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"NON LIVE IN OSAKA"

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Caciocavallo
Boyd Rice is at the center of that spurious underground milieu which rose to quasi-prominence in the eighties, combining industrial and noise culture with LeVay-style Satanism, social Darwinism and fascist aesthetics. The work of NON, and of its progenitors and followers, influenced a generation of Dungeons and Dragons players, rivetheads and white supremacists to unite their interests under an anti-establishment banner that seemed pretty dangerous and sexy when it was new, but appears a bit silly in retrospect. In truth, Boyd Rice created nothing that hadn't been suggested previously by David Bowie, and especially Throbbing Gristle. TG's interest in musical performance and noise as cultural exorcism, agitation and political rally was clearly a precedent for NON's subsequent exploitation. Boyd's only contribution was to narrow and delineate these interests, and to incorporate his neo-Satanic views and his sadistic sense of camp. Coming after the double disappointment of last year's tepid Children of the Black Sun 5.1 surround-sound album, Soleilmoon officially releases Non Live in Osaka on DVD, a frequently bootlegged recording of a legendary 1989 concert in Japan. This concert was legendary because it was the first to unite Boyd Rice, Douglas P., Rose McDowall, Tony Wakeford and Michael Moynihan on one stage. They appear in a thick fog, flanked by red beams of light, decked out in paramilitary gear, beating on giant barrel drums, while Rice performs a series of propagandistic invocations in his familiar modulated monotone. He spouts off the usual monologues about war, might and superiority. None of this is particularly ingenious, but it's very much better than any NON performance I've been unfortunate enough to witness in this decade. In fact, it all seems quite potent, with the big martial drumbeats, the grinding noise sweeps and Boyd Rice's booming, echoing voice. I especially appreciated the long introduction of Iron Guard marching songs directly preceding and following the performance. Watching this transported me back to a time when I thought it was quite daring to adopt an amoral, nihilistic viewpoint and wear Nazi totenkopf symbols on my clothes. In addition to some nifty photo slideshows accompanied by hilarious Japanese girl-pop, the DVD also includes illuminating commentary and two experimental short films by Boyd Rice. I've often heard these films compared to Kenneth Anger's ritual-on-celluloid masterpieces such as Lucifer Rising and Invocation of My Demon Brother. Judging by the first film, Invocation, Mr. Anger has nothing to worry about. This grainy, pornographic footage has all the genius of any Hi-8 video made by a 13-year old goth teenager from Des Moines. The second film, Black Sun, is much better, a Stan Brakhage-style celluloid trance-meditation on a spinning swastika.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 October 2005 14:06  


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