Robert Anton Wilson and the DJVJ Revolution.
“enter the mix”–Ninjajamm.
Friday, March 19, 2010. (edited 01/03/2017)
I dedicate this writing to Ken Campbell and the Science Fiction Theater of Liverpool, and to creative artists who use music, theater, and multimedia to inspire others and spread the wisdom across all corners of the metaphorical toast.
Approx. three years ago (now 10!) Matt Black, Ken Campbell, Alan Moore and Mixmaster Morris spearheaded a multimedia tribute to Robert Anton Wilson, held at the Royal Queen Elizabeth Festival Hall in London. This mindwarping event was at the vanguard of (2007) technology, directed toward expanding consciousness and connecting the emergent networks of raw-heads with wicked edutainment.
I helped connect Matt B with Deepleaf productions and the Maybelogic Movie/Academy, to record some of the exquisite video material used in the 2.5 hour extravaganza. With some help, I also managed to find an independent host for the entire show (sadly no longer) and have been ruthlessly promoting the event since March 2007, together with other works of Dr. Robert Anton Wilson
On the 31st of August 2008 the great British writer, comedian, actor Ken Campbell passed. He was the comic-glue who pulled the whole QEII tribute event together, as the raging ring master. Ken preserved the biting wit and information rich satire that I find budding within RAW. and that seems to me desperately missing from the the popular pop conspiracy movement. There have been a number of fitting tributes to the life of Ken Campbell and I hope that someday, somebody will produce an equally stunning multimedia tribute to Ken, like that which was made for Bob. (this has now been done)
I can also trace most of my reasoning for being here to Jung’s dream (Page 223 of Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections) situated in Liverpool, a dream that inspired the creation of the science fiction theatre Liverpool. The theater that the science fiction drama group inhabited, first opened on the day that C.G Jung died (6th June, 1961) and is just down the road from where John Lennon and the Beatles first sang Yellow submarine, you can read about this on page 223 of Cosmic Trigger.
The fact that Jung called Liverpool the ‘pool’ of life is due to this dream he had. I find particular interest in the fact that the dream concerns the discovery of a swimming pool. More than half of the dreams i remember are in pools. I first came across the works of Robert Anton Wilson in the mid 1990’s while living in the UK, and the sources of my discovery lead me to deduct that Bill Drummond and the KLF, who were carrying the money burning flame of discord in the UK at that time, probably led to my coming across Cosmic Trigger. Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty were there, back in 1976 when Bill was working briefly alongside Ken Campbell, and Jimmy came to see the show. In the RAW tribute video Bill describes how he first came across the book Illuminatus Trilogy!
Bill spoke of his new seventeen project and ‘no music day’ that also came up on radio show (2009) on the ‘late late breakfast show’ that also featured my friend John Sinclair, who admires ‘Wild’ Bill Drummond, which brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to the JAMS!
RAW attracted me to the United States in 2000 A.D and led me on a five year journey acriss-cross the United States and back to Europe (2005). The day after the Royal Tribute to RAW I flew out from London to Amsterdam and have lived here since then. I once caught up with Matt Black and Mike Ladd at a Coldcut gig when they played the ‘Paradiso’ club in 2008. (Breaking: Coldcut just released a new album together with On-U sound: https://coldcut.bandcamp.com/
Since the London performance Coldcut and the constellation of artists that appear under that umbrella have produced countless ‘live’ shows, recorded and released ‘tracks’ ‘albums’ and even a conscious social green movement called of energyunion, continuing they’re trajectory into the uncharted territory of multimedia manipulation and networked sound artivism.
As some of the first visual jockeys (VJ’s) and inventors of the first VJ software that I am aware of: VJAMM’ Coldcut and by extension Ninjatune have been the mainstay of tech innovation. I was first attracted to Ninjatune by way of the Jazz Breaks series around 1994 and some of the early releases from Journey’s by DJ’s, Luke Vibert, DJ Food, Amon Tobin and Funki Porcini. This new sound, to me, together with the emerging Bristol bass music scene, some Drum and Bass brewing in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and the sounds of James Lavelle’s Mo-Wax, oozed with dubbed out blunted beats. These sounds more or less shaped my musical cultural leanings for a while, and inspired me to acquire turntables, a mixer, and learn the arts of the DJ.
One sure fire sign that Ninjatune, or somebody at Ninjatune had a respect for RAW came when they released NINJASKINS: Ninjatune signature rolling papers. They came with a wonderfully intelligent fold out package describing various terms and phrases of Ninjatune philosophy, with RAW undertones. In collaboration with UK graffiti artist and music producer PART2 we made a tune that was released on Ninjatune’s sister label ‘Big Dada records’ in 1999. The track was called Quantum Mechanix’ from the album Equalibrium by New Flesh For Old Featuring DJ Weston. I carried the album to the US wishing to turn Bob onto Big Dada and Ninjatune.
After spending some time with RAW at the Prophets Conference Palm Springs and in San Francisco, I was invited to his home to conduct an interview on September 10th 2002. It was here he told me about a movie project he was working on with some locals tentatively called Maybelogic, and so i got in contact with ‘Deepleaf productions’ and quickly turned them onto Ninjatune, and some other musical entities I thought had an affinity with RAW, like cosmic-jazz cats ‘Kosmic Renaissance‘ (The Supplicants). For this linking I was generously given associate producer credits on the finished movie, plus my mash-up from the DVD menu music, featuring Garaj Mahal bassist Kai Eckhardt. A movie all about RAW with a soundtrack including The Cinematic Orchestra, Amon Tobin, Boards Of Canada, Funki Porcini, and others, what?
I had done nothing more than send an email, but for me, after this spree of fortune i would tireless promote this movie and of the Maybelogic Academy (which sprung up in 2004 to provide online classes led by RAW) and of Ninjatune, playing many releases for over sixteen years (now 23) I credit Ninja with inspiring me to experiment with DJ sets and mixing techniques. Since moving to Amsterdam my musical diet changed once again, in favor of live music and writing projects influenced by my encounter with the giant of music, poetry, and activism, John Sinclair
“Although the circumstances for this event were somewhat rare and the resources to reproduce such an event based on donations for the most part, I still feel it stands as an testimony to Multimedia edutainment at its most terse and best, almost fully formed in its experimental launch that night the video teaches by example how educational lectures may look and sound like over the new decade.–Matt Black.”
Although the show is 3 (10) years old, it has not picked up dust only moonlight, and it seems more relevant each day that passes, it stands as a great experimental interface between cinema, music, theater, comedy that I feel culturally binds America, Britain and the rest of Europe, and the entire world. All schools, colleges and University programs would benefit from such an interactive DJ VJ interfacing class.
For me Alan Moore produces consistent work that secures his place as the greatest living Englishman. A well rounded genius, and widely celebrated as such, he exhibits a creative interpretation of ‘art and reality engineering’, buttered up with RAW recipes. To see and hear Alan reading from ‘Masks of the Illuminati’ together with his wonderfully bright ‘eulogy’ for RAW (Featured in my Ninjajamm Pack above) was a heart thumping highlight of the evening in London, his accent made me feel personally at home. His first words from Masks included “A watchmaker in Amsterdam…” The following morning i flew to Amsterdam to attend the ‘Jam in the Dam‘ festival and meet with the band Galactic, from New Orleans.
I have a long list of thanks and wish to add some extra names to those on the E-flyer’ Matt Black, Lance Boucher, Nigel Blunt, Nick Larson, Part2, Ninjatune office staff, Juice Aleem, John Sinclair, Galactic, Mixmaster Morris, Mike Ladd, Propanon, Toby Philpott.
“Ken Campbell: We did it in Liverpool because Peter O’Hallaghan had come across a dream in Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections. The dream changed Jung’s life, persuaded him to buckle down to the unconscious for the rest of his life. Anyway, on page 223 he says something like: I was in a dark and grimy city. It was clearly Liverpool. It goes on . . . And this began to obsess Peter who was a proud Liverpoolophile. http://www.frogboy.freeuk.com/ken.html
NinjaJamm – The final chapter (2017)
In 2012 a team of coders and developers came together to build a new audio remixing app called Ninjajamm. Spearheaded by Matt Black of Coldcut, the project became an instant success, winning the support of many NinjaTune artists, app reviewers and users.
Due to the unique share and remix attitude of Matt, NinjaJamm stands out as yet another example of innovative decentralized technology that encourages play, discovery and community, ninja jamming. Culture jamming and hacking are similar activities, re-purposed technology, crafty new tools. With literally hundreds of remixes of any given NJ release, everybody who has a device can download the app free! and begin remixing. Each downloadable ‘Tune Pack’ is like any other digital mp3 release, but with the major difference of being handed over as individual stems, to rearrange. This design intervention intervenes in the major record company world, by giving you and everybody else the means to make your own remix, share it, jam with others.
With a little effort and concentration it’s now possible to create and upload your own Tune Packs, made with your own samples, and so tool-up creative audio outlaws, for little or no cost, and begin jamming. I recently made 3 Robert Anton Wilson inspired Tune Packs: ‘Kick Out The Jamms’ ‘Fly Raw’ (See Above), and ‘Fly Walk’ (watch this space)
Special thanks to Tom Grashion, who actually programmed the pack, and to Alex, Aneek, Matt B and all Ninja’s at http://www.ninjajamm.net
Find The Others festival was a three day confestival of discordia and high weirdness in Liverpool, November 2014. I organized the ‘Maybe Logic dome‘ exhibition, which was a series of films made for projecting inside an 8 ft. inflatable dome (provided by Mario of immersive theaters). Although i didn’t end up getting all the video together and rendered correctly for the show, the list of contributors helps to define my on-going vision for a touring Maybe Logic dome, or mobile pop-up Academy. I see the Dome projections as a new intermediary between virtual reality and augmented reality. You are sharing a 360 experience together, rather than in your own goggle world. Treats from David McConvile (BFI) Bobby Campbell, Youth, Coldcut, Alan Moore, Maybe Logic Academy Faculty, and Morley Markson. Plus DJ Food.
In the summer of 2014 it was announced that Daisy Campbell would produce a stage adaptation of ‘Cosmic Trigger I” by Robert Anton Wilson. The Cosmic Trigger Play was like an ultrasonic magnet to me, and i made the trip to meet the producers and landed the role of musical director. Over the next 5 months i worked my balls off on recording, arranging, writing, and producing music for the play (with much help from the legendary Tim Egmond in Amsterdam) most of which was not used due to a late decision to have me playing ‘live’ drums. Some of the recordings went into a Ninjajamm pack called Fly Raw.
My original idea was to cut a vinyl record full of sounds and samples to be played during the performance, but a combination of factors, lack of funds and lack of time led to this idea being shelved. However, for the purposes of this article i think that there are certainly openings for turntables and theater to combine forces, Kid Koala Q-Bert, DJ Food, and DJ Spooky are already experimenting in this area. (See my published novel ‘Sixty’ and ‘Open Source History’ due for release later this year)
DJ Greg Wilson and Super Weird Substance are about to perform together with Alan Moore and full gang of RAW heads in Liverpool, April 1st. Celebrating the Mandrillifesto of Alan Moore, and the music dance entertainments of Super Weird Substance.
The KLF have announced a new album in 2017 and the release of a science fiction trilogy. The justified ancients of mumu seem very much alive and kicking. The DJ/VJ revolution continues to move minds and bodies across the planet, thanks to all those keeping it epic and encyclopedic, global and local. Peace.
–Steve Fly, Amsterdam 01/03/2017