Messing Up the Paintwork conference : programme and abstracts
Here're the provisional programme and abstracts for the conference taking place at the Old Fire Station, The Crescent, Salford on Friday, 9 May (not 8 May as previously announced).
There's more information on the conference on the January 2008 edition of the Fall news.
Provisional Schedule: 9 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
9.00 - 9.30 Registrations
9.30 - 10.00 Introductions: David Sanjek (Adelphi) / Michael Goddard (Conference)
10.00 - 10.50 Keynote 1 Richard Witts: Totally Wired: The Character(s) of a Band.
10.50 - 11.10 Coffee Break
11.10 - 12.40 Parallel Session 1
1A: The Fall, John Peel and Popular Culture
- Emily Coolidge and Nathan Wright: Fades in Gently: John Peel’s Role in the Fall’s Career.
- Paul Long: ‘It’s Over Now’: The Fall, John Peel and Popular Music Radio.
- Chris Atton: The Biggest Library Yet: The Writing of Ideology and Cultural Politics in a Fall Fanzine.
1B: The Fall, Manchester and the North
- Sara Shephard: “Manacled to the City: The Significance of Place in the Imagery and Mythos of The Fall.
- Katie Hannon: The Fall: A Manchester Band?
- Tom Shore: Lie Dream of a Casino Soul: Mark E Smith, Geography and Working Class Culture in Britain
12.40 - 1.40 Lunch
1.40 - 3.10 Parallel Session 2
2A: The Fall and Aesthetic Techniques
- Robin Purves: Don’t Start Improvising for God’s Sake: Repetition and Improvisation during The Fall.
- Robert Walker: Dictaphonics: Intervention through Acoustics and Primitive Recording in the music of the Fall
- Paul Wilson: Mark E. Smith’s Handwriting and the Typography of The Fall
2B: The Fall Vs./As the Others
- Richard Osborne: The Fall’s rebellious Jukebox
- Andy Wood: “Rebellious Jukebox”: The Fall and the War Against Conformity
- Martin Myers: A Figure Walks: Strangers in and around The Fall
3.10 - 3.30 Coffee Break
3.30 - 5.20 Parallel Session 3
3A: The Persona and Management Techniques of Mark E. Smith
- Angus McDonald: “The Lie Dream of the Pure Soul”: Mark E. Smith’s Militant Persona
- Janice Kearns and Dean Lockwood: “As if we Didn’t Know who he Was: The Untimely Power of Mark E. Smith and The Fall
- Owen Hatherley: “Let me Tell You About Scientific Management”: The Fall and the Disciplined Worker
- Paulo Oliveira: “Keep a Full Subs’ Bench: Mark E. Smith’s Take on Management Technique
3B: The Fall, Modernist Poetics and Psychogeography
- Paul Sutton: The Fall and the Modernist Tradition
- Richard Barrett: Mark E. Smith, Blake and the Auto-Didactic Opposition to Scientific Materialism
- Rob Chapman: I Have Seen the Madness in my Area
- Mark Goodall: Salford Drift: A Psychogeography of The Fall
5.20 - 6.00 Alan Wise: Mark E. Smith, Experiences of and Beliefs in, the Paranormal
6.30 - 8.00 Dinner: Cafe Istanbul
8.00 - 11.30 The Kings Arms, 11 Bloom St, Salford
MC: C. P. Lee
- 8.20 - 9.00 Mark Fisher: The Fall and the Weird
- 9.00- 9.30 Mick Middles: Writing on The Fall
- 9.30 - 10.00 Grant Showbiz: Producing The Fall
- 10.00 - 10.30 Globo: The Fall Experiment
- 10.30 - 11.30 Fall Karaoke (mandatory)
1A: The Fall, John Peel and Popular Culture
Emily Coolidge and Nathan Wright: Fades In Gently: John Peel’s Role in the Fall’s Career
It is standard sociological orthodoxy that major cultural achievements such as the remarkable career of the Fall are better explained by the quirks of social structural arrangements than by the singular work of individual geniuses such as Mark E. Smith. This paper is part of a larger project investigating this tension between social structure and individual genius using the impact BBC Radio DJ John Peel had on the popular culture of the latter half of the 20th Century. We contend that an account of singular cultural achievement like the Fall’s must not discount individual genius, both in terms of Mark E. Smith and John Peel. Peel and the Fall needed each other. Together, their impact was substantial and only partially attributable to the advantages of Peel’s unique social structural position at the BBC. We use Peel and the Fall as a case study to illustrate a kind of powerful cultural impact and agency that is not well accounted for by existing sociological theories of charisma, cultural power, production of culture, or theories of agency-structure that focus on major events or the altering of social structures.
Paul Long: ‘It’s Over Now’: The Fall, John Peel and Popular Music Radio.
The opening lines of the latest album from The Fall -- Reformation Post TLC -- are ‘I think it’s over now, I think it’s ending’. I’ll take this for a serendipitous allusion to the most extreme of hyperbolic lamentations attendant upon the death of the band’s key champion John Peel. The meanings of The Fall, knowledge about and access to the band are in part inextricable from their place in 25 years of Peel’s play list, in turn defining him and the role that he had in discourses of popular music and radio. As Mark E. Smith said: ‘Me and John had an agreement, you know, we never were friends or anything like that, you know … this is what I admired about him, he was always objective – people forget that’. This paper builds upon my own recently published research on Peel in order to explore the relationship of band and broadcaster.1 I set this relationship within a wider context for understanding notions of alternativeness and independence within popular music culture and the manner in which The Fall have existed as the apotheosis of both. Underwriting this paper are questions about the meanings of the band, its output and place in contemporary music now that Peel has passed on.
Chris Atton: The Biggest Library Yet: The Writing of Ideology and Cultural Politics in a Fall Fanzine.
This paper will explore the critical reception of the work of Mark E. Smith and The Fall through an examination of fan discourse. It will focus on what was, from 1994 to 2000, the most prominent Fall fanzine, The Biggest Library Yet, and will answer the following questions: To what extent do the ideology and the cultural politics of the fanzine and its writers resemble those of Mark E. Smith? Do we find an unswerving homology with – even a loyalty to – to the man and his music? What do fans understand by that ideology and politics and, perhaps most importantly, how they construct ideology and cultural politics for themselves? As Simon Frith has observed, the fanzine may be ‘the most effective way of putting together new taste and ideological musical communities.’ This theorisation suggests a kind of ‘social realism’ in fanzine discourse that connects the music to its experience by an audience. This can involve the construction of identity and explorations of the personal by the writer; it might also entail direct addresses to the reader. Together these two practices represent the dominant features of fanzine discourse: identity and community. In the case of The Biggest Library Yet, to what extent do personal and critical accounts connect to social experience and to the formation of a critical community of fans? How does the communication of these experiences then connect to the perceived belief system, culture and ideology of Mark E. Smith, as interpreted through the music of the Fall?
1B: The Fall, Manchester and the North
Sara Shephard: “Manacled to the City: The Significance of Place in the Imagery and Mythos of The Fall.
The Fall are from Manchester - so what? The history of popular music is littered with artistes with overt or implied allegiances to place, from blues acts whose monikers proclaimed their geographical roots (eg Memphis Minnie), to rock bands whose whole mythology was tied to a particular city or region (Beach Boys, New York Dolls). In terms of Manchester music, The Smiths continued in the tradition of music informed by local landscape, with parochial references in abundance. The Fall, and Mark E Smith in particular, are commonly seen as a part of that lineage and are regarded by many as quintessentially Mancunian/Salfordian/Northern; often reduced to and narrowly defined by everything these labels connote. It is my contention, however, that although identification with place is integral to Fall folklore, it is in their case far more complex than straightforward provincialism. For Smith, place-identity is reflexive, and regional loyalties ambiguous - notions of Northernness and Englishness are explored, though their preferred readings are usually subverted and re-envisioned. Both lyrically and in interviews, he constructs alternate geographies, pulling together a web of disparate references invariably tied to place and relocating them within a mythical Fall realm, thus creating a kind of ‘imagined community’ for the Fall-initiated. This re-imagining of place, I argue, stands in stark opposition to the crude localism displayed by many groups, and can arguably be held up as an example of the potential for art to contest existing understandings of culture and place.
Katie Hannon: The Fall: A Manchester Band?
The Fall has rarely been called a ‘Manchester Band’ in its 30-plus years of existence - but why? Considering the city's various musical zeitgeists and the wild, widespread popularity of their attendant stars, the term 'Manchester Band' surely indicates more than a city of origin. The Fall occupies a gray area between punk, pop, dance, rockabilly and countless other genres that help to explain its music, but never seem to do it adequately. Mark E. Smith's musical influences and output will be compared to those of other Manchester notables in order to explore how The Fall has both deliberately and passively been able to avoid geographical labeling when they hail from one of the most distinctive musical cities in the UK.
Tom Shore: Lie Dream of a Casino Soul: Mark E Smith, Geography and Working Class Culture in Britain
This paper explores the geography of working class culture and music, by using
Mark E Smith lead-singer of Manchester band The Fall - noted particularly for
his ability to write song lyrics that reflect northern (predominantly working
class) life. Specifically, I will use a lyrical discourse to explore the
cultural politics of Mark E Smith and The Fall, symbolising a northern working
class culture that has been highly critical of itself (Industrial Estate, Bingo
Masters Breakout, Lie Dream of a Casino Soul). By closely exploring Mark E
Smith's songs that refer specifically to 'the North', the paper evokes a vision
that The Fall and their music are enshrined in northern working class culture.
Further to this I wish to discuss other aspects of The Fall's songs that
highlight Mark E Smith's attitude toward other aspects of British popular
culture such as an ambivalence towards the banality of everyday life (Couldn't
Get Ahead), the emergence of show-biz culture fed by the media (Just Step
Sideways, Mere Pseud Mag. Ed.) and observations about the class system in
Britain (English Scheme, Prole Art Threat). This paper highlights the multitude
of identities contained within the music of The Fall which contributes to a
better understanding of the ways in which music can be highly critical of what
constitutes 'Northern' or 'working class' identity whilst at the same time
reinforcing these ideas.
2A: The Fall and Aesthetic Techniques
Robin Purves: Don’t Start Improvising for God’s Sake: Repetition and Improvisation during The Fall.
Beginning from a critique of the most influential definitions of and rationales for musical improvisation (drawn from the writings of Derek Bailey, Keith Rowe and Ben Watson), the paper will aim to evaluate their effectiveness for accurate description and analysis of a limited selection of songs by The Fall, focussing on a few studio-based and live recordings made between 1979 and 1982. Using theories of improvisation to read aspects of The Fall’s sound I hope to go some way towards establishing a provisional terminology for analysis which shifts beyond the language of conventional rock journalism while exposing the limitations of those theories for the discussion of experimental rock music. By using The Fall to read theories of improvisation, I hope to expose the consequences of those theories’ tendency towards naturalistic prejudices and their downgrading of lyric as writing in favour of lyric as unwritten ‘song’, the untrammelled pre-linguistic pitch schedule for which “aesthetics, musical fashion, even economics – are to a unique degree irrelevant.” (Derek Bailey)
Robert Walker: Dictaphonics: Intervention through Acoustics and Primitive Recording in the music of the Fall
Aside from the lyrical content of The Fall’s work, there has been a restless variation in the tonal quality of the treatments applied to Smith’s voice. Whether singing through a guitar amp, a megaphone or jamming a vocal microphone inside a bass drum, the voice has rarely been allowed to rest in the default sound of the vocal booth favoured by most. The use of primitive recording devices such as dictaphones and domestic tape recorders has been a regular feature of The Fall’s studio output. As a tonal device it might be at first considered one of countless manipulations applied by Smith and his collaborators. But more importantly it blurs the line between writing and recording, a direct injection of the nascent idea into the artifice of the rock record. It allows a shifting of the perceived space and time inhabited by constituent parts of a Fall song, the constant being an alienation effect reminding the listener of the pretence and artifice of the recording process whilst also being a part of it. This paper will seek to explain how Smith has never settled on any one use of the technique throughout the band’s career, instead employing it in a variety of contexts in relation to the song both structurally, acoustically and acousmatically with differing consequences. The primitive tape recorder has become a site of creative tension capable of transcending its origins and adding to the abrasive and experimental power of the groups’ output.
Paul Wilson: Mark E. Smith’s Handwriting and the Typography of The Fall
This paper argues that Mark E. Smith’s handwriting (and his use of a range of hand-rendered inscriptions) have been a distinct element of The Fall’s aesthetic throughout their career to date. It surveys the numerous appearances of Mark E. Smith’s handwriting through The Fall’s career—from scrawled ballpoint glyphs on vinyl sleeves to handwriting-as-typeface digital facsimile on CD covers - and attempts to articulate this particular parallel history, where Smith’s typography ‘...has ceased to be a quiescent channel for orderly, sequential argument and become an active visual medium for the complexity of thought.’ (Poyner 1999:73) From it’s first appearance as skewed, stylised proto-logotype (‘Bingo-Master’s Break-Out’ 1978) to chaotic and collapsed aphorisms (‘Hex Enduction Hour’ 1982) and, more recently, fax-paper and marker-penned out/underlining (‘Interim’ 2004), Smith’s orthographic articulation has proved as notable and characteristic as his vocal style and has often been subject to similar manipulation, transformation and reconfiguration. This perceived (visual) poetic sensibility and eye for verbal graphic language seems at odds - and a source of tension - with Smith’s admitted antagonism towards the formalities of graphic design (and designers) and his fondness for the everyday and the non-expert. Smith’s use of handwriting and elements of the hand-rendered/made (together with a perceived antipathy towards any writing technology more sophisticated than the typewriter) continually attempt, therefore, to relocate The Fall’s visual aesthetic towards a notional ‘primitive’, a concept he has professed a strong tendency towards since their earliest incarnation.
2B: The Fall Vs./As the Others
Richard Osborne: The Fall’s Rebellious Jukebox
Regarding the Fall’s silver jubilee, Mark E. Smith stated, ‘I regard the twenty-fifth year as 25 years after our first record, not 25 years since we got together in some bedroom, somewhere. Who cares about that?’ The record is where The Fall begin and it is the record that is at the centre of The Fall’s antagonism. Mark E. Smith has ensured that The Fall’s records sound and appear like no others. He has highlighted the artificiality of the recording process (listen to the time-checks in ‘Music Scene’ and the declaration ‘OK, studio, that’s plenty’); he has fought against hi-fidelity studio sound (frequently interrupting performances with poor quality home tape recordings); and he has revelled in the anti-art of his sleeves (climaxing with the graffiti scrawl of Hex Enduction Hour). And yet it is only because the Fall’s output is available on record that he has been able to both celebrate and subvert this form. More than any other artist Mark E. Smith has used his records to talk about his records (cross-references abound); he is also the most inveterate name-dropper in the business. In ‘New Puritan’ Smith declares, ‘I curse your preoccupation with your record collection’, and yet this is a man who can’t help telling us what he’s been listening to. It is because they have had numerous record deals that The Fall have been able to call themselves professionals; and it is their antagonism with the records dealt – both their own and the work of other artists - that I wish to explore at this conference.
Andy Wood: “Rebellious Jukebox”: The Fall and the War Against Conformity
Mark E. Smith and The Fall have always occupied an ambiguous and contentious place within popular culture and the music industry. Continually playing against expectations and refusing to play the unwritten ‘rules’ of the culture industries, The Fall have largely disdained scenes, trends and fashions, and, by continually reinventing themselves, looking forward and avoiding looking-back or playing up to past glories, have continued to produce vital new work. This has made them one of the, if not the most important groups to evolve from the British punk scene. It could also be argued that this refusal of, or war against conformity has damaged the bands commercial and critical appeal. Equally, it could be argued that it is precisely this combination of obtuseness and a principled stand that has allowed Mark E. Smith and The Fall to continue to create and innovate consistently over a period of three decades when many other artists have fallen by the wayside, found themselves and their music compromised or simply became another cabaret act on the punk revival circuit. In the course of this paper I will explore the position of The Fall within the different music scenes of the past thirty years, not only as participants and actors but also as ongoing cultural commentators. Mark E. Smith and The Fall have often occupied a position close to centre rather than the periphery of the British music scene, an interesting paradox that deserves investigation.
Martin Myers: A Figure Walks: Strangers in and around The Fall
The figure of the ‘stranger’ has been used by Bauman and Simmel as a means of locating immigrant figures within the nation state. In particular Simmel’s description of the man ‘who comes today and stays tomorrow’ is a potent evocation of the ambiguity caused by the appearance of an ‘other’ within established communities. It speaks of the discomfort with which relationships between natives and others are established. The Fall have always assumed a mantle of otherness in many aspects of their work and existence. In doing so they often sit between stools: in the 70’s/80’s for example disengaged from the Mancunian urban chic of Factory Records and yet seemingly light years distant from the London hippy bohemianism of Rough Trade Records, the label they signed to on two separate occasions. Both group and front man Mark Smith at times seem to flirt with outsider rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles whilst ultimately rejecting them in a hilarious litany of non-rock moments and soap-opera storylines. Smith in particular is an outsider from the day-to-day inanities of celebrity rock star lives and also sits outside the worlds of critically lauded rock outsiders like Iggy and Thurston, Kurt and Courtney, Liam and Damon. This paper considers whether or not the figure of the ‘stranger’, of an alien presence at once mundane and recognisable, yet at the same time deeply unsettling, might be a useful starting point to understand the resonance of The Fall and Mark Smith.
3A The Persona and Management Techniques of Mark E. Smith
Angus McDonald: “The Lie Dream of the Pure Soul”: Mark E. Smith’s Militant Persona
Picking up on the proposed theme of antagonism in the cultural field, and cultural politics, this paper will propose that Smith/The Fall's oeuvre and project, above and beyond any individual record, concert or performance, can be characterised as the achievement and promulgation of a persona best characterised as militant, and that this militant persona is in fact what is definitive of The Fall. A reading of the militant persona will be developed in the context of Alain Badiou's text on Ethics. The relevance of this text is captured in the following: ".... the sole maxim of consistency (and thus of ethics): Keep going! Keep going even when you have lost the thread, when you no longer feel 'caught up' in the process, when the event itself has become obscure, when its name is lost, or when it seems that it may have named a mistake...." (p79) Evidently, a key factor in the Fall's status has been exactly this will to keep going, the anti-nostalgia, the unwillingness to call a halt. The paper will use the Badiou text to analyse The Fall, but will also use The Fall to analyse the Badiou text, thereby exposing some of the strengths and also some of the shortcomings of the militant persona, considering also other embodiments of this idea, such as Guy Debord.
Janice Kearns and Dean Lockwood: “As if We Didn’t Know Who he Was: The Untimely Power of Mark E. Smith and The Fall
These days everybody wants a piece of Mark E Smith - the ‘last man standing.’ The deadening irony and disengagement of pop today has fostered a nostalgic and panicky resurrection of times when music actually seemed to possess some productive energy. Thus, our media look back to the fervency of 1978-84 and crave the post-punk real and its ‘aura of urgency and missionary zeal’ (for example, the curious Social Realist concoction of Anton Corbijn’s ‘Control’ movie). The time may seem ripe for a similar treatment of the Fall (‘Repetition -the movie’?). However, one of the great virtues of Mark E Smith has been his power of untimeliness. In this paper, we will discuss this power in terms of Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the ‘minoritarian’. Minoritarian music constitutes, we argue, not a ‘delivery mechanism’ for pre-existent identities and messages, but the very becoming of identity. We will address Fall music’s affective capacity to disrupt the present, to mutate and open up its organizing codes and their immanent power relations. Fall songs work experimentally within the ‘hexes’ and ‘runes’ of culture scenes, repeating voices, slogans, adverts, order-words, in such a way as to decode, dislocate and fissure them, to make language stutter. Smith weirds out popular cultural codes and tropes, arranging scriptible counter-hexes and critical phantasmagoria. If Claire Colebrook argues that we must recognize the potential in Shakespeare’s work ‘to be read as if we didn’t know who he was’, we argue the case similarly for retrieving Mark E Smith as a ‘minor’ author.
Owen Hatherley: “Let me Tell You About Scientific Management”: The Fall and the Disciplined Worker
Many studies of the Fall take their cue from Mark E Smith’s tendency to the fantastical, but equally important is a stern, pared-down disciplinarian element. In ‘Birmingham School of Business School’, Mark E Smith sneers ‘let me tell you about scientific management’. This paper will discuss The Fall in terms of Frederick Wilmslow Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management, the tract on the disciplined movement of the worker that helped create Fordism. The Fall, both in music and rhetoric, constantly evoke the Taylorised factory, with Smith as it’s grim, ruthless manager. The endless repetition, the rules against any kind of display of individual technique (‘don’t start improvising for god’s sake’), a puritanical excising of anything superfluous. Also there is Smith’s conflicted view on the worker itself – whether trumpeting his own background or equally frequently denouncing the English working class as bovine, unimaginative and warped by the industrial experience. This paper will explore the Fall in terms of discipline, industry and class – all of which are complicated and contradictory in their work.'
Paulo Oliveira: “Keep a Full Subs’ Bench: Mark E. Smith’s Take on Management Technique
During the 2006 Football World Cup, The Guardian published an opinion piece by Mark E. Smith where he stated that Sven-Goran Eriksson should follow his approach to team (band) management if he wanted to be successful. This paper will draw on that article and The Fall’s oeuvre to analyse Mark E. Smith’s take on human resources management while acknowledging football’s presence in it.
3B: The Fall, Modernist Poetics and Psychogeography
Paul Sutton: The Fall and the Modernist Tradition
This paper places Smith in a modernist tradition equally hostile to artistic tradition and mass market entertainment. His use of modernist devices such as dissonance and fragmentation militates against mass acceptance, while his insistence on refracting his avant-garde influences through the lens of the proletarian Friday night stops his work from becoming "art". Drawing on the Frankfurt School and the Situationists, I shall argue that Smith's work thrives above all on negation. The Fall's significance consists as much in what they are not as in what they are.
Richard Barrett: Mark E. Smith, Blake and the Auto-Didactic Opposition to Scientific Materialism
The paper will argue that: a) Mark E Smith has chosen to define his political position in terms of negatives rather than positives. That is to say: he declares what he is opposed to, rather than what he is in favour of. b) One of the traditions that Smith can be said to be a product of is the radical Blakean one. (c) As well: Smith is a product of the working-class tradition of auto-didacticism. The structure of the paper will be as follows: Pt. 1) An examination of Blake's print "Newton" which articulates Blake's opposition to Scientific materialism. (Pt. 2) How scientific materialism is related to the ideologies typical of Post-War socialist governments. (Pt. 3) Smith's oppositional stance to Post-War socialist ideology. (Pt. 4) Smith's political self-definition and some of the traditions he has emerged from.
Rob Chapman: I Have Seen the Madness in my Area
Utilising a multi-textual approach which weaves in elements of biography, autobiography, fiction and faction, I shall endeavour to explain how Mark E Smith constructs a mythical and hyper-realist text out of "the north" which has as much to do with L.S. Lowry as it does with punk. Concentrating chiefly on The Falls earliest recordings - up to and including Hex Induction Hour - I will explore Smiths own
unique notion of the prole art threat and the characters that
populate his dark satanic landscape.
Mark Goodall: Salford Drift: A Psychogeography of The Fall
At a conference some years ago on the Situationist International the leader of The Fall, Mark E Smith repeatedly asked: “what is situationism?” Yet the work of his group is closer to the infamous radical movement—and its precursors—than Smith may care to imagine. In addition to the fact that the leader of those movements, Guy Debord, was an autocratic poet fuelled by drink the Lettrist/Situationist concepts of ‘psychogeography’ and the ‘dérive’ can be usefully related to both the lyrical and musical work of The Fall. Writers and critics often link Smith’s lyrics and writing with that of Pynchon, Wyndham Lewis etc. However the inspiration drawn from the work of Poe and Malcolm Lowry, both also favourites of the LI and SI, are of equal importance and must be drawn out. Their music meanwhile draws on known sources such as Garage and Punk (linked by Marcus and others to radical movements such as the SI) yet has other subtle nuances that should be ascribed. This paper proposes to undertake a ‘psychogeographical’ survey of the textual and sonic landscape of The Fall. This approach will reveal the poetic quality of the group’s work and uncover aspects of its creative expression hitherto unknown. The paths that have forked from Smith’s body of work from modern dance to fiction collections (i.e. Perverted by Language) explain the strange and unique shifting geography that this group have fashioned. Smith once complained that musicians “don’t tend to read much”. Perhaps this paper can go some way to rectifying that.
GLOBO’S THE FALL EXPERIMENT
Globo is made up of three artists; painter and designer Paul Thompson, illustrator Steve Appleton, and writer Mark Wernham. Globo is not a music group, rather, Globo is a creative entity with an agenda to explore what being a ‘group’ means via a series of‘experiments’. Globo have several experiments in production for 2008, and one of them is the Globo’s The Fall Experiment. In this experiment, Globo intend to make a cover version of an entire album by The Fall, This Nation’s Saving Grace. The purposes of this experiment are:
1) To explore whether it is a legitimate exercise to re-interpret 20th century popular music in this way. Is it appropriate to approach an album like This Nation’s Saving Grace as if it were a classical composition? As time passes, and pop culture dissects itself over and over again on clip shows on television, and new bands choose past eras to ape with increasing attention to detail, are we reaching a time when new music groups become the pop culture equivalent of orchestras performing music by Mozart and Beethoven?
2) To explore the musical structures of ‘This Nation’s Saving Grace’ in order to come to a greater understanding of the album as a piece of work.
3) To test those musical structures for cross-genre portability. Can The Fall only exist in its already laid-down form, or is there a wider application for its musical output. Has The Fall started to transcend the meaning of ‘group’? The making of Globo’s The Fall Experiment started in January, 2008, and will continue for six months. We hope the album will be ready for an autumn release. The experiment comprises both the experience of making the album and, more importantly, the reaction to our recording and the discussions that may ensue as a result of what we understand will be a relatively provocative act of covering an entire Fall album.