The punk scene in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is well documented and so are other scenes from all over the world. However, there’s always something new lingering in a poorly lit corner and eager to come out and reach you.
Conferencia Mundial del Ripoff is a zine containing a part of this story on its pages. It takes us on journey all around South America and the rest of the globe. It is not just about Argentina, although it is certainly centered around it. The visions and experiences, which appear on this fazine are interwined and the narrative helps the reader understand how crust punk, powerviolence and fastcore evolved in the depicted scenes. Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak some of us got a little bit of spare time to catch up with reading.
Published around the end of 2016, this fanzine takes us on a journey through the furious world of the angriest music to set foot in the world so far by looking at the sound, the aesthetic, the history, the politics and the people that are involved in it. The zine discusses the genre in general and what makes it what it is. Also included are some funny delirious comments akin to the samples and titles we are so used to hear and see. Odioso Dios, Column of Heaven, Adolecer, Migra Violenta, Sentimientos Oprimidos, Gerk, 7 Magnificoz, Broken Kidz, Amelie Queer, Los Caídos, Federico Luppi are some of the bands featured in Conferencia Mundial del Ripoff.
Originality and authenticity are blurry concepts. Most of the things we see and do are rehashed from the not-so-distant past. That’s not a bad thing at all. Sometimes the pure act of doing what you have to do is what matters. What’s actually done goes into the background. Music is a means of communication. Sometimes it is about the message, sometimes it is just the medium. The rules are what you feel comfortable with. The same thing applies to graphic art. Maybe we re-do and copy things because we need to show our appreciation to something we like or eventually move it forward and change it to something we like even more, thus making it more personal. Maybe the reason is to become part of the process. The aesthetics of powerviolence have been constructed in that way, as Julia—from Almagro, in Buenos Aires—tells us through the first text in here. It is a tale of powerviolence that feedbacks into itself.
Another article is called “The Problem with Powerviolence” by Andrew Nolan, who once was in The Endless Blockade. The piece deals with the definition of powerviolence, the problems of what it must be or does it need to be anything at all, the arbitrariness of genres, and how weary those topics are. Genres are a good tool but their use depends on one who wields them. Nolan likes to see powerviolence as an intentional parody of hardcore, a distortion of what it originally was, so it can lead it to the frenzy of another discourse: the negation of expectation (which obviously ended up being easily co-opted). Xona—from the label Los Pajaros Records—makes a similar point, but in a looser (and more refreshing) way, in the following article.
“First notes for a history of Argentinan powerviolence and fastcore” (the longest text in the zine) starts with the show Los Crudos played in Buenos Aires in 1997. That event was the catalyst for something that had already started to appear some years before that, and continues to develop until the present day (in the case of the zine in question, 2016). The article is the result of a lot of effort, offering a very accomplished analysis of the scene, with its background and most-known names. The author has talked with various people involved in it to recollect their memories of various tours and releases and in general to gather a great amount of input about the creation of a very solid (and mostly masculine) history of punk in that area. Gonzalo—from the label FRZ—certainly tackled the task of depicting the foundation of this, still evolving scene.
The last piece is written by Nándor Névai from GAVEL ov VINLAND. He elaborates on the nature of the genre and what it means to him as something standing against the establishment in a direct and abrasive way. Included also is a short history of the blast beat and the American bands.
Some zines get too glued on on interviews that either don’t say shit or indulge in very vague ideas. However, this one was actually a very fun read. If you’re reading DIY Conspiracy but also speak Spanish, then Conferencia Mundial del Ripoff is most certainly your kind of a fanzine. Go check it out!