follow us in feedly
Just say BO-NO: Mark Hosler of Negativland on Apple’s ‘U2rusion’
09.12.2014
01:44 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
Apple
Negativland
U2
Mark Hosler


 
A guest editorial from Mark Hosler of Negativland on Apple’s ‘U2rusion’

1) Of course it’s very entertaining and amusing to me to see the backlash that U2 is getting for doing this.

2) I actually like some of U2s music, and always have. Yet have no interest in paying to hear what they are up to now ( I think I’ve paid them enough! About $45,000, to be exact. That is how much their lawsuit against Negativland cost us), so getting it for free sounded fine to me.

3) The way they are “forcing” it on the users of Apple products is actually a very curious thing! Certainly *someone* was going to do this sooner or later, at least as an experiment, so I am not surprised. That a band this large is giving away its music to pretty much everyone who will want it and many who won’t (regardless of what Apple paid them to do so, which is a separate issue) is also curious as a “business” model. For Apple, perhaps it’s the largest “loss leader” in history. And curious that something that is digitally free is made to look like the test pressing of a real world vinyl LP. How many folks out there even know what a test pressing is or looks like?

4)  Given the endless ways we all often willingly grant these corporations and our government access into to our lives by how we use and sign up for these fucking devices and apps, I am unclear as to why so may folks are so shocked and angry about this. We all get SPAM and we delete it, so… .. is this any different? Maybe it is. Or maybe not.  I am still pondering that one.

5) I use iTunes as a music player and a way to store a bit of the music I listen to, but I have never signed up for their service and never purchased anything from their store. So…guess what?  When I opened iTunes and looked for the dreaded U2 intrusion ( a U2rusion) into my iTunes app, there was nothing there. So this felt to me more like I had unwittingly opted out of being on iTunes mailing list, whereas all of you have signed up for it have opted in.  (BTW, my understanding is that what gets dropped in to your player is a playlist of U2’s new album, but not files. You still have to click something in to download the files.  A nuance, possibly, but one that is being missed in all the hoo ha).

6) Regardless of what anyone thinks, I’ll be curious if the overall outcome is seen as good or bad, plus or minus, by Apple and U2. WIll Apple do this again as a way to push product, or will it seem like such a bad press headache resulting from such arrogant tone deafness that they never do it again?
 

 
Below, Mark Hosler discusses Negativland’s adventure with U2 and their lawyers:

 
Mark Hosler and Negativland were famously sued by U2 and their record company. The upcoming Negativland album, the two CD set It’s All in Your Head, comes packaged in a Holy Bible, with a limited edition Koran also available. (Reviewed here)

Here’s “Right Might” from the new album:

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Christianity is Stupid’: Negativland takes on religion in ‘It’s All In Your Head’
08.20.2014
02:20 pm

Topics:
Belief
Music

Tags:
Negativland


 
The other day I was pondering how I would explain the whole “Why are we here?” / “Is there a God?” concept to my (hypothetical at this point) child and discussing this with my wife who is about as religious as I am (i.e: not at all). When I was a kid, raised in a very Christian home in West Virginia, it was a pretty straight line between reading Thor comics, then Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes before I was already having my doubts about “church.” If the Norse gods, like the Greek gods, were all just myths, wasn’t the whole Judeo-Christian thang on a similarly shaky epistemological foundation? What’s the difference? I couldn’t see one. From a very young age, religion had no credibility with me, but I was lucky. Christianity ultimately had very little effect on me.

How to discourage an irrational belief in the bearded sky god without being too heavy-handed about it and causing the hypothetical kid to go in the other direction to rebel will be an interesting road to navigate. Then again maybe not. As everyone knows millennials have left their parents’ religion in droves. Nearly two-thirds of under 30s subscribe to no organized religion. At the current rate of attrition, by mid-century Christians may no longer even constitute the majority in America.

For all kinds of reasons, the movement away from religion has picked up some serious speed in the past few decades, with this in mind, I laughed out loud reading the press release for Negativland’s new album, It’s All In Your Head which describes the double CD set (packaged in an actual Holy Bible repurposed into a “found” art object, modified by hand) as being “millennia-in-development.”

It’s true if you think about it. They wouldn’t have been able to get away with something this cheeky in previous decades. In 2014, it’ll be a sought after collectible, of course. They wouldn’t have had the source material to work with, either. It’s All In Your Head provokes and entertains listeners with Negativland’s signature mix of found music, sounds, radio dialogue and original electronic noises, bleeps and boops fashioned into a musical essay that looks at “monotheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, neuroscience, suicide bombers, 9/11, colas, war, shaved chimps, and the all-important role played by the human brain in our beliefs.”

It’s monotheism, but it’s in stereo, putting me in mind of the Firesign Theatre crossed with Richard Dawkins crossed with Madlib. If that sentence is even halfway intelligible to you, the “trailer” for It’s All in Your Head, below, is required viewing, freak.

It’s All In Your Head comes out on October 28th, but if you preorder it, you’ll get it two weeks before that (I have one already and highly recommend it).
 

 
Bonus: “The Mashin’ of The Christ” music video:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Negativland invites you to remix their notorious ‘U2’ single
06.17.2014
11:12 am

Topics:
Crime
Music

Tags:
Negativland
U2
Casey Kasem
Island Records

Negativland
 
One of the most notorious, brilliant, and amusing copyright news stories surrounds Negativland’s appropriation of Casey Kasem and U2, when they provocatively released a single with “U2” emblazoned in huge letters on the cover with the silhouette of a Lockheed U-2 spy plane (cover image is below). The song featured a hilarious recording of Casey Kasem getting frustrated over the pointlessness of enthusiastically introducing U2 to an American audience, eventually to a tinny backbeat of U2’s 1987 track “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”—indeed, the track is listed simply as a cover of that song.

Island Records didn’t find the jape very funny. With Achtung Baby due to hit stores—readers will find this hard to remember, but U2’s status as a worldwide force was far more questionable before that album came out—Island sued Negativland with great alacrity and proved remarkably effective at gathering up as many of the extant copies as it could. Negativland soon countered with a book, Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2, that included a CD as well as documentation from all the legal wrangling. The whole thing was a masterful bit of culture-jamming, and for fans of out-there assholery before the widespread existence of the Internet, Negativland’s “U2” became a much-sought-after cultural artifact that proved devilishly difficult to find.
 
Negativland
 
Now, with the Internet and everything, it’s not hard to find at all, and since nether Island Records nor U2 probably cares much whether iTunes sales of Achtung Baby are affected anymore, Negativland has chosen this, the week of Casey Kasem’s death, to release the masters for today’s generation of culture jammers to fuck with. On Negativland’s website, “Hal Stakke, legal counsel of Seeland Records” has issued a press release after the demise of Kasem under the following title: “In Memoriam, Kemal Amin “Casey” Kasem (27 April 1932 – 15 June 2014): Negativland releases ‘U2’ tracks for remixing and reuse.” Here’s the content of the release:
 

One of the most beloved voices in music radio, Kemal Amin “Casey” Kasem, died on Father’s Day 2014 after a long illness, and also a very public family squabble over his continuing care. Negativland pays tribute to this broadcasting legend by reaching into its vaults and presenting what is perhaps Kasem’s best-known work, on Negativland’s long-unavailable U2 maxi- single, offering up for public consumption (and now, for creative reuse) what has been hidden from view for 23 years.

In 1991, Negativland’s “U2” single had one of the shortest releases in music history, squashed like a bug after less than ten days on store shelves, under legal fire from the Irish rock band U2′s music publisher (Warner/Chappell) and then-record label (Island). The history of this fracas was detailed in their 1995 book and CD release, Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2 (Seeland 013).

Now, instead of merely reissuing the U2 record itself, Negativland presents, for free digital download, the original un-mixed studio multi-track tape for re-mixing, re-purposing and re-inventing in whichever way the listener may choose. Negativland encourages the re-contextualization of this seminal work for whatever reason, whatsoever. In keeping with the working methods and philosophy of Negativland, and the Fair Use provision in U.S. Copyright Law (Section 107, http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html), the group offers up this raw material in the hopes that entirely new versions of the work are created and disseminated. Listeners/remixers are encouraged to post their creations in these locations: www.negativland.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Negativland/131759750185111.

 
If you want the masters, all you have to do is download them here. It’s all pretty exciting, although of course, it’s always possible that, to paraphrase Kasem himself, “Nobody gives a shit.”
 

 
via Slicing Up Eyeballs

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Negativland: Adventures in Illegal Art


 
Negativland’s Mark Hoesler will be delivering the keynote address at the big Everything Is Festival this Friday night at Cinefamily in Los Angeles:

Is Negativland a “band”? Media hoaxers? Activists? Artists? Musicians? Filmmakers? Culture jammers? Comedians? An inspiration for the unwashed many? A nuisance for the corporate few? Decide for yourself in this video & storytelling presentation from founding Negativland member Mark Hosler that uses films and stories to illustrate the many creative projects, hoaxes, pranks and “culture jamming” that Negativland has been doing since 1980. Whether you’re a hardcore Negativland fan, or even unfamiliar with the band (but interested in a highly entertaining and informative jaunt into the evolving landscape of art vs. ownership), Hosler’s EIF! keynote presentation is essential, and we can’t recommend it enough. As well, stick around for a Q&A with Mark Hosler after the presentation!

If you can’t actually make it in person, fret not, Hoesler’s EIF address will be webcast on Stickam! More information on the Everything Is Festival here.

Below, an excerpt from a past Mark Hoesler lecture:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Negativland: A Big 10-8 Place (1983)
08.12.2010
01:57 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Negativland
A Big 10-8 Place

image
 
In my opinion Negativland’s 1983 LP, A Big 10-8 Place is their masterpiece. Edited by hand with razor and tape, it’s a superb pre-digital sound collage homage to the weirdness of suburban living filtered through a love of C.B. radios and terminology. Have a listen to the entire first section below in excellent sound quality, though never mind the fan made visuals. This is truly a movie for your ears.

 

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Christianity is Stupid
06.05.2010
10:11 pm

Topics:
Art
Belief
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Negativland

 
“The Mashin’ of the Christ,” an amazing short film set to Negativland’s “Christianity is Stupid.” Made by Negativland, i.d. and Heath Hanlin. From the Our Favorite Things DVD. (I just bought it today, it’s awesome.)

Want to know more about the preacher on the song? Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Christploitation Cinema: If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?

Negativland’s Mark Hosler discusses the making of Christianity is Stupid (YouTube)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment