November 21, 2004

some ppl dye their hair pink and pick sexy sulky indie as their topic

(Well, Mark, (1) I plead guilty to the hair dye (2) Mark Stewart is certainly tres sexy (3) but indie - indie? By the seeting void of uttunul, surely As the Veneer couldn't be classed as 'indie'?

A highly successful day at NTN 2 yesterday. Ray and Andy should be congratulated for making it happen.

Anyhow, here's my presentation:




Orwell is wrong about everything, but especially 1984.

Far from being the year of zombie-drone enforced consensus, GB 1984 was a class war zone in which multinational Kapital’s paramilitary-police crushed the remnants of organic workerism live on videodrome.

Such staged antagonism is a necessary phase in the pacification program that will culminate in apparently triumphant Kapital’s End of History.


The reassuring non-hum of the noise free polis at the end of time.

Tony’s smile.

Blair is a much more effective class warrior than it was possible for Thatcher and Macgregor to be.

Their efficacy was limited by Then Kapital’s need for them to be seen fighting the class war.

No need for Tony to fight.

To not fight is to have won.

It’s all administration now.

Systemic antagonism is just a bad memory.

Turn up the TV.

Bunker down in your burrow.

Retune the guitars.

Return to harmony.

Welcome to Liberty City.

The busier you are, the less you see.



Mark Stewart’s As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade was the political-libidinal intensive soundtrack to ‘battle for the hearts and minds’ fought between Kapital and its enemies GB circa 84-85.


Seven years since Stewart began his anti-career as teen-Nietzsche Artaud Debord communist shamanic-firebrand hysteric-screecher in the Pop Group.

Stewart’s journey since the dissolution of the Bristol f-punk kollektive takes him through Adrian Sherwood mega mashed hyperdub and into an encounter with US hip hop.

He immediately appreciates that hip hop is not a street music but non-musique abstrakt: a site of pure sonic potential, in which inhuman constructivist sound cartoons can be produced without reference to musical protocols of any kind.

It’s all sound FX, a way of manipulating noise.

Hyper-modernism. The sonic equivalent of the Burroughs-Gysin cut-up.

A contact of Sherwood’s leads to the most improbable of meetings. UK non-singer and sound-deranger Stewart plugs into the super-slick behind-the-scenes NYC p-funk machine responsible for the grooves on the pioneering hip hop 45s released by Tommy Boy and Sugarhill.

Component parts:


Keith Leblanc. Beat machine producer of ‘Malcolm X: No Sell Out’. He can program drum machines to make them sound like packs of dogs.

doug wimbish.jpg

Doug Wimbish. Supertaut hypertechnicized Hendrix of bass.


Skip McDonald. Synthesizer manipulator and reaper-rider of Psychedelic-funk ax storms.

Sherwood and Stewart take their already inhuman grooves and subject them to further layers of dissonant anti-musical editing, interpolating Burroughs vocal samples from Nova Express and other deliberately ciphered media background noise, machining an anti-communicational libidinal signal that takes you behind the screens to access the Real news.

Apocalypse Now.


As the veneer of democracy starts to fade, some say the internment camps are already built.

When the mask of civility comes off and the visors go on, the contours of the New World Order become apparent.


The destruction of the Miners - and with them the wrought-iron ruins of the postwar consensus - was only the most media-visible of the pacification strategies Kapital was deploying, and in many ways the least significant.

The important thing was to prepare the way to Transnational cyberspace Kapital Now, when all dissent is pathologized if it is not made literally unthinkable.

‘Sterezene, thorazine and lagactyl’ administered under the Mental Health Bill subdue political prisoners re-assigned to psychiatric wards.

Narco- neuroticisation as the re-imposition of a simulated Reality Principle shoring up Kapital against its virtual limit in Planetary Schizoprenia.

You don’t have to be mad to work here.

Restrict your demands to the what is possible.

Find your way back to your dormitory.

Privatize your misery.

Struggling to pay the rent, the main worry’s job security.

Now and then, we can afford a little luxury.



If the aim is to disseminate information, why all this noise?

Why the distortion, the deliberately buried voices, why all the half-heard insinuations, the audio-hallucinatory fragmentation, the wired-up screams?

Why not communicate clearly?

Because clear communication - and all it presupposes - is the fantasm the system projects as its vindication and necessarily always-deferred goal.

‘The big Other … stands for the field of common sense at which one can arrive after free deliberation; philosophically, its last great version is Habermas’s communicative community with its regulative ideal of agreement.’ (Zizek)

The noise free polis.

We are told:

Only when the noise of antagonism recedes will we be able to hear each other.

Only when we take out the background static will human speech be possible.

Police yourself and there will be no need for the use of batons.

Intoxicate yourself and we will not sedate you.


Stewart’s disassembly of his self through noise is a refusal of the Foucault biocops and Burroughs control addicts that operate first of all at the level of the skin and the CNS, enticing-inciting you to constitute yourself as an internally coherent driving ego.

Stewart treats his own voice not as the authentic expression of a subjective interiority, but as a series of lab animal howls, enraged yelps and impersonal intensities to be cut up and redistributed across the noise-hyperdubscape, mixed indifferently with Duchamp-found-sounds and noises produced by viciously distorted formerly musical instruments.

Identity breakdown through the amplification of noise as an exploding flight from harmony at all levels: psychic, social, cosmic.




Always take O’Brien’s side against Winston Smith and Julia.

There is nothing natural, and human biosocial defaults are always to be distrusted.

If you want to get out, leave all that mammal couple shit behind.

Stewart is one of Burroughs’ most assiduous readers.

It is not a matter of emulation but of the deployment of abstract engineering diagrams in different media.

Position As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade as the terminus of the Burroughs-saturated UK Underground delineated by Nuttall in Bomb Culture.


‘Hypnotized’ plays like the ‘I Love You’ section from The Ticket that Exploded,
Burroughs’ most pitilessly hilarious dissection-analysis of the bio-psychic sex-love control virus as preprogrammed biological film, sentimental mooning croon-tunes spliced in with hardcore pornography and replayed like video-drome in your CNS, ensuring-exacerbating constant craving.

‘All the tunes and sound effects of “Love” spit from the recorder permutating sex whine of a sad picture planet: Do you love me? - But I exploded in cosmic laughter - Old acquaintances be forgot? O darling just a photograph?’ (Ticket that Exploded, 44)

Heaven must be missing an angel



She’s got me hypnotized.

Stewart’s cut-ups of onstructivist-brutalist funk with saccharine lovesongs already anticipate the way in which Kapital’s tungsten-carbide stomach will metabolize hip hop’s hyper-abstraction and use it as the dominant consumer seduction soundtrack from the 90s till now.


The data-content of Stewart’s rant-reports is nothing astonishing.

7% of the population own 84% of the wealth.

Parasites.. The great banking families of the world… Bastards…

Are these the words of the all-powerful boards and syndicates of the earth?

The point is not to tell you something new but to reprogram your nervous system.

Control works by reducing the reality of systemic antagonism to a mere belief.

A track like ‘Bastards’ is a very precise anti-Control weapon.

It is a rage-inducer designed to make beliefs affective, whereas Control PR conciliates and normalizes.

Control PR plugs the gaps, emolliates, quietens, makes confrontation and exploitation unthinkable without denying their reality as such.


Like John Heartfield collages, Stewart’s crude sonic splices amp up the distortion and the violence.

The situation is not under Control

They are not protecting you

It is war


And so are you


Don’t confuse the working class with the proletariat.

Thatcher inhibits the emergence of the proletariat by buying off the working class with payment capital and the promise of owning your own Oed-I-Pod. The comforts of slavery.

She gives the replicants screen memories and family photos.

So that they forget that they were only ever artificial, factory farmed to function as the Kapital-Thing’s self-replicating HR pool, and begin to believe that they are authentic human subjects.

The proletariat is not the confederation of such subjectivities but their dissolution in globalized k-space.

The virtual population of nu-earth

Total recall of all the noise

Lyotard describes the hysterization of a worker’s ear when it is subjected to the unprecedented noise of Industrial-Kapital’s reproduction: the incessant sonic violence of a 20,000 hz alternator.

The heroism of the proletariat consists not in its dignified resistance to the inorganic-inhumanity of the industrialization process - ‘there is no libidinal dignity, nor libidinal fraternity, there are libidinal contacts without communication’ (Libidinal Economy 113) - but in its mutative Duchamp-transformation of its body into an inhuman inorganic constructivist machine.


As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade is a sonic machine for accelerating the process. An anti-Oedipal, anti-neurotic, anti-quitest, pro-proletarianizing noise weapon. Anti-video-drome signal.

Jack it into yr CNS and play.

Posted by mark at November 21, 2004 10:58 AM | TrackBack