Loud Fascination for Lord Fascinator
Chief Ideologue Filip Lindström takes a close look at the Internet music culture and its disciples, especially the fascinating Lord Fascinator, in this very first English language article produced by music magazine Profet.
The Internet is, in my opinion, a blessing and a curse for the human race. It has captivated us in its tight grip, both liberating us and imprisoning us by opening our world, yet enslaving us by limiting our capacity to operate without it. But, after all, people must have said the same about electricity back when that was the new hip thing around. One thing, I must say, which is a positive effect of the world wide webification, is the setting free of so much music that we otherwise would have been thoroughly ignorant to. I believe the relationship between the underground and the overground of music is still the same today as in the days of multi-million physical record sales. The difference is that everything has moved up one step (the mainstream is available everywhere, all the time whether you like it or not) while the underground music remains an acquired taste that you have to fight to find, although it today is a thousand times more accessible. There is something beautiful in the crate diggers’ quest for old, unconventional music that probably flopped entirely at its initial release, but today the crate digger does not even have to dig that deep. I myself find pleasure in exploring second hand stores for their used CD:s, which I use under my moniker Compact Disc Jockey to further discover (and educate others in) music that is lost but needs to be found. The digger does not even have to dig in a crate to encounter more exciting sounds than the overground ever can offer, new and extraordinary vibes can be located on sites slightly more low profiled than the mainstream giant Spotify; Soundcloud, Bandcamp and the likes. Such havens for unsigned music provide an artist with complete and utter freedom of expression, because there is no precise format of how music should be presented and distributed. Whenever I am in a loss of music to listen to, tired of what I am currently finding on Spotify, I always take a quick spin around Soundcloud. There, a new universe opens up, where things are entirely different from where I just came, as a counterpart to what I normally stumble upon. Some artists may be born to be on Soundcloud, to be rid of the pressures of set release dates and conventional album, EP and single set-ups. The liberty of releasing whatever, whenever, is not a possibility on many platforms, and that liberty suits some performers better than others.
The fascinating Lord Fascinator, also known only as Fascinator, is an artist that actually would fit both the standard system of releasing music, and the fairly new (above mentioned) fashion. My first contact with His Lordship was according to the modern way of connecting with others, through Instagram of course. Some of the images that came at me from the tiny screen showed a long-haired, blonde man that somewhat resembled Swedish Skweee-phenomenon Daniel Savio (mostly due to them both looking equally as smashing in full Adidas suits and sunglasses, especially in Fascinator’s »Dead of the Night«-video and Savio’s video for »Monkey Pee Monkey Poo«). Other photos pictured The Lord himself in robes and plastic white shoes, looking like an extra from a futuristic Bollywood-flick. Suddenly struck by a fascination for this character, I did as the modern-day equivalent of a crate digger does when gold has been struck – I kept sweeping the Internet for more information about Fascinator. After a short while I found myself in The Lord’s videos, brought to life by the diversity of music and visuals they were built upon. Lord Fascinator knows how to change both his visual and sonic appearance, surely a true virtue. The listener, or viewer, will stay on his or her toes if one video can differ completely from the next, because there is no way of knowing which musical style or vibrant sight that is about to be experienced:
In a live rendition of »Showin’ Off«, filmed at Flat Box Recordings, Fascinator can once again be compared to a Swedish enigmatic marvel, the secretive collective Goat. The show is pretty much what a Goat gig would be if they leaned a bit more against Mac DeMarco than ritualistic drum circle psychedelia, and if they would allow themselves to wear baseball hats with eyes pasted on them, approximating the devilish cartoon characters of Youtube series »Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared«. In a 2013 clip accompanying the song »Mr. Caterpillar«, a track where eastern melodies and western beats come together, Fascinator (among other things) is wearing a caterpillar suit, plastic pieces made to mimic classic breakfast meals and a Mexican wrestling mask covered in staring eye globes. Certainly, quality of music is not generated by a man dressed as a fried egg or a slice of bacon, although it does add another element to the tune. In the video made for a monster electro track, subtly titled »Oh Bukkake«, a choreographed crew of dancers, outfitted for a tennis court, is doing a life-like Bukkake Dance. Repeatedly, the dimensions of Fascinator’s music are multiplied by the absurdities that come with it.
In his music videos His Lordship displays an obvious sense of humor that is almost detached from the music. This behavior is quite common among today’s artists, the ridiculous acting in videos and on stage paired with dead serious lyrics and delicate arrangements. The Growlers, The Best Pop Group in the World Right Now, state a golden example of this, and so does also Lord Fascinator. When only listening to his music, without seeing the goofy visuals, one reaches another sensation – a deeper one that almost exceeds the experience that is built up when the music is joined by its videos. That is why my final point is Lord Fascinator’s duality, the constant two sides of him as an artist. I think he wouldn’t be complete without any one of them, and still one does not really outshine the other. There lies the foundation for the fascination that Fascinator fuels.