Categories
Dub Experimental Indie Rock Industrial Post Punk

Jäh Division – Dub Will Tear Us Apart… Again

Before hearing Jäh Division’s imaginative deconstructions of classic Joy Division songs, I suppose I was already primed to accept this kind of thing. Due to the success of artists like Easy Star All-Stars & their guest-heavy reinterpretations of classic albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, Radiohead’s OK Computer & Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I was already quite receptive to the idea of hearing some of my life’s cultural touchstones rendered in Dub.

The idea of Joy Division’s music rendered as Dub calls to mind something that cultural theorist/political philosopher Mark Fisher wrote about Post-Punk bands like The Fall and Joy Division. He observed how their bass-led songwriting & production provided a white equivalent to Dub Reggae. The salient point here being that it is a white equivalent rather than a white version. Young working class white kids working out their marginalisation in bass-heavy soundscapes in much the same way as the working class black kids, but yielding completely different results.

So before I even listen to it, Jäh Division has pretty big shoes to fill. Does it succeed? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s quite enjoyable as a Dub album but it’s debatable how well the original songs hold up during the transformation. Opening track Transmission is barely recognisable with the tempo reduced to a languid crawl, only the bass line bears any resemblance to the original. It exemplifies how different an element from a song can sound if taken out of its original context. I have similar feelings about Heart And Soul Isolation too. Enjoyable enough Dub, sure, but almost unrecognisable as the Joy Division song.

Transmission, for my money, is a little more successful. The reduction in tempo & energy isn’t quite enough to ground the dizzy heights scaled by the songs gorgeous melody synth. The dubby delays even seem to add buoyancy to these heroically soaring melodies. Love Will Tear Us Apart also works quite well here. No accident that it is their most accessible and radio friendly song. It could fit into almost any genre without diminishing its appeal.

The 2019 rerelease also features four bonus tracks which are actually original compositions rather than Joy Division covers. These are all fine, decent Dub tracks. I have no complaints but they don’t really stand out & they feel a trifle unnecessary so I won’t really dwell on them too much.

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Categories
Literature Poetry

Liminal Bridge

I thought I felt something brush past me
As I reached the escape velocity
Necessary
To escape the gravitational pull
Of gods.
In the dimly lit fuselage
Of the privately funded rocket
I stood shoulder to shoulder
With dead eyed depressives
Undiagnosed
Who should be social distancing
In this fading future.

When the big dumb boosters lit up
We found the systems
Syncing our cloud data
When we needed them the most.

Every week we drift further and further
From the promise of sepia:
The genius of photography,
The dust clouds of eternity.
Bloody red nebulae &
Radio chatter
The ‘Wow!’ Signal,
Orbiting Soviet spheres that bleep
& chemical dependencies
That help us to sleep.

In work-sore dead of night
I reach for prescription painkillers
On the dust covered nightstand.
Chemical dependency degenerates
Neural connections,
Enforces aphasia,
Panic and alarm, clenched fists,
Knuckles white in the confusion of morning,
Why is everyone in here?
Where am I?
Why am I here?

I’m wearing a cricket jumper
On Top Of The Pops
In 1990.

A solitary eyeball collapses
Crumples
Into a visionless organic mass.
Claws clenched like
Whitened knuckles,
Circling wings beating down
Dust storms rising into broken AC.
As we take off, the particles percolate
Into a swirling vortex of COSHH governed peril.

On orders from the old timers,
I throw some bleach around
Until they nod in approval.

White walls and cage doors,
Dragging Henry by the suction tube
Across familiarly patterned floors.
I’m wearing the carpet upon my chest.
Lights swing like ligatures
In the hospital heated mornings,
Flickering in the heat of neglect.
I eagerly anticipate
A fortnight of jet lag.
As I look on, heavy lidded eyes,
A fluorescent strip stutters and fades.

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