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Sunday, 18 March 2012

SubVersion Stop 154: Muttley - Soul Eraser - A Concept Mix On The UK Benefits System (March 2012)

"If we recognize mutual obligations, how far does that mutuality extend? Who is 'us' and to whom can we legitimately say we have no obligation? If we only look to ourselves, we narrow our field of vision and in the end become automata: selfish, self-obsessed, habitually shirking our responsibilities. If we only take the longest view, we somehow forgive ourselves for not noticing what is under our feet or in the next street. But both the longest and nearest gaze negate the need for trust. It is in the middle distance - amongst our neighbours, our police, our fellow citizens, our politicians - that trust can be found and where debate about making the world a better place can effectively take place. Escaping inside will simply negate our experience of friends and colleagues. Escaping to the ends of the earth will bring excitement but no permanent gain. The issues we need to grapple with are in the here and now, in our cities, towns, and families. Unless we rethink our social obligations and reassess the issue of trust, we will become even more cynical, even more atomistic, even more individualistic - and there will then really be no such thing as society."

Julia Neuberger, The Moral State We're In, Introduction, 2005.


Julia's quote has guided my memory, when assessing my social position, from 2008. I turned 24 on 17th March, and have been in the mental health system: hospitals, housing, under weekly psychiatric care, for four years. But I've always fought resigning myself to the fact I'm "one in four", the UK ratio towards how many suffer mental health problems. Still a very taboo subject in eyes of many, this ratio highlights it's more common than we think.

The magazine of the same name - One In Four - published an article on the introduction of ESA (Employment Support Allowance) last year. The catch-all replacement for Income Support and Incapacity Benefit, there's also DLA (Disability Living Allowance). That's what those, including me, have to support their illnesses because they're unable to work.

In this mix series I've already dedicated one mixtape to the theme of psychosis prevention; one to anxiety reduction, both with thematic essays. Many remainder mixtapes involve therapeutic components. Those of which I'll be backdating with this "background, foreground, transcendental introspection" model. In this timeline I've been suggested a triad of illnessess: bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder and psychosis, then as dual diagnosis bipolar and psychotic depression. I'm increasingly optimistic I'll eventually be able to work again, as the only thing I can do well besides the job I lost - painting and decorating - is a very hard business to break into - writing.

The old adage is though, with many on benefits, they can actually work. However the most extreme cases choose to bleed the system dry. Their mentality, in my experience, values the expensive materiality, such as designer trainers, binge drinking or takeaways, in the front of their brain, as opposed to saving money so they can come off benefits, apply for part time paid work as is allowed, or put it towards education. Many substantiate huge families on benefits, then have the nerve to complain of a lack of funds. Essentially, not contributing to society. They can negate the lack-of-jobs-available reality prevalent today. But many choose to suppress their conscience, seemingly caring very little for the world around them.

I've heard things like "I get paid on x date" - what are you getting paid for? Like me, you don't have a job. You're not doing anything to be paid for. Splitting hairs over semantics is a possible interpretation here, but I believe the idealised construct is hardwired into some of these people, because they partially think the world owes them a living.

Though, if you've seen The Fast Show's The Self-Righteous Brothers, I'll attest I'm no Frank Doberman. "Oi! Jeremy Kyle! NO!" There are several complications with those underpriveliged: they usually come from rough backgrounds, have consequential baggage that subconsciously haunts them, and resulting the balancing act of obligation over the obsolete isn't always to be hounded. But I feel as the years roll on, with the maximalist, materialist and bloated greed that surrounds societal growth, there's a lot of problems that, from the grass roots level, really need to be addressed greater.


When making "Soul Eraser", the mix dedicated to one look at the benefits system archetype, I'd been influenced at the other tangent: shockingly unfair governmental appropriation of a benefits claimant as unfit for benefits. See this thread on Subvert Central by Statto:

Diary Of A Benefit Scrounger

There's someone who should apply for DLA much more than some I know. Some go out clubbing every week, and besides their hangups, can lead fairly normal lives.

So while I propose "Soul Eraser" as a personal account of my moods, in movements, upon entering the benefits system, I also wanted to account for a universal questioning, a reinstating of nuance, something that can become obliterated by both forms to fill in, untruths, and the subsequent ultimatum lyrics that end the mix: "If you mean to be lost, are you ever truly lost? If you mean to forget, do you ever really forget?"

"Soul Eraser" - TRACKLIST

Movement One - 00:00 - 06:55 - Entering The Void

00:00 Fescal - Alchemical Wanderings (Alchemical Wanderings LP, Time Released Sound, 2012)
00:38 Seconds Before Awakening - Nine (9 LP, Free Floating Music, 2012)
01:16 / 18:52 Robert Davies - Quintessence (The Alchemy Of Nature LP, Data Obscura, 2012)
02:56 / 07:36 Carbon Based Lifeforms - Somewhere In Russia [-3 cent octave adjustment gradation] (TwentyThree, Ultimae, 2011)

Movement Two - 06:55 - 16:40 - Slowly Downward

03:41 Xela - Potion (Exorcism LP, learnwithxela.com download, 2011)

Movement Three - 16:40 - 20:15 - Rising And Falling

14:44 Aaron Martin - Water Tounge [Jasper TX remix] (Stitched In Fire LP, Falserec, 2011)
15:17 Christina Vantzou - Super Interlude Pt.2 (No.1 LP, Kranky, 2011)
18:11 Bengalfuel - Goqua (Toth EP, Hibernate, 2011)

Movement Four -20:15 - 37:49 - Soul Eraser

20:07 Adrian Aniol - Slowly Downward (Arrhythmia OST, TQA Records, 2012)
21:48 Grouper - Soul Eraser (Dream Loss LP, Yellowelectric, 2011)
23:54 ASC & Sam KDC - No Safety Zone (Decayed Society LP, Auxiliary, 2012)
27:40 Sophie Hutchings - Portrait Of Haller (Becalmed LP, Preservation, 2010)
32:05 Last Harbour - If You Mean To Be Lost [A.R.C. Soundtracks remix] (Escape Was All I Ever Meant LP, Little Red Rabbit, 2012)

37:49 end


Transcendental introspection

With the mix, I've used a collection of techniques to bring about an efficiacy for development:

Collaging (up to six tracks played at once; the blend with Carbon Based Lifeforms and Xela lasting over 10 minutes)

Track re-introduction with different textures (CBL's "Somewhere In Russia" is overlapped with Xela in two versions - one as normal to start, the second re-pitched 3 cents, and octave adjusted with Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch, in order to create an effect of going "Slowly Downward" as the movement states. Robert Davies' drone collages a different mood later)

Volume drop-outs and changing incremental fades throughout tracks to impression a feel of subtle transparency

Generally, long mixing (ASC & Sam KDC's "No Safety Zone" is blended with three alternate tracks over its 12 minute duration, but all these shifts dovetail each other).


You'll find me backdating the 15 Minutes Of Fame Mix Series archive with the emboldened triplet of headers to give readers the quickest entry into the sounds as possible.

Feedback welcome with open arms, and I hope you like what angle's been taken this time.


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