Claustrophobia (1998)

Claustrophobia (1998)


First released: 1998 (75 copies)
Second release: 1999 (50 copies)
90 minutes


In October 1998, members of <ST> occupied a downtown parking garage in Vancouver. The event was entitled qork/oddity. It followed upon surveillance & protests at APEC ’97.

Claustrophobia is a technopunk tape. Anger and its effects, cement structure and its imposition, and the values of a culture that bans creative events of expression and refuses to aid those in need were all themeatics that guided the messiness of the mix to its moments of solitude. Claustrophobia provided the soundtrack for qork/oddity’s attempt at dropping sound on the city, to the city’s core, the periphery of Vancouver’s heroin ghetto, the Downtown Eastside. Although qork/oddity was a sparse and some would say naïve gesture compared to the actions of Spiral Tribe and other UK raves (at the extreme, Castlemorton), it did take its place as a kind of mobile niche: in a space that was neither public nor private, a depository for the mobile, the parking garage, neither open nor closed (or at least, open with a fee, with no specified contract as to its use). Although the parking garage security cycled past a few times, the only stipulation was that we were to leave by 6am, when our parking tickets expired. qork/oddity led to the formation of the <ST>-Collective and to a sense that weird cracks in the structures could be exploited and temporarily reclaimed.

Claustrophobia was recorded in the same month as qork/oddity. The first side explores dissonance, polyrhythm, and the noise of structural clash in the pounding rhythms of hard, minimal techno. Its reception can only be appreciated in context when played to an echoing, cement structure, whereupon previously offbeat repetitions (e)merge as blended bass hums and resonant tones (and preferrably from the rear of a minivan).

The second side is a reflection on Claustrophobia’s structure. It sends into echo and dissolution the aggressive confines that rattle the beginning. It aims to understand its anger. The transition occurs through Robert Armani, at the end of side one, from VII Chapter (Chicago Style 1997). It continues through the hard echo of the warehouse heard in Armani’s track, which spins a sonic themeatic that undergoes permutations through the rest of the tape. At the time, the notation of Wagner, and his concept and implementation of Gesamtkunstwerk (‘total art’) were influential in the conceptual planning of events and mixes.

The trace of the echo leads to a final breakdown of the sonorous in Richie Hawtin’s Concept (08, 09, 10, 1996), layered with a loop from From Beyond Vol. 4 (Interdimensional Transmissions, 1998), and the intervention of the materiality of the turntable itself: the playing of the needle and cartridge directly onto the platter combined with line noise manipulations. A sense of resolution is recovered, as dub techno slowly moves into Hawtin’s expressions of confinement (he was banned from the United States at the time over work visa issues). This dub is a paranoid release, and to many, the finale never expressed much hope (this was the criticism of the time from NWRaves). The distant, sonar ping of the echo follows through the end of the mix which closes with a bow to Underground Resistance and Terry Riley.

This mix was recorded with no computer edits from conceptual charts that specified, on the first side, the approximate order of records, with spaces for improvisation. The second side was charted using a notation consisting of record selection and pitch.

The cover contains images from the following events: snipers atop the Chan Centre at APEX ’97, UBC; across the decks at PLUSH (1998); speaker stacks and the HAL eye freak flag from new.moon.o1; and the diagram of a Soviet satellite probe.

tobias c. van Veen
March 2004 / April 2012

resistance creed

Declaration of Purpose

Peaceful Performance Art Protest

Whereas we realise the problems within the city
Whereas our peaceful actions constitute a far less problem to the city
Whereas beneath our feet and around the block lie far more serious problems
Whereas this is an ironic juxtaposition as we realise this
Whereas we realise our right as citizens to peacefully protest
We do this to support those beneath our feet and around the block
We do this to show where the help should really be going: to them

As different strategies are needed to cope with the problems of the Downtown Eastside
As different strategies are needed to cope with the night culture of the city
We peacefully protest the City’s history of dealing with the Downtown Eastside
We peacefully protest against the unconstitutional Anti-Entertainment Bylaw

We therefore peacefully protest in a form of aural performance art
We therefore make our point
We therefore when peacefully asked to do so, leave.

As this is a peaceful, performance art protest we do this only to raise awareness, and to make people stop and think, to reconsider the irony of the situation, and realise compassion and the need for freedom.

And if asked to do so, we shall peacefully leave, as it is not our mandate to disturb.

.a peaceful performance art protest.






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