Greetings sisters and brothers. Let’s talk about reductionist revolution and the kicking in of doors. Let’s talk of iconoclasts and culture bombs. Let’s talk about moral panic and censorship. Let’s talk about punk rock.
On second thoughts let’s not bother. The white noise is already deafening and actually, thinking about it, the Sex Pistols were really a heavy metal band with a funny singer and the whole shebang eventually, as all revolutions do, succumbed to conservative dogma and self parody. And anyway, as Dr Cooper Clarke said, “punks were just hippies with zips”.
Instead, sisters and brothers, let’s talk about the dangerous counterrevolutionaries who went out and bought a cheap synth and a rudimentary drum machine. The ones that got what ‘punk’ was really about. The democratization of art. A democratization unhindered by rules concerning the means of production. A democratization forged in the blazing fire of unrestricted influence. A democratization free of perceived notions of “talent”. Sniffing Glue said learn three chords and form a band, Throbbing Gristle said why learn any chords at all… I am an artist because I say I am. More Marcel Duchamp than Malcolm McClaren.
So, sisters and brothers, who do you think led the counter-revolution? Well I’ll tell you. It was the man who stormed the Bastille and kicked the door down in the first place and he did it on the 16th July 1977. With the help of Tommy Vance. John Lydon’s playlist that night on Vance’s show included Tim Buckley, The Creation, Augustus Pablo, Bobby Byrd, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Peter Hammill and Can and put paid to any punk rock “year zero” claims. Meanwhile, locked out of the studio, Malcolm had to listen to the counterrevolutionary manifesto being broadcast across the metropolis. Mark that date in your diaries, sisters and brothers: 16th July, the anniversary of the birth of “post punk”. Just over a year later in October, Lydon rammed the point home with the release of Public Image, a personal and musical manifesto in 7” form.
The music on Plastic Dance 2 is the strangely coloured, distorted and frighteningly beautiful fruit of the seeds planted on that fateful day. Lessons learned and inspiration taken from the sonic aesthetics of dub, knowing that not all disco sucked and that even jazz was allowed. Music shaped by wonky approximation and appropriation. The artists on Plastic Dance 2 were artists because they said they were. Listen to their work and you’ll know they were. Listen in transcendent wonderment as George Attwell creates alchemical space funk in his home studio… as a future Mock Turtle and members of The Manchester Music Collective channel Robert Calvert and Bill Nelson… as Korzynski comes on like a Jeff Mills remix of Terry Riley. Listen in the wide-eyed joy of being as Stabat Stable’s drum machine runs amok to the accompaniment of discordant organ stabs… as a future founder of 808 State channels Albert Ayler alongside a galloping synth arpeggio.
I’ll stop right there, brothers and sisters, as crass comparison does this art no justice. Let it trigger your own parallel universe because the