Musing about Paisley Babylon recently it suddenly occurred that the work and life of Francis Bacon really deserves a look as an influence. His work has always been fascinating in the Paisley Babylon camp, but visually speaking I feel the work (the more visually aggressive the better) is a good visual representation of at least part of the landscape that is Paisley Babylon.
I revisited an excellent bio on Francis Bacon on YouTube (see below), talking about the artist’s technique in one section-Bacon, like Paisley Babylon, valued the accident in his work. I find such a kindred spirit there that I find myself wishing I had been at work in Bacon’s heyday instead of…later.
Chances are, given the environment of the day, that visual art and performing arts wouldn’t collide as well as these elements do now…we only have to look at Throbbing Gristle to see that it’s a difficult marriage at times to say the least; it takes a steady hand to navigate situations that confuse the lines between the gallery and the concert hall. But I digress.
In my own work, I find that the venue is often an important part of the event itself-it’s not enough to set up and display or perform; the physical landscape you work in can play an major part in how you approach the work. That may not be a universal, but it has always seemed to come true for me even in spite of efforts to control that aspect of things.
You don’t maintain control for very long in Paisley Babylon (wherever that may reside this week in the cosmos) but this week that floating city of sinister decadence is drifting backwards in time to appreciate Bacon and the contemporary art world of the day even as things are bracing to move forward into the future once more–but the engines must be warmed up, the fires must be stoked, and supplies must be loaded.
While all that is going on, enjoy this documentary on Francis Bacon with me while it lasts on YouTube (if you see the a broken link here you know what happened, the Internet police got to the doc and had it shuffled off again.)
Paisley Babylon has been in a quiet and mostly secluded existence since around 1996. I have no real idea who is listening, or how, or even why…but I do have solid evidence that there are Paisley Babylon people out there and I am grateful for that.
The reason Paisley Babylon exists is in part thanks to a desire to explore altered/othered states of consciousness. At the time Paisley Babylon was formed, I was serving in the U.S. military as broadcaster and had no ability to partake of the chemicals people normally use to find these altered states…I had to get my hallucinations the HARD way.
So I started mixing up Zen ideas and John Cage notions with 90s zine culture, The Great Rock-n-Roll Swindle, Fluxus, Burroughs, and other influences. The results have been bumping into themselves and everybody else for the entire time since the mid 90s.
I owe a great deal to the Texas psychedelicexperimental scene between Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas. Paisley Babylon got its’ start in San Antonio and there were a lot of like-minded fellow travelers there. It feels like that entire scene decentralized and kind of drifted away since then….but I know there are other space explorers looking for the same mind-blowing experiences in varying sizes and duration.
Paisley Babylon is about strange journeys along the near-future landscape created by the unholy love children of H.P. Lovecraft, Phillip K. Dick, and William Gibson. The Marquis de Sade as viewed by Jess Franco, projected onto the walls of a mausoleum just before the event that ushers in the post-apocalypse.
We post this here because it’s hoped that this is the first in a long series of “band-as-art-project” posts…something that might serve as an explanation or organizing principle or…something else that clears off some of the fog surrounding all this,,,
How to describe these digital singles? They vary in length and perversity, but as the Paisley Babylon description on the Cult Records shop states, “If there’s one thing Paisley Babylon is about, it’s blurring the lines between art, polymorphous perversity between consenting adults, music, and life. If art is what makes like more interesting than art, sexually tinged artwork with more than a dash of darkly humorous perversity is one of the basic building blocks of the universe. Like hydrogen.”
The tracks in this singles series are MP3 digital downloads, available on the Cult Records shop on Etsy, and may also be released via Bandcamp and other digital outlets as time goes by.
An avalanche of Paisley Babylon tracks, that is. Paisley Babylon will be releasing a series of tracks via this website for purchase and download. Some are reissues, some are never-before heard things, and it’s going to be a very interesting experiment in both how this site is used (by Paisley Babylon) and how PB music will be distributed going forward.
Thanks very much for your interest in Paisley Babylon. It’s been a very long career and there is still a lot of sonic experimentation to be done!
Once the uploads start here, there could be daily changes and mutations to this site. Just what you have always wanted, yes?
Paisley Babylon heads into some interesting territory in 2018. PB is in the planning stages of a new project that involves vinyl records, turntablism, mash-ups, performance art, and unusual sonic journeys with found sound.
Paisley Babylon experimented with this concept about seven years ago and even did a few Chicago-area live performances, but this time around the work is more focused and sonically adventurous. The original approach was a bit more DJ-oriented; for this project the emphasis is on taking a sonic journey through certain concepts, themes, leitmotifs, and associations.
The work is “big” enough to warrant a full manifesto and written artistic statement, and a series of performances is tentatively scheduled in 2018 as a means to explore this territory and its’ implications.
Whenever Paisley Babylon ventures into this territory, the name Christian Marclay always manages to come up and this time is not exception-his work is definitely a source of encouragement as is the pioneering sonic experimentation of Negativland, Throbbing Gristle, Chris and Cosey / Carter Tutti, Coil, John Cage, etc. Paisley Babylon views these pioneers as fellow travelers rather than artistic influences (though they are definitely that), and it’s hoped that PB will find some undiscovered country thanks to these fellow travelers clearing a path and making the first infamous journeys into these formerly uncharted territories.
In March of 2017, though it wasn’t clear yet WHAT was happening at the time, The Deadwax Project (billed under Paisley Babylon’s sole member’s name, Joe Wallace) was a signal of things to come in 2018. Submitted for your review, the Deadwax Project which was composed using ONLY manipulated recordings of all the silent passages from a U2 record, The Joshua Tree. It only gets weirder from here.