On Alan Moore’s mandrill meets Super Weird Substance at the Art lab Apocalypse: a mixtape for the heart, head and soul
Out of the miasma of music, noise and radio stylings conjured by Super Weird Substance’s Grand Mix Meister Greg Wilson, carefully shaped leaves, shards and droppings of Alan Moore’s Mandrillifesto obscure and influence both your peripheral vision and oncoming foresight. Assisted by the darkly angelic Reynold Sisters and the jungle fused flow of Kermit Leveridge, this corral of musical shamans transforms your personal listening device and environment into a portal pointed towards a new world of potential. Moore’s Mandrillifesto, birthed as a reaction to the oncoming horrors of Brexit is a savage and yet charming beast intent on plucking the ostrich’s head out of the sand and thrusting its worm caked muck mask into your own corpulence.
Recently launched on Facebook by Moore and cohort Joe Brown as part of the Northampton Arts Lab’s ongoing assault on contemporary culture and now being adapted for film and video by director Megan Lucas, this musical arm of the project is just as thrilling. After a dystopic interference spiked tuning in, the insistent groove hits you immediately, accompanied by a powerfully funk driven ape, grooving and growling to the ends of each hair on its dance smitten back. Radio K-O-N-G splinters the temperate air with a enough power to drive us all back to the primordial casserole of electric forces that sparked the first break-beat of shock and perception. We are at once in the realm of the King.
Moore as magical mandrill and ‘musical marmoset’ ushers in the ‘savannah skanking of Desmond Morris and the Naked Aces, Left Handed Monkey Wrench.’ The joy is unconfined.
‘At a time of national demise’ the need for such a powerful sense of reformation is undeniable. Cometh the mandrill to push us all towards the brightest dawn. The Reynolds soothe us towards pop-like unification with their gorgeously alluring voices and swivel hipped rhythms, as samples of Chris Morris from one of Brass Eye’s greatest moments exhorts us to ‘do it through a mandrill’, taking the drug of revolution as a means of reshaping the day. This is an imaginary song from a group of wise and hidden hearts that calls on us all to emerge from a broken world. As the ‘Messiah of the Mandrill’ continues to transmute itself through a mix of ska, sampled Madness at their exuberant Camden best and Kermit Leveridge pushing us to the edge of Jimmy Cliff, vocal sweetness, coupled with warnings against the sour days we are currently presented with, compel us all to accept the mandrillifesto as the best way to make the only effective set of changes we can hope to muster.
From experimental (BBC) radiophonic avant-gardism to old school reggae, from the Northampton boulevards to the Jamaican shoreline, these musical variations are carried not by bird but by chimp across the tendrils of a culture ‘Ballarding’ itself into a state of Drowned World style disrepair. We are stoked, we are soothed, we are Charlton Hestoned into fresh states of awareness as the musical landscape shifts around us. Moore shares another glorious mandrill moment via ‘Hoots & The My-tails’ who proceed to construct a reggae and ukulele fashioned symphony skittering its way towards a new sense of celebration, achieved by ‘painting the sky in grenadine..’ and making ‘loveliness compulsory.’ Cometh the moment, cometh the mandrill as a force of change. Hoot to the blood of the moon as a totem for that much needed transformation and fresh means of becoming enables you to revisit your own inner Darwinism and reconnect with the formative wildness of your own tender bassline.
Reverberated echoes of noise shatter the beat at this point in the mix and settle, giving the effect of music being turned inside out and reversed, only to improve on the original surface design.
Monkey shrieks and antique film announcements then introduce mutated soul that proceeds to move at a frenetic pace as Moore as current DJ and Director of Joy, announces ‘Bathtime for Bonzo’, another rapture rippled warning. Only through the energy of funk, soul and transatlantic rhythm can we push ourselves towards a new state of recognition and evolve as a communal, rave tarnished horde of physical intellectuals, who’s every step, twitch and gesture is a means of furthering communication.
Chris Morris returns with the wonderful mandrill sketch from The Day Today as the music changes once more thirteen minutes in, a connection to the infamous story of ‘Elizabeth I having given birth to a mandrill by mistake..’ A synthetic tron like pulse then pushes us further along the electric seam as we see and hear no evil and disco twirl our multi flanged hearts and tanktops towards a tropical kingdom of the mandrill, the ultimate marsupial whose emergence and musculature rips the track apart with an ejaculation of anthemic exultation at minute fifteen in which ‘absolute serenity’ is fixed as the ultimate goal and where we are able to access the ‘funky magic at the mountain top.’ It is here that humour and intention join forces to replace the missing link with a musical form of the magic that Moore sees as society’s true adhesive. Music can teach us as much if not more than any other art form when it has this much thought and skill behind it, as evidenced by Wilson and his cohorts, supporting and enabling the ‘Tamarind Tyrant’ to present the latest Orangutango!
As the Reynolds urge us to ‘Let the mandrill funk you down’ Moore Barry Whites, Reds and Blues along, before fusing into Kermit Leveridge and all manner of samples. The jungle celebration is more vibrant than any city fresco and more colourful than a firework on Viagra. This mixtape is 21 minutes of post apocalyptic bliss that creates a revolution for the body. It is the job of the mind and its resultant conscience to catch up with that vessel and attempt to ring any changes on offer. If you have no phone to hand, beat your answers on the floor of the dancing space you find yourself in, or against the nearest, most convenient wall. The medium is the message but there will always be room for the overgrown and, if they are truly repentant, the small of vision.
A treatment and elaboration of The Kinks Apeman brings the discourse, discord and saccharine stylings and indeed, the party, both personal and political to a happy conclusion, providing connection to all of mankind’s fights against the true animals that oppose our own freedom and restrain us without melody, harmony or message. The true rhythm of resistance is ours for the taking and easy to master. You begin by beating your hands against your chest and then by allowing the groove-growl to grow.
We will always need Moore. The world left to us is the least.
David Erdos 11/2/17
STARRING KERMIT LEVERIDGE & THE REYNOLDS
ADDITIONAL VOCALS: THE REVEREND CLEVE FRECKLETON & TRACEY CARMEN
More about the project: www.superweirdsubstance.com/alan-moore-…-apocalypse
Obey the Mandrill: www.facebook.com/mandrillifesto
Alan Moore & Joe Brown’s ‘Mandrillifesto’ can be heard here: https://soundcloud.com/mandrillifesto/alan-moore-joe-brown-mandrillifesto
Mandrillifesto words by Alan Moore
Big thanks to: Josh Ray, Ché Wilson, Derek Kaye, Joe Brown, James Mellor, Dominic Mandrell, Marcus Hislop, The Arts Lab Northampton
Artwork by Pete Fowler & Dominic Mandrell
COMETH THE MOMENT, COMETH THE MANDRILL
In times of national demise, speaking historically,
the mulch of crumpled dream and culture is a laboratory,
that breeds outrageous saviours and monsters without warning;
Cromwell, Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Jeremy Corbyn –
emerging from a broken world to find a hole they can fill,
cometh the moment; cometh the Mandrill.
This greed and gore emporium is not how life was meant to be,
with franchises and fads reheated from a previous century,
and nothing new, a neutered future on the retro record deck,
that’s stuck and endlessly repeating in a firebombed discotheque.
Your TV’s in a coma and you can’t get it to wake up.
What you need is a dictatorial baboon in makeup.
Overstated, aggravated and horrifically mutated,
here to see that you’re berated. What’s the last thing you created?
All those logos on your raiment, brand-name badges of enslavement,
drip-fed passive entertainment. Was this your intended statement?
When you have nowhere left to stand you’ll have to take one.
If there’s no culture in the land then you must make one.
Psychopathic, charismatic, I could go on but don’t need to:
as the higher primate it’s my long-awaited fate to lead you.
You have no choice but me, so please do not suggest so.
Hear now the poetry of my Mandrillifesto!
The light of burning corporations will repaint the sky in grenadine.
There’ll be billions of banners and Art Nouveau butterfly bombers like this world has never seen before.
We’ll march on ugliness and stupidity.
We’ll make loveliness compulsory.
And the roar of our orchestra engines will soar evermore in a glorious annihilating symphony, for the tyranny of beauty is our God-given duty.
Every child at birth is to be issued with a ukulele,
given their own flag and granted absolute and utter sovereignty,
and so long as it’s coloured in nicely and has an old woman on, make their own currency. And we’ll turn every urban address into a dripping Rousseau wilderness, and we’ll keep advancing until there’s nobody not dancing.
We’ll put politics in the pillory,
put the art back in artillery.
We can weaponise wonder
and our voice shall be as thunder.
From times of national demise arise new apes like me,
with, in our leopard-scaring eyes, manifest destiny.
I’ll lead you to a fluorescent utopia if you’ll let me:
love me, worship me, obey me – but never pet me.
If we can’t build a future then we’ll be its human landfill. So…
Cometh the moment, cometh the Mandrill.
(Repeat until indoctrinated)