Why do we obey all that they say
Why let them control our minds
Question their motive
And we’ll find the lie
Echoing the chilling themes of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, our reality channels his vision of a future society where wisdom is systematically eradicated, individual thought extinguished, and books – the keepers of knowledge – are set aflame.
Bradbury’s dystopian vision was populated by ‘firemen’ who fueled these literary infernos, while thoughts were tamed by pervasive screens. Amidst this blackened vista, a flame of rebellion flickers: fireman Guy Montag finds his innate curiosity, sparking a wave of defiance. Bradbury’s searing commentary on censorship and societal indifference continues to burn brightly, its relevance undimmed in our present era. Today, we witness an ongoing struggle to maintain the freedom of information for those willing to seek it out, to challenge, to defy.
We are witnessing an oppressive surge of legislation in the United States, aimed at suffocating the very essence of intellectual freedom. These bills, reminiscent of the dystopian atmosphere in Bradbury’s prose, threaten imprisonment and hefty fines for school and library staff who dare to offer materials considered sexually explicit, obscene, or potentially ‘damaging’ to minors. This right-wing crusade could push our librarians into the fiery fray, facing severe punishments including years of imprisonment and staggering fines for the mere act of providing information.
As of this writing, seven states have already fallen into this chilling trajectory, with the rapidity of these draconian laws’ enactment being particularly alarming. Over the course of two swift months, six states have imposed these harsh constraints. A further dozen states have considered over twenty of these censorious bills, with about half anticipated to make a grim return in the legislative session of 2024.
Singer-songwriter Jenn Vix’s powerful new song 451, featuring Kweenbass888 on bass, serves as a potent reminder that when we lose our books, we lose ourselves. It is an alarm, a warning, a mirror into a future we must strive to avoid. “The message of the track is about censorship, and the banning of books and media in the US,” she says. “Banning books is detrimental to society!” Vix’s emotive voice narrates the grim realities with poetic pathos and the dire warning of a soothsayer, but details the possibilities of breaking free of this horrific cycle. We must think for ourselves.
True to her word, Vix played all instruments, mixed and recorded “451″ herself and along with her formidable vocals — with additional guitar by Feeney. Chris Gehringer mastered the track at Sterling Sound.
The video, directed by JFIVENINE Media, lampoons influencer culture and the smartphone’s hypnotic, pacification of the brain in a world riddled with anxiety and uncertainty. But we’ve been here before. Vix wanders around a public library, with images of slamming gavels, flames. The answer lies in books, written media, human creativity and innovation.
Watch the video for “451” below:
Starting off in the humble city of Providence, Rhode Island, Jenn Vix plunged herself into the concrete jungle of New York City while still in her adolescence. She was baptised into the realm of vocal artistry via a transitory gig with Disco Donut, an ensemble graced by the presence of Adam Horovitz of Beastie Boys fame and notable singer-songwriter Nicole Willis. Fast forward a decade, and Vix was making seismic waves on the national stage.
Symbolizing the constant evolution of her artistic journey, Vix has adopted a multi-faceted persona in recent years. Not only does she hold her ground as a solo artist, but she’s also immersed herself in a post-punk/electronic rock duo, Feeney Vix, hailing from Boston. In this audacious venture, she owns the stage not only as a vocalist, but also as a drummer, wielding an electronic drum kit with a punk’s defiance and a composer’s precision.
Vix’s trajectory has been anything but solitary. Along the way, she’s intertwined her creative energies with a myriad of revered names: Reeves Gabrels, known for his work with The Cure and David Bowie; John Ashton (Psychedelic Furs); Andy Anderson, who has lent his talents to The Cure and Iggy Pop; and Marco Pirroni, who’s collaborated with Adam Ant, Rema Rema, The Models, and Sinead O’Connor, to name a few.
Further, her repertoire includes team-ups with Dirk Ivens (Absolute Body Control, The Klinik, Dive); Rodney Anonymous (The Dead Milkmen); Dave Barbarossa of Bow Wow Wow fame; and Ali Score, the original drummer of A Flock Of Seagulls.
As we approach the leafy climes of early Autumn 2023, keep your ears peeled for another thrilling venture from Vix. This time, she is set to tantalize our auditory senses with a fresh cover track, this one struck in collaborative harmony with the celebrated guitarist Vernon Reid from Living Colour. In the vibrant and volatile world of Jenn Vix, the only constant seems to be evolution itself.
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