Databend tribute art… or something like that.
I produced this to scratch an itch, inspired by some local heroes of mine, the Young Fathers. I wasn’t living in the UK during their rise, but somehow it gave their music an even greater resonance for me. On the one hand, I have found it hard over the years to identify many individuals hailing from my homeland/town that I was massively proud of, or whom I wanted to crow about; but more importantly, the fact that while they hailed from there, they weren’t entirely from there – this is a truly honest and beautiful manifestation of a sound, an identity, that belonged to a place, and at the same time belonged to every place. The vocals and harmonies displaying a definite east-of-Scotland lilt, and grit, but lifted and transformed by the influence of international heritage, and life-paths that transcend borders. Of course the sound itself pulling in so many pan-global influences. Many times in my life I have felt like I didn’t particularly belong to a place, and in fact it is much healthier to see yourself as belonging to something much bigger. Especially in light of recent events, where folks seem to be turning further away from one another, or looking to point fingers… a deeply worrying state of affairs.
Genre-defying definitely, it is hard to adequately describe the uniqueness of their sound. With the, at once delicately balanced and incendiary collision of sounds and emotions — if I was forced to define it, maybe some kind of twisted, geo-punk-pop (!?) …hilarious, the second I typed that I started to cringe… we always feel the need to define parameters, or pigeon-hole, it makes us more comfortable I guess. Anyway, I hold them in the highest of esteem. Pure and impure, raw yet refined, tightly controlled and combustible. Mirroring life in a state of equilibrium, undefined by fixed parameters and a constantly shifting balance. Enough gushing though. How did the above image come to pass?
One of my favourite tracks from the band is War from their 2014 album Dead – ancient history to some of you probably, but it stuck with me. I’m sure they might tell me I’m off the mark, but something I was forced to think about when I listen to it was conflict (obviously), how unpleasant that is, but more specifically who personifies, justifies, or permits such acts of inhumanity? And so I dug around to find such characters, eventually coming across Admiral Blandy with his wife and cronies at a party celebrating the successful testing of a pair of nuclear detonations… with a mushroom cloud cake (Operation Cross Roads, in case you were interested). What signifies more the impassiveness and detachment from the horrors that their diligent efforts would bring upon the world, than the banality of supping on a glass of sherry and munching on a slice of novel confectionary?
No doubt the track is more broadly referencing other aspects of conflict, certainly not this specific one, but I thought it was a really suitable image to blend, and bend, with the sentiments of the song. The quality and texture, the contrast of the period photography with a contemporary digital-distressing – the actions were wrong, broken thinking, so breaking the image seemed appropriate.So that is what this is.
In terms of process (should you care), I took the image file and opened it in a text editor to view it as lines of code rather than pixels, then I bent it – in this case by judiciously mixing the lyrics of the song in specific (and random) places amongst the lines of code. Once saved and reopened as a graphic image, I then made a few further edits to get it where I wanted it.
Here are the source materials – the original photograph, and lyrics:
Big fish little pond More like a whale In the mother fucking ocean You lost your child Everything was good The smile was golden Couldn’t ask for much than a ball and the chain Forgive them Lord Thou who have sin put your sin put your sin upon me Calculated friends and the trip was costly Bang like a Bangladeshi in the Bombay Wanna get to heaven you’re flying the wrong way Free like Eid has spread his seed Mmmgh yes indeed Forgive them Lord you lost your child Gotta get ‘em now (woooo) Forgive them Lord you lost your child Gotta get ‘em now You close your eyes when I’m reaching your door You know it’s time to settle the score This is war C4 This is war This is war C4 This is war Bish bosh banging on the calabash Dead ringers Zombie singers Coughing in the coffin Reborn a new beginner Destiny’s past You dutty wee rass Chewy like tripe Situation ripe Dishing out endorphins For nature’s orphans Something something something The 4th thing Stepping up in the world Kissing your feet The guide dog walking behind ya Still on a leash Rolling in the dirt Just to hit you where it hurts Squeaky clean queen But you’re far too keen You close your eyes when I’m reaching your door You know it’s time to settle the score This is war C4 This is war This is war C4 This is war