Friday, June 1, 2012

More Than Just a Media: an Essay on the Usage of Fanzines and its effect on Punk as a Subculture



This essay will examine the usage of fanzines and its effect on Punk Rock as a subculture. Drawing references from previous literature reviews on Punk and fanzines, this essay will try to identify fanzine as a product of D.I.Y culture and how it was intended as an alternative media as opposed to mainstream media, this essay will also try to examine the effect of fanzine in Punk as a subculture. The word fanzine itself is derived from the words “fan” and “magazine”, indicating that the writer of a particular fanzine subculture is usually the fans of the subculture itself (Ventsel 150). In the context of Punk, fanzine is made as a rough and bluntly produced media; moreover, the rise of fanzine is originally intended to capture the nature of Punk as a working class rebellion (Simonelli 137). However, not every Punk fanzine is originally rooted from the working class. An example could be seen from Scotland’s first Punk fanzine “Hanging Around” which is made by several middle class art school university students (Atton 520). According to Triggs, fanzine emerges during the first wave of Punk Rock and could be defined as “a little publication filled with rantings of high weirdness and exploding with chaotic design”, and is accompanied by harsh and viral uses of languages (69-73). Moreover, Triggs continued by stating that fanzine is essential in developing ideas and practices in Punk (70), an argument which is supported by James where he pointed out the importance of fanzine in the formation of Punk as a subculture (35).
Fanzine is argued by Atton to be an artefact of a subculture and is meant to symbolize the values of a certain subculture, it is supposed to challenge the conventional ways of mainstream culture with a subjective sociality, thus making fanzine an ideological magazine (517-520). If fanzine is intended to symbolize the values of a subculture, in the context of Punk, fanzine should represent Do It Yourself (D.I.Y) culture as the basis of its content and production. This argument is supported by Ventsel where he argued that Punk fanzine usually follows a D.I.Y ideology. According to Moore, Punk fanzine helped raise the spirit of young people by embracing a sense of amateurism, encouraging them that everyone can play guitar and make music regardless of their talent or intelligence (314). A similar suggestion was also pointed out by Mattson where he argued that fanzine encourages its reader to form a band despite lacking on their musical ability and a D.I.Y approach, Mattson took example of an England fanzine which wrote “This is a Chord, This is Another, This is a Third, NOW FORM A BAND!” (73). The spirit of D.I.Y which surrounded Punk fanzine works both way in terms of not only did it encourage D.I.Y culture in its content, fanzines were also made in the basis of D.I.Y spirit. This could be seen from an argument made by Bimson where she pointed out fanzines as a self made and self published media made by enthusiastic amateurs (14). The connection between Punk and fanzine is also emphasized by Goshert where he argued that not only did Punk’s D.I.Y spirit can be seen from fanzines, he also suggested that fanzines help keep Punk’s D.I.Y spirit alive and well (86).
In another context, fanzines did not only embrace Punk through its D.I.Y spirit, it could also be seen as an act made by Punk as a rejection to mainstream and commercial media in music industry. Argued by Moore is the idea that Punk is a subculture which stood as a resistance to a condition of post modernity, Punk deals with this condition in two different ways; the first one is a concept known as bricolage, appropriating goods from mainstream culture by wearing it in a sense of irony, and the second one involves going underground as an opposition to mainstream media and music industry (306-308). As a rejection to mainstream and commercial media and music industry, Punk started to develop independent labels to record and publish their own songs, this rises of independent labels are accompanied by fanzines which is used to launch an attack and critics to mainstream media (Simonelli 137). In a similar context, Bimson argued that fanzine is used in Punk to retain their identity and their sense of authorship, rejecting mainstream media from adapting and appropriating it into mainstream culture (2). Bimson continued by stating that while mainstream media talks down to their readers, fanzine did not, taking an egalitarian approach instead (9). In the same article, Moore suggested that fanzine could be seen as an alternative media, acting as an opposition and outside of mainstream culture (307). This is similar to an idea pointed out by Triggs on which he emphasized on how Punk fanzines were operated; he suggested that Punk fanzines operated against the mainstream, with a complete control by the editor, allowing for a ‘theoretical reflection’ to be made (75). Triggs also suggested that fanzines have been made as a response to mainstream media because people are tired of being told what to listen to, and choosing instead to create their own culture (69). To a lesser extent, Punk fanzines distanced themselves from industrial culture and reject its assimilation with commercial corporation media in music industry, most notably Music Television (MTV) (James 36). An example of such case could be seen from how fanzines are used to distribute and advertise information about music in a non-corporate way (Mattson 75).
                Punk fanzines usually contains information about music, gig review, and interview with related Punk bands (Triggs 70), and also critics to commercial arena Rock music (Mattson 73). James even went so far as to suggest that fanzine plays a crucial role in the development of Punk as a rejection to this over produced commercial rock music (35). The contents of fanzines, however, are not strictly limited to this; they also frequently contain articles about social, political, and historical issues (Ventsel 152). Fanzines have raise awareness in Punk community regarding to such issues. Such example could be seen from one of the fanzine distributed in the United States in the 1980’s, the fanzine deliberately put an anti Reagan symbol in one of their article (Mattson 79). This example alone indicates how Punk fanzine issues an anti-government statement, going along with Punk’s Anarchy ideology. Other than political and social issues, fanzines have also raised awareness in aspects such as racism, sexism, and fascism (Moore 315). An example could be seen from fanzines such as Temporary Hoarding which frequently includes article about such issues, and were mainly intended as an opposition to racial violence (Moore 315). Fenster also singled out a growing community of Queer Punk as a result of fanzines bringing issues such as sexism (73-94). Another significant contribution that fanzines have made was how it has serve as source of social, historical and cultural contribution to Punk (Bimson 1; Ventsel 143; Mattson 71).Although this is probably undeliberate; articles on social, historical, and cultural context about Punk that are featured in fanzines have arguably helped various articles in studying Punk as a subculture. The productions of fanzines have also, at some point, serves as how Punk Rockers could contribute to their community. This could be seen from how Bimson pointed out that fanzines are seen as a statement of loyalty to Punk as a subculture by its followers (2). As such, fanzines have also serves as a primary means of communication among Punk Rockers (Mattson 76) and culturally (Triggs 73), which consequently connects these Punk Rockers with one another (Moore 319). Moreover, Liptrot argued that the production of fanzines have created a sense of relationship among these Punk Rockers, creating a bond of friendship and ethical connection (13).
            In conclusion, this essay tries to examine the usage and effect of fanzine in Punk as a subculture. The essay finds, among several things, that fanzine is used in Punk as a media form to symbolize D.I.Y spirit and culture. This could be seen from how Punk fanzines are produced and published independently and how it encourage it readers to embraces D.I.Y culture. Another aspect that this essay covers is how fanzine is made by Punk as a response to resist the exposure of mainstream media and commercial music industry, distancing themselves from the assimilation of mainstream media. The essay examines how Punk fanzines contain several aspects such as racism, sexism, and political issues and how it affects Punk as a subculture. Lastly, the essay also identify how fanzines serves as a media of communication among Punk Rockers and that it created a sense of relationship among them.

- Tri Wicaksono

Atton, Chris. "Popular Music Fanzines: Genre, Aesthetics, and the “Democratic Conversation”." Popular Music and Society. 33.4 (2010): 517-531.
Bimson, Joan. Title: Hard Wired for Heroes: A Study of Punk Fanzines, Fandom, and the Historical Antecedents of The Punk Movement. MA thesis. John Moores University, 2006.
Fenster, Mark. "Queer Punk Fanzines: Identity, Community, and The Articulation of Homosexuality and Hardcore." Journal of Communication Inquiry. 17.73 (1993): 73-94.
Goshert, John C. "“Punk” after the pistols: American music, economics, and politics in the 1980s and 1990s." Popular Music and Society. 24.1 (2000): 85-106.
James, David. "Hardcore: Cultural Resistance in the Postmodern." Film Quarterly. 42.2 (1988): 31-39.
Liptrot, Michelle. "OLD PUNKS NEVER DIE. THEY JUST STAND AT THE BACK«. CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO BRITISH PUNK SUBCULTURE." Online-Publikationen des Arbeitskreis Studium Populärer Musik e.V.. 23.10 (2009): 1-19.
Mattson, Kevin. "Did Punk Matter?: Analyzing the Practices of a Youth Subculture During the 1980s." American Studies. 42.1 (2001): 69-97.
Moore, Ryan. "Postmodernism and Punk Subculture: Cultures of Authenticity and Deconstruction." Communication Review. 7.3 (2004): 305-307.
Simonelli, David. "Anarchy, Pop and Violence: Punk Rock Subculture and the Rhetoric of Class, 1976-78." Contemporary British History. 16.2 (2002): 121-144.
Triggs, Teal. "Scissors and Glue: Punk Fanzines and the Creation of a DIY Aesthetic." Journal of Design History. 19.1 (2006): 69-83.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

"Dynamic Duo" sebuah musik retro rock, yang mungkin akan membangkitkan generasi ini


Tahun ini banyak sekali band-band lokal yang ternyata albumnya banyak ditunggu, contohnya album Mothology dari Suri dan Gemuruh Musik Pertiwi dari Komunal. Kedua album ini berhasil membangkitkan sound-sound 70an kembali. Dengan mendengar album-album ini kita mungkin akan merasakan kehadiran Deep Purple dan Black Sabbath atau bahkan Godbless dan Duo Kribo. Kedua album ini dihasilkan dengan Amplifier yang sama


Pada track pertama kita akan merasakan sebuah relaksasi yang dihasilkan dari Mothology, dengan musik-musik menghanyutkan dan menghipnotis, ketika selesai kita akan langsung dihajar dengan Gestures, headbang-headbang kecil akan mulai dirasakan, kemudian dilanjutkan dengan Gendats Kepararts, keagresifan ditingkatkan pada lagu ini, Good Friends melanjutkannya dan membuat atmosfir baru dengan mengikuti alunan bass yang santai, lalu nomer lawas Ether di remake menjadi Ether 2.0 tanpa mengurangi esensinya walau liriknya di ubah menjadi bahasa Inggris, sebelum track selanjutnya dimulai inilah saatnya untuk atur ketinggian anda karena kita akan mulai merasakan sebuah pusaran air menarik kita dan itulah lagu Waterloo, bila anda tiduran anda akan merasakan tubuh anda masuk kedalam kasur, lagu itu dilanjutkan dengan 00:30 menandakan waktu untuk entah apapun itu, Adagium menyusul di track selanjutnya kita mungkin akan merasakan lagu Green Machine dari Kyuss pada track ini, yang merupakan nilai positif karena telah bisa menghidupkan sound-sound kasar awal 90an lagi, album ini diakhiri oleh lagu Larry yang telah diberi aksen bahasa Inggris.

Artwork yang dikerjakan oleh Riandy Karuniawan untuk album Mothology

Psychedelic sound : 6/10

Stoner tunes : 9/10

Doom tunes : 6/10

Trip meter : 70%

Gemuruh Musik Pertiwi

Ketika kita menyimak album ini lagu pertama langsung akan memberikan sebuah pandangan “disini uang dan politik tak ada artinya” dari lagu Gemuruh Musik Pertiwi disambung dengan pukulan snare dan intro bass yang melantun dengan satainya di Bakar Kibar, sebuah anthem yang diberi judul Rock Petir melanjutkan perjalanan album ini dengan reff-nya “Dalam nada bagaikan besi, simbol perlawanan atas nama seni” dan efek wah-wah melanjutkannya, yang nantinya akan disambut Pada Mu Negeri, saat melihat judul lagu ini saya langsung berpikir mereka meng-cover lagu nasional, ternyata lebih baik lagi, setelah di dengar ternyata ini adalah sebuah pandangan sinis terhadap sebuah Negara, track selanjutnya adalah Adong Nang Diada, lagu yang penuh dengan bluesy riff dan satu part solo gitar yang membuat kita merasa terbang, lagu selanjutnya adalah anthem perlawanan berjudul Lagu Berani yang memberi sugesti untuk jangan pernah menyerah, penggalan lirik dan nada dari lagu Setan Tertawa dari Godbless memberikan aksen yang asik. Dilanjutkan dengan lagu Esokan Makan Apa? Hidup Adalah Narkotik, satu pandangan gelap tentang keadaan sosial yang sedang terjadi. Lagu berikutnya adalah Sisilia Senandung Sang Bapa masih dengan tema yang sama seperti lagu sebelumnya. Album ini diakhiri dengan sebuah lagu berjudul Ngarbone yang sengaja dibuat untuk mengenang teman mereka yang telah pergi.

Artwork Gemuruh Musik Pertiwi juga dikerjakan oleh Riandy Karuniawan

Blues sound : 8/10

Stoner tunes : 5/10

Metal sound : 7/10

Trip meter : 35%

Dengan keluarnya dua album monster ini kita hanya tinggal menunggu album debut ((AUMAN)) dan album terbaru Seringai.

-Raditya Iskandar

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