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Unconventional Industrial Artist

If you can cope with my 'blog' area above and the further jottings in what has become my pedantic, never-ending audio-literary diary on the harrowing collapse of sound European civilisation, consider browsing around this site for some of that good, old-fashioned musical variation. It will not necessarily be pleasant. I like to express exactly what I think, in line with an observable external reality. In former days this uncommon and worrying technique was known as "honesty".

More of this material can be found in my self-published print book, "The Less Than Jolly Heretic", clocking in at 519 gruelling pages of Speaking Truth to Power (which would itself have made for quite a good alternative title save for the irony that it's nigh-on the complete opposite of what everyone else in it is doing). My book is available to purchase by following this link: https://www.lulu.com/shop/benjamin-power/the-less-than-jolly-heretic/paperback/product-65q47mq.html

 

I display a small selection of my assorted entartete art paintings. They're degenerate. After all, they are abstract, and all abstraction is a deviation. I've been attempting realism for about a year, edging closer to sanity and unlearning bad habits. My spirit sapped by the conditions of Kali Yuga, I think, really, that we could refer to these abstract paintings as pseudo-art. I would like, in time and laboriously - to my natural limit - to mitigate the damage of the worst impulses as much as can be done. Representing the real-world as closely as possible by correct detailed observation and attention confers greater benefit if one is truly to align with any genuine philosophy of Beauty, and with the fundamental generative principle of Nature that fulfils the cycles of the physical universe. There is no need to fantasize, elaborate, or lie for the sake of ego or hubris.

 

When I attempt to sell the decadent pieces I have painted, of which there are far more than displayed, I usually charge £10 for a painted canvas, or £20 if I am pushing it. I do not sell my realist works as I am not convinced they are good enough so far for what they are to put a price tag onto. Anyone can paint a few squiggles as a second class pot-boiler, and European tastes are not really refined as they once were. Perhaps exploiting the boorishness of indiscriminate consumerist Neanderthals whilst limiting my artistic skills by sheer force of habit is cynical of me. These cultureless Neanderthal minds remain the vast majority of the West though. I like to hand my developing realist pieces to family members on request, as presents, and will paint privately for friends.

 

There's a mild movement spread to the canvasses, rather that just one genre of Modern Art. An abstract mixture of Surrealism, Expressionism, Cubism and Vorticism, with that familiar Art Brut spin. As some people say to me, occasionally, no, I am not exactly Picasso. Oddly though, if you examine some of his Cubist-period paintings, they're not fundamentally too different. Mine are just softer, cuddlier, and more colourful. I suspect he had major investors backing him, and was working at an opportune time for that sort of art, as well as utilizing the sort of social references that would get him a lot of business, Guernica, or what have you. Rothko, though subtle in places, is known for what ultimately amount to large fields of flat colour, sometimes rather similar. Duchamp is known for stealing a public urinal and extorting millions from gallery-goers for this spectacle of avant-garde nouveau culture. The conceptual performance artist Marina Abramovic lets patrons kick her and beat her for hours as an interactive performance. Just for formulaic variation from that, Tracy Emin displays the recreated feminist horrors of her messy bed, and seems to have made a few pounds or so. 

 

I think I'm okay... certainly not good. It is - accurately - merely "okay..." and it requires real artists to absorb it and provide pointers (once they have it in their hands). At least okay compared with some of the lucrative sludge inundating the art world, contributions that, on the whole, I consider to be pretentious time-wasting. I like Picasso's blue period, his more-realistic character studies in non-abstract Expressionism. That does not mean he did not also spend some years paintings stripes, whirls, leering disjointed faces, and colourful geometric boxes though. My art remains fairly abstract. It's not to postmodern splatter-painting level though, and takes more than 5 minutes to complete, as I do slightly more to my canvasses than rotate them on a axis whilst standing above pouring down an industrial can of green paint. Those pieces sell too, sometimes for many millions. I am trying, slowly, to draw back from abstract work. I think, if a gallery venture goes well, I might finish the remaining half-done pieces I have in this style, perhaps try and part with those also, and then move on to another genre.

I enjoyed painting "Armchair View" (there is only one) for my Dad, and consider a non-movement realism might be more challenging and interesting for me to develop into. I like the idea of not selling them, saving them for a better world, handing the crap ones out like sweeties for a few quid, and then extorting the art world itself with something worth purchase, if only there were any decent humans left by then to appreciate what it is to want to own paintings one enjoys examining at length. I don't have Beauty, but I stuff them with in-jokes and subtle bits and tiny oddities to wonder over. My favourite artists are Rembrandt, Sargent, Sisley, Franz von Stuck (oddly), Ensor (in places), and Rossetti, although I enjoy Goya, elements of Bruegel, and the other Bruegel, and Albert Cresswell, and there are quite a few more. In terms of illustration and *that sort of* Surrealism I draw from Jacek Yerka, Rodney Matthews, Ian Miller, Mike Wilks, and Ernst Haeckel.  

I'm sure you weren't quite expecting this sort of candid introduction. I know my general painting level though, and have high standards, and am not generally a people pleaser, and there's no point masking my lazy immaturity merely for a pat on the back and a fresh, whipped-up pile of Rhinegold to stack beneath my quite nicely made bed. Good in desperation, but in general, it embarrasses me. 

Origins

The project name Bleach For The Stars (BFTS for short) that I utilize for my website and - primarily - for one of my musical solo 'bands', was picked as a sardonic wordplay on the showbiz idiom "reach for the stars" which means to achieve something difficult, but which also evokes mercantile qualities that I find rapacious and that I associate with the crass, sell-out attention-seekers of the music industry. Capitalism, internationalism, corporatism (including *genuine* fascism), and indeed conservatism all cause me great displeasure - not that I have any patience for communism, Bolshevism, Marxism, and all the rest of those universalist and utilitarian dogmas, the vulgar authoritarianism of utopians. You might assume a sympathy for nationalism, or the petit bourgeoisie of the right-wing, marching along like Bavarian burghers to personally deliver a handbag's worth of someone else's litter to the council dump, or indeed presume a modicum of patriotic reverence for the society of the country I inhabit. You'd be wrong on that. I despise the lot of them. I've given up trying to explain my position to most people. It's not ideological. Politics, of any stripe, of any faction, infuriates me, and I take no interest in current affairs or activists, no matter what they'd like to root for or call themselves.

There's something saccharine and banal about the original motto also, especially in overuse. Not everyone can attain mastery. As both Alexis de Tocqueville and - with a life-time's torturous precision - Friedrich Nietzsche have pointed out quite well enough already (let alone Murray Rothbard), egalitarianism is for slaves. There are plenty of them about to promote it, certainly, or at least to unconsciously act out the principle daily, regardless of an awareness of the linguistic terminology or an investment in the texts of this philosophical religious doctrine, given over one thousand seven hundred years of deep pedagogic introjection in a civilization brutalised by Christianity, and the secular Christian values of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. A genuine European civilization favouring the lives of physical European bodies, and not simply their ideological soundness and conformist orthodoxy, did not really outlast the Fall of Imperial Rome. The West itself is a theocratic construct, carried on too long, even as that alien desert god is jettisoned for an atheist's holy 'reason', and the humanist determinism and reductionism of soul-dead materialists, a terrible nihilism that jeopardises our science and voids us from the spiritual, and the awe-inspiring.

My project title was also intended as a serious reflection on what I personally deem "psycho-cosmology", with a recommendation to clean up and whiten our perceptual universe – to think clearly, and purely, in bodily health, and to pursue truth; to find our fundamental conscious purpose within the vast, cyclical aeons of the physical realm; the only reality. The stars, looking down coldly on us, a blinding light appearing brighter than the Sun, would be as good a place to start that cleansing Renaissance as any. Under their dazzling glares, we can observe ourselves, near indistinguishable in our servility. It's good to be optimistic generally.

I regularly attempt linked concept albums, each building somewhat on the previous, so there are a few common themes I return to. Musically, I compose bleak Electroacoustic and Post-Industrial experiments, ominous Dark Ambient, morose modernist Neoclassical and even a varying selection of fairly accessible Folk-Industrial (or perhaps electronic drumming Neofolk) crossover pieces, as well as melodic Techno-Industrial 'Pop' and Synth-Pop, harder Rhythmic Industrial music, and synthesizer based 'vintage' soundtracks, with an eye to history. It's quite hard to categorise by genre, as many of the albums are completely different from each other, and freely mix different styles of Western music, from the traditional and the genuine to the primitive Bacchic decadence of the contemporary. Some tracks have poetic spoken word lyrics, delivered in my rough, acerbic singing voice, rendering them better understood as "songs", and some don't. Some instrumental pieces too are driven social observations, cautionary warnings, mournful reminiscences, and memorials, and some remain ephemeral, numinous, or reflective, almost opaque, but never entirely so by active design. I have never been interested in writing commercial lyrics, so do not make any conventional popular music theory concessions. Most of the verses began as structured poems, with formal metre and rhyme, re-arranged slightly later when I set them to music.

I refer to my project as 'middlebrow' in that it's too intense and serious in concept for casual listening, and more elitist than is generally expected in the mass of low IQ gibberish that passes for 21st Century lyrical popular music and yet is still a very long way below the beauty of Classical music, the real, only, music of Western civilisation. There is no compare.

 

I think I somehow tread the line between dark underground anger and genuine aesthetics, very raw, somewhat dissonant, sparse and minimalist, and deliberately lo-fi (mastered in other ways by professional audio engineering courtesy of J. Stillings), and DIY in nature. I'm working on bringing it closer to a Classical structuring, or at least proper Folk, minus any aspect of the soiled, degenerate modern world.

 

I despise autotune manipulation, and look at the much-lauded quantizing process with near-total contempt, seeing yet another sterile, mechanical gimmick, the go-to artifice of spoilt, trammelled snobs. Much of what is deemed as professional modern production merely serves as a uninspiring corporate tool for the psychoacoustic marketing of bullshit to asinine minds, bolstered by advanced computational linguistics research, a brightly spray-coated polystyrene packaging for the ear, prepared by factory robots, just more white noise despite it all.

I favour live physical instruments and have a violin, autoharp, ocarina, and acoustic guitar to work with, plus a few others occasionally, as well as utilising an M-Audio Oxygen 25 keyboard running piano emulation software such as PianoTeq7. I compose most of my rhythms from scratch using the Re-drum software drum programmer that comes with Reason 12 but am also fond of implementing found sounds & field-recordings, spoken audio samples drawn from contemporary mainstream news, random videos uploaded to the internet by members of the public, and alternative media commentators, and home-made percussion picked up on Dictaphone. I am extremely fond of Goldwave, and would be totally unable to complete 85-98% of my song-crafting process without it. 

BFTS has never played live, and never will. Besides being unwieldy to perform as a live solo project due to the multiple instruments, I also hold a great disdain for the lowest common denominator of modern audiences, too busy becoming intoxicated and boorishly heckling round the side of their iPhones to pay any attention to what I'm trying to convey. For the same reason I don't court record companies or music journalists as I have no desire to let the former mutilate my vision whilst ripping me off, or to sit back whilst the latter censor me, misrepresent me, or get offended at what I have to tell them, bitching and groaning and gossiping like the pseuds they are, and scuppering my potential sales in the process, making the public's minds up for them. I don't understand reviewers who review what they don't like, or don't really have much interest in. Consider the reason and logic and integrity of that beyond journalistic ego, just what is the point? You can be genuinely passionate about something if you want to boost it in public. Otherwise, just ignore it and leave it alone. This music is quite far from the mainstream (lack of) taste of music executives also. I'm sure they'd wish it didn't exist. 

I have about 40 full albums and alternative editions written with this project, although I do not store them all online for sale, and some remain private, written for pleasure, or among friends. A few have been lost or deleted by me. Some have been stolen or misplaced by external stupidity. If you'd like to hear my full canon of commercially available work, as of 2024 (where my 'better' music project terminates as to tell you the truth I've got better things to be getting on with and I'm only Grade 5), head over to Bandcamp:

https://bleachforthestars.bandcamp.com/

I've come a long way with this project. If you think I sound peeved and world-weary now, you have a lot to learn. Here's a YouTube depository of odds and sods from the grisly days. They're not for sale, but I'm sure someone's always got a better idea: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5nGWurOl4MaXn2OB66y-lw

Note: if you click on the small crotchet symbol with the three horizontal bars to the right corner of each album player below, you can listen whilst reading my personal album notes.

My Abstract Acrylics

Tell me something pleasant

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