Radio Quarantine – Vox Low – S/T (2018)

Or maybe 1980-something by way of 2018? Not to say that VOX LOW sounds dated. They’re not some perverse anachronism. It’s just that the old sounds many times still sound very new. It’s a testament really to the post-punk/coldwave/darkwave bands of old. You couldn’t have told me back then that many of those bands were ahead of their time, but that’s the simple fact of it. Their music and their writing described a time and place that maybe hadn’t happened yet, or that I just wasn’t willing to see. I’m of that age when I was still drenched in that hippie vibe and ethos that we were going to change the world. We were naive though and we had no clue that things may have gone beyond fixing. Our revolution was more narcissist and performative. It was more about marking our own existence rather than changing things. I’ll plead guilty to that much. Look at me I’m living an alternative lifestyle. Look at me I’m a punk.


I won’t speak for Vox Low or anyone now or what they’re doing, but judging from the music they write and their written word, they are far ahead of where I was as a young man. There is a performative cosplay vibe to the whole darkwave, goth thing for sure, but they seem genuine. They seem very, very authentic and I’ll tip my hat to that. The difference between now and then is that with social media and media immersion in general it’s not as easy to back away from your words to disappear and reinvent yourself in a way that you can slip quietly back into the mainstream world. If you’ve achieved any sort of acclaim and notoriety you will one day be held accountable for anything you’ve done or said. Or perhaps even thought but I’m not about to delve into that.

So the tags/labels: dark wave electronic joy division dark wave krautrock new order new wave post-punk psychedelic old wave Paris

Yup, they are all of that. No arguments from me. They are all that if it matters. It’s heavy stuff.

This music means more to me now than it did in the 80s. It’s not even so much a question of understanding now where they’re coming from but of understanding myself and the true nature of all that’s going on out here in the world. I can see beyond my own mirror. It’s not a costumed performance. It’s all very real. Everything that matters is being run by people who care less about what’s true and good and right than they do about being on the winning side. They’ll play on and propagate the most vulgar fears and paranoia of any mass of people that will put them on that side. It really doesn’t matter at all who gets trampled in the meantime and that includes their constituents. This isn’t said from any sense of partisanship either because everyone above a certain level shares the guilt, but when I hear people say that Donald Trump, for example, cares about “regular people” it turns my stomach. I don’t really think people like Nancy Pelosi care any more for the general welfare of working people, but let’s examine all the evidence honestly. Donald Trump gives less than a fuck about the common man, beyond having a labor pool to clean the toilets and mow the golf courses. He clearly loathes us, and he’s not alone in that. The people up there in the golden towers consider us parasites.

Does that sound too strong? Melodramatic? Hysterical? I don’t think it does. We’re talking about the class of people that conceived of the concept of collateral damage, and that goes beyond war terminology. We are necessary as a mass, but individually expendable as long as we keep breeding and creating new workers. The only difference between the mainstream parties up there is that one of them might be willing to give us a little more to get by, but our purpose in their lives is to serve. And when I say “us” I’m not talking in terms of ethnicities, nationalities or borders. We’re all one mass, whether it’s American, French, Pakistani or Chinese. We exist for them and furthermore many of us appear to have wholly accepted our roles.

So yes… a bit strong, but only because we’re not supposed to speak about it. That music and art that reflect an utterly dystopian view of the world has been so tenacious and in recent years become so much more visible is only one signal from the truth.

It’s more than a signpost. It’s a symptom of an illness. It’s evidence in a criminal case.

And that’s that.

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