Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Manufactured Dissent

Despite what you may think of the society, system, machine in which you exist, it's kind of good to be part of a society, system, machine that allows those who are critical of it to express those opinions; and I'm lucky to be able to spend my time sitting here doing this and you're lucky to be where you are reading it.
It really could be a lot worse.

But of course it can always be improved upon, right?

And in the best philosophical tradition, Consolidated were always ready to provoke and challenge personal perceptions and attitudes.

They were much slagged off in their time, but I think a lot of the criticism aimed at them was similar to attacks made against those such as Andrea Dworkin, Pete Singer or Noam Chomsky: using words that prick the conscience; discussing ideas that challenge personal prejudices.

And as any two year old will tell you, the best way to get a reaction is by being extreme.

And this is by far the most extreme of all the early Consolidated politico albums.
It's also, in my opinion, their best; and certainly the album that contains the best marriage between their discourse (no other word for it really) and their music.
There's some real big beats on here; moving into industrial in places; creating an angry RevCo kind of vibe.

Samples from the band's own Q&A sessions - part of their live performance - often find a place in their music.
They make for interesting listening. Often they are critical of the band. Often they are made by those who are obviously feeling a little guilty or somewhat morally challenged.
But the band are never detached from this; there's no snobbery involved; no holier than thou attitude; which is something I always liked about the band: their inclusion; their recognition that they too are part of the problem (it's always 'we' and 'us' in their lyrics, rather than 'you', the preferred pronoun in so many counter-cultural polemics).
The band have always been the first to recognise their own failings and hypocrisy.

This self-deprecation is captured well during the Theodor Adorno like criticsm of popular culture heard in 'Music Has No meaning'. A track not only anticipating X Factor and Pop Idol culture but also recognising that music's power is totally ephemeral.
You might want to riot or change the world in the moment, but as soon you get outside the venue or the record comes to an end... well....

So apathy is really the main target of this album- whether it's due to the dumbing-down of society, drug use, the adoption of stereotypical behaviour or just plain laziness- and the title, Friendly Fascism, is a quotation from the work of Bertram Gross [!], the writer of a Chomsky styled polemic, stating that we have all been conditioned because we're too damn lazy or comfortable to want to do anything about it....

Another reason Western society is so apathetic is due to all the meat it consumes; and it's the meat industry and meat eaters who are next to suffer Consolidated's wrath; including an assault from the sexual political angle - the band being joined by Carol J Adams, the author of The Sexual Politics of Meat - and from the ecofeminist point of view: man rapes the earth like man rapes woman.

And you can dance to it!
What more could anyone want?

Consolidated - Friendly Fascism (1991)

Brutal Equation
Our Leader
Unity of Oppression
The Sexual Politics of Meat
Typical Male
Entertainment Tonight
Friendly Fascism
We Gotta Have Peace
Meat Kills
White American Male (The Truth Hurts) Part 2
Music Has No Meaning

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Agitprop yourself here


Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf said...


Anonymous said...

What you think about news - GOPers Hold 'Prayercast' to Ask God to Stop Health Reform ?
Wanna hear your opinion

roy rocket said...

'All of them witches'

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roy rocket said...


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coirce said...

great LP, have all they did and the solo LPs, never got to see them live unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

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Michael said...

Saw them live 3-4 times, for the Myth of Rock and Friendly Fascism tours, in Tulsa and OKC. Even had the opportunity to drive them to dinner (vegan, unsurprisingly) in my little Toyota celica...

Nice guys... Utterly sincere