"And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” - Genesis 4:11-12
The late, great Mark Fisher is one of the most potent 'latter day' voices in contemporary music critique for me. Like so many of us from his generation (and perhaps a little younger!), I felt like there was a sense that the 'future' we were sold in the 70s and 80s never quite came to pass - infact, in many ways it seemed to stop, abruptly, without warning, in a way none of us had the words to adequately intellectualise.
When we stood back, however, we DID hear a contemporary art and music suddenly sounding very much like the 'past'. What happened? What was lost? What happened to the beating heart of the 'now'?
When did 'authenticity' start to sound like the tape-saturated 60s? When did the vitality and danger of 90s techno suddenly become trope-ified, dogmatised? And more importantly, WHY?
Mark Fisher combines savage, compassionate critiques of neoliberalism with a deep and abiding love of music. There are simply few other writers of his ilk i reference so frequently.
Examining hauntology, hypnagogia and late-stage capitalism, Mark Fisher not only NAMES the sense of existential loss many of us feel in our weird cultural half-light, but perhaps also gives us tools to continue the work of exorcising the demons which terrify us.
He's also a bloody good writer, with a visceral love of electronic music - from Joy Divison to Burial and beyond. Vital, accessible, compassionate reading for anyone invested in contemporary music culture.