Striking clip for song slated for release on forthcoming album.
By Blurt Staff
Last year activist, minister and songwriter Robert Park joined forces with Portland, Oregon-based musician and composer, Chris Newman, and Portland engineer Mike Lastra in order to record some of his songs as a demo. Newman’s band, Napalm Beach, has been a favorite of Greg Sage of the Wipers who organized and released their first full-length studio recording, Rock and Roll Hell (Trap Records, 1983; re-released on CD with bonus tracks by Sage’s Zeno Records in 2004). In a single session they produced four recordings, including “Indifference”, an enraged and sagacious masterpiece which evokes a sound and atmosphere akin to that of Gun Club’s Miami and Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night, but arguably even darker.
Watch the music video for the song “Indifference,” concept by Park and edited by Erika Meyer, which premiered today at our buddy Jack Rabid’s always-killer The Big Takeover:
The song “Indifference” deals with the ongoing North Korean humanitarian/human rights emergency, and the seemingly willful powerlessness of the international community to meaningfully address it. While much attention is paid to the DPRK’s nuclear and WMD development, virtually nothing is being done to prioritize the lives of starved, brutalized and enslaved masses, including numberless children. A decades-long compassionless and uncreative fear-based approach to North Korea has only exacerbated the crisis on every level, and at an incalculable human loss.
The backstory: On Christmas Day 2009 Park walked defiantly across the Tumen River from China into North Korea to protest international insouciance over well-documented mass atrocities taking place in the country’s prison camps as well as the state-enforced starvation of millions of Korean innocents. He was captured by North Korean security forces who then held and tortured him with the intent of silencing him and breaking his spirit. 43 days later, they released him. After returning to the United States, Park was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress (PTSD), hospitalized for a total of nine months the first year of his return, and continues to suffer from nightmares, flashbacks and health complications in connection to his experience. Following a suicide attempt in 2011, he began to write his way out of hell by authoring some thirty articles which have been published in major newspapers, business and academic journals around the world and have aided significantly in laying the foundation for a growing global recognition of North Korea’s human rights situation as a genocide under international law. In addition to his activist work, and perhaps more key to his recovery, he commenced to draw from his anguish to compose heart-rending, relevant and timeless music.
Enter Malheur VOL (Malheur is the French word for Affliction or Misfortune, VOL is an acronym for “Violence of Love”). The name is inspired by the writings/sayings of Simone Weil and Oscar Romero, and the movement is based upon the idea that there is no limit to what genuine compassion can accomplish for our common humanity. The first full-length Malheur VOL LP is in the works and will include contributions from several of Park’s favorite musicians, with all proceeds going to worthy charities and humanitarian causes.