Monday, November 07, 2011

We are the Salvage Crew for the Wreck that is the Future

By St Stephen
Spaceship Graveyard is in my estimation one of the most outstanding musical projects that I have had the fortune and pleasure to stumble across. Spaceship Graveyard or simply SG, has reopened the final frontier.

Instead of me telling you what SG is about, we (you and I, dear reader) are fortunate enough to have the rare pleasure to having Spaceship Graveyard explain to us their project-mission. In honor of their latest musical accomplishments, we present a truly a prolific band, with over 32 releases in little under a years time. Without further ado from your host, St. Stephen, we of Modern Mythology proudly present a rare and most special report, from a band we cannot say enough good things about, Spaceship Graveyard (mainsite)/Spaceship Graveyard (bandcamp)



We had grown up in a time of fear yet it was also a time of hope.  We were told of the future and the wonderful things we could expect there.  We were told of flying cars, spaceships, aliens and strange, unknown worlds.  We were told we could share in all this and this promise made us able to look past the darkness and the threats that were all around.  Then, the dream died.

The seers among us lost their vision or saw only ruin and misery.  A blackness had come into the world and taken it over.  Some of the seers would stab out their own eyes rather than witness the cruelty and suffering that was looming in the tomorrow.  A great curse had befallen the land.  Soulless vampire automatons had emerged from the pit of annihilation and wound their tendrils around the seats of power like creeping vines strangling a great and suffering tree.  Their agents looked like "humans" and were often able to convince "real" humans to follow their leadership.  In fact, they were able to recruit great throngs of the blind and ignorant into their cause.  Their victims willingly placed their necks on the chopping blocks and smiled while the blades fell and split them in two.  They rallied around their false god and proclaimed the world of science to be lies.  A favored few wallowed in their riches while actively seeking to deny others the ability to even subsist.  Yet they too were to be sacrificed for the blackness they served had no aim other than obliteration.  They served the serpent devouring its own tail.  To some a symbol of infinity, to others, a terminal condition, a symbol of self cannibalization with no outcome save oblivion.

 So it came to pass that all hope was lost, or, nearly so.  For in this wasteland of corruption and desolation, there were still a few who could imagine a way forward.  They knew the future had been ruined yet they saw also that, even in ruins, there is the possibility of salvage.  Reuse, recycle, repurpose.  They saw tomorrow laid across the sky as a vast debris field full of possibilities.  The vessels of creation were broken and drifting in space.  They collided and drifted in random trajectories.  The came together and flew apart as their gravity and inertia dictated.  They were in pieces, but they were not useless.  Salvage was the key.  Pick the bones and make something new out of what once was.  The decay of the now could be the fertilizer of tomorrow.  Make dead technology live again.  Build a new culture out of scrap metal and discarded circuit boards. 

With this vision securely in mind, the call went out to all the lone wolves who hid in their dens, secretly working in isolation.  We have found the wreckage that is the future and intend to make use of it for our own purposes.  We shall build our own army yet we shall not call it such.  We shall hide it in the unglamorous garbs of service workers.  We have a job to do and we're doing it.  We take our garbage scows across the universe and claim the trash of corruption.  What others have discarded we shall take as our booty. 

We have left behind the lies of the past and discarded the mythologies that allowed the darkness to take hold.  We are writing our own lore and living it as we go.  We are our own heroes in our own sagas.  You can find us in the Spaceship Graveyard.


In the first week of 2010, my employment engagement of some 16 years came to an end.  This occurred, not because of the quality of my work, but because of the requirements of a "business" entity which saw experience & seniority as liabilities simply due to the authority and financial benefits that they entailed.  Another victim of downsizing.  This company is no different than any of the others which see only profit as the goal and have lost all conception that they were intended to be of benefit to the community which surrounds and supports them.  Corporations now only exists to serve their own, singular interest - to make more money.  Corporations have no interest in the communities which they call their home.  Globalization has separated them from such concerns.  If they are surrounded by slums, it is of no importance as long as the black ink continues to flow.  What happens outside the doors is an inconsequential distraction.  There is no comprehension that continuing to drive down standards of living will eventually destroy the customer base the company depends on to survive.  It is indeed the snake eating its tail, unaware that there is only one outcome possible in this process.

This is how I found myself suddenly with a lot of time on my hands.  This entity had seen fit to provide me with at least a decent severance package so as to mitigate any superficial impression of unfairness.  So I took that time and, feeling fed up with the whole "business" culture, sank myself head first into my art.  The remainder of 2010 would be spent in a continuous flurry of activity as I recorded one collection of musical compositions after another and packaged them up for independent digital distribution.  It was a time of incredible creativity, but also of great loneliness as I was working "solo" and, while able to indulge any fancy I liked, I was feeling like there needed to be something going on that would connect me to other creative people.  

I have been involved in home recording and music production since 1981 when I started out with little more than a guitar, amp and busted cassette deck.  I have continued to pursue this creative outlet throughout my adult life and there has always been a desire to bring together some form of creative collective that went beyond the limited and limiting structure of a regular "band".  In this sense, my mentors and inspiration came in the form of projects like Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle and especially Psychic TV and George Clinton's P-Funk/Parliament/Funkadelic axis.  It was the idea of something that could mutate and change, incorporate a constantly shifting lineup of collaborators, be about more than just the music and encompass its own mythology that really caught my attention.  All of these projects attempted to encompass that kind of openness in one way or another.  They also created their own mythology around themselves whether implied or specific.  The challenge was to find a conceptual focus with the gravity necessary to attract others and get them into orbit. 

My last "band" project had fallen apart by March of 2010 after a thoroughly disappointing performance in a string of disappointing performances which added up to a sense of going nowhere and not having any real inspiration.  This was after 20 years of subsisting and bubbling under the surface of the local music scene, almost ready to break through, but never quite getting there.  From the ashes of that project, one collaborator emerged who showed real enthusiasm for what we could do and, in October of 2010, we tried an experiment to see if we could go down a different musical path.  It was free form, improvised and thoroughly entertaining.  A second session in November further enforced the feeling that we'd hit on something, but we weren't sure what it was.  We needed something to provide the fuel for this spark.  We needed a mythology.  I didn't know it at the time, but, when it came to me, it suddenly started to illuminate a myriad of possibilities.  

Throughout 2010, as mentioned, I had been recording a series of music collections which, by the end of December of that year, numbered at 19 titles.  Being influenced by the "twins", I've always been partial to the number 2 and I wanted to end the year with an even number of releases and started to think of something to become release number 20.  I had also taken to watching old 70's vintage science fiction programs before going to bed.  At this time, I was working my way through an old favorite, Space 1999.  It was December 30th, approximately 2:00 AM.  I was watching an episode entitled "Dragon's Domain".  This episode featured a "spaceship graveyard" which was occupied by a rather nasty, human-hungry, one eyed space cephalopod.  I began to dwell on the concept of a spaceship graveyard.  I thought that, if there was one fantastical thing I could wish to explore, that would be it.  Seriously, the possibilities are endless.  Then, my mind began to push the idea a bit further and consider the more abstract and symbolic implications of what this concept offered.  I could barely get to sleep that night as my mind raced and, after a few hours sleep, launched into a recording session to capture the essence of a spaceship graveyard in sound and then created a visual collage of various spaceships, some famous, some not so, and posted this image on my Facebook wall with the comment: 

"I have come to the conclusion that there is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING that would be cooler than a spaceship graveyard. Go ahead. Try and think of something cooler! I double dog dare ya! You can't think of anything because there ain't anything. So, because of this realization, I recorded an hour long ambient piece today and dedicated it to the coolest thing EVER. Not available for DL yet, but coming in the new year. Just want y'all to ponder the awesomeness of a spaceship graveyard. Fucking excellent!"  Almost immediately, people began to respond and express interest in exploring this concept themselves. 

A week later, on January 8th, 2011, another recording session was scheduled with the collators with whom I had begun to explore a new musical approach and we set out to take a "trip" to the spaceship graveyard.  This time, with full intention of what we were there for.  The results were striking and we immediately knew we were onto something.  Within 24 hours of that session, I had put up the beginnings of a web site and prepared the first recording release to go up on January 11th.  From this point onward, the mythology essentially "wrote itself".  We had cast ourselves as a deep space salvage crew on the lookout for any wreckage we could find to scavenge.  We defined our own time-space and began creating our own stories.  Each time we came together, we opened our minds to the universe and let it offer us the theme for that particular day.  We also began to use star charts to identify which star was directly in front of us as we recorded.  These sessions would be documented and published as "mission reports" and the recordings we created would be considered "salvage artifacts".  We would enter the "debris field" and see what we could find there.  As our artifacts were published and the mission reports were put on the web site, others began to come into the picture.  We soon found we had multiple home recording studio options to choose from and a whole range of possible crew configurations, each offering something different while still being within the context of the "spaceship graveyard".  As we stated, this is a coming together of people and technology in a kind of random, improvised manner where the results are unpredictable.  The most surprising thing is that we always seemed to come out of these missions with something everyone was very enthusiastic about.  We weren't just bringing back crap.  We were actually coming out of these missions with rather sophisticated recordings that seemed to transcend the circumstances of their creation.  

As we have progressed, we have developed our own language and terminology, references which make sense in the context of the mythology we are writing.  We have become the characters in our myths.  We aren't humping around ancient myths about people we never knew with no relation to our current lives.  We are making it about us and what we are experiencing here and now, translated into allegories within the symbolic realm of the spaceship graveyard.  As far as I am aware, the majority of those who have become involved are not partial to traditional religion or mythology and I think that this self created mythology has come to satisfy a part of our human nature which had been left barren by our collective distrust and disbelief in established spiritual institutions.  By taking control of our own mythology, we have become able to indulge this part of our psyche without falling victim to the lies and delusions that plague most followers of established systems.  Within this exploration, we have also developed methodologies for approaching the art we create.  We set specific values as our goals.  Improvisation, spontaneity,  unpredictability, and tapping into the "zeitgeist" of the moment have become our core values.  We want to walk the high wire without a net.  We don't want a map or a predetermined course controlling our actions.  We don't want to know the end of the story until we get there.  This becomes a symbolic emphasis on bringing living back into the "now", into the moment, something that has been largely disengaged from in our prepackaged, pre-recorded world.  In these times when we come together to make these things happen, we are truly living and experiencing and feeling and watching the world unfold before our eyes. 

As people who have effectively rejected the mythologies of our ancestors and dismissed the "gods" they prop up as the shabby, flabby fakes that they are, we have found a way to fill our hearts with joy and optimism and enthusiasm in a real way rather than the self deceiving fakers who bang on bibles and condemn the human race to ignorance and fear.  We don't need the old gods.  We don't need gods at all.  We have taken hold of the reigns of creation and are quite capable of satisfying our selves among our own kind.  We know we are going to have to struggle with the failures of mankind for a long time to come and maybe none of us will survive it, but we have found a way to build our own community which, one day, may be the thing that saves us when the rest of humanity has wrecked our home to the point where their rule collapses and someone needs to come along and start putting things back together.  At that time, having a mastery of the art of salvage may indeed be our salvation.  We are the crew of Spaceship Graveyard.

Now is a good time to check out their musical works on Bandcamp. And Bonus! SG musical works are always name your  price. Yeah, that's right! Not so different from leaving a tip for a job well done.

The above article was written by Ugo Fist, copyright 2011, all rights reserved. Art work also copyright, 2011, Spaceship Graveyard, all rights reserved. Introduction and this closing statement, by St. Stephen, all rights reserved, copyright 2011. 

As now we say farewell, as we prepare to venture boldly into the wreckage of the great unknown (un)known (this pub that can see it out shuttle window)... explore... 

[Check out some of the books, albums, and soon movies produced by Mythos Media and our various media partners.]

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