“Popular Monitress” isn’t exactly a solo venture. Jon Leidecker, who has been releasing music under the pseudonym “Wobbly” since 1990, has captured communion with the machine.

The San Francisco-based multimedia artist, known for his involvement in legendary experimental group Negativland and the Thurston Moore Ensemble, released “ Popular Monitress” in February, a follow-up to his 2019 release, “ Monitress.”

Both albums toy with the concept of machine listening, and its warped replication of human tuning. Using…

San Francisco, it seems, is starved for poetic mobilization, an enlightened whisper in a withered ear bent by time and the bludgeoning of bureaucrats, those who have too long lined their pockets at the expense of the city’s purveyors of art, culture, and joy.

Tongo Eisen-Martin is a bracing answer to the technocratic pall, a social landscape he observes to be “an open air corporate campus.” Or, put another way, “This police state candy dispenser that you all call a neighborhood” (“ The Course of Meal “).

To speak with Eisen-Martin, I found, is to engage with a galvanizing spirit. His is a generous mind, one that reduces fatalism to a murmur in retreat. During our exchange, Eisen-Martin discussed the proletariat potential of the poet laureate position, the redefinition of education as a liberatory practice, and the…

Negativland is a chronic cultural carnivore. Since 1980, the experimental sound collage group has been sampling offal from the corporate culture machine and repackaging it with subversive hilarity. Their latest album, “ The World Will Decide,” was released on Nov. 13.

Today, the group consists of Mark Hosler, David Wills (a.k.a. “The Weatherman”), Jon Leidecker (a.k.a. “Wobbly”), and others. Whether their subject of critique is the omnipresence of corporate advertising or the reign of technocracy, Negativland has proven audio collage to be a wickedly effective means of exposing cultural hypocrisy.


Lydia Sviatoslavsky

Lydia Sviatoslavsky is a San Francisco-based writer and research assistant. Find her latest work on her arts & culture blog, thought-rot.net. @rot_thought.

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