Got this e.mail, apparently it came from LA, them e.mail asking that we scroll down and click on a link and open a video and hit the like button and maybe shrte, well it didn’t actually say that but that is what it wanted us to do here in our East London bunker…
“Los Angeles, CA – Post-punk icons Killing Joke have made a career out of courting controversy and challenging audiences, from their politically-charged album covers, like the Wardance 7” which depicted a debonair Fred Astaire dancing in a warfield riddled with dead bodies, to lyrics barbed with stinging social commentary. Not as well known, however, is that many of these ideas came not just from KJ frontman Jaz Coleman but also from co-founder and percussionist Big Paul Ferguson. Indeed, since the band’s inception, Ferguson has been a main contributor to the songwriting and themes behind Killing Joke. So when it came time for Ferguson to create his very first solo album, it’s not surprising that he would dedicate its 10 original tracks to chronicling the afflictions of modern society.
Take, for instance, “The Unraveling,” the third track from Ferguson’s brand-new album, Virtual Control, which is released today via Cleopatra Records. The song recreates our distinctly modern condition of being inundated with mindless commands and digital instructions “Swipe left swipe right / Scroll up scroll down / Click here click there / Watch the little wheel spin round / And round and round.” As Ferguson suggests, these seemingly innocuous tasks serve not only to distract us from the inequities in society as a whole but to remove any agency by which the status quo could be challenged, singing “The world’s gone crazy / There’s so much wealth / Flushed down the drain / But so’s my mental health.” Together with co-writer and guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite, who also mixed the track, Ferguson has crafted a compelling song that is both a social and musical statement, one that is certain to resonate with fans of Killing Joke. Accompanying the song is a visual tour de force of a video from award-winning video director Vicente Cordero (Industrialism Films)”.
I guess they want us to load the video now….
“Ferguson shares these thoughts on the video and single, “The seemingly endless months where most of our interactions were online, were filled by a bombardment of images and disparate messages where the truth of anything became a fiction in itself.
Living our lives online, we have become marionettes pulled every which way by the latest catchphrase or trend.
I hope this song and video shed a little light on the larger forces at work.”
“With additional mixing by award-winning producer Tom Dalgety (Pixies, Rammstein) and highlighted with special guest appearances from former Marilyn Manson member Tim Skold as well as Die Krupps mastermind Jürgen Engler, Virtual Control conjures a dense and foreboding aural atmosphere, layering guitars, synths and Ferguson’s own distinctive vocals, that underscores the thoughtfulness of Ferguson’s introspective and observant lyrics. The album is available now on digital, CD and in limited edition red viny”!
Here indeed is the album, and yes it does start out in a very musically-positive Killing Joke kind of way, it carries on in a very musically-positive way, in that beautifully bleak way Killing Joke always did, not too obvious, the joke is healthy, the black dogs foreboding, and yes I could sit here at the glowing computer screen and mess up my eyes a bit more and write a whole review that takes a couple of hours and tell you the album is good, but this is the now, this is the swipe-right future and no one reads these things, and why should you when the video is up there and the whole album is just down there and you can listen for yourselves and words aren’t really needed as much as the links and the signposts are , place an order and have it land in your life without ever having to take a bus ride to cash your giro and then head for the record shop There you have it, the e.mail flew in on a Sunday morning, and the information all shared and there for you to load and swipe and bite and all done before dinner time. Them Killing Joke people are still sounding good, they’re still putting up those warning signs and dystopian rhythms, the gods are still with us, Big Paul Ferguson’s debut solo album (why did it take him so long?) sounds healthy to us, don’t step on those cracks now, the Eighties were four decades ago, enough of he light from the bright screen I;m off for an old school analogue walk without my phone., tere’s bee nanother couple of hundred e.mail since that one came in this morning. Sometimes when someone from a band your have high regard for releases a solo album it can be a load of old pony and trap, this one isn’t…