Tonight at Don't Knock the Rock: Mark Stewart & Pop Group Documentary 'On/Off'
The Don't Knock the Rock film series continues tonight at Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater with the LA premiere of On/Off, a documentary on the legendary post-punk auteur Mark Stewart, whose work in the late 1970s and early 1980s redirected post punk in a whole other direction, carving a path that led to the birth of British house music.
Stewart's uber political work with the Pop Group, some of which was released on the great Rough Trade label, was an invective scream inside the post-industrial doldrums of blue collar Bristol, and the funk-punk beneath it drove the mohawked and safety pinned to dance while they protested. (A few years later, The Wild Bunch would slow the sound down, and then splinter to become Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead.)
As if the Pop Group wasn't enough, after they disbanded Stewart hooked up in London with Adrian Sherwood and the On-U-Sound System, added more African rhythms and unearthed an odd, driving beat that stressed stomp rather than snare drum. His work as part of Mark Stewart and the Maffia influenced a whole host of future legends, including a young Trent Resnor (who has collaborated with Stewart).
The best collection of Stewart's work is Kiss the Future, which was put out by the respected Soul Jazz label in 2005 and features many of the artist's most dynamic and driving work. No doubt DJ Michael Stock of Part Time Punks, who's DJing the event, will dig out some of it.