The next time you check your MySpace and find that you've received porn spam in the form of a friend request from an anonymous scantily-clad female, double-check before you report it. If the avatar is that of a smiling brunette girl repeatedly thrusting herself at the camera, if the colors of the picture are flashing faster than you can blink, and if the text of the picture reads "K-SLUT" in a cartoonish lightning-bolt font, then it's not spam that's found you, but an invitation to join the deranged world of one-man wonder Kamikaze Slut.
Depending on your taste and tolerance level, you may prefer to select the "Report as Spam" option anyway. Those with a sense of humor and/or adventure will be amused and/or annoyed. Others will find some sort of intellectual redemption in what could be perceived as satire. Many people will be disgusted. Others will dance. And everyone will be right.
The local project is a lo-fi foray into the dub-and-beat oriented techno sub-genre christened Intelligent Dance Music. Founded by 25-year-old Daniel Stanfield, Slut is a porn-centric interpretation of IDM, wherein the standard female vocal samples are replaced by the moaning obscenities of performers found in z-grade pornography.
"Kamikaze Slut basically spawned from an idea I had for a live show combining porn audio with harsh noise," Stanfield said, during an e-mail interview. "I kept the idea brewing for a while until I decided to form an electronic project around porn."
Songs like "Cum Fiesta" and "Get in Dat Pussy" showcase Stanfield's affinity for both the complex, assaultive beat of groups like Autechre and LFO and the degrading, depraved kitsch of internet-era gonzo porn. Obscene phrases are cut, looped and degraded to form complex rhythms of their own, complementing the (by comparison) more traditional electronic drum and synth elements. It all adds up to create loud, dirty, fringe-y dance music that is the work of someone who is at best a subversive idiot-savant and at worst, just an idiot.
Pleasing to the Ears
The sounds of Slut cater to a specific niche audience--mainstream recognition (even the local kind) is never the goal with this kind of obtuse, experimental material, even when you subtract the pornographic element. When the explicit material is considered, the question becomes: does the porn aesthetic serve a purpose other than base amusement or ephemeral titillation?
There's a certain comedy that emerges from over-the-top, orgasmic audio clips being displaced and re-assembled as dance fodder, and such artists have successfully mixed electronica and sexually explicit material to form pointed cultural criticism. But Kamikaze Slut is harder to justify, largely because the redeeming point of it all is either well-hidden or completely absent.
Stanfield himself doesn't make the search for justification any easier. During the interview, he coyly danced around the obvious issues of perceived misogyny and refused to spell out any specific meaning or purpose. He wrote with the gleeful enthusiasm of an 8-year-old boy on a sugar high, and frequently responded to questions with answers that were either deliberately avoidant or blissfully unaware.
When asked about the purpose of the project: "I consider it to be conceptual music, while at the same time being a cynical social commentary on Americaaaa!!!" Stanfield said.
"You can call it whatever you want though."
On potential accusations of being obscene or sexist:
"We're giving those a voice who would normally be perceived as objects," he responded, sarcastically referring to an imagined altruistic purpose.
Based on comments like the above, it's safe to assume that Stanfield is more interested in elevating shock value to a self-sustaining transgressive art form than in somehow commenting on the human condition through his music. And that's for the best. Refreshingly, Stanfield lacks the inclination towards artistic posturing, and even if the bottom line is that Kamikaze Slut is simply the product of a porn-obsessed techno geek (which it very well may be), Stanfield deserves props for bucking the current status quo and following his own idiosyncratic interests, regardless of how depraved they happen to be.
On Monday, May 19, those of you who are curious can find Kamikaze Slut at the Monolith, where they will be opening for Tennessee band BLASTOIDS! along with local acts Guardant and The Mysterious Professor Edit. The cost is $5. Additionally, Slut has been aggressively campaigning for votes in DFest's Battle of the Fans competition (fans vote for the band they most want to see on the main stage this year), and you can vote for them (or send hate mail) at www.myspace.com/kamikazeslut.
It's hard to imagine what a live show with Kamikaze Slut might be like, but when asked what one should expect, Stanfield summed it up with admirable brevity:
"BEATZ & SLUTZZZZZzZzZZzZzzZ!!!!!"
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