ALEX ALEX’S COLUMN: SOUL ENEMA – Of Clans and Clones and Clowns (2017)

Review by: Alex Alex
Assigned by :Constantin Glanz


Following the history of “progressive” (mandatory including all the “inspired by”) rock bands is much like watching the entire Leslie Nielsen filmography: the only question to answer is “when we are supposed to start laughing?”.

The correct answer is that we are not – the existential tragedy of the “Airplane!” becomes obvious from the first utterance.

In a far away future, where airplanes all run on steam, how we are supposed to tell which one of them most resembles the present-day Boeing? The context, the hard disks installed in the invisible robots all around us, make us laugh at the heroic attempts of Mr Nielsen to, first, save the Airplane and then the Starship – but deep in our hearts we know that the man is as good as Jefferson, Washington, Trump or Dead Kennedy.

If it’s all a timeless mess now, how do we judge? When one is close to death one is close to the timeless. Death is a lonely business, let me steal from the SF businessman here, but the loneliness means no one around, no other businesses to compare with. And, if we do not have anything to compare Airplane! with then it’s not funny anymore. Then it’s just an airplane crushing, people dying and a brave captain trying to save them by doing what he must do.

Thus, I encourage you to give a listen to Soul Enema. I do not say that in a way the whore-like agents in the tourists agencies do. I do not promise you five stars but, in return, you are free to acknowledge that you never really deserved even three. Fuck, have you ever done anything yourself? Have you ever hunted baboons on Mars? Have you ever witnessed the last days of Rome? Do you know anything about Aral Sea?

Aral Sea is the Sea Inside and as we do not have any more “inside” so it’s here now. Once people thought there will always be enough room in hell for all the zombies. But then the walls (and the animals) changed their solid forms to that of Miku Hatsune, the room changed into the movie, and all the Hellboys are now here forever, comfortably.

So I encourage you, again, to listen to Soul Enema if not for anything else, then as a kind of a Greenpeace action. Consider it a fun, a challenge. How brave you are? Will you dare telling your friends that Soul Enema is a good group? Will you be able to explain why? Or, you don’t fucking know anything, right? There are lists of groups out there, Soul Enema is not on the lists? Tourist you are and a Greenpeace warrior you are not. They are coming to get you.

Bravery and insanity is all that’s left for us. Not an industry-manufactured insanity, sold as a series of “genius” figures with porcelain heads crushed by a bullet or made malfunctioned by the drugs. Olden times all people were brave and insane and that was the definition for sanity. I remember that from my childhood and you, probably, do, too. Back then we could have music as we pleased. But we never really wanted anything too original or too strange. We knew what music was.

Now, we do not really know that anymore. It’s good that Soul Enema does.



Review by: Alex Alex

The modern music industry, a hardest and a cruelest competition, much resembling the modern sports is not, however, openly presented as such. Had it been, then Matt Elliott, an English musician, singer-songwriter, and whatever else those sportsmen in disguise are labeled, could well have been questioned by some music anti-doping agency on the ways he obtains his astonishingly depressing, as well as suspiciously crazy, results.

Music business still masking itself as a creative activity, the sportsmen-artists are allowed any legal technique as long as it’s masked as illegal. Nick Cave used to come to the arena in a black suite and a white shirt, the raven wing color hair being all natural and the stories about his past as a punk or who those guys are – all very strange but absolutely comprehensible narrative. Hell, one could even present the proof of rationality post factum – surely Joy Division had some rights to do what they did – in cinemas and theaters you pay before you see the show but, well, there are many business places where you are supposed to pay after.

So, the anti-doping committee would then proceed with checking the rationale behind the Matt Eliott album “Failing Songs” (which has come immediately after his previous one called “Drinking Songs” on the record label “Ici d’Ailleurs”). Immediately the suspicions would arise. “Drinking Songs”, “Failing Songs” – those titles seem to be almost mirror opposites to, say, “Murder Ballads” or all those freaky titles of the black metal albums – surely there must be some drugs hidden in the sugarcubes? And what the hell does “Ici d’Ailleurs” mean if it doesn’t hint that these songs are not really that suitable for drinking?

But then, surely, “Failing Songs” is a collection of protest songs inspired by “the current political climate in Great Britain” as Wikipedia says? Surely “we’re free to do exactly what we’re told, we’re free to buy what we’re sold” is that type of lyrics which would allow “the times they are a-changing” chorus? Can the album be allowed to participate in the competition then?

Oh, wait there’s another song which starts with “When people ask me I always say/The targeted assassination is the only way”.. The protest seems now to be not that constructive – people can become worried a bit. Ah, wait! It must be a loud aggressive song because, of course, the political climate in Great Britain is that of the Queen being the head of the fascist regime a scientist turning into a fly – and all this will eventually be revealed in the happy-ending kawaii KISS masks kabuki show and the kids leaving the circus happily?

Hell, no. The “Planting Seeds” song is a very sad, very melancholy and there’s not a hint of that shameful positivity of the artistic protest in it. “Assassinate a corporate billionaire or their heirs” does not sound satirically (neither self-satirically) nor punkish – it does not even sound decadent, Lou Reedish or how – it sounds tired. And when the singing is over there’s the music and it’s very calm and it sounds crazy.

So what if the spectre of Communism, haunting Europe – is first and foremost a spectre? What if the spectral nature of it is much more important than the Communist programme the spectre happens to read. After all, The Third Eye Foundation, the previous project of Matt Elliott, does have an album named “Ghost” – of course, it’s very different from “Failing Songs”, purely instrumental, much less listenable but all the craziness is in there. In what sense does the spectre of Communism haunt Europe then? Surely we know what we protest for when but do we know what we protest against? Is our dissatisfaction with the existing conditions, in fact, a dissatisfaction with the existence itself? Are we protesting or are we just crazy? In that sense are we not always Ici d’ailleurs?

Well, anyway, for the anti-doping committee it will be absolutely clear that Mat Elliott shall not be allowed to participate in the competition. Indeed, no one can run so fast that “the future that we had is now the past” – this would mean exceeding the speed of light. No human artist, no matter what the circumstances are, can do that and what kind of formula should one discover to achieve that?

I think this is exactly the question we should ask ousrselves when listening to any of Matt Elliott works.