Mark Spybey Explicit In Purpose Book Review

Mark Spybey Explicit In Purpose Book Review

Mark Spybey entered the Joe's Exploding Zoo orbit all the way back in 1995 (back when the Exploding Zoo was just a weekly radio show on American Forces Radio in Japan) on a compilation of some was hard to ignore for some reason, and started a long-time appreciation for Zoviet France, Dead Voices On Air, and the existence of Mark Spybey as (what I interpreted to be) a singular figure among mavericks of the day--not an easy feat with the likes of Chris and Cosey, Coil, and J.G. Thirlwell running amok at the same time.

Spybey, according to some sources, was into the creation of "pan-ambient", which resonates nicely as a handy term to provide a basic framework for discussing music and soundscapes that are extremely difficult to quantify without referring to "lesser" or more appropriately, less contextually relevant examples of past work by artists doing much different work.

Which leads me to the book. Explicit In Purpose, the book, is, like Spybey's body of work (in my own perception, anyway) a unique animal that can't be taken outside its own terms without kind of missing the whole point.

The back cover blurb from Mark Spybey says it all. "My humble attempt to write about the act of making music, with reference to the places I have lived, and the people who have blessed me woth their love and support. Penned by a self confessed Luddite and non-musician.”

An Ideal For Living?

Reading other reviews of the book, you get a mixture of "I don't know what to do with this volume of words" and admiration for Spybey's approach to the work.

Explicit In Purpose feels a bit like the entire career of Yoko Ono in that the uninitiated will likely get the wrong idea of the book and experience frustration with fighting to mentally wrest the volume into the land of "trad books" with old-school approaches to writing.

Ono is sadly misunderstood, interpreted by many to be a musician doing musicianly things. But Yoko Ono, in my interpretation, is an artist who uses music as part of the work rather than the goal of the work itself.

Using fluxus rules and other art-centric approaches, Ono gets poked fun at for being a "weirdo musician" which completely misses the point of her work. An album by Yoko Ono is an art object and an art exhibit all in one, and if you appraoch it THAT way, her work makes much more sense on vinyl.

Explicit In Purpose is likely to be similarly misunderstood (and properly discovered once one "gets it") in some circles, but that is the book's greatest strength. This really, in my own view, is more of a (don't laugh) magickal object and a touchstone philosophically speaking. But for whom?

Anybody who aspires to be a similarly focused artist working in sound.

The bands and individual performers who wind up being thought of as musician's bands or cult bands musicians like typically feature an outward fearlessness to be ones' self and not give in to the temptation to modify the work based on external feedback irrelevant to the process.

What the actual process of the creation of DVOA or any other work is a mystery to this writer; I'm talking about the IMPRESSION his work leaves.

Explicit In Purpose is aptly named, and any entry-level sound artist wanting to know how to leave their mark in a sonic world that's mutated to include YouTube AI music channels, deepfake mashups, and endless celebrity nattering does very well indeed to see how one sound artist and musician kept at it, and kept at it, and kept at it in the (to me) the most awesomely bloodyminded fashion.

This rambling review can be summed up by simply saying this is a book by and for people who want to do their creative work, put it out there and be a working artist in a world that constantly asks for anything BUT what we are producing. It's an example of endurance, commitment, and a calm and simple refusal to do anything but what gets done in the studio.

That likely won't make sense to people who haven't taken a serious creative journey, but if you know, you know.

It is NOT a how to book. Except on a certain level, spiritually speaking, it IS a how-to book. 

At least in the sense that you should read it and choose a similarly find-your-OWN-path approach to your creative work. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and for sale by Emergency Hearts in Austin, Texas

--Joe Wallace

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