subota, 5. siječnja 2013.

Hacker Farm - UHF (2013)

Dva luđaka na farmi namještaju stari radio-prijemnik i hvataju emisije koje posada NLO-a rutinski šalje izravno u umove nesvjesnih ljudi.

Psihotroničko audio hakiranje, farmerski punk s elementima musique concrète, ambijentalna muzika za mužnju krava, procesuirana predindustrijska muzika, ruralna Gabba.

Hacker Farm are a Somerset collective of experimental electronic mavericks who have been raising all the right eyebrows lately with their spooky glitchtronic pastoral weirdness. In my haste to listen to all the other records I actually missed out on last year’s debut, but their new offering ‘UHF’ has sucked me right in to their demonic psychotronic soundworld.
The textures on this mysterious CD range from the creaking, pulsating dark electronic ambience of ‘Burlington’, full of chilling drips and drones and a spooky speech sample, to layered, looping, haunted industrial dance numbers that sound like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop haunted by the malevolent future ghosts of Pye Corner Audio and Factory Floor. In ‘The Death Of The Real’ there’s a sheet-metal drone and deconstructed samples which bring to mind Throbbing Gristle and the dysphronic dreadscapes of Decimus.
Everything is broken, patched together, partially obscured, constantly slipping just beyond your grasp, and it has quite an intoxicating effect. Amidst the lo-fi chaos there’s all manner of distractions rattling around and you’ll still be noticing new things several listens in. Messed up ear drugs for adventurous sound hounds. - Norman Records

There's a word for this stuff. Paramusicology, maybe. Psychotronic audio. It's like two nutters on a farm in the wilds -- which isn't so far from the truth -- got an old radio to tune into the flight deck of a UFO while it committed low-level strafing runs on the minds of the Western world. It is pulsing and alien and lovely, and I haven't heard anything like it all year. - Warren Ellis

Hacker Farm: UHF – review

Farmer's markets and folk festivals be damned – Hacker Farm's vision of the British countryside is a far less comfy thing

kek-w and stephen ives of hacker farm
A kind of anti-Mumford and Sons … Hacker Farm
Electronic musical collectives come no more intriguing than Hacker Farm. Their second album arrives with a cover featuring what looks like a blurred CCTV still of a car abandoned in a field. Inside the CD booklet are more blurred pictures, some crudely Photoshopped to include the Hacker Farm logo – based on that of Hewlett Packard – one featuring a piece of electronic equipment that appears to have been partly fashioned out of a late-1980s carphone. The latter fits with a brief statement on their website, amid YouTube appearing to suggest that, when not making records, Hacker Farm have a sideline in making scrumpy. The statement winningly describes their sound as "carboot electronics … a celebration of the homemade, the salvaged and the hand-soldered. DIY electronics performed on obsolete tech and discarded, post-consumerist debris." A recent feature in The Wire magazine depicted some other examples of what that might encompass: on visiting the trio's HQ – an abandoned horticultural nursery in Somerset that is also home to a miniature pony – their photographer found speakers made from watering cans and rusting milk churns, a synthesiser built out of a jerry can, circuit-bent children's toys, and the Lunchcaster, a guitar made out of a lunchbox.
On the evidence of UHF, the noise all this reclaimed debris makes is deeply disquieting and utterly compelling. Occasionally, it sounds like dance music that's been left out in the open to corrode and rot: the rhythm track of Grinch is somewhere between old-fashioned hardcore and the chattering synthesisers of a Patrick Cowley disco track, but it keeps stopping and jarring and lurching out of time, as if there's something terribly wrong with the equipment; there's a noise that sounds like a split-second of funk guitar coursing through the static and ghostly melodies of Deterritorial Army; the opening of Konrad features a kind of warped, burbling acid line. More often, it slips whatever moorings it has in dance music entirely, and ventures into the unknown. The results evoke the countryside, but not as a bucolic idyll or even a dark, mythic place where an unsettling pagan history lurks beneath the surface (something their Taunton-based associate IX Tab explores to remarkable effect on his album Spindle and the Bregnut Tree). Instead, it paints a picture of country life quite unlike anything else in current music: harsh, mechanised and poverty-stricken, forgotten in an era that tends to concentrate on urban deprivation, facing an uncertain future. The overall tone is grippingly ominous, the rhythm tracks clank and whirr like rusting machinery, buffeted by severe elemental gusts of synthesised noise.
Hacker Farm's ethos of making, as their website puts it, "broken music for a Broken Britain" feels particularly potent given the current media vogue for bunting-strewn, cupcake folksiness. The pastoral world of Hacker Farm is not a cheery, aspirational arcadia of slow food, artisanal craftsmen, organic farmer's markets and festivals organised by Alex James and visited by the prime minister. "We reject your hollow spectacle," offers a dead-eyed voice on One Six Nein, as a weirdly perky eight-bit video game melody is submerged beneath waves of crackling noise. "We reject your so-called culture." Indeed, while it clearly wasn't their intention, Hacker Farm represent a kind of anti-Mumford & Sons, a sharp, electronic rural retort to the tweed-clad, sepia-hued faux-folk hootenanny. What they do is certainly homespun – music made on synthesisers built out of jerry cans and discarded children's toys can't really be anything else – but there's nothing quaint or whimsical about it. The musical results of Hacker Farm's craftsmanship are angry and confrontational, extremely powerful, punkish (something roughly approximate to the riff from the Stooges' I Wanna Be Your Dog crops up during Deterritorial Army) and frequently terrifying: it's a bold or foolish soul indeed who choses to listen to a track like Hinckley Point on headphones in the dark.
UHF isn't, as you may have gathered by this point, the easiest of listens, although it's worth noting that as bleak and eerie and difficult as their sound is, it's also weirdly enveloping and captivating. Once you find a way into their world, you lose yourself in it, and it's harder to find a way out than you might imagine. There's certainly nothing else quite like it out there: UHF is a musical statement as potent, you suspect, as that homebrewed cider of theirs.

According to Kek-w (who also blogs here): "Hacker Farm work with redundant hardware, circuit bent toys, archaic software and hand soldered electronics. Where possible, they try to use obsolete media such as Betamax, floppy disks and shortwave radio. Hacker Farm are all about self empowerment and the in-the-moment magic of The Noise Jam; the notion that opening yourself up to the unfamiliar – engaging with The Now through novel, self-sustaining creative activity – is itself an act of low tech insurrection. A way of short circuiting 'The Spectacle'.
Hacker Farm's debut album Poundland (and its antimatter twin, the 10 x 1.4mb floppy disk pack) is a trawl through the cultural detritus of broken, ConDem Britain, sketches of a society in slow motion economic free fall. Improvised electronic music retooled as social critique."
Poundland is reviewed by Sam Davies in The Wire 329 and is out now on Hacker Farm

((Poundland uses salvaged CD jewel-cases. This is part of our aesthetic rather than laziness or a laissez-faire attitude towards our work; we try to re-use found materials wherever possible – even the jiffy-bags used to mail stuff out are recycled, rescued from bins, etc. We try not to send out CD cases that are cracked or badly scuffed (though occasionally one might slip past the quality-control department), since people have a certain level of expectation about the quality of objects that they purchase and we try not to step too far over the line or take the mickey in that respect.
So, we thought we would try and briefly explain the relationship between our ethos, the production-process used to package Poundland and the pseudo-2nd-hand ‘look’ of this album, as they all kinda fold into one another. The aestetics are a deliberate thing, rather than accidental ‘shoddiness’. Still, we do have plenty of jewel-cases laying around that are cracked, scratched, badly scuffed or have remnants of price-label glue on them, so…if you would prefer a 2nd-hand CD-case that exhibits a, uh, higher level of ‘predefined distress’ then please let us know and we’ll be happy to send you a uniquely-damaged edition.))

 “Poundland” is a CD collection of processed Pre-Industrial Music, Milking-Parlour Ambient, Junk-Shop Drone, Farm Punk Concrète and Rural Gabba. Mostly improvised live-to-disk, plus a couple studio-built pieces.
Yours for Five Quid (includes postage to any Google-confirmed Earthbound location. Mythical destinations, lost cities, parallel dimensions, etc are extra. Sorry.)

Some reviews / pieces on Poundland:

 Hacker Farm’s other album, a ten floppy disk set, isn’t likely to find many homes but in our one-click-and-pilfer culture, making music that’s inaccessible to virtually everyone is quite a statement. And on the strength of Poundland, I’d imagine the contents are as intriguing as the conceit. This, as their manifesto puts it, is “Broken music for a Broken Britain”, cobbled together from (commonly deemed) obsolete technology and instruments home-made from “post-consumerist debris”. In breathing new life into the lost and discarded, Yeovil bloggers Kek-W and Farmer Glitch seem to have awoken an anger within them: when machine blips and bleeps cut through Poundland‘s persistent pulsing noise they indicate only faults and alarm. Something’s gone very wrong indeed. Elsewhere squawking birds circle and clockwork toys whir and spin out of control. All the while, heavy low-end machinery clunks and lurches zombie-like towards who knows what. Maybe it’s heading for the high street or the Houses of Parliament. Titles like “Khaos Hospital” and “Austerity Measures” let you know they’re grinning as they stagger too. It’s all too rare that ‘noise’ records come laced with political purpose or a satirical edge, making HF’s glorious scavenger sound all the more precious. Every bit as entertaining as it is horrifying. - Andrew @ The Liminal

rejoice! this is a celebration: of the obsolete. of the broken. of detritus. of things discarded. but found and rehomed and nurtured back to life. of junk remade, recontextualised, reformed. an electric parade of that which was dead brought back to life. s’fucking zombie tech spewing out machine noise and west country creole. not so much ttx trance and reawakening as a lurid green injection of herbert west’s re-animator juice.
listened to poundland for a whole morning before realising it hadn’t burned properly from the cd. some of which i’m tempted to post. harsh stuttering glitch. android funk. like when you stick on a label-less 7” and you don’t know what speed the fucking thing plays but goddammit it don’t matter coz whichever way you look or listen it still sounds like sound. and hell it’s recognisable as something. hear what you want.
political in it’s own wyrd way. punk like, y’know, crass ain’t. no sloganeering. no 4/4 harrumphing. do it yrself taken to it’s logical conclusion. it’s not even a matter of picking up an instrument and just playing. hell no it’s building your own bloody instruments. it’s not found sounds but finding your own bloody sounds. there’s a difference. that sense of reclamation of what others have casually tossed away and making it something. lo-tech insurrection indeed. this is the real real austerity measures. broken music for a broken britain. tongue ensconced in cheek i’m sure. but not far from the truth. hacker farm, the junkshop choir they’ve built, are wired slightly wrong and oh so fucking right.
so, explained somewhat, defined part ways, in the negative, defined by what it’s not, then what is it? according to lastfm i am listening to german funk band the poets of rhythm, who released albums in the guise of various artist compilations when, in fact, all tracks were by the poets of rhythm using aliases. which is just about as peculiarly fitting a mistake as you can get. what is it? well there’s a lineage, yeah? schaeffer to throbbing gristle to zoviet france. via duchamp and lacan and ballard. through john carpenter soundtracks and man or astro-man? sci-fi-isms with the drums and geetars hacked out. or at least this wordspews invented one. isn’t that the point? isn’t it?
it’s the wicker man score made by robots. a nexus of henry williamson and tetsuo the iron man. john wyndham’s metal corpse rotting in limestone. it’s cairns built from duff old transistor radios, standing stones of ancient speaker stacks, fossilised wires snaking through grass and muck and sedimentary rock. and we’re all amateur archaeologists and ham geologists, rural fluxters, betamax magicians and short wave radio goons. following mystic texts and ley lines, digging through the personal mandalas and yeovilian signs and sigils (brantano’s just a shoe shop right…). explorers. discoverers.
sorry lost my bearings for a minute there… wandering… just that psychogeographic drift: poundsbury, hardington marsh, goars knap, babylon hill. places that might as well be creations, lalalands for anyone not in the know. holy places and fantasy worlds for outsiders. debord’s dérive scored reductionally with assembled noises. ambient like street voices and colloquial chatter. ambient like machine hum and klank. the sounds of what makes this, making this.

shit’s listenable too, if you listen. walking that difficult tightrope twixt the avant and savant, between noise and melody, between the forthright and the abstract. harmony, rhythm, metre, all scratching through with bloodied fingernails.
like old johnny rotten almost howled, i wanna destroy… then rebuild. like lacan nearly mumbled, the less you understand, the better you listen… and the more you should learn. riffing on semi-futurisms and man rayish musical collage. making something from nothing. tradition, aesthetics, meh. it’s a fuck you to consumerist culture. a reiteration of post-industrial whatever. learn. make. reclaim. live. yeah that pisser’s art said duchamp, cocking a snook. yeah well this bucket’s music. how’d you like them apples? scrumpy-d probably…- Rob @ Cows Are Just Food

The Wire (online site)
Simon Reynolds
Loki @ An Idiots Guide to Dreaming
John Eden @ Uncarved

Worst Chips Ever (Mix)

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