Another Sunday Morning

I don’t have a lot to say today. It’s a pleasant Sunday morning, and I’ve little desire to sully it with excessive politicking. It’s a cigar and whiskey kind of day, where I consider myself fortunate for the blessings in life. There are a few Cubans sitting in my humidor, and a bottle of bourbon with my name on it. I’ve long maintained that hard times are coming. Tomorrow maybe, or the day after. No man can know exactly when the hammer will fall. But until then, enjoy the luxuries while you have them.

A Twitter follower of mine reminded me of this old song:

Just some easy listening on a Sunday morning. I hope your Sunday is as pleasant as mine.

Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Music for the Chaos

So, despite my career as a DJ, or perhaps because of it, I have developed eclectic taste in music. When I am angry, and not in the temporary, transitory sense, but rather the deep-rooted and near-permanent fashion, I prefer to listen to very calming music. I can be very explosive and temperamental when temporarily irritated, but I am utterly quiet when truly angry. It is a very calm and rational state for me.

Nothing calms me more than Byzantine chant, for whatever reason. Here are a couple of selections if you also need a similar soundtrack, watching as the country goes to pot:

Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Music & Musings

Much of what I spin as a DJ is very eclectic Dark Trance and EBM. Most of my own work as a production artist is in a very similar style. It’s very broody, for lack of a better word. Some of my readers may be familiar with Covenant and Cruxshadows, both early EBM groups. But here’s a newer one, Mind.in.a.box:

Mind.in.a.box – Take My Soul:

Now you’re sitting in your room, staring into space
Your hair is long and shaggy, your clothes torn to shreds
The TV, an endless stream of commercials
Chat logs filling up the screen beside

You remember the day on a meadow

You can see the details, every little thing
But you can’t remember what it felt like
You’re not feeling anything

It’s a movie without sound
Your haggard face flashes up with lightning
Creepy shadows reflect your soul

Take my soul, consume me whole
I’m no part of this world
Take my love and hold it close

I can’t be without you anymore

You are sitting in the scenery of your dream
Your clothes are neat and clean
Your hair cut, your chin smooth

The scene is as beautiful as a painting
But there are no people or living things
It’s as meaningless and empty as your gaze

You lose yourself in this dead world
You think you’re living in your dream
But there’s nothing in it
You’re feeling nothing, nothing
You seem complacent but there is nothing there

And another favorite, Mind.in.a.box – You Will See:

When I first met you, I ruled the world.
What you saw, met with your desire.
When I first saw you, I ruled the sky.
What you felt, set your heart on fire.

When I first held you, I thought I’d pass.
What you said, seemed to be the truth.
When I first felt you, I thought I’d melt.
What you were, was the essence of youth.

I felt the warmth,
Filtering through your skin.

I had all that I could ask for,
And I thought it to last.
I was so sure of your affection,
And I loved the spell you cast.
I was scaling incredible heights,
Propelled by your radiant muse.
I sustained this for a long time,
But I was destined to lose.

I had all that I could ask for,
And I thought it to last.
I was so sure of your affection,
And I loved the spell you cast.
I was basking in all that glory,
Thought the end cannot be nigh.
I made plans for our future,
Humbled only by the sky.

You will see, I can get back there.
When all was doubt, you laughed at me.
Ripped me apart,
There’s no future for you and me.

You will see, I can climb up there.
When you lost faith, you turned your back.
Destroyed my trust,
There’s no future for you and me.

You will see, I won’t forgive this.
When you rethink, you won’t be heard.
Words don’t heal,
There’s no future for you and me.

You will see, I will survive this.
When I had need, you were not there.
It’s too late,
There’s no future for you and me.

The lyrics are interesting, also, the first being a commentary on how we lose ourselves in the digital world, becoming empty and vapid. The second song is a condemnation on the shallow, overly-inflated sense of entitlement women demand in the present day, and a man understanding that he doesn’t need her any longer. There’s no future for you and me.

Anyway, I enjoy this style of music, both for the sound and the lyrics.

It’s the Decline, Stupid

The other day, in a short Facebook post about the Decline of the West, obviously a topic which interests me, an acquaintance decided to call the whole affair “melodramatic” and “the product of a youthful mind.” In fairness, he is much older than I am, but his reasoning was beyond stupid. He wrote several paragraphs about how, essentially, his age meant that he was smarter than me. Indeed, it made him a veritable genius of a wise man. Never once did he actually address the topic of whether or not the West was in decline. My post was merely a means for him to declare his vast intelligence for all to see, I suppose.

The lesson of Socrates was lost on him.

But as evidence of the decline for any of my readers who may be similarly confused, I offer two Youtube videos.

The first is from a man who built an experimental instrument based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s designs for a Viola Organista, a sort of bizarre harpsichord-like device which played wheeled strings in a manner similar to a violin, but using a familiar keyboard. Yes, this man built an amazing instrument, then played some of the classics of Western musical tradition on it:

The second is from a misbehaving young woman whose claim to fame is spreading her legs and rubbing herself with the microphone while on stage in front of 50,000 screaming fans who, most likely, cannot hear anything over their own screaming anyway. In this music video, she decided to go up and down on a wrecking ball, naked, while making disgusting faces and singing to a twelve note ditty that could have been invented by a 2 year old on a xylophone:

Now, look at which person is celebrated in the modern West, and tell me with a straight face that we are not in the midst of terminal decline.

 

Where To Go From Here

Rufus the Red pointed out in an earlier comment that, as true as some of the rants are around here, action speaks louder than words. What can the Renaissance Man, dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Western civilization, do to save it? This question is especially poignant in areas of culture, art and music. Remember that the decline of our political situation is the inevitable consequence of a moral and cultural decay.

Take the example of abortion. The Constitution mentions nothing of the practice, despite the procedure being known as far back as the ancient Egyptians. A clue for the reasoning behind this can be found in the Federalist Papers.

I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?

The Bill of Rights was nonetheless passed, and time has proven that Alexander Hamilton’s opponents were the wiser. For the concrete language of the Bill of Rights has long been the last remaining line of defense against tyranny in America. In any event, however, it did not occur to the Founders to write a law specifically covering abortion because the culture of the time was so dead-set against the practice that such a law was not only unnecessary, it was viewed as dangerous, for the exact reasons Alexander Hamilton worried so over the Bill of Rights. Perhaps they were wrong not to write these things down, or perhaps we have failed to live up to their legacy. But the culture prevented the worst of moral excesses. The judgement of one’s peers was more to be feared than a distant and small Federal Government.

When the culture changed to accommodate the cultural excesses of the 60s and the Boomers, legal wrangling over abortion became inevitable. Even if a written law had existed banning the practice, it is likely it would have been overturned. Regardless of where you stand on abortion as a moral or legal dilemma, it is proof that cultural change precedes legal change. Opponents of abortion are well-advised to target the culture, then, and not the legal precedent. It is the same for all of us who wish to stem the tide of decay in the West.

Allow me to be clear: this is a monumental, Herculean task that cannot be completed by any one of us alone. No great leader could achieve this, no single political figure possesses a large enough lever to move it. Culture is like a supertanker, it may move quickly in a single direction, but changing direction requires an immense application of force. Even then, momentum will carry it forward along the undesired course for some time after. Progressives have been working on American culture for over a century, now. They came for your beer, once. Today, they come for your freedom of speech.

But the Culture War is not yet lost. Our own culture rose from the ashes and remnants of the old Roman Empire, faithfully preserved and advanced by diligent monks and Byzantine scholars. Truly, I do think it is too late to save America as a nation, although I would love to be proven wrong. But Western civilization is bigger than America, and I hold out hope that it may be saved. It survived the Germans (and converted them), the Arabs and the Mongols. Surely it can survive the Progressives, too.

That is our role, to be the new monks, the new scholars, preserving and building on our origins in opposition to trends of our time. While Miley Cyrus twerks to a worthless six-note little ditty, consider listening to and supporting musicians faithful to our culture. Allow me to introduce you to one such, Schiller, a man who combined orchestral music with electronic instruments. His latest album, Opus, brings the modern and the traditional together. Truly, I think he is one of the greatest musicians of our age and is, as a result, remarkably under appreciated. Here are two of my favorites, a modern rendition of Swan Lake and the two part intro to the album Solaris. It is unlike anything you will find in Pop Culture.

It doesn’t stop there. Most of my readers are familiar with Francis Porretto at Bastion of LibertyHe is, whether he realizes it or not, a part of this very same cultural movement. So are authors like Vox Day, Tom Kratman, and other notables behind the Sad Puppies, Hell bent on restoring sanity to the Hugo Awards. The change we desire in the course of our civilization already exists. I must admit that this the raison d’être for The Declination in the first place. This is my small contribution to cultural change.

So, if you wonder what you can do, forget political action at this point. Even if you manage to get your favored candidate into office, he cannot stem this tide. Ronald Reagan was a good man, perhaps the greatest figure in recent Conservative history. And yet, he was only able to slow the decay for a time. No men of equal stature to him exist today, and the decay has accelerated terribly. The time for political solutions has passed. Indeed, it may never have existed in the first place. A strong Conservative or Libertarian candidate would be shouted down by a hostile culture, decried as racist or sexist, snubbed as a rube as Scott Walker has been. If in office, he would be hamstrung by an angry bureaucracy and a corrupt media establishment. Any changes he made would be quickly reversed by his Progressive successors.

Better than a Crucifix dropped in a jar of piss? You decide.

Better than a Crucifix dropped in a jar of piss? You decide.

Our war is the Culture War, and you can fight with us by promoting to friends, family and neighbors that which is good and decent over that which is decadent and useless. Should we ever win this fight, the necessary political change will come on its own. Political figures long suppressed by a hostile culture will emerge once again. Your battlefield is art, cinema, the written word and music. Our greatest weapons lie in the fact that Mozart is greater than Beyonce, Schiller more talented than Kanye. Michelangelo was the master, the woman smearing period blood on canvas is but a terrible reflection. We have more to offer to the world. It is time to reclaim our place in the sun.

Knowing When to Move On

Decline is visible everywhere in the West, in every cobwebbed corner, lurking in every scene. For those of you who don’t know, my other life is spent in Goth clubs, spinning a blend of Dark Trance, Industrial and EBM music for a crowd that is best described as somewhat alternative. These small microcosms in the music industry are really the last bastions of creative art left in the industry. Yesterday’s post on the End of Beauty should serve as a warning, but in these smaller niche markets, some beauty still remains.

I have been a DJ and occasional producer under various names, most lately as Dystopic. You won’t find me on major festival lists and I don’t share the fame of some of the greats, like Imperative Reaction, Mind.in.a.Box, Combichrist or XP8. But my contribution exists, and whatever else, I enjoy the originality of the music and the creativity of this scene.

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Dystopic. Philosopher by day, steampunk DJ by night.

It is, however, of the latter band whom I wish to speak. XP8 is one of my go-to groups when I’m DJing. For those who have some experience DJing, I am not what is known as a playlist DJ. I mix (and remix) live, I learned to beatmatch the old fashioned way on turntables and old Pioneer CDJ500s back in the late 90s. And so I never really know what I’m going to spin until I spin it. Often times, I let the mood of the crowd guide me. Other times, pure whimsy. On occasion, however, I am left without any clear idea what to do, and it is in those moments that XP8’s music has saved me and my sets.

It’s a sort of default setting, music I can always rely on to be good, powerful and accepted by the Industrial crowd. And so the end of the XP8 project is something that saddens me. The duo declared the end of the project, and the end of their music careers by naming their final song “XP8 Is Dead.”

XP8 is Dead. No drama or actual death involved. They have decided to move on.

XP8 is Dead. No drama or actual death involved. They have decided to move on.

Bands and Artists fold all the time. What makes this different, you say? What does this have to do with the Decline of the West? A lot.

This interview explains an awful lot. Marco Visconti explains it thusly:

I guess the reasons can be already glimpses from the reply I gave above, but there’s more to that… music genres have life cycles, and I simply realised the time for “industrial dance”, that weird mix of dancefloor beats with a more gritty approach, was simply over. I said it elsewhere and I repeat it here, we had it good for fifteen years, that’s a long period of time: I went from being in my early 20s to the gates of my 40s, that’s a huge chuck of everybody’s life right there. Nothing stays forever, surely not a super niche genre like ours. And it is always wiser to understand when it is time to move on, because no one wants to be the old guy in a room full of kids looking at you like a dinosaur: I remember vividly making fun of those old goths that simply didn’t want to get the fuck out of MY clubs a decade ago, and the last thing I wanted to become was one of them.
I strongly suggest all the people of my generation to consider doing the same, because this scene was supposed to be young and vibrant, while nowadays anytime you walk into a goth/industrial club or festival, everywhere in the world, the average age is 35 and that’s simply wrong.

There’s a hint in here of what is going on. Music has always had a sort of cycle to it. Consider it a sort of generational affair, where young people, educated by the masters of old, introduce new ideas, then, in their turn, become the new masters to educate the next age.

Only today’s masters, unlike Marco, are unwilling to give up their throne to the new crowd. As a DJ, I have seen night clubs become progressively older in demographics.  An endless series of comeback tours ensue. It’s like Toys r Us commercials used to tell us.

I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys r Us kid.

XP8 took the high road, ending their careers at a penultimate moment with, perhaps, the best releases yet. Marco explains it:

We played a very successful gig here in London last August, at Slimelight, to a sold out venue. That was our swan song, and I have some very nice memories of it I will forever treasure.

And so as Marco moves on with his life, he’ll remember ending his music career on a high note, to appreciating aficionados who truly enjoyed his craft. He won’t be a dried-out has-been, a Metallica releasing Reload, and challenging Napster. He won’t be Madonna, plastered in makeup, sounding like a chain-smoking gas station attendant humming off key in the shower. He definitely won’t be this:

He and Marko Resurreccion, the other half of XP8, were masters of their craft, a Kings of a very small little niche kingdom most of my readers probably never even heard about. But more important than that, they knew when it was time to step down.

They knew when it was time to grow up.

Sometimes I feel that my DJ career, a much smaller affair than XP8, is similarly limited. I have a few more years left in me and then my time will come too. Music production is a game for the young. But the clubbers will go on, getting older, long after I exit. 35 year olds, 45 year olds…

Perhaps in a few decades, the night clubs will look like nursing homes, wrinkled fists pumping in the air like nobody cares, the scent of beer and liquor mixed with mothballs. We live in an era where no one grows up, nobody moves on. It’s a perpetual adolescence, cradle-to-grave stunting of personal growth.

We live in an era where the King thinks he can not only stand on the shore and order the tide to stop, but that he can order Death himself away with but a wave of his hand.

I cannot tell you how much I admire XP8 for having the moral courage to do what others in my industry could not: move on and grow up. I will miss their music, nonetheless.

 

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