>Music that matters: Brutal Truth

In a time when people raise billions of dollars for sickening presidential campaigns where the outcome really doesn’t matter in the long run it’s time to face the brutal truth.
Why not start with Brutal Truth then? Back in the day it was one of my favourite grindcore bands, and the old stuff is still relevant. Read the lyrics to Displacement (taken from their excellent album Need to control (1994)), listen to the energy and then kick somethin’ that means somethin’ (you know, The Pharcyde song). Like Brutal Truth stated with the debut album in 1992:
Extreme conditions demand extreme responses

Listen to Displacement here.
Sing along here:

No more – blind falsity
No more – tears left to see
No more – fear left in me
No more – pain inside my head

No more – corporate casualties
No more – progress, myths and lies

Would you – call upon a book of lies?
Blame aside, watch you try and rationalize

Push walls to the threshold of pain
Genetics unmatched in the inhuman acts of capitalist fucks
Cashing grants, the majority oblivious to pain and suffering
Greed, payback in the form of black disease

Would you, fall from grace, desensitize?
Crawl inside socially fed mass genocide
Would you, face the truth or capitalize?
Falsify, bloodshot cracks in visions eye


>I’m a huge fan of repetitive, monotonous, minimalistic music, be it rap, noise, doom, shoegazer, kraut, black metal, experimental, ambient, classical, instrumental… I guess it’s the bewitching trancelike state it may put you in. I can experience total relaxation listening to the most vicious noise, which might seem odd to most human beings, but the intensity and power of something truly monotonous should never be underestimated.

Something funny happened this summer. I was going home after work and had probably had a terrible day since I was exhausted beyond comprehension. As soon as I got on the bus I drifted into darkness while listening to Om‘s absolutely stunning Pilgrimage album. Sure, I know this one is repetitive as fuck, but I remember kind of waking up from my slumber thinking ”How insane are these guys? They’ve been playing exactly the same riff for ten minutes now, no variation whatsoever! What the fuck?!” … And so I looked at my mp3-player and realized I had accidentally pressed the ”AB Repeat” button and the player was repeating only two seconds of the whole song in a goddamn perfect loop, and it had been going for ten or fifteen minutes just playing the same two seconds over and over and over again… Wow.
When I pressed the play button the magic disappeared.
I came to think of the famous horror monologue in one of my top ten movies of all time, Apocalypse Now (ignore the Redux version!).

And then I realized — like I was shot…like I was shot with a diamond…a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, “My God, the genius of that, the genius, the will to do that.” Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure.

Watch Marlon Brando, in the role of Colonel Kurtz, improvise horror:

I’ve been trying several times to find that perfect loop again, but have not succeeded. It’s never as pure and complete as that day on the bus. Maybe I’ll find it on Thursday as I’m going to Gothenburg to watch Om perform live at Nefertiti. Or maybe tomorrow when I’ll listen to Mogwai at Cirkus in Stockholm. Or maybe tonight when listening to Loop… Within monotony the possibilities are endless.

On another note: Sleep (who split up in 1998 which resulted in two of the members forming Om) will perform the album Holy Mountain as well as selections from Dopesmoker and more at All Tomorrow’s Parties next year. It’ll be two world exclusive performances that will not be repeated.
Even repetition must come to an end.

Now here is Om.

>Photo – Autumn Winter Transition

I know it’s a bit tiresome with all those goddamn autumn photos flooding the internet this time of the year, but you’ve got to admit that most of them are stunningly beautiful.
I shot this one this Saturday after having swept some snow in Skärstad (where my parents live), so I guess it’ll have to symbolize the Autumn-Winter transition.
I like the odd angle. And no, it’s not upside down.

>Theodore Kaczynski, The Unabomber – Part Eight


Left: David Kaczynski — Right: Theodore Kaczynski

Had it not been for David Kaczynski’s wife, Linda Patrik, he probably wouldn’t have turned his brother in. She was the one insisting on David reading the manifesto, since David kind of lived in denial, obviously not wanting his brother to be the infamous serial killer the Unabomber.
In October 1995, when the Unabomber was very much in the news, David finally got to read the manifesto – almost one month after it had been published by the press.
“After I read the first few pages”, David recalled, “my jaw literally dropped”. He recognized the tone and feel, and remembered certain sentences from his brother’s letters. He went home immediately and dug out those old letters, dating fifteen years back, and found sentences identical to the ones in the manifesto, even with the same capitalization:
“The radical environmentalists ALREADY hold an ideology that exalts nature and opposes technology”.

When living in the wilderness Ted recieved money from his family. Suddenly it struck David and Linda that the Unabomber had performed several of his attacks shortly after the family had sent him money… Could it be that the family had funded murder?
David struggled with himself and finally came to the conclusion that the only way to find out if his brother was the Unabomber was to confront him. He wrote Ted a letter asking if he could visit him and recieved the following reply:
“I get just choked with frustration at my inability to get our stinking family off my back once and for all, and ‘stinking family’ emphatically includes you… I DON’T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU OR HEAR FROM YOU, OR ANY OTHER MEMBER OF OUR FAMILY, AGAIN.”

After letting a friend of Linda handing over some of Ted’s letters to the FBI – with names and adresses carefully removed, in case Ted wasn’t the Unabomber after all – they got the reply that there was a 60 to 80 percent chance of a match. The FBI somehow got to know David’s identity and soon realized it must be David’s brother who had written those letters and they quickly began surveillance in Lincoln, Montana, and on the morning of April 3, 1996, the SWAT team was in place ready to strike against the Unabomber cabin.

Ted said later of his brother that he was “another Judas Iscariot”, but ultimately Ted put most of the blame on Linda Patrik.

>Theodore Kaczynski – The Unabomber, Part Seven


Left: Theodore Kaczynski, 9 — Right: David Kaczynski, 2

The Unabomb Taskforce of the FBI had – over 17 years – dealt with 3,600 volumes of information, 175 computer data bases, 82 million records, 12,000 event documents and 9,000 evidence photographs. And still they couldn’t catch the Unabomber, this one man living in a tiny cabin in Montana, terrorizing the country, killing innocent people.
It was with the help of David Kaczynski, Ted’s younger brother, that they managed to solve the case.

Ted and David were very much alike. David admired his older brother for his ideals and conviction, and Ted enjoyed having an equal partner when it came to discussing philosophy, amongst many other subjects the two brothers shared similar interests in. Ultimately, faced with a moral dilemma, David turned his brother in. Theodore Kaczynski, who loved his brother, could not bear David’s betrayal and to this day deeply hates his whole family.

Yet the two were very dissimilar as well. Ted had no time for abstract philosophy or ethics, while David was more romantic, humble and sought discussion and was willing to compromise. Ted was unrelentless in believing he was right, he believed only in what was scientifically verifiable and rejected everything else as pure emotion. He thought of David’s abstract thinking as weak, and claimed David lacked energy and persistence, and he became furious when David summoned up the courage to argue back. Over time, though, his feelings of guilt about his unjust treatment of his little brother grew.

Ted began building his cabin in 1970. In 1985 David, obviously inspired by his brother, quit his job as a teacher, writer and bus driver, and also went into the wild. He bought five acres of land in the Christmas Mountains of West Texas and literally lived in a hole he had dug in the ground. Later on he purchased thirty acres nearby and – exactly like Ted – built his own cabin, living there until 1989.
In those days he was even more outspoken than Ted. He worried a great deal about the destruction of mankind, the destructive use of technology and the extreme materialism in our society. He often spoke about a need to revolt against it all. ”If he had known about my experiments”, Ted said later on, ”he would’ve regarded me as a hero”.
However, David’s conviction didn’t last. In 1989 he abandoned his desert home and moved to New York to marry an old girlfriend, a philosophy professor at Union College. This made Ted furious. He wrote a long letter to David about his ”betrayal of their shared resolve not to capitulate to the system”. David had ”committed the ultimate sin: ideological disloyalty”.
Ted believed all truths were like mathematics: either true or false. There was no room for compromise. Thus David – in Ted’s mind perfectly aware of the evils of industrial society – was living a lie when rejoining the middle class, and thereby proved his dishonesty. There was no forgiveness for such weakness and Ted turned to hate and total alienation.

By the early 1990s David began to worry about Ted’s extreme alienation. His wife said, half jokingly, ”You’ve got a weird brother, maybe he’s the Unabomber?”.

>Graffiti – Art Crime – Apex


When I visited San Francisco last year (September/October 2007) I was amazed by this graff dude named Apex. I shot some of his art and am now glad that Fat Cap also pays respect to this master. If you ever visit SF, don’t leave without having been close to an Apex piece!

Photo: Mattias Indy Pettersson

Photo: Mattias Indy Pettersson
(Not sure this one is done by Apex, but it’s nice anyway.)

>Theodore Kaczynski – The Unabomber, Part Six


Previous posts about The Unabomber:

Theodore Kaczynski, the militant atheist who believed that violence was the only solution.
In an untitled essay in 1971 (pre-Manifesto) he wrote: ”The principal effect of technology is to increase the power of society collectively. This empowers social forces that are then able to use the machinery of society to impose their choice universally… The eventual result will be a world in which there are only one system of values”.

Kaczynski was a literary man. He was particularly fond of the Uruguayan writer Horacio Quiroga, he liked his works so much he even translated at least two of them into English. He also enjoyed Joseph Conrad immensely (real name Józef Teodor Conrad Korzeniowski – they shared the same name, and Kazcynski often used the pseudonym “J. Konrad” when travelling to plant his bombs), The Secret Agent being one of his favourite novels. No wonder, since it’s about terrorist revolutionaries who declare war on science…
His acts of violence were supported by his reading of history, and he found his role models in literature.

When in the last week of June 1995, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Penthouse Magazine and Tom Tyler (social psychologist) recieved the 35,000 word document entitled Industrial Society and Its Future, soon dubbed The Unabomber Manifesto, they were given an ultimatum: ”If the enclosed manuscript is published reasonably soon and recieves public exposure, we will permanently desist from terrorism”. He gave all three publications three months to respond.

New York Times and Washington Post published the entire essay as a special supplement on the 19th of September. The reaction was incredible. No other essay in recent times had created such a stir in society. A criminologist specializing in serial killers observed that ”Numbers of people seem to identify in some way with him”. The Nation announced that the manifesto’s first sentence ”is absolutely crucial for the American public to understand and ought to be on the forefront of the nation’s agenda”.
The first sentence reads:

The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.

Alston Chase writes in his book Harvard and The Unabomber: ”The manifesto was ignored, in sum, not because the ideas were so foreign, but because they were so familiar. Except for the call to violence, its message was ordinary and unoriginal. The concerns it evinced about the effects of technology on culture and nature, are widely shared, especially among the country’s most highly educated”.

The Unabomber, Chase writes, simply warned about what we all should be concerned about: ”genetic engineering, pollution, pesticides and herbicides; brainwashing of children by educators and consumers by advertising; mind control, cars, SUVs, power plants and power lines, radioactive waste; big government, big business; computer threats to privacy; materialism, television, cities, suburbs, cell phones, ozone depletion, global warming; and many other aspects of modern life”.
What he wrote appealed to the vast majority of the population, and of course it was entirely intentional. He borrowed ideas from Spengler, Nietzsche, Marx, Aristotele, Schopenhauer, Freud, Adorno, and many, many others, so that people could relate to his philosophy.

As for the ecological part, many claim that Kaczynski didn’t care at all about the environment: it was just a flirtation with ecological groups to gain their support. The manifesto, in sum, consists of two theories: the philosophical one (him being opposed to ”bigness” – big business, big government, big science – that destroy and limit human freedom) and the environmental one (which he, according to many, used for tactical reasons).
Alston Chase notices that these two theories are incompatible:

Of course, it is possible that Kaczynski put forward these two (chronological and cultural) theories not for tactical reasons but simply because he failed to note their incompatibility. But given his logical mind, this is unlikely. It is more probable that his proffering both theories was, indeed, tactical. And if so, then in having his manifesto published he had pulled off a colossal stunt. His previous deceptions… […] …the word games and package bomb adresses – may have momentarily confused the FBI. But now he had fooled the entire country, not just for a few weeks but for years! Everyone believed he was an environmentalist.

by Mattias Indy Pettersson