Year: 1989
Time: 58 mins
Music: Negativland
Eye of Sound: It's probably easy today to dismiss Negativland's activities as trifle, banal or plain stupid. They probably wouldn't be too uncomfortable with that, as they rarely claimed to go beyond the softest platitudes of the entertainment biz. But despite some recognition in some circles and some notoriety due to the famous copyright battle with U2 and Pepsi, the band is perhaps still to be acknowledged as one of the most relevant and prophetic projects in the 80s. In fact, from their first surrealist works on alienated concrète to their later sample-based beat palimpsests, Negativland paved the way for much of today's collage-centered pop culture as seen, for instance, in the increasingly common televised montages of political events and commercial samples for critical or humorous purposes. No Other Possibility, their first video work, showcases the band at a career threshold,  before their U2ploitation move and just after their Christianity hoax. It typically explores the debris of American pop culture, dealing with automobile fetishism, televised preaching, halloween traditions, Marlboro masculinity, soft drinks and MTV. Featuring such iconic culture-jam figures as Reverend Dick, The Weatherman, Dick Vaughn or Crosley Bendix, it expands on the visionary concept of Universal Media Netweb and seamlessly jams live footage, TV excerpts, street interviews and home-recorded theatrical performances in a zapping collage that could well have inspired EBN's ZooTV show. From the brilliant Christianity is Stupid murders hoax to the magical significance of numbers, from lime soda to green slime and lung cancer, No Other Possibility stands as an entertaining essay on pop culture, tele-kinetics and media-noise. And there's also a small boy who, like most people, would prefer bands to have girls playing drums.
Note: This is the first official SOE/UBU collaboration. 
Just click to watch or left-click to snatch. 


  1. congratulations for the ubu/eye-collab! :)

    i have the same mixed feelings about negativland, like you mentioned in the write-up above, but i nevertheless think that their open political subjects and the unique way they dealed with them is still a very rare thing in pop culture (the magazine "" comes to mind, as well).

    thanks for sharing this wonderful historic artifact! :=))))))))

  2. p.s.: i'm not too fond of the header i made for tsoe - so i'm looking forward for another month and a change. next time i want to do a better one. ;)

  3. You are absolutely right about Negativland, I think. And I do have mized feelings about their long career. They have made some stuff I really love (Time Zones must be among my all-time favorite 100 tracks, and their Christianity hoax, for instance) but some of their stuff doesn't move me at all. I guess that's bound to happen when you publish so much stuff over so many years. This is a very entertaining video, and it covers many of their facets.
    As for Adbusters, it is a fine magazine but last time I visted their website I was a bit surprised to see them selling Adbusters or Anti-Capitalist sneakers... :)

    Regarding the headers, I'll send you an email right now.

    Cheers! And good luck for the forthcoming adventures! :)

  4. having watched the video yesterday evening, i'm really crazy about those guys - to actually see them, instead of only listening to their albums, adds so much more of what they really are: american media terrorists! most of the stuff in this video one doesn't see anywhere else, including the old lady searching for cigarettes.

    they have in parts a similar attitude towards various media forms like the residents - but negativland are far less a music group, although the residents may want to see them in a similar light, i guess.

    for me most of the video really worked well, and sometimes i really roared of laughter! i only own two cd-artifacts by negativland myself, "escape from noise" and one crosley bendix-episode, to which i never really warmed up - to see "him" in the video adds a much needed dimension.

    lucky thanks for the luck! 8D

  5. "Trifle, banal or plain stupid"? That might seem a bit harsh to some listeners, but I can understand why someone might think so. "Escape From Noise" revealed a definite turn toward "schtick-iness", and they went further in that direction with each album that followed.

    But if you haven't heard them, some of Don Joyce's long-form audio collages might be preferable to much of the Negativland stuff...

  6. Thank you, Grau, for your comment and suggestion.

    As I said before, I do have mixed feelings about Negativland, but I was thinking of opinions other than mine when I used those words. My command of English language does not allow me to understand the meaning of "schtick-iness", but he Negativland I like is the band that released Big 10-8 Place or produced stuff like Christianity, Car Bomb and Time Zones. The band I don't like so much is the one that plays silly guitar songs like Nesbit and others.

    I'll listen to Joyce's collages you suggest.


  7. Amazing, thank you for this. I've long since worn out my VHS copy.