Highway Issue 2
Summer – Fall 2015
Contents by and with:
• Sound artist Israel Martínez discusses his work amid Mexico’s War on Drugs. A profound interview on the power of sound art.
• Mark Fisher. An interview with the radical music writer and acclaimed author of Capitalist Realism and Ghosts of My Life on music and culture today, Popular Modernism, time wars, music culture and Neoliberalism and the borrowed phrase, “the slow cancellation of the future.” Editor’s pick.
• Dadabots. A presentation of open-source algorithms which search, remix and post music throughout the Soundcloud community as told through a correspondence with the musician-hackers.
• Editorial on Spectatorship (Part 1). Read exclusive opinion, stories and revelations on what it means to be a spectator today [and yesterday] from Katie Alice Greer (Priests), Dan Deacon, Mark Andersen (Positive Force DC), Kim Gordon (Essay reproduction) and Ian MacKaye (Q & A format).
• The Photography of Sebastian Mayer. A select presentation from the accomplished German photographer.
• An Anthology of Recording Music, Volume 1. A new on-going section presents a wide variety of artists relating the situational boundaries of composing one song before presenting it to the band or entering the recording studio. Read personal accounts from C Spencer Yeh, James Hoff, Julia McFarlane (Twerps), Jane Penny (TOPS), Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz), Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance), Benoît Pioulard, Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and more.
• Decoder. An original essay by Dan Barrow to reread and reactivate this Burroughs-inspired and nearly-forgotten punk & new wave film for 2015 and beyond.
• Visual Essay: Hundebiss. An invitational spread to the Italian imprint. Exclusive to the print edition.
In more detail:
Our second issue begins with a profound and inspiring conversation with Israel Martínez, a remarkable sound artist whose work is recorded amid Mexico’s on-going Narcowars. Since 2010, the Mexican sound artist has been reflecting, recording, documenting and exhibiting the symbolic, personal, financial, legal, civic and human costs of Mexico’s War on Drugs. Martinez’ sound and installation work has been exhibited around the world and select works are in two of Latin America’s most notable art collections. This is Martínez first substantial interview in English and includes material printed for the first time. Samples of sound work by Martínez accompany the conversation in our App edition and will be posted online soon.
In the editor’s letter of our first issue, the words “seemingly cancelled times” were used to gesture towards an interview which has been on our mind for some time. We present a straight-forward, long-form, radical interview with the music writer, culture theorist and teacher, Mark Fisher. Fisher has garnered praise for Capitalist Realism and Ghosts of My Life as one can read in an accolade from 2014: “After the brilliance of Capitalist Realism, Ghosts Of My Life confirms Mark Fisher’s role as our greatest and most trusted navigator of these times out of joint, through all their frissons and ruptures, among all their apparitions and spectres, past, present and future. — David Peace, author of the Red Riding Quartet and Red or Dead.” The interview discusses music and mainstream culture, Popular Modernism, post-punk, “lost futures,” the intersections of music and politics and the borrowed phrase, “the slow cancellation of the future.” Fisher elaborates on select excerpts from his [radical] writing in addition to his personal life and career as a writer in this “life with music.”
As algorithms increasingly play a role in our life with music, this issue profiles the on-going and open-source Dadabots project initiated by two computer programmers and musicians. An exclusive to the magazine, the interview presents a portrait of these non-human bot “musicians” which explore and present the intriguing possibilities of generative music and autonomy across social media platforms.
Our second commissioned editorial presents revelations on spectatorship in live music through our own original route, by exploring a supposed space between how we look at artists on stage and how they look back at us. Read exclusive and original stories and opinions from Katie Alice Greer (“We’re very strategic in how we operate and create”), Dan Deacon (“The internet is not the problem. Mid-size venues are disappearing”), Mark Andersen (That’s the revolution in punk, if there is one”) and Ian MacKaye (“That’s the point for the record company, but it shouldn’t be the point for the band”) with the exception of a contribution from Kim Gordon, a reproduction of “I’m really scared when I kill in my dreams” (1983) and this issue’s object of interest. As a conversation starter, habituated and transcendent acts and moments of performance and watching are shared and discussed over 60 immersive pages. Anonymous and previously unpublished photography from the Fugazi Live Series Archive accompanies the text.
The next 20 pages are dedicated to the photography of accomplished German photographer Sebastian Mayer, who has photographed several music magazine covers over a decade. A friend of the magazine, Mayer shares encounters with the likes of Iggy Pop, EYE Yamataka, Pansonic, Matthew Herbert, Carsten Nicolai, Ryuichi Sakamoto and more from some of Berlin’s heyday.
Our new on-going section, An Anthology of Recording Music, Volume 1, presents first hand accounts of artists’ headspace before entering a studio to record a song. This free-form collection listens for boundaries of writing and recording one particular song. A wide variety of scenarios of cultural production are revealed as the following notable artists discuss one song: C Spencer Yeh, James Hoff, Julia McFarlane (Twerps), Jane Penny (TOPS), Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz), Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance), Benoît Pioulard, Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and more.
To close, a commissioned essay by writer, poet and critic Dan Barrow on an almost-forgotten punk & new wave film, Decoder (released in West Germany in 1984). Barrow’s essay profoundly reads and contextualizes the film, reactivating it for 2015 and beyond. The essay is accompanied by rare photography from the film’s production. The last pages of Issue 2 present another new on-going section for HIGHWAY: an invitational visual essay in which over 10 pages of editorial space are given over to the Italian imprint, Hundebiss to present [a distilled] visual manifestation of the label’s vision. The visual essay is exclusive to the print edition so get a print copy in our store.