. Something that Klein achieves with her own compositions on her truly radical LPs. But which are the tools here? Is it the vinyl sound objects? Are the segues between the ambient passages or the pop songs? Perhaps that’s what’s magic about telling stories with sound: the equivalences between quite opposing styles can bring about completely new meanings, and still remain coherent. Dream logic accepts form and incongruence reveals unconscious intentions. This show was made on a Sunday, and you can hear that in the softened textures and sleepy mixing. Sometimes it’s all about drifting.

The image above is from a recent video piece that I made for LALA Athens, entitled Custard, which was inspired by fragments of Gertrude Stein.

This is also the first Episode of the radio show Sonic Fictions on 674fm, it was recorded live in Cologne on 26th March 2023.