Maxwell Volume's Notes from a Parallel Dementia

These are the Faircamp websites that I'm currently aware of. There's also a list on the Faircamp website, but I'm still trying to keep this one updated for my own purposes.

Faircamp Webring – Faircamp Aggregator –

Amberlucent – Art Weirdo Media – attks th drknss – audiokontor music – AxWax Music – benjamindaass – bran(...)pos – bruxa do mangue – Christian Pacaud – הקולקטיב – control freak studio / – Daniel Maxson – Default Media Transmitter – DX Complex – Erdspiegel – fastachee – Fugue State Audio – Future Cabaret Records – Futzle – Gorr – Jeremy Bornstein Trio – Jessica B. Kelly & The Void Conspiracy – the jd sessions – Johann Bourquenez Solo – Kel Audio – Key 13 – KNova – Kristoffer Lislegaard – Kunovitý Records – Leo Levinsky and the Embarrassments – Lime Bar – Limnetic Villains – Liverecordings by base acts – Lorenzo Miniero – M E L J O A N N – protman – Punxdrone – RathmoreTV – Reverb 10000 – Roldy Clark – Samae's Synth Stuff et al – sknob – socool – Snap Infraction – STREET GLOVES – Torsten Torsten – Tryptophonic – tsunami records – TWUNI – Velstandsfanden – Venya's music –

Thanks to -

Simon Repp for the hard work on a great bit of kit for the indie musician to get their music out there without dealing with evil megacorps! for establishing and running the webring. for the Faircamp Aggregator.

PS My own site amongst the above list is Tryptophonic.

“Nothing is True, everything is permitted.” – Hassan-i-Sabbah via William S. Burroughs

Having submitted a song for this year's Fedivision, I've been interested to note some of the responses to the song in question, entitled Fake News. A few of the responses have been along the lines of “yeah, there's a lot of fake stuff out there”, certainly a legitimate reaction to the song, but one that somewhat misses the point of the song. Generally speaking, I believe in never giving detailed analysis of my song lyrics, but since this song has been extracted from the context of the album as a whole, and the fact that I've submitted it for Fedivision, I'm going to break my “never explain my song” rule.

If you want to skip to to the actual talk about the song itself, and a detailed look at the lyrics, you'll find that below at “III. Fake News”.

Rather than claiming that “there's a lot of fake content out there”, the song is in fact a critique of the concept of “fakeness” in general. The critique essentially has two aspects. The first is that the very concept of truth in the context of the media is, if not entirely impossible, then a fluid & flexible one that cannot, and should not, be aligned with that of “scientific truth”. The second is that the very concept of fake news has been “weaponized” by neoliberal / right wing interests as a tool of propaganda, information control and imperialism.

I. Nothing is True

Speaking as someone whose academic background is the heyday (or perhaps last hurrah) of cultural & critical theory, semiotics and literary criticism in the mid-90s (Eco, Chomsky, Zizek, Deleuze & Guattari, Baudrillard, etc) – the idea that all information, particularly that represented in the media, is either true or untrue is very obviously an incredibly problematic concept. I'm certainly not suggesting that the concept of truth doesn't exist. Scientific truths do exist – gravity is keeping me in my chair while I write this. Furthermore, political / social “actually existing truths” exist – Saddam didn't actually have weapons of mass destruction. I would suggest, rather, that outside mathematics, in the social & cultural world in which humans exist, binaries are an unhelpful and often detrimental concept when it comes to truth.

Bearing the above in mind, every news article, every bit of media is created by humans who, by virtue of being an individual, have a perspective from which they view the world. The boards that run the media organisations are composed of people, each with a human's perspective on the world. Each of those multiplicitous perspectives mingles to create the resulting, for example in the current context, news report.

EVERY news report is biased – by virtue of not only what is being said in the report, but also the choice of what to report, when to report, how to report, to report at all etc etc. Bias is a necessary part of the human condition. If a media organisation claims that it is definitively unbiased, you can be damn sure they're pushing a specific political / financial agenda. It's very much the same as “I'm not racist, but...”.

II. Everything is Permitted

Similar to the concept of “woke” and it's precursor “political correctness”, I would like to suggest that the concept of “fake news” occupies a similar position in the cultural landscape, particularly in that of the global north.

If we are to examine “woke” and “political correctness” in their mainstream pejorative senses – we can see that they're are an attempt (often by the neoliberal right) to undermine concepts that would, under normal circumstances, be very difficult to spin as being bad – equality, anti-racism, worker rights etc. If you can't easily criticise those concepts directly, the next best thing is to criticise the reasons people hold those concepts, or failing that, the people that hold those concepts themselves.

The concept that women should have exactly the same rights as men, for example, isn't one that you'd get very far disagreeing with nowadays, so the way to perpetrate inequality is to attack the people who advocate equality, rather than the idea of equality itself.

Which brings me finally to Fake News. I believe that the very concept of Fake News is what we might call a Trumpism – one of Trump's prime techniques to dismiss anything he didn't like was to hysterically tweet “FAKE NEWS!!!” at it, until it went away.

The number of news articles that are completely and utterly made up are vanishingly small – the Martian invasion of New Jersey in 1948, perhaps? April fools day, and so on. What we do find is that every article / item published is pushing an agenda. I write an article about deforestation in Australia – my agenda is to highlight, and thus try to stop impending climate catastrophe. A scientist publishes the results of a 10 years study about the nature of dark matter – their agenda is to contribute to the overall knowledge of humanity (amongst no doubt other things). An article in a Murdoch-owned newspaper critical of social welfare... well we all know the agenda there...

The idea that Fake News has somehow arisen in only last 10 years is patently untrue. When we say fake news, perhaps we should mentally replace it with the term propaganda. Propaganda is as old as empire. Modern propaganda, one might argue, has been existent for almost 100 years, recognisable since Goebbels' “Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda”, who pretty much wrote the modern textbook on the subject, having been used extensively throughout the West – and by the US in particular. Claiming that Fake News is a new thing is a classic act of Goebbelsian “reality manipulation”.

III. Fake News

Finally, to the song itself!

fake politics / fake philosophy / fake art / fake news

Am I suggesting that politics, philosophy or art are fake? Nope. By juxtoposing the former three with the idea of fake news, I'm trying to question our idea of true or false news in the same way that we might question whether Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans or Malevich's Black Square is actually art. One answer to the question is that it's really all about questioning – about the conversation.

fake movies / fake music / Fake tv / fake news

Are movies, music or tv fake? Well, they can't be if they actually exist, and we're actually looking / listening to them. If the entertainment is made partly or wholly by AI then you might feasibly claim that it is fake – particularly if you consider the definition of art to be a human reacting to their place in the world or some aspect thereof.

fake war / fake peace / fake identity / fake news

Fake war is, amongst many other things, every single military operation that the United States has engaged in since the second world war. Or rather, the justifications for the “forever war” that the US has been engaged in purely in the name of empire building. It's not about “weapons of mass destruction” or “insulting my daddy” but it's about oil pipelines.

fake medicine / fake science / fake masks / fake news

This one takes aim at the conspiracy loony contingent who think vaccines are government mind-control covert ops, as are “chemtrails”, and those that get angry when they see people in masks. I could expound upon this at length, but that's a whole other essay.

fake gender / fake celebrity / fake social media / fake news

On the surface, three different subjects, but they're all very much entwined. Most importantly here, I'm taking aim at those that are anti-LGBTIQA+. Claiming that one gender is somehow “right” and another is somehow “wrong” is purely an instrument of control, propaganda and imperialism in the same way that the concept of fake news is.

fake operating system / fake phones / fake apps / fake news

OSes, phones and applications obviously exist – but it is their purpose that may or may not be fake. Much non-free software advertises itself as one thing, but in fact (or addition) does something else.

fake musk / fake trump / fake murdoch / fake news fake amazon / fake google / fake microsoft / fake news

These two lines, rather than suggesting that the people / companies themselves are fake, I'm suggesting that they're the kinds of people / organisations that utilise the above-mentioned techniques as instruments of control.

fake love / fake death / fake planet / fake news fake truths / fake lies / fake culture / fake news

Coming towards the end, I'm now referring to the effects of the above mentioned control / propaganda etc.

fake you / fake me / fake reality / fake news fake you / fake me / fake off / fake news

In closing, I wrap things with a little bit of punning wordplay to signal that, contrary to how it all might seem, the overall song might night be intended 100% seriously.

So there you have it, a short explanation spiralled out into an extended meandertale of an exegesis.

But is it true or false?

This International Women's Day I'd like to highlight a few musicians who have had a huge influence on my own evolution either as a person or a musician or both.

While we've still a long way to go before we can achieve anything like equality, I think the role of women in the music industry – both as musicians and producers / engineers – is in a much MUCH better place than it was than in the 60s & 70s. If the conventional role of women music at that time was to stand at the front being and sounding pretty, then the people I'd like to highlight were an antithesis to this stereotype – weird, confronting, strong and intellectual.

Gilli Smyth

Gilli Smyth Gilli Smyth of Gong & MotherGong was a pioneering vocal experimenter, poet, feminist and philosopher. Gilli pioneered a vocal technique which came to be known as Space Whisper, which she developed with Ziska Baum in Paris during the late 60s. Sometimes atonal sometimes beautiful vocal tones fed through immense reverb & delay, her vocals could have been mistaken for synthesizers, had not synths been comparatively primitive at the time.

An intellectual, feminist & anti-authoritarian, she rubbed shoulders with the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Graves, Yoko Ono & Jimi Hendrix. I was fortunate to consider her a good friend, and worked with her on several musical and creative projects, including her last album entitled “Paradise”, as well as the unfinished project “Do Birds Dream in Song”.

I will always deeply miss Gilli – the many long evenings on the balcony discussing art / philosophy / science over an endless succession of glasses of red wine and spliffs.

Renate Knaup

Renate Knaup Vocalist of the German Kosmische Musik band Amon Düül II as well as regularly appearing on Popol Vuh albums, I would suggest Renate Knaup's vocal style is a direct reaction to Schlager and Western popular music in the 60s and 70s. With little consideration of conventional singing style, her singing in Amon Düül II was a cosmic rocket into the heart of an alternate dimension. While the later Amon Düül II albums become a little patchy in places, her work with Popol Vuh is consistently amazing – a textural compliment as well as contrast to the ambient psychedelic drone of the band.

Cosey Fanni Tutti

Cosey Fanni Tutti Cosey Fanni Tutti's work as an experimental electronic musician in bands Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey & as a performance artist, push boundaries that don't even exist yet, let alone exist currently. At a time when “twiddling knobs” was exclusively the domain of men, Cosey's voyages into extreme noise at one end of the spectrum to synthpop in the other, stand as a direct provocation of the notion that “music is a men's game”.

I've never been much of a blogging enthusiast, be it writing or reading them. Recently, though, I've quite enjoyed reading the long-form thoughts of a few people who I've met on the Fediverse. This year, it's my plan to attempt to engage a little more with the indie music community on the Fedi, and so thought I might post a few irregular life updates in the spirit of the stuff I'm enjoying reading. So, here we go!

January has been an almost complete write-off for me in terms of creative pursuits, as well as Actual Work. A minor virus led to a sinus infection, which led to a blocked left ear, which led to led to tinnitus and an absolutely maddening weird phaser / chorus effect in my ear. Suffice to say, little music was listened to, let alone worked on / composed / jammed.

I had to forcibly drag myself to the computer to do even a little work on the websites for my son's preschool & and local community centre that I graciously offered to do for free some twelve months ago, and only got past the committee decision making processes, false starts and various other hiccups just before 2023 ended. So it goes.

On the upside, sinus pain and ear weirdness didn't stop me going all out through late December and all January with my snap decision to make all French recipes – initially all taken from the Floyd on France cookbook. For a variety of reasons I've been getting a great deal of enjoyment / amusement from Keith Floyd related shenanigans over the past month.

Creative pursuits!

The new Homeostasis album entitled “Enshittifination” had to be put on hold due to my unpleasant physical embuggerment. It's only awaiting vocals, 90% of which written. I'm looking forward to seeing it completed – as it's what I'm conceiving as an 100% Fediverse-birthed album.

I'm also assembling the next jlmxv album. This, I suspect, will require less effort on account of the fact that the general philosophy of jlmxv is improvisatory, experimental and “first thought best thought” etc.

So, there you have it!

Today would have been Gilli Smyth's 90th birthday.

Gilli was, along with Daevid Allen, the co-founder of legendary psychedelic progressive intergalactic jazz (con)fusion band Gong. She was a trail-blazing vocalist, poet, feminist, intellectual, conversationalist. In the 60s when the music industry was ruled exclusively by men (unless you were an attractive whispy pop or folk singer), Gilli was one of the few women working in the experimental / psychedelic music scene – or at least one of the few that history has either not recorded or erased.

I was incredibly privileged to consider Gilli as one of my closest friends in the last years of her life. I lived with Gilli and her son Orlando in a rustic beach house near Byron Bay, Australia for a number of years, and that period of my life will always hold some of my fondest memories.

The long, long, LONG hours sitting on the front balcony or around the dinner table discussing subjects philosophical, musical or scientific. The many cups of tea, the many glasses of red wine – often at improper hours of the day – not to mention the continual spliffs. It was a heady atmosphere.

What I most liked about Gilli was that she was an intellectual. Her passion for philosophy, science, feminism, literature, poetry and of course music was unquenchable. There would always be copies of New Scientist and Fortean Times piled high wherever Gilli was currently sitting. There were always interesting and obscure books scattered around.

She also could impart some absolutely cracking anecdotes – not surprising, as she was friends with Simone de Beauvoir while living in Paris, lived with Robert Graves in Deja, and regularly played chess with Jimi Hendrix in London.

From around 2000, I occasionally collaborated with Gilli on musical projects, and later I worked extensively with her on her final releases – “Paradise” ( ) and was working with her on an album entitled “Do Birds Dream in Song?” when she became too ill to continue working.

I did my best to push the “Do Birds Dream in Song?” project through to completion, but always wanted Gilli to creative leader and steer the project – not take control as men have so often done in the history of the music industry. I regret not being able to finish the project at the time, and while there's often been suggestions to complete the project in recent times, Gilli's illness and passing left me too sad and upset for many years to consider picking it up.

Now, that there's been time to heal and recover, I've dusted off some of the recordings. Perhaps it is time to complete the album? I've thought to perhaps contact some of Gilli's other friends and collaborators to help complete the project.

In the meantime, I've decided to release several of the tracks from the sessions as a semi-unofficial EP as a free download to celebrate Gilli's 90th birthday. The tracks are as they were when we were unable to continue, so please bear in mind they're not what I would consider to be masterpieces of production, but I still like them a great deal.

Gilli never liked celebrating her birthday – it was at her birthday party in 1973 that Robert Wyatt fell out a window and broke his spine – but she did like any excuse to open a fine bottle of red and spark up a spliff – so raise a glass / joint to Gilli Smyth (1 June 1933 – 22 August 2016).