Sunday, January 15, 2017

Neighbourhood of Infinity

A number of moving tributes coming in, and many worth reading, from friends, fellow writers, students, associates, and contemporaries of Mark Fisher.  Perhaps lost in this shuffle is the wide array of musicians who not only admired Mark's thought, but also saw him as an influence/spiritual guide.  K-Punk's blog was at its most vocal during the 'naughts, an era that Mark often thought was the full realization of neoliberalism's dream of an end to history, where bands and acts mainly became a tabulation of referents with nothing important to offer on the present moment or what the future might bring. (Living through it, yes it really did seem that way for most of the decade).  This made Mark mournful for a lost sense futurism and it was largely music that shared this sentiment- against or desolate about the "slow cancellation of the future"- that he championed during this period.

Then, something incredible happened; Burial began giving a limited series of interviews that sounded like they could have been interviews with K-Punk himself from an alternate dimension. Soon, his ideas began popping up more and more in interviews, until without warning the sonic landscape didn't sound quite so drab anymore.  Though retro-leaning guitar acts still dominated "indie" sales, all the chatter was about artsy weirdoes from working class backgrounds, depressed 1%ers drowning in melancholy synth unable to detox from the desiring mechanism, and projects either steeped in a versatile pop/experimental theoretical framework or conducive to one, being written up with enthusiasm by a new school of eager music writers who'd whet their appetite on the blog community Mark assembled.


Indirectly or directly, it's no exaggeration to say that music sounds much more interesting these days because of the way K-Punk seeped into its aural bloodstream.  For this, we should all be grateful.  We should also note that this all happened at a time when the music press, for all intents and purposes, died.  While many quite literally published their last issues, others sank further into irrelevance as they struggled to find or ignored altogether any semblance of a zeitgeist.    K-Punk and the community he fostered brought back the urgency of music criticism in the late 70s and early 80s, where there seemed to be a direct feed between the journalists and the creators.

Perhaps most impressive though was the two-way roadways he opened up with the icons that inspired him.  Energized by the thrill of postpunk and early synthpop, Mark continued to champion Mark Stewart and John Foxx long after many had forgotten about them. In turn, they both seemed turned on by his ideas about hauntology, renewed modernism, and the like, and it seemed to infiltrate their own late era work.


































































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