Monday, 25 May 2015

Kathleen Hanna a feminist criterion | Ye Nuns Revisited

Read this if you’re a Ye Nuns fan, a feminist; a student of music journalism; interested in media representation of women or/and the Riot Grrrl movement; the woman who wiped the lipstick off my face in 1983 and told me I couldn’t be a feminist. 

You may also: appreciate my humour (not the spinning top, slick verbatim of my old Melody Maker colleagues, it’s still on the self-deprecating stage); understand the feminist politics behind lateral thinking and writing with that response; be a fan of 90s bands Silverfish and The Faith Healers. 

I have written about Ye Nuns twice now, in the girls are and at Louder Than War. There is often a political element to the review because that is what these women are about – they are informed, angry and busy. But I have missed the point: the feminist viewpoint. And it’s my own fault, I got very excited about Ye Nuns having overcome number one of Kathleen Hanna’s manifesto for the case of Riot Grrrl What is Riot Grrrl? (The Riot Grrrl Collection, The Feminist Press, 2013)


Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill (Pic from Rookie mag, from Bikini Kill) 

Number 1: Because we will never meet the hierarchical boy standards of talented, or cool, or smart. They are created to keep us out, and if we ever meet them they will change, or we will become tokens. 

So let me tell you, returning to the Big Smoke, and tracking down women I’ve been reviewing since the 90s, it was a wow that they could play their instruments. But hang on, that is weird, because I have championed bands that these women have been in: Curve, Echobelly, Toxic Shock Syndrome, The Frantic Spiders, Mambo Taxi, A-Lines, to name just a few of this group’s herstory, with adoration and belief for years. I have always loved the way they played their instruments. 

Now I realise that the difference is, I got confirmation (I was right all along) by the reaction of the men: the place was rammed with cool guys from my generation, old faces from various Camden bands in my 90s days as norf London girl, writing for Melody Maker. Even Gary, from Wiiija Records had travelled from Germany – though something odd was going on there because he did not seem to have aged one bit.

Here’s the thing: I think the cool guys are Ye Nuns fans because they play songs from The Monk’s repertoire, a cult band and part of the white middle-class male popular music canon, BUT they play the music better than they could themselves. 
As explained in my first Ye Nuns review (TGA)
“The Monks were an avant-garde German band from the 1960s. You can hear the timeline in the keyboard’s random gestures. Bands like The White Stripes and The Fall have cited The Monks experimental sound as an influence. The original line-up even went as far as adopting the monk’s tonsure hairstyle, wearing a uniform of black, with nooses worn as neckties and coining the very apt phrase “gallows rock”. Yes, there was a UK punk band, of the same name, but this particular crew were originally American GI’s, based in Germany, who developed a 60s sound, but with a difference.”

I was proud of myself, being able to put all that info into a review, a girl who simply responded with original phrasing and used to panic if my flat mate Push (who went on to create magazine of the year for many years, with MM postboy Ben Turner:  Muzik Magazine) was not around for checking/providing reference points. At the time I didn’t realise that the popular music cannon belonged to the white middle class male, I just thought I was right down the bottom of the pile, an uneducated idiot who didn’t even know all the millions of conspiracy theories boys and boys in bands liked to whiter on about. The only thing that felt good was being in the middle of gig. Then I belonged. 

To be honest: I Googled all that info. I was excited that I could do this – catch up on the child rearing years and this male middle class canon and no body would know. I was truly independent of my male peers.  I felt that the Internet had given me the opportunity to overcome one of the barriers to being a working class, heterosexual girl: getting a life back after children.

It's interesting to read Lucy O'Brien's (The Catholic Girls) account of arriving at the N.M.E. in a 2009 Guardian piece - her experiences seem to mirror exactly mine at the Melody Maker some years later. 

What I failed to say about Ye Nuns and Kathleen Hanna’s Number 1 reasoning is that they are far from a copycat version of The Monks, they do brave, cheeky and entirely delicious things with the songs because they can, they have the skills to do it. It’s that old chestnut: learn the rules so you can break them. They have reclaimed the hierarchical boys standards of cool, alternative musicality and given it back to them all twisted and full of feminine sexuality and they haven’t noticed! Whammy and I didn’t mention it. I was too busy being excited that I could be one of the boys and blab the history all by myself. (Thinking, subconsciously, this was needed to support a comeback?)



Number 2: Because I need laughter and girl love. We need to build lines of communication so we can more more open and accessible to each other.

This comes from the inherent sense of competing with other women, which is worse of course if you are heterosexual and horny. (From penetration some hormone – oxytocin, produces this need to nest – OMG.)

Reference to No. 2 is one thing – hooray – I did mention in a Ye Nuns review (TGA).
“If there is a feminine language it’s in the attitude of the band, in terms of flexibility; there are Ye Nuns stunt doubles, when real life gets in the way of billings, no hierarchy, only a mutual obsession to play music they love, with a wild abandon.”

I don’t know the ratio of gay: not gay in Ye Nuns, it may even change from week to week. They may all be gay- who cares? I never think about how people have sex unless I want to have sex with them.  There is certainly a difference in career progress without the children, perhaps even within the band (another unknown) – child-care is still a major issue for feminism, sexuality doesn’t divide us and I think we have to thank Riot Grrrl in part, for that.

Why we mustn’t forget Riot Grrrl:
90’s media representation of women
Girl love is not the same as girls having sex, well, not always. During the 90s I truly loved Lesley of Silverfish (now Ruby, an electronica artist), and Roxanne of The Faith Healers. There was no competing; there was much laughter and gossip. Lesley took me to Scotland, with the rest of the band, in a silver bus (not glamorous, dangerous toxic fumes filled the bus) to her mum’s bed & breakfast in Scotland’s unique countryside. We rolled down green hills together – well raced, the only element of competition in our friendship. Roxanne made me a badge that said Girl Power. I wore it religiously. I declared how Roxanne of The Faith Healers had given it to me because that was a feminist statement: yeah, we talk, laugh, and encourage each other. Be afraid.



Writing about women in bands in the 90s
The only other way I got to write with a feminist perspective during those times for a national music paper was to avoid mentioning what they were wearing, avoid putting them on a pedestal, absolutely avoid the word seminal. (When Bikini Kill came along I had lyrics to hold close to my heart and regurgitate.) I wasn’t given the opportunity to write about women like Kirstin Hersh, (Throwing Muses). She was the second phase for me: I am angry and that’s OK. Unfortunately or fortunately, probably both, she was captivating even in full-flow of hysteria and put on a pedestal by my male colleagues keen to review, also because the lyrics allowed analysis and male theorist references – the music wasn’t alienating, angry in the way of Bikini Kill or Babes In Toyland, although it was about those things.

Like me, Roxanne and Lesley were open and enthusiastic. We had no idea how beautiful, aesthetically, we were. We were clumsy and loud and forgot to look in the mirror before we went out. (When I did Transmission regional TV programme – introducing/interviewing indie bands -  I literally got up from what I was doing, went to the loo and then left. It was my feminist statement, but I forgot to tell anybody and one which I regretted, briefly. Had I played the game – learnt words for an intro, styled my hair, outfit, thought about the sexy, would I have moved on to a career in presenting and not been poor all my life?)

Lesley and Roxanne were absolutely nothing like the front women I had grown up with, such as Siouxsie Sioux, Blondie, Crissi Hynde, women who seemed really in control of their sexuality and the men around them. 

I was unaware of the legacy from which these beautiful women (Lesley and Roxanne) came because until recently no one has written about the hardcore, punk scene. (SeeGirls Who Make Noise, edited by Julia Downes, 2012, Supernova)


Number 6: Because a safe space needs to be created for girls where we can open our eyes and reach out to each other without being threatened by this sexist society and our day-to-day bullshit.

I admired Josephine Wiggs, from That Perfect Disaster or Bilinda Butcher from My Bloody Valentine from a distance, well as much of a distance as you get crammed into the tiny, dark place that was The Falcon, Camden Town, but they were lo-fi cool, probably I realise now, shy, awkward in the space. And the reason women only spaces, based on music, not sexuality was imperative and for which we have Riot Grrrl to thank.

I am appalled that collectives like the GLC funded Ova Music Studios, founded by the feminist band Ova (1976-1989) were active on in my patch and I didn’t know about them. It is my job to know about them, as a feminist music writer 2015, but I am sad they never knew about me. I would have loved to have learnt about sound engineering in a safe space – thus my fascination for women in electronica (I now write for the app Electronic Sound); the next musical hierarchy to reclaim and return in a different shape. Viva la difference!

Space is still a political issue
The issue of space still exists for women: the lack of affordable housing for single women, the bedroom tax taking away a study, workroom or studio for probably thousands and thousands of working class creative women who may finally, actually have affordable housing, and know all about the importance of a Room Of One’s Own whether they have read Virginia Woolf or not. Not least there are women out there denied their own personal space due to abuse, emotional or mental. 

Number 7: Because we need to acknowledge that our blood is being spilt; that right now a girl is being raped or battered and it might be me or you or your mom or the girl you sat next to on the bus last Tuesday, and she might be dead by the time you finish reading this. I not making this up.

One thing: Katheeen Hanna/Riot Grrrl sometimes appear to presume is that we understand we are victims, that we know we need to shout, scream, tell tales - and that there's a safe space for that to happen. In 2015 we are aware more of the manipulation of young women and men, alone in their rooms, on the internet; unable to distinguish between evil intent and friendly banter and worst of all, thinking they are in control. Space – or having personal space can mean danger in the 21st Century. It’s almost a conspiracy. 

Number 4: Because in every form of media I see us/myself slapped, decapitated, laughed at, objectified, raped, trivialised, pushed, ignored, stereo-typed, kicked, scorned, molested, silenced invalidated, knifed, shot, choked and killed.

What do you think when you look up and there's a bunch of women, in nuns habits, having the time of their lives, holding chaos to ransom, and making it dance? 

I forgot to mention the Ye Nuns outfits. Avoiding this issue is ingrained although recently I have resolved that a bit, after two years as live editor at the girls are, since music, fashion is all about artistic expression. Ye Nuns wear nuns habits customised with fave accessories, but nuns habits all the same. What could be more non sexual! The nuns’ habit not only covers the parts at which boys like to peek (at) but it represents chastity – no sex at all. They have offered up a collective stereotype, which gives no one anything to chew on/over. It also stops them having to think about what to wear (what’s clean). But just when you think you have Ye Nuns worked out they throw you into confusion - open the debate, bow, and leave. Here's the 2015 video of 'Complication' (Nun More Black, Tuff Enuff Records, 2015).



The point of this blurb
This article (?) came about because increasingly I interview talented young boys and girl artist/musicians, who were too young to be inspired by Riot Grrrl – they found out about the movement in retrospect.

So we must not restrict the name of Kathleen Hanna and all her glorious Blurbs to just be under the umbrella of Riot Grrrl or alternative/indie women in music. This is a valid feminist criterion on which to base writing, any review, interview. 

I do not think Kathleen Hanna puts her Because in any particular order, in a traditional linear sequence. It is just how it counts in paragraphs, on the page. On another day she may have put things in a different order. 

Full Because at The Riot Grrrl Collection, The Feminist Press, 2013, page 168.
Also read Susan O'Shea's thesis The Art World's of Punk Inspired Feminists.

More reading: the french feminists Helene Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Juliet Kristeva, who talk about coming from the inner to the outer world, who go right back to Freud and reinvent everything  – the same as Ye Nun’s - returning in a different shape. 

Have fun.

Footnote: this is not the complete revision of my perspective of media representation of women in bands in the 90s. Obviously. Personal is political but the really personal is in pink.


Friday, 22 May 2015

A Gendered Language: a feminist tool

THRILLED to see this piece, originally published in the girls are, now being used as a tool for feminist argument : A2 Media Representation and in a debate on Louder Than War. 

Piece in full, with music videos, at the girls are 

GENDERED LANGUAGE | WOMEN IN MUSIC VIDEOS

Kreayshawn
The music video got famous in the Eighties; bands embraced the new technology in a flash, using the opportunity to communicate a strong image and increase their selling power. Characters like Malcolm Maclaren used Vivienne Westwood’s creations to give acts like Bow Wow Wow an animated, colourful appeal, while at the other end of the spectrum Duran Duran began to produce almost mini-films, romantic snapshots of a fantasy high life, which of course included wish fulfilment for the male gaze – sun tanned, bikini clad women.
Cable TV and MTV came next (as a music critic for a National music paper at the time, it pained me to see the apathy of the next generation; happy to lounge like Curt Kobain and Courtney Love, watching music videos ad infinitum.) Since, YouTube, Vimeo and MySpace have ensured the music video becomes an even more powerful and desirable medium, with both major labels and independent acts ensuring that there are music videos of released EP’s, singles and album tracks available at a click.
There is a definite new breed of artist who takes creative control or even directs their music videos, perhaps borne out of financial necessity but also simply because this generation has the knowledge and understanding of multi-media. Californian artist Kreayshwn directed her own music video for the fantastic ‘Gucci Gucci’. A Berkeley Digital Film Institute dropout, Kreayshawn was even paid to direct a video for The Red Hot Chilli Peppers Chilli Ho single, ‘The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie’, although they chose an alternate video cut for release, in the end.
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WJFjXtHcy4″&w=480]
This article celebrates some of the cutting-edge women artists, bands and directors who are representing women in a positive, exciting and original way. It also argues for more collaborations between independent artists and up and coming women directors.
That’s the good news. But it’s “same old” for the bad: it’s hard not to talk about women in music videos without sounding like someone’s gran, particularly in relation to the sex-role stereo-typing and objectification.
— — — — — — — — —
Same old? Some new
The most notable horrors lie in male dominated musical genres such as rap and rock, but those of us who have chosen to stand in the front line should also consider the more subtle overtones present in many a pop video, the re-enforcing of a woman’s role as the victim (broken heart), the object of desire, continuing to perpetuate an inherently female knack for wistfulness and isolation (predictable), or even songs which sing a tune of co-dependency and heterosexuality as a given. Often these emotive tunes are courtesy of beautiful young, clearly intelligent women singer/songwriters, motivated by a DIY ethic and seemingly ticking all the boxes – a huge influence of the new generation of young women.
2011 has been a year for girls with guitars, pianos and tracks full of longing, acts like Birdy, whose UK single, ‘Skinny Love’ made immediate impact with the mainstream DJs, thanks largely to the music video for the single, directed by acclaimed director Sophie Muller. Her rap includes The Jesus and The Mary Chain, collaborations with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, No Doubt, Shakespears Sister, Garbage, Blur, Annie Lennox and Eurythmics. While all my alarm bell’s ring at a cover like ‘Skinny Love’, that makes me feel depressed after I’ve listened to it, (sadly, we know the stats for self-harming in young teenage women), in comparison to the manic, over-sexualised or desperate and alone easily marketable options around, this is a fair representation of women for young women: active, because she plays an instrument, individual, she wears vintage, yet age appropriate clothing, no Barbie doll make up and showing off skill and curiosity.
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNzCDt2eidg”&w=480]
— — — — — — — — —
Beautiful Hysterics
It’s a fine line: much of feminism is about a celebration of the female form or a re-claiming of the male gaze. The male gaze is a term used by feminist film theorists – the viewer as spectator and as creepy as Freud.
French feminism, in particular the professor of feminist philosophy and playwright Helene Cixous and linguist, philosopher and psychoanalyst Luce Irigaray, argue a good case for a gendered language which includes a physical language, a connection between female sexuality and creativity.
Any woman who has messed with the sexual taboos should be seen as a positive because they shock and amuse, they open debate – and you know the viewer is not having it all their own way. A few glorious examples: Germaine Greer naked on the cover of the legendary and original cultural magazine, Oz, for who she was a writer at the time; Madonna’s Sex Book; artist Tracey Emin; Lady Gaga and the 21st Century Twitter Queen, Amanda Fucking (her words) Palmer, in particular, reference to her ‘Map of Tasmania’ music video – to quote the girls are writer Lucy Cage: “…a light and ludicrous ditty which manages to combine a paean to unshaven pudenda with a clamorous call to arms…”
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcoreV10hI8″&w=480]
But here’s the thing: artists such as Amanda Palmer confuse me, and not always in a good way. One comment on this video says: “Adult women have body hair. Get over it.” A recent live review of her in another on line music magazine, Collapseboard, included the video link ‘Map of Tasmania’; later proudly reporting the piece as, overwhelmingly, the most read that week. (It made me go “urgh” which deflected from the vital, shining piece of writing which reviewed it.)
— — — — — — — — —
Let’s just call all the shots; it’s quicker that way
It’s been said before and we’ll keep saying it: you can critique the form using film feminist theory, or just good instinct, with an exhaustive passion but maybe the real answer is with women music video directors.
An interview in www.allbusiness.com by Carla Hay explains that there are increasing numbers of women artists and producers yet very few directors. She quotes American directors Valerie Faris and Liz Friedlander who argue that becoming a director is hard, whatever your gender. The credible list of indie band names whom they can claim to have directed include for the former, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Smashing Pumpkins and for the latter, R.E.Mand Alanis Morrssette.
An article in The Independent ‘It’s Time for Women to Call the Music Video Shots’, by Emma Love (12 March, 2010) deals with the representation of women artists by women directors, and interviews six of the better known women music directors:  Trudy Bellinger (Girls Aloud, Pixie Lott, The Saturdays, Sophie Ellis Bextor); Kinga Burza (Katy Perry, Kate Nash, Marina and the Diamonds); Elisha Smith-Leverock (Bombay Bicycle Club); Tabitha Denholm (Florence and the Machine, co-directed with Tom Beard); Sarah Chatfield (Lily Allen, Kid Sister, Filthy Dukes); andDawn Shadforth (Kylie Minogue, Alison Goldfrapp, Björk, Florence and the Machine).
In this feature Sarah Chatfield was quoted as saying that until her big break came to work with Lily Allen, at the time one of the biggest, most popular new artists, she had “only ever worked with little indie bands”. Perhaps this is a reference to having previously only worked for peanuts, because that and a packet of crisps to share is sometimes all independent artist’s can afford. Veteran film director Caroline Richards is still directing low-fi edgy music pop videos, because she chooses to work with low-fi, edgy bands, taking inspiration from them (New Royal Family). (See also The Guardian.)
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_hMDGf61g8″&w=480]
— — — — — — — — —
Reasons to be cheerful
It’s time to shout loudly about “the little indie bands” – they’re out there making the big differences, with regard to the representation of women in music videos, because thanks to technology and savvy they are not so little anymore. Even better, they’re often unsigned and free to self-promote on YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and others – able to enter competitions and take part in specialised events and festivals.  Trailblazers are undoubtedly bands like Le Tigre.Bikini Kill founder and quintessential Riot Grrrl Kathleen Hanna formed Le Tigre, another bold, feminist-oriented trio, with filmmaker Sadie Benning and zine creator Johanna Fateman in 1998. The group also added multimedia and performance art elements to their live shows. Another forerunner in positive women in music videos is Gina Birch, who makes music videos, when not performing in The Raincoats.
— — — — — — — — —
Laura Kidd, She Makes War
Laura Kidd aka. She Makes War is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from the UK. She has released two album’s “Disarm” and ‘Little Battles’, encouraging fans to pay for individual tracks, or “pay what you think it’s worth”.
She Makes War is more of a project for Laura than a band; the visuals being a way of conveying another aspect of the atmosphere created in the music, often giving another version of the song story and using an analogue rather than digital camera.
For the featured video, ‘Slow Puncture’ she set up a treasure hunt around her favourite pieces of street art in East London and cycled from one location to the next. The idea was that a creature from a previous video, “Let This Be”, had set up the trail of clues to teach her a lesson, giving her the opportunity to realize the value of the things, as opposed to focusing everything being just perfect. Laura is a fan of “letting things happen”, accrediting the raindrops and gazes from passers-by as “happy accidents”.
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5hzO-s2LA4″&w=480]
— — — — — — — — —
The Hysterical Injury
Annie Gardiner, singer/songwriter and bass player of the girls are fave The Hysterical Injuryhad the chance to work with Laura, She Makes War, for the recording of live sessions with a kinda super group, which included Dana JadeKat Arney and Milly McGregor and talks of how conscious Laura was about how they should all be depicted as women in them.
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=DH-6PR-BYs8″&w=480]
Annie and Lee Stone (the drummer at the time) directed their own music video for the vital, ‘Three’. High energy, noisy bass, driving drums and slick and clever video – no satisfaction of the gaze,  only singer/songwriter and bass player Annie’s legs and feet tap, tap, tapping, the video has huge impact. ‘Three’ was an early release for this fast-growing duo.  It actually happened as part of the genesis of the song – the song and video were made together. Annie edited the footage.
— — — — — — — — —
tUnE-yArDs / Mimi Cave
tUnE-yArDs ‘Bizness’ music video was Mimi Cave’s first experience of directing. An occasional dancer for tUnE-yArDs Merrill, she took the opportunity to explain an idea for a music video which had been brewing in her head. The rest is herstory: a mish-mash of enthusiastic, creative people working for free towards making the ideas a reality and Mimi Cave up for a Young Music Video Director Award. In this instance, it was her experience as a performer and dancer which gave the edge, but the difference came in her bravery and self-belief, along with Merrill being open to embracing the suggestion and her record company being 4AD, a label with a legacy of positively encouraging that sort of collaborative behaviour – the band’s rosta proves it usually results in something amazing.
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ1LI-NTa2s”&w=480]
— — — — — — — — —
Lucy Thane (otherwise known as Lucy Red Shoes)
Lucy would not regard herself as a music video director, more of a hands-on everything.
At present film making is on the back-burner as she takes “a long and winding journey through dance and performance and live art.”
“I utterly consider the representation of women or anyone in my video or anyone in any other medium. Why would you represent anyone in an unconsidered way? Lazy artists should go get a real job.”
She explains that her approach is to film the reality she see’s, mostly she’s impressed and excited. She looks for strength and innovation in complicated or oppressive circumstances, facing things with creativity, chutzpah, humour, hard work, cooperation, collaboration – find ways through to honesty, community and self-realisation
“I also don’t see the problems with women’s representation as only a women’s problem, rather a relation between men and women problem or indeed a nation’s problem. How countries treat different kinds of immigrants, religious problems, problematic relations between children and adults, a money marketing advertising late Capitalism problem. Everything is connected… whatever country we were born from it was inside a woman we first grew, we are all women, how we treat women is how we treat ourselves, compassion for all.. and yes I do think that these thoughts can be present in everything we do.” Her video made with The Deptford Beach Babesand Friends is a perfect example of this.
[vimeo 11803149]
— — — — — — — — —

The Duloks / Alex di Campi
Made on a mere £100 on short ends and borrowed studio time, making the music video for  ‘The Lighthouse’ is just the sort of challenge which would appeal to female director, Alex di Campi, previously from a background in comic writing.
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9d0cGz-Suk”&w=480]
— — — — — — — — —
The Great Malarkey / Laura Le-Anne Henry
The Great Malarkey chose Laura Le-Anne Henry to direct the music video for their first single, ‘Merry Profits’.
“I had a great deal of fun with the Malarkey video, explains Laura Henry. “Alex has a wonderful androgyny which was key to the playful nature of the video, a mischievous wink to music hall and silent film, and a pastiche of influences too numerous to mention here. It was imperative for me that our central character was gutsy and fun, not a gyration in sight, and so much sexier for it. She is simultaneously the storyteller and perhaps an incarnation of the young boy with a debt around his neck, the concept was born from many conversations with Alex herself and an understanding of the darker elements to the lyric, at blissful odds with the melody.”
[youtube=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=FufR9YLTrQ0″&w=480]
Laura graduated from The University of The Arts (LCC) in 2006, with a BA Hons Graphic & Media Design (Moving image). She worked with body>data>space between 2007-2009 on live video and production of video materials for live events, such as the large scale production for the Leftfield Tent at the Glastonbury Festival in 2007 as well as post production, documentation, archiving, promotional graphic design and DVD authorship. She works in the animation field producing pieces that have been screened at the ICA and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She produces visuals for recording artists and events as well as music videos, photography and artist promotional material. For Laura strong women characters and representation are paramount.
“I wrote my thesis at university on gender performativity in film, so it is a subject close to my heart and constantly influences my work. I am constantly disheartened with the way women are represented in music videos, though sadly never surprised.”
— — — — — — — — —
Independent acts don’t have the background money of a major label to employ a Sophie Muller but if a good music video is all about effective collaboration between the artist and the director, then surely this is the ideal environment for the all-thinking DIY characteristics of indie artists and an up and coming women music video director’s.
Sharpen those creative teeth and bite the apple.
Can you recommend any independent band/women director collaborations?
Would you like to see a regular update and review of women directors and related videos in the girls are?
Ngaire Ruth

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Independence

Originally published www.thegirlsare.com

NGAIRE RUTH'S MIXTAPE | INDEPENDENCE

Independence is a favourite word, though entirely ambiguous. Independent from what, whom, why?
Is it the major labels and all that can go with it? At its worst: insipid pop produced with patronising precision; robbing bands blind, paying large advances and then sending them the bill for things like promotional costs and PR?
This would mean eliminating, theoretically, Sonic Youth and ‘Kool Thing’ from the playlist: “Are you going to liberate us girls from male white corporate oppression/Don’t be shy/I just want you to know that we can still be friends.Goo, the album from which the hit single came was their debut release on a major record label (Geffen).
So – is it society and the way all businesses are run that is to blame, and a very male (banker) attitude which does not consider sustainability or longevity? Or, is it “the little things” from which the need to feel independent and unaffected is a weekly requirement and therefore needs a soundtrack; people and their assumptions; attitudes which often seem unfair and not personal, in fact totally political in a feminist context but aimed personally at you and affecting everything from your freedom to dance like no one’s watching on the dance floor, to walking down the street or your work prospects, even in this girls are case – the right of good child care. Is it the soundtrack to triumph over adversity, co-dependency, unhealthy relationships?
Actually, when it comes to women and musicality, all these strands together make some rather stunning music – thus our playlist – and even like womanhood itself, or indeed, feminism, the phases of independence and how they are represented by women musicians comes in stages.
— — —
THE “DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN” STAGE:
1. Ut – ‘Canker’
2. Sonic Youth
– ‘Kool Thing’
3. L7
  – ‘Fuel My Fire’
THE “I’M ANGRY AND THAT’S OK” STAGE:
4. Throwing Muses – ‘Ellen West
5. Babes in Toyland
– ‘Bruise Violet’
6. Bikini Kill
– ‘Liar’
7. Silverfish
- ‘Damn Fine Woman’
8. Huggy Bear
- ‘Her Jazz’
THE “FIGHT TO JUST BE YOURSELF” STAGE:
9. Sleater Kinney – ‘Words and Guitar’
10. Kenickie –
‘I Would Fix You’
11. Bjork
– ‘Isobel’ (My name Isobel/Married to myself/My love Isobel/Living by herself)
12. Jessie J
– ‘Who You Are’
THE “YAY! GIRLS MAKING EXPERIMENTAL” STAGE:
13. Slow Club – ‘Never Look Back’
14. Grimes –
‘Rosa’
— — — —
What tracks would make it onto your ‘Independence’ playlist?

Ngaire Ruth

History of Women in Electronic Music

I never tire of reading this article from the Synthopia site. Who are the 21st Century heroines? Mica Levi, who is now part of the BBC's new Radiophonic workshop, Stealing Sheep, Roisin Murphy, Grimes, just for starters.

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2015/05/15/40-years-of-women-in-electronic-music

40 Years Of Women In Electronic Music


eliane-radique
Avant-garde and outsider arts site UbuWeb has shared a 40+ year audio retrospective of women in electronic music.
Women In Electronic Music 1938-1982, originally broadcast on April 1, 2010, features the work of Clara Rockmore, Bebe & Louis Barron, Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, Eliane Radigue (above), Suzanne Ciani and many others. 
Women In Electronic Music 1938-1982 Part 1:
Clara Rockmore – Vocalise (Rachmaninoff) (recorded 1987)
Johanna M. Beyer – Music of the Spheres (1938, recorded 1977)
Bebe and Louis Barron – Forbidden Planet / Main Titles, Overture (1956)
Daphne Oram – Bird of Parallax (1962-1972)
Delia Derbyshire – Dr. Who (1963)
Delia Derbyshire – Blue Veils and Golden Sands (1967)
Delia Derbyshire – Ziwzih Ziwzih OO-OO-OO (1966)
Else Marie Pade – Faust and Mephisto (1962)
Mirelle Chamass-Kyrou – Etude 1 (1960)
Pauline Oliveros – Mnemonics III (1965)
Ruth White – Evening Harmony (1969)
Ruth White – Sun (1969)
Micheline Colulombe Saint-Marcoux – Arksalalartoq (1970-71)
Pril Smiley – Koloysa (1970)
Alice Shields – Study for Voice and Tape (1968)
Daria Semegen – Spectra (Electronic Composition No. 2) (1979)
Annette Peacock – I’m The One (1972)
Wendy Carlos – Timesteps (1972)
Ruth Anderson – DUMP (1970)
Priscilla McLean – Night Images (1973)
Laurie Spiegel – Sediment (1972)
Eliane Radigue – Adnos III (1980)
Maggi Payne – Spirals (1977)
Maryanne Amacher – Living Sound Patent Pending: Music Gallery, Toronto (1982)
Women In Electronic Music 1938-1982 Part 2:
Monique Rollin — Etude Vocale (1952)
Jean Eichelberger Ivey — Pinball (1967)
Gruppo NPS – Module Four (1967)
Jocy De Oliviera – Estória II (1967)
Tera de Marez Oyens – Safed (1967)
Franca Sacchi – Arpa Eolia (1970)
Sofia Gubaidulina – Viente-non-Vivente (1970)
Beatriz Ferreyra – l’Orvietan (1970)
Suzanne Ciani – Paris 1971 (1971)
Françoise Barrière – Cordes-Ci, Cordes-Ça (1972)
Jacqueline Nova – Creation de la Tierra (1972)
Teresa Rampazzi – Musica Endoscopica (1972)
Lily Greenham – Traffic (1975)
Annea Lockwood – World Rhythms (1975-97)
Megan Roberts – I Could Sit Here All Day (1976)
Laurie Anderson – Is Anybody Home? (1977)
Laetitia de Compiegne Sonami – Migration (1978)
Constance Demby – The Dawning (1980)
Miquette Giraudy (w/Steve Hillage) – Garden of Paradise (1979)
Ann McMillan – Syrinx (1979)
Doris Hays – Celebration of No (from Beyond Violence) (1982)
Brenda Hutchinson – Fashion Show (1983)
Barbara Golden / Melody Sumner Carnahan – My Pleasure (1997)
Joan La Barbara – October Music (1985)
Hosted by Jon Leidecker and Barbara Golden. See the Ubuweb site for more music by these artists and others.
via metrotimeskmi