"A new net magazine. Metal, ambient, noise, folk ... a bit of everything is covered."
A Dead Spot of Light..
I read it online. In a age where physical printed material has become obsolete, there's a new wave of online magazines that are popping up on the internet. Everything from Steampunk to Shortwave Oddities, there seems to be genera of underground news letter / magazine for anything a human desires. Most of these obscure publications gravitate toward an audience whose in the scene themselves or for those who want to be. In other words, their everywhere on the internet, in the deepest darkest regions of a web server. Sometime they are right under your own nose.
One such underground netzine "A Dead Spot of Light..." came to my attention when the publisher (who shall remain anonymous) contacted me to inform me that he had written a review of Telegraphy's "Somewhere In Detroit" [iono-5]. After reading this well produced review with it's artful grammar that seemed to flow with easy into the readers cranium, my natural high octane curiosity pull me in for more reading.
While skimming through page after page, I found myself more and more enthralled in each interview, review and in every soulful handcrafted word published. This workmanship is reflected upon the magazines vintage appearance thats both timeless and yet mysterious. Almost every page is decorated with some form of age old literary clip art or vintage black and white photographs. No high quality press photos. No over rated and over priced grafix. Just these etheric images from the distant past which conveys to the reader of an old news letter, but with subject matter of the present. An oxymoron one might think of this magazines appearance, contradiction between subject matter and eye catching format. When you think of underground magazine, do you think of over corporatized, over commercialized (that's an oxymoron in itself) money making machine? No, You think of it as being straight to the point, voicing artistic thoughts, unbiased and unconcerning for sponsors and the like.
This is what A Dead Spot Of Light... is, true underground.
I had a chance to interview the interviewer. This enigmatic publisher refused to give a name another then using the correspondences title "oneyoudontknow". For simplicity we'll call him "The one". The One and I sat down in our favorite seats with our favorite refreshments in close proximity where we began to exchange "Q's" and "A's" in binary format. Here's the unedited interview I had with the mysterious "The One".
1 You're up to the twentieth edition of A Dead Spot Of Light. Has it evolved much since edition one, if so how has it?
Every idea evolves. A small bit of advancement here, a small change there – a constant flux and improvement. Humans are generally driven by pushing themselves and progressing – in whatever direction –, while the Fordian capitalism, based on a repetitive and atomized way of manufacturing goods, is something that is actually alien to our own nature; it brings us down to our knees, prevents a clear identification with what we create and makes us blind for the final results of our actions. Orwell has a lot to say on the issue of combining creativity with the capitalist economy.
My magazine is simply a result of what more people should do: express themselves, use their intellectual capabilities and form thoughts, exchange with other persons, confront themselves with art and manifestations that fall out of the category of the mainstream, the ordinary routine, so to speak. Especially in Germany radio and the television generally focus on a narrow set of “artistic” concepts. It is the independent scene, the underground and the like that create a counterpoint to this. Merzbow on German mainstream radio would be unthinkable. It is what Walter Lippman refers to as “intellectual anaemia”, but in some respect on a grand and terrifying scale.
In the early days my magazine had been nothing but a clone of what others tend to do: create something that has a save target audience – to express it in the simplest and most disgusting kind of way. Some minor variation had been allowed, but the small seed has grown over the years and somehow elbowed out the other aspects. In fact, the latest edition, this would be number 20, has nearly fifty percent (!) non-metal stuff and when it comes to actual pages it is even more. It reflects my own disappointment and my reluctance to follow the modern metal. Shallowness and narcissistic tendencies have taken over, while all the predicaments of our days, topics that need to discussed and parodied, are ignored for too various and too complex reasons to discuss here.
First there were only reviews but then interviews were allowed to make an appearance. Later something like (freestyle) poetry made a short visit. Now, experimentation is an imperative somehow and it is interesting to see what the Dada movement dealt with it in the 1920. Ubu (http://www.ubu.com/) is a wonderful source for obscure, forgotten and strange music, films and material. I am still wondering whether it would be possible to use some of it for my magazine. Also the Futurist movement is such a rich source for inspiration. Time will tell, I guess.
In short: from concreteness to vagueness.
from harmony to noise
from self-denial to realization
2 What was the inspiration behind this project? You've talked about how a fellow publisher lived in the same area as you created a similar online magazine, can you elaborate?
Two paths need to be presented in this respect:
I: The weirdestaspectbehind this magazine is how it all started. A German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, once described the Internet Archive – http://www.archive.org/– in an article as the graveyard of the Internet … and it would be best visited one of this type on the planet; paraphrased. I visited this site and had been intrigued by the general concept and idea behind it. You can upload somethingfor free, spread it for free, use other material from this site for free … a great idea and a great approach. All with a some restrictionsof course, but within this framework you can muddle throughquite well.
(the name of the magazine is also a play with this description)
The advantage of the Internet Archive is that the information uploaded there is preserved, stored, taken care of. Blogs tend to vanish. Homepages need to be paid for, services close down at some point or another (like Geocities) and it all evaporates and becomes one with the incomprehensible vast oblivion of the Internet. Print, and this is true for a lot of reasons, is dead … but will remain in a niche. The market is flooded with magazines and even though there is no end in sight, you can feel their last breath, their last hurrah. Distributing the stuff is a burden and time consuming. Porto and package is ridiculous. Stuff can get lost … and the broader your musical approach, the more difficult it gets to spread free copies to the bands, left alone to finance this.
I wanted to avoid these aspects. The idea had been to distribute it without these artificial and annoying obstacles, these relics of the past. Everybody should be ready to read it, access it without restrictions – that is why I had all (illegal) uploads on other sites removed – and for no costs. To put it in a pathetic statement: free information for free people. Aren't we grand, are we?
II: I had written for two magazines prior to my own instalment. The first being the Etherized webzine (http://etherisedzine.blogspot.com/ <http://etherisedzine.blogspot.de/>), while the second had been the Circle of Destruction (http://circleofdestruction.net/). While the former seems to have ceased to be, the latter is continued by the person behind it, but on a small flame. From what I know, a new edition is about due to be released.
Anyway, I had not been entirely satisfied with each of them. The former had been sent to the bands in the design of a plain text file – which is fine in limits –, while the latter follows the old-school diy Xeroxed concept with an additional homepage for material that would not fit into the printed edition. I wanted to head into a different direction and by mere chance, I stumbled over this one:
“The Wind Scrolls” only has seen one edition and also the homepage has ceased to be.
When my memory does not deceive me, this magazine had been from the same town in which I lived at that moment: Bremen. A comparison with the current edition reveals some amount of similarities, yet at first I tried to create something that would look different. Over the months I moved towards it, made my magazine more printer-friendly and abandoned the experiments of various background colours and such – especially due to limitations in terms of creating a pdf file and recreating a design in it. Attempts had been made, but all failed for one reason or another.
Unlike other magazines that are distributed as a pdf file in one way or another, the aspect of the copyright made me shy away from using band logos and/or cover artworks. Initially, I used them, but only after I realized on how to understand the Creative Commons properly in this regard – a facet of the restriction of the Internet Archive –, I switched towards the style that can be seen in all of my editions now – the earlier editions have had the logos/images removed and have been re-uploaded without these.
3 The name "A Dead Spot of Light" almost conveys occultism in the sense that most of your subject matter is almost hidden away in the depths of the internet and you are bring those who are buried into the light of your publication. Is this a fair assumption?
The explanation behind this name might come as a surprise and I have not shared this with anyone before: it is taken from a photography of mine.
What I like to do is use 3200 ASA b/w films, push them to 6400 and take pictures with them at night. I had been walking through a park in Bremen and took a photography of a solitary lamp post, with an abandoned path in front of it. A grizzled, distant picture, a type not many will find appealing. Personally, digital photography has nothing to do with photography, due to the process the images are created. I am able to takes pictures with a really poor and really old camera – even with selfmade ones, but the same cannot be said of the modern electronic equivalent. You need to have reliance and trust in technology, believe in what the microprocessors store and analyse. As a user you do not have much control in this respect. For the private use it is nice, but professional photography should be analogue.
When I was pondering about the name I had something in mind that was close to the name of a MySpace profile of mine: (a) “hypnotical somniloquy; it is still there but I did not log in for ages. At some point I was shuffling through the pictures and I stumbled over this very dark, grim and depressing black and white one. One creativity technique is to divert the attention and to let the thoughts drift away from the problem a bit in order to get a fresh and new view on the matter. In this case it had been fruitful … because somehow I found a name that I like and felt satisfied with. It was nothing planned, there had not been a list with names from which I picked one.
You can add a lot of interpretation into it, but it has nothing to with how the cards actually fell. The bands that I interview, write about and deal with are small spots of light indeed, which use the dead cold space of the Internet as a medium for sharing their music. Nevertheless, through this it would loose an aspect that is important in some respect: my own “insanity”, my own tendency to wander around restlessly, ever searching, ever wondering, always amazed – be it for good or ill. It would be a denial of my own predicament.
4 I was very impressed by the physical appearance of your publication. The use of the vintage literary clip art gives it more of an underground fell. Was this intentional or did it just evolve over time?
Physical appearance? Some temporarily stationary spots on a harddisk, vague lonely electrons, are a physical appearance?
My thoughts on this subject follow what I had been written in the second question, which had been so rudely interrupted by the third one.
Well, if band images were not possible, then what could fill the gap? It is rather obvious, is it not? With all these tons of images at the Internet Archive, of which a good amount do not have a copyright anymore, why not put them to some use? Why should someone complain if I take an image from a book that is one-hundred years old, hm? It would be most preposterous should this ever happen. Nevertheless, it is grotesque to what levels it has been and is still pushed when it comes to the dates in which a piece of art expires from its rights. It seems to be the work of lunatics.
Evolution, ey? Well, the more you search the more you find. Once I had dug up a book in which there were only pictures of people that had been hung on a garrotte – from the times of war obvious. It had been a strange experience to shuffle through this book. Page after page you could see someone hanging from a tree or so, while soldiers appear next to them. Sadly, this kind of portrayal of the dead made a reappearance in the last years. Well, I did not save the link though … and it is lost again amongst the millions of books at the Internet Archive. Nevertheless, this is the type that someone might actually have to deal with at some point or another.
5 Where are you going next with A Dead Spot Of Light ?
Prudens futuri temporis exitum Caliginosa nocte premit deus.
Dum in dubio est animus, paulo momento huc illuc impellitur