White Ninja
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White Ninja

Band EDM Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos




Records Are Dead, Mexico ****
Rating: 86
By Carlos Reyes

Ripping soaring tracks prove to be more than pure cacophonous noise in White Ninja’s opera prima, the revealing Guacala los Modernos y su Electro is nothing short than exhilarating. Frenzied from beginning to end, this is an accessible and complex first album, one of those rare findings that although tiny on the surface, bring variation to Mexico’s exceedingly modular rock scene. White Ninja is a project by Leo Marz who is also member of Monterrey’s very own pop extraordinaire band Album, he has also recruited Richi Garage in the drums and Monterrey’s terrible-enfant, religiously messed up kid Alexico, who adds crazy random, and not so random lyrics to these songs.

White Ninja is urgent and quantized, loud but melodically logical, sings of math rock as opposed to mad rock. From the album cover, one learns to register a sense of sequencing, expect this kind of continuum in six cerebral pieces that seem to desire liberation from their own quantization. Not that these songs are constrained per say, but they’re folded and outspreaded marvelously. In this sense, we can think of Guacala Los Modernos y Su Electro as a self-resolving album. Luckily, the aesthetics here still hold up a confrontational stance on evenness which makes the record much more exciting. This is less gritty and loud than the stuff from Nene Records, but there are plenty of pedals and variations to embrace it as a post-punk kind of record.

The album is skillfully organized following a theme: “No Retreat, No Surrender.” Each track is separated by two-second intermissions shouting the theme over and over. Perhaps they lack a bit of the scene-locality esteem that a bands like New Age have, but this it sure compromises to Monterrey’s hot indierock scene. Such is the case in “MDTCS” with Alexico screaming “hay muchas bandas que cantan en ingles”, it never goes deeper than that but they do register such trend and have a blast doing so. After a deferment intro, White Ninja quickly embellishes its sound in “Zombie Town”, one of the album’s peaks so huge (as huge as T.I.) that it can only been seen as a track assembled (rather than thought) on blueprint ideas, layers and roars.

The band could be described as a series of adrenaline rushes, well backed up by jammed technos and unbounded clutter. “Shizzleizzle” is a nice place to determine if the band’s over hyper approach is adequate or exhausted; there’s no fatigue here, those many layers and sequence repetitions acquire a purpose, to blow or maybe scratch those modern minds of yours. “Vitacilina” captures the modern listener’s chances for/to information, “todo esta en la red, bájalo tu mismo.” The most serious age arrives with “Fuck B”, a highly explosive track with cut-above bold measures. The final track, “No Retreat No Surrender” encloses the album’s feed on momentum, accidental and impulsive urges. Sick!
- Club Fonograma, By Carlos Reyes

"The Professional Amateur"

I haven’t been to Cleveland in many years. The last time was back in the mid-90s when I was commissioned to do a series of poems for the head of the Progressive Insurance Company. To my surprise, my host had purchased me a first-class ticket. As I settled into my seat, I noticed I was the only person sitting in first class. Just as the doors were about to close, a heavy-set, middle-aged African American man plopped down in the seat across the aisle. I glanced over at him. He looked oddly familiar: cornrows, sunglasses.

It turned out to be Stevie Wonder, who I assumed was most likely going to some event at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. I got very nervous, fixed my hair, straightened my jacket, wanting to look my best for him. The plane took off. He didn’t say a word. The plane landed. He didn’t say a word. I got off. He got off. He never even knew I was there. Stevie Wonders’ passive yet very active presence on the plane reminded me of Roland Barthes’ mythological deconstruction of the “jet-man,” one who, like a rock star, is able to transcend mortality by merely being.

As Stevie sat motionless in that plane while traveling at jet-speed, “the extravagance of his vocation precisely consisted in overtaking motion, in going faster than speed.”1 In doing so he regally expressed his immortality while I sweated every bump of turbulence the plane hit. It’s no coincidence that rock ‘n’ roll rises alongside the jet age: “one is gifted for jet-flying as others are called to God.”2

For my second trip to Cleveland, I was visiting SPACES to write this essay for Leonardo Marz’s new exhibition. A pleasant young woman from the gallery greeted me and we drove into town in her messy pickup truck. When I arrived at SPACES, I was greeted by their annual members’ show and sale. Enthusiastic artists of all skill levels were displaying earnest paintings of flowers, pastels of celebrities, charcoal figure drawings, crafts of all mediums and sizes, sensitive photography and so forth. There were clearly some very beautiful things there but, yes, the show was peppered with the work of sincere amateurs. I hustled through to the back room where Leonardo’s show was, and to my surprise, it looked like a continuation of the members’ show.

On one wall were velvet paintings of tigers and cuddly bears, color-bynumbers sports figures, and small Spirograph doodles, all framed by cheap five-and-dime store colorful stickers with slogans like “Super!” “Wow!” and images of yellow smiley faces. Below these works was a shelf with sculptures made of pipe cleaners and plastic bits, something very much like what a fourth grader brings home each week from arts and crafts class. On the adjacent wall was a peeling watercolor that said “Great job!” and on an opposite wall was a Thomas Kinkade calendar chock full of hyperreal images of quaint structures, each accompanied with an inspirational quote written by the artist. Taken individually and as a
whole, the works in the back room bore similarities to what was in the front of the gallery. Upon further investigation, I learned that Marz visited a local shop and bought craft projects which he proceeded to construct in all the wrong ways: the color-by-numbers piece was half finished, and that which was done was done in all the wrong colors. Instead of painting the velvet tiger’s eyes the right color, Marz blinded the beast, scratching out the eyes straight through the paper. The pipe cleaner sculptures, too, were all wrong: instead of twisting them into something figurative, they were simply bent into random shapes. The differences between the two rooms suddenly came into focus. What made Marz’s work “art” was the fact that he’d intentionally done as “badly” as he could; and what made some work in the members’ show “craft” was that they did their damndest to do everything right. While the result might appear to be analogous, the conceptual framework and set up couldn’t be more different.

Roland Barthes, discussing the striptease, articulates a clear distinction between what separates amateurs from professionals: the invocation of Art. Barthes claims that by presenting the striptease as Art (the dances in strip-shows are always ‘artistic, he says), the stripper invokes a ritualized gesture which ultimately removes it from the Real. Yet, the stripper’s genius is that she is so scripted that it appears to be “authentic,” creating both a suspension of disbelief in her audience as well as her attaining complete control over what could potentially be a very perilous situation. It’s the Art which “gives them the icy indifference of skilful practitioners, haughtily taking refuge in the sureness of their technique.”3 In contrast, the amateur stripper, he claims, denies art, thereby becoming imprisoned in a “condition of weakness and timorousness.”4 It’s the lack of self-consciousness and self-awareness that distinguishes the works in the front of the gallery from the back.

Jean Baudrillard said that the map engenders the territory and not the other way around. This is something that the professionals know and that the amateurs simply haven’t considered. Through absence, what was lost becomes more ever-present and ubiquitous, morphing into the iconic. Think of the silver screen or the Twin Towers or the plane crash which cemented the legendary status of Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. Death by technology is the stuff of which such legends are made. Scrawled across the gallery wall in off-white letters were the barely readable words “In the airplane over the snow,” shorthand for the triad of speed, disaster and immortality. Marz understands this dynamic by cleverly displaying the remnants of a performance that eradicated, deconstructed, then reconstructed the myth of rock ‘n’ roll in the city that hosts the temple to rock ‘n’ roll. What’s left is a trace, a memory, a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.5 Leo Marz is a professional stripper. Thomas Kinkade is a professional stripper. Stevie Wonder is a professional stripper. Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens were professional strippers.

Marz’s other gig is, not surprisingly, playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Of the many mythologies surrounding the
8 spectacle of rock is sanctioning of anti-social behavior as legitimized transgression. In his installation Spit Machine Returns, Marz isolates the act of spitting (audience) and of being spit on (band member) as commodifiable exchange—a practice so prevalent in punk rock in Britain during the Seventies that it had its own name: “gobbing”6 and was seen as the ultimate compliment a fan could pay to a band. In Marz’s installation, we enter a room draped with plastic and sit on a bench between two video screens: one of a gobber and the other a gobbee. The gobbee ducks and bobs to avoid the gobber’s pelts of spit. We as viewers are caught in a metaphorical crossfire, but as passive spectators, we’re safe from harm: it’s all show biz.

As I left the back room and walked through the members’ show again on my way out to the airport, I suggested that the gallerists sneak one of Marz’ works into the show: a velvet drawing might be a wonderful intervention. Would the members be outraged by its incorrectness? Or would it blend so seamlessly into the show that no one would notice? In any case, it could beckon to the members; it could be an inspiration—similar to Kinkade’s campy come-on caption for his painting of a Cotswolds cottage—a call to Art: “How I would enjoy a private tour of house and grounds; the sweeping spiral staircases, the luxurious tapestries, and the dignified library.”


Kenneth Goldsmith is the author of nine books of poetry, founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb, senior editor of PennSound and the editor I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews. He is also the host of a weekly radio show on New York City’s WFMU. A book of critical essays, Uncreative Writing, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. - By Kenneth Goldsmith


Guacala los modernos y su electro EP (2009)



The production cycle starts by consuming. In the case of music specifically, it generally starts by listening to others. Those references shape the way a musician plays or composes. He produces until these references gradually fade away or until new ones are acquired. The cycle perpetuates itself. With these, we can assure ceaseless production triggered by consumption habits.

White Ninja is a band based on selecting, fragmenting, remixing and looping these references to produce sound collages.