Blacksmoke

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Blacksmoke a.k.a. The Blacksmoke Organisation are "an occasional art collective and musical group dedicated to the propagation of audio visual noise". The precise creative membership of Blacksmoke is a closely guarded secret. It is documented that a founding member is The KLF co-founder Jimmy Cauty. Heavy metal musician James Fogarty has also been extensively responsible for their musical output. Keir (the ex Black Dog/808 State Manager) has been described as their "project manager".[1] K Foundation collaborator Gimpo who is organiser of the annual "M25 SPIN" was the inspiration for an early Blacksmoke track "Gimpo Gimpo" but, contrary to reports, has never provided any vocals. Cauty left the organisation in 2005 to work on other projects[citation needed]. Blacksmoke output currently includes music (original, remix/production for artists and TV/Film composition work), artwork (including photography) and video material.

Cauty stated in a music press interview that Blacksmoke is first and foremost an outlet for his anger concerning the September 11th Terrorist Attacks[citation needed]. Among the work so far produced by the Blacksmoke Organisation are limited edition prints of stamps known as The Stamps of Mass Destruction the Post Terrorist Modernist EP, and the Post-Terrorism Xmas Shop. The anger over 9/11 is immediately apparent in the samples and vocals of many of the original tracks as well as the graphics.

The Stamps of Mass Destruction[edit]

A Blacksmoke Stamp of Mass Destruction by James Cauty

Limited edition prints of 1st 2nd & 3rd class stamps featuring the Queen's head with a gas mask on. These were exhibited at the artrepublic gallery in Brighton, until they earned the attention of the Royal Mail.[2][3][4] All unsold copies of the stamps of mass destruction prints were sent to Royal Mail for destruction. A second series of the stamps were later released – 4th 5th & 6th class which had the queens head completely engulfed in a chemical warfare protection suit and thus were presumably not subject to the legal action taken by Royal Mail.

2003 music[edit]

The first Blacksmoke releases were MP3s hosted on the Blacksmoke website, the tracks including "Gimpo Gimpo" and a remix of same entitled "Fuck the Fucking Fuckers". On 23 September 2003, BBC Radio 1's Breezeblock with Mary Anne Hobbs show broadcast a 15-minute mix session. The session comprised the MP3s cut together with samples of mobile phones and Big Ben plus other sound effects. The BBC cut the final 3 minutes 30 seconds from the session due to the post Iraq war political climate. The cut material was "Silent Night", one of the previously available download-only tracks. A few months later, the collective added an MP3 of the Breezeblock version of "Silent Night" to their website for download.

Post Terrorist Modernism DIY MP3 EP cover

On 5 November 2003 Blacksmoke made available an MP3 EP on their website which they described as "post-terrorist modernism for the Boom Bang Generation". A Blacksmoke press release drew connections with Bonfire Night and called Guy Fawkes Britain's "most notorious terrorist". The downloadable cover art featured Big Ben exploding like the World Trade Center and asked if the artwork "depicted the destruction of government buildings in Baghdad or Kabul, would we pay any attention?" There were media reports of "outrage".

2004 onwards[edit]

In July 2004 Blacksmoke appeared at The Big Chill festival. Cauty played an eclectic and experimental DJ set, which he described as "an updated version of [The KLF's ambient album] Chill Out", while a film by Gimpo called Docklands Light Railway was screened.[5] An alternative version of the soundtrack to the film was later featured as an hour long mix radio session on Resonance FM on 28 August. This was described as an industrial ambient mix.

The Blacksmoke Organisation ran a 'Post-Terrorism Christmas Shop' at the Aquarium art gallery in Woburn Walk, London, throughout December 2004. Described as a "one-stop shop for all your post-terrorism needs"[citation needed], items for sale included silk ties for infiltrating Fortune 500 companies, strengthened crockery for after the attack, and a range of prints of original post-terrorism inspired artwork. A full length album was promised for 2004 but never surfaced, although a limited edition single, "I'm Dreaming of a BLACK Christmas", was made available for collection from the Aquarium only on Christmas Day 2004.

Tom & Jerry by The Blacksmoke Organisation

The Blacksmoke Organisation were commissioned by Disney to rework the original theme tune to their 60's movie "The Love Bug" for a 2005 remake entitled "Herbie: Fully Loaded". Blacksmoke produced two versions, appearing within the movie and on the Fully Loaded.

In May 2008 The Blacksmoke Organisation exhibited a new artwork entitled "Tom & Jerry" at the Photo Fictions: New Narrative Photography exhibition, held at the Show Cave Gallery in Los Angeles.

Remixes[edit]

Blacksmoke have done a number of distinctive remixes of other artists. Some of them have been available for download from their website, others are available on commercial recordings.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Butler, B., interview with Jimmy Cauty for The Big Issue Australia, 18 June 2003 (link)
  2. ^ "Royal Mail stamps down on postage art ", The Guardian, 4 June 2003 (link)
  3. ^ "Row over gas masked Queen", BBC News, 4 June 2003 (link)
  4. ^ "Gas mask Queen removed from gallery", BBC News, 16 June 2003 (link)
  5. ^ Urban75 (link)
  6. ^ A-ha official website, March 2006 (link)

External links[edit]