13 April 2017

No Demonstrational Meaning

In Autumn 1999 I was stuck, so wandered the middle-night streets in haze, searching for a reason or three. I found zero answers, and resolved to immerse in simple creativity. One night I made spontaneous voice readings of any excerpts from my & Liam Olan's OKOK Manual (Luminous Press, 1999) into an antique ribbon microphone and homemade effects unit. The loose-leaf nature of the manual facilitated the random read and chance connections of the segments spoken, and the whole thing ended up as the No Demonstrational Meaning audio-cassette (Luminous Press, 1999). A review of it by Henry Holt appeared in Fluctuationist Newsletter Issue 9 (February 2000):

Some people just have to create art for art's sake, with no thought towards money and fame. The OKOK Society - a North Wales-based magical-art "cult cult" - are sure in this camp. For their latest release they've filled up one side of a TDK C90 with a mono monomaniacal spoken word rant by a single male augmented by a primitive echo effect beat box type backing. It's content is heavy on the scatological, dis- or anti-social substream, but this isn't some Freudian freakout, apparently, as it consists of random segments from the mostly found/channelled OKOK Manual, that seems to be the group's grimoire.

The speaker boldly informs us that this tape's "Purpose: transgressional apex," but it doesn't really reach any aegis. The sound quality, intent and atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of the Cambridgeshire 'unscene' band, Alien Brains, i.e. a lo-fi bedroom take-it-or-leave-it recording, that is what it is. Some of the words are hard to make out, which defeats the object, but I suspect this is more intentional than careless engineering.

I quite agree with the makers that this tape has "no demonstrational meaning," and see little reason for releasing it at all (apart from a career suicide). It may succeed as a statement of "anti-art", but so could almost anything. Whether scripted or not, the word-deliverer comes across as very alone, a ballistic psychotic afflicted by horrific boredom and doomy desperation in the Wilderness Lodge, going off on a constant crazed existential angst barrage whilst thinking of old mines and shaking his fist at the global hiss.

Overall, No Demon... is a very unpleasant listen, like eavesdropping on someone's private hell, and you won't want to do it again. I label this work as an admittedly unusual but mostly dreary attempt to shock, like the crypto-fascist/serial killer fanzines that are thankfully not all the rage in the male underground scene now. The OKOKians are a vanguard new tendency of the Welsh avant-garde; their quantum vortex is huge and the ooomph and ability are there, so hopefully they will drop the Uncertainty Principle, hit the cassette culture sweet spot in the future, and never come down.

This historically unimportant and disowned recording has been salvaged from the memory hole and reformatted as a 45-minute, 128kbps MP3, that can be freely downloaded here.