A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Artist: Hacker Farm
Label: Exotic Pylon
Release Date: 12.10.12
Listening to U/H/F, while holed up in my attic bedroom watching Italian cannibal video nasties, a number of themes have become clear. The first theory, which we have taken to calling Mojo Rising (which you will hear more about in the coming months); it’s the handmade quality of art, an inherent animism, where you can sense the seams and stitches, the artist’s hands at work, like the cave paintings of Cueva de las Manos, in Argentina. This closely ties into the movement, which we’ve been calling Grey Techno (which you will also hear more about), handmade handheld electronica, frequently played live on hardware. It’s irreproducible, subtly shifting, out of time, loose and organic, the machines and humans, meeting and melding. In this era of mechanical reproduction, where it seems like nearly everybody is using identical means of production, the soul is increasingly essential, for art to rise above the line noise.
The hands-on method of U/H/F, including homemade and circuit bent objets de art, inherently remind one of early horror films, like the proto-industrial metalscapes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The feeling you are left with is of a psychogeographical, hauntological trip to Yeovil, where the pair (who is actually a trio), live and work. It’s like a British version of Blue Velvet, turn over a rock, never know what you’ll find. It’s like closed circuit footage of stone circles, like a ghost caught on tape.
A robot’s voice arises from the bedlam of the track ‘One, Six, Nein’ to proclaim “We refuse to participate in this pale simulation of reality, that you have created for us to consume. We embrace the real. We inhabit the now. This world is ours.” Striking back against the simulacrum, getting back to the real world.
“We reject your hollow spectacle.”
This strikes right at the heart of what we mean, when we say Mojo Rising. It is easy, perhaps inevitable, to get lost in the datastream of the internet, to spend yr entire life staring at flickering screens, forgetting the source of real art and inspiration, namely the real, yr actual life. Hacker Farm brings it full-circle, compelling the listener to hack their own reality, find their own inspiration. They are unabashed proponents of the noise jam; they are like a Somersetian Wolf Eyes, conjuring flying saucers and cold war voices, rather than rusty robot behemoths. Remember when all this shit was fun? Exciting? Recall, perhaps, yr first rave, or the first time you hooked up a synthesizer, the endless possibilities. It’s ironic that we have to have throwback art remind us of the future, but hey, we’ll take it where we can get it. HF compel us to make our own mixtapes, to slice our own samples, to burn Cd-rs and put shit out there. It’s punk rock, if the punkers were fighting against Cyberdine.
I know the album is mostly instrumental, but I’m hoping people will get a vibe off of it, or just get on and do something. It doesn’t matter what it is, but just get on and make something, draw something, write something, record something. Fight back on some small individual level. I think that’s what the core of the album’s about.
– Kek – W, from an inteview with The Quietus
To hear more about the music contained on this slab, i recommend reading this review, at The Guardian; they sum it up quite nicely. They describe the overall character of U/H/F 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.” It’s trash, debris, urban grit, decay – techno for Patrick Keller’s London. I think too much has been made of the spookiness of this release. It’s unsettling, sure, and not the kind of thing you’d pull out at yr next mint julep party, but it’s not exactly black metal. The electronics just sound kind of sickly, wheezy, a little green around the gills, but it’s still got a beat (and a lovely martial machine drum beat, at that). It’s a close cousin to what you actually hear in clubs, it’s dance music, but it also feeds the head, filling yr mind with all manner of delicious and depraved imagery. It’s a descendant of Death Disco and Industrial Records, which are two things i can always have more of in my life. Maybe most reviewers have not been as thoroughly inundated in harsh noise and weirdo electronics as most of us, here.
It’s easy to imagine Kek-W and Farmer Glitch, cloistered away in their Somerset compound, complete with miniature pony, wearing tin hats, watching the skies with tears in their eyes. They seem like affable crackpots, and in short, i would love to hang out with them. They seem like lovable loonies that are following their aesthetic to the outer limits. They sell their albums in re-purposed, pre-distressed jewel cases (although no one has yet taken them up on their offer), and play local shows in non-places, using milk jugs and washtubs as a PA. Kek-W has furthered his cause, writing alternate history comics for 2000AD. He also did an online paper ‘zine, complete with mock google ads, in the corner.
These two are hacking reality, anyway they can get it, commenting on the culture, while reminding us of where we’ve come from, of what is possible. Listening to U/H/F makes me want to fire up antiquated drum machines and set the world on fire! Inspirational in the best possible of ways. I can’t thank them enough, or anybody else going the extra mile to make interesting, inspirational art, that’s not afraid to show the seams. Raw, intuitive, atavistic! More please!
If anyone wants to buy us a copy of Poundland, i’ll be yr best friend, and i promise i’ll write about it, and if you know of anything else that sounds like this, please let us know. We’re all ears.