Agit Disco 1 by DJ Krautpleaser

Agit Disco 1 by DJ Krautpleaser

This was made by Thomas Zagrosek after some discussion with Stefan Szczelkun in 2007. It was first played at a party at the Half Moon, Herne Hill South London on 3rd February 2008 to launch the Agit Disco label.

1. The Guns of Brixton – Nouvelle Vague 2004
2. Invisible Sun – The Police  1981
3. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott Heron 1970
4. Ball Of Confusion – The Temptations  1970
5. Fight The Power – Public Enemy  1989
6. Television: The Drug Of A Nation – Disposable Hereos Of Hiphoprisy 1992
7. The Update – Beastie Boys  1994
8. The Guns Of Brixton – The Clash  1979
9. To Hell With Poverty! – Gang Of Four  1982
10. Taxman – Beatles  1966
11. Black Monk Time – Monks  1966
12. If There Was No Government – Crass 1983
13. Masters Of War – Bob Dylan  1963
14. I’m The Decider – Paul Hipp 2006
15. Working Class Hero – Marianne Faithfull  1979
16. We’ll Never Turn Back – Mavis Staples  2007

selection by DJ Krautpleaser 3-2-08

Soon afterwards I met the poet John Sinclair at the London Printworkshop in West London and gave him a copy of Agit Disco 1. Sinclair was manager of the MC5 in Detroit 1966 – 69 and was a White Panther leader in the same period.

John Sinclair, with his copy of Agit Disco 1
John Sinclair with his copy of Agit Disco 1

Thomas didn’t write about his selection at the time but in October 2010 told me a story that seemed to enthuse the whole Agit Disco idea. In a visit to Brixton Village, the thursday evening event in the market arcades, he related this scene from a documentary he had seen:

“As I said I can’t quite remember what it was called but it was the story of a Hutu guy who was coming back to his own village after he had committed murder of one or more Tutsis in another village somewhere (and served a prison term?). As he arrived in his own village  there was a group of villagers and some members of his family forming a sort of reconciliation committee to meet him and he was standing in front of them whilst they were talking to him and amongst themselves. Suddenly they broke into song and it was subtitled. They sang about what he had done and why. After they welcomed him back and they sang about this as well, that they had forgiven him and he was good to stay in the village again. This is quite strange but also the fact that people joined in these choruses with ease and very naturally. It seemed rehearsed but it wasn’t.”

People used to often whistle in the street when I was a boy. Earlier the social world was literally full of songs being sung at any opportunity. We have been silenced and we just have just no idea at all of the extent of our loss. This story gave me a brief and fragmented insight into the range and power the collective human voice can still have.

Later in response to Bill Drummond’s anti-endorsement of the book he wrote this from his new phone:

“Until i got a better grasp of the english language i liked a lot of tunes often without understanding a single word ( as you know i’m into african music now for years and i will never find out what they are on about) Understanding and paying attention to what people sing about does change things though, sometimes for better sometimes for worse. It changes how you feel about the song but it won’t change the rhythm or the organ solo that made you fall in love with the tune in the first place. Making an Agit disco compilation made me listen more closely to the lyrics of the tunes i knew and liked and that for me is a good thing. It matters…”

Somewhere between these two is what Roland Barthes called the third or obtuse level of meaning. This exists in the space between the literal meaning of words and the musical meanings that may be evoked by the grain of our voices.

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