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Compulsion

Compulsion

Rock group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Announcing their arrival with a chainsaw buzz of guitars and an uncompromising attitude, the London-based four piece Compulsion began spreading their punk-like brand of music in early 1992. The band was at first lumped together with a cluster of British groups reviving the sound of New Wave acts from a decade earlier but such labels quickly slid away with the release of their debut album, Comforter, in 1994. However, the band had a hot and cold relationship with the British press, as well as with their record label and was virtually ignored in America. Fortunately for Compulsion, the lows are rivaled only by the depth of their talent, wrote Nisid Hajari in Entertainment Weekly. They cant bear the next Beatles yoke any better than [British contemporaries] Oasis, but they do have the spunk (and more than enough chops) to be the next Sex Pistols. Unfortunately, any similarity to 1970s punk rock legends the Sex Pistols the group may have had included in its rocky existence, and after the release of a second album in 1996, Compulsion soon disbanded.

Compulsions story began when two Irish natives, vocalist Josephmary and guitarist Garret Lee, relocated to London, England in the early 1990s. They formed Thee Amazing Colossal Men, a group firmly entrenched in the sound of classic 1960s guitar rock. After only one release, Thee Amazing Colossal Men called it quits. Shortly thereafter they were joined by Sid Rainey on bass and Jan Willem on drums and emerged as Compulsion in January of 1992. From its onset, Compulsions tolerance for record company politics was minimal and the band set up their own label, entitled Fabulon. Choosing spontaneous one-day spurts in the studio over drawn out overproduction, Compulsion committed to set their first two EPs to vinyl after one-take sessions. The important thing is the song and the attitude, Josephmary explained in an internet article. We cant imagine taking a week to record a song that takes three minutes to play.

Despite this attitude, Josephmary and company soon signed to the One Little Indian label, a company known for signing bands with unusual slants on pop music and released the hastily recorded Safety mini-album. The violent energy captured on Safety, as well as on the earlier Compulsion and Casserole EPs was matched by the bands live presence as they began appearing in the British club circuit in frenetic displays that resulted in a number of stage injuries. However, reviews of Compulsions gigs were sometimes devastating, with many British critics seeing the band as a hollow and unoriginal attempt at 1970s style punk rock. Compulsion are a band that should never have been signed in the first place, wrote Melody Makers Colm OCallaghan in response to a London performance in the spring of 1990. They havent a song. Or a hope. Look, Compulsion really dont even deserve a critical boot in the groin. Its like stabbing a dead mule, really. Pointless.

To make matters worse, Compulsion was also unfairly thrown into the context of a musical movement that was in part created by hype alone within the pages of the British press. Called the New Wave of New Wave (NWONW), this small ensemble of groups that included Elastica and Menswear used dated keyboards and sported skinny ties in homage to post-punk groups of the early 1980s. Aside from Josephmarys spiky hair, Compulsion had little to do with most of these bands musically, yet for several years the group was hounded by the new wave tag.

Some of Britains journalists slowly began to take a second look at Compulsion by the time of the groups full length debut Comforter, released in 1994. Musically, the album garnered more comparisons to the abrasive guitar sounds of groups like the Pixies and the Manic Street Preachers than to new wave acts of a decade earlier such as Devo or Wire. Through its lyrics, Comforter constructed fourteen disturbing snapshots of the warped cruelty often underlying the sober face of middle class society, on songs with titles like Domestique and Mall Monarchy. By now youll have been

For the Record

Members include Jan Willem Alkema (born c.1965 in Holland), drums; Garret Lee (born c.1968 in Dublin, Ireland), guitar; Josephmary (born c.1964 in Dublin, Ireland), vocals; Sid Rainey (born c.1968 in Ireland), bass.

Band renamed Compulsion after the dissolution of Thee Amazing Colossal Men in January of 1992; signed to One Little Indian, released the Safety mini-album, 1992; released debut album Comforter in 1994; rejected and sued American label Elektra weeks before the scheduled release of Comforter in the U.S., 1994; released final album, The Future Is Medium on One Little Indian, 1996; disbanded after being dropped from One Little Indian, 1997.

Addresses: Record label Interscope, 10900 Wilshire Blvd., #1400, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

distracted by the NWONW tag, wrote Ian Watson in Melody Maker. Or else youve been put off by the assertion that Compulsion are trading on someone elsesnamely Pixiesgood idea. No matter. This distinclty deranged long player [Comforter ] will iron out the creases. Maybe its time to start taking these guys seriously.

Just as things were looking up for the group, a scuffle with Elektra, Compulsions intended label for American release, set the overseas release of Comforter back for months. Although the band had made a verbal agreement with Elektra, Compulsion soon found problems with its corporate philosophies and signed a written contract with Interscope Records, leaving Elektra executives fuming. Their lawyer said he would bury us so deep that no one ever knew the album existed, Josephmary admitted to Hajari with a smile. Elektras threats proved to be idle, however, and Interscope was able to release Comforter in the fall of 1994.

Compulsion continued to make their live shows central to their music, embarking on a tour of the U.S. In response to the small teddy bear that graced the cover of Comforter, fans began pelting the group with stuffed animals during performances. Upon their return to the United Kingdom, critics still didnt know what to make of Compulsion and were, on the whole, equivocal towards the band. Theres something going on here that I cant quite put my finger on, wrote Jennifer Nine in Melody Maker in response to a subsequent gig. I think its called embarrassment. But only mine. Cos [sic] thats the Compulsion punk rock experience pretty much shameless. Ninety per cent cheap laffs [sic], maybe, but 100 per cent dedication.

The bands misfortunes only snowballed for the following years, including MTVs rejection of the big-budget video Compulsion had made for Mall Monarchy, a satire on American talk shows. Nevertheless, Compulsion forged ahead with their extensive touring, stopped only by the occasional injuries inflicted in and out of concert venues. In early 1996, several dates were scrapped when drummer Alkema cracked three ribs in a skirmish in the Netherlands.

In addition to the above flak, several British tabloids had followed their New Wave of New Wave hype with a celebration of Britpop, bands like Blur or Pulp who had much in common with the style and self-consciously English songwriting of earlier groups like the Kinks. As Compulsion had already been associated with punk and new wave, they were again edged out of the latest national trend. In response to this, Compulsion released the single Question Time For The Proles, a song which attacked the nostalgia for the past the Britpop fad incurred on many young workers, or proles. Proles are being bombarded by these images of the Swinging Sixties, stuff they couldnt possibly remember because they were too young, Josephmary told Melody Maker in March of 1996. I think Britpop is just another version of the New Wave of New Wave.

Compulsions second album, The Future is Medium, was released by One Little Indian. Unreleased in America, The Future is Medium continued where they had left off on Comforter, satirizing the state of British society with songs like Juvenile Scene Detective. Also as with Comforter, The Future Is Medium met with reviews that were positive, even if begrudgingly so, such as John Robb in Melody Maker. Why be content with one guitar texture, when ten will do?, queried Robb rhetorically. Why have just one vocal, when you can have two fighting crazily for the same space?. The Future Is Medium is one huge war zone of guitar filth. Big, bright, and brassy, Compulsion are no spent force yet. Unfortunately, Compulsion were unable to prove their staying power to their naysayers, and by 1997 the band was dumped by One Little Indian in 1997, perhaps illustrating once again the chaos that punk rock and its offspring may carry. In Compulsions aftermath, Lee and Alkelma went on to join the groups Sack and China Drum, respectively.

Selected discography

Boogie Woogie, Elektra/Asylum, 1994 (compilation of early EPs).

Comforter, One Little Indian/lnterscope, 1994.

The Future Is Medium, One Little Indian, 1996.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, October 22, 1994.

Entertainment Weekly, June 30, 1995.

Melody Maker, March 28, 1992; March 26, 1994; March 9, 1996; April 27, 1996; May 25, 1996; July 6, 1996; July 13, 1996.

Online

http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/parkstreet/186/info.htm

http://www.interscoperecords.co/lrcompbio.html

Shaun Frentner

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Compulsion

COMPULSION

Compulsion is a mental pressure of internal origin compelling the subject to think, act, or react in accordance with specific modalities that do not coincide with his habitual patterns of thought. Freud used the German term Zwang to describe this concept. In an article written in French in 1894 ("Obsessions et phobies "), Freud used an equivalent term, obsession. The word "compulsion," attested in French as early as 1298, is derived from the Latin compulsio and originally signified a "constraint, a legal summons, or formal notice to pay." "Constraint" is somewhat older (twelfth century) and has the same legal connotation found in the expression "physical constraint." As for the term "obsession," which appeared later, its origin is both religious (possession) and military (siege). All three terms were used in the early literature on psychoanalysis to take into account the corresponding complex phenomenon: compulsion emphasized the internal origins of the phenomenon, constraint its immediate effect, and obsession described one of the most symptomatic consequences in the subject's life.

For Freud the German term Zwang is one of a series of analogous terms like drive, urge, or thrust, used to signify that the mental forces governing the human mind must be treated in the same way as other natural forces, even though their origin and meaning are radically different. The word was used in medical research in Germany at the end of the nineteenth century, and was first defined by Karl Friedrich Westphal in 1877. At the time the term corresponded to the way in which members of the Berlin Group (1840-1846), represented by Hermann von Helmholtz, approached the investigation of mental phenomena, first subjecting them to rigorous scientific observation, as they would any other phenomenon.

The term appeared in 1894 when Freud addressed what he referred to as the "psychoneuroses of defense" in a discussion of obsessional representations, to differentiate them from hysterical or phobic manifestations. Freud explains that the compulsive representation results from a "poor connection," whereby an affect arising from a repressed representation attaches itself to another representation (1894a). As in hysteria the repressed representation is of a sexual origin, but the compulsive representation is completely dissociated from it. In the Studies on Hysteria (1895d), Freud speaks of a "compulsion to associate." And on September 25, 1895, in his "Project for a Scientific Psychology" (1950a [1895]), he uses the term "compulsion" to refer to the impression produced by "hyperinvested representations" such as those that occur during hysteria, even referring to "hysterical obsession." The occurrence of these representations produces effects "that it is impossible to suppress or understand," the subject being completely aware of the strangeness of the situation. During this same period, he refers to compulsive affects (Zwangsaffekte ). In a letter to Wilhelm Fliess dated December 6, 1896, the term "compulsion" characterizes the return of the memory of a satisfying sexual experience, regardless of the clinical presentation in question. Finally, it is compulsion that pushes all human beings toward incest (letter to Fliess dated October 15, 1897, and An Outline of Psychoanalysis, 1940a [1938]).

The concept followed two separate paths in its evolution. Faithful to his initial intentions, Freud pursued his investigation of compulsion in obsessional neurosis, especially in his analysis of the "Rat Man" (1909d). The most symptomatic compulsion of this patient was the "rat torture," together with its obvious connotation of anal sadism. But the analysis revealed many others, such as the compulsion to protect his lady friend, "which can signify nothing other than a reaction to the contrary, and therefore hostile, tendency." He also refers to "two-stage compulsive acts," where the first is cancelled by the second, and points out the ambivalence. This simultaneity of internal compulsion and the struggle against what it entails is characteristic of compulsive neurosis and is what causes the unrelenting and exhausting struggle; it is this that led Pierre Janet to speak of "psychasthenia."

Subsequently, Freud made compulsion a key element of his metapsychology. It refers to what is ineradicable and insurmountable in the drive, the thing that must always be confronted. If it weren't for the possibility of change, this would not be unlike the idea of some inevitable destiny or hopeless determinism. For Freud, compulsion has the following characteristics: its dystonic quality with respect to the behavior or customary activities of the subject, the conviction of a disastrous outcome if it is not obeyed, and the promise of actual relief if it is allowed to proceed unrestricted.

The notion of compulsion was adopted by Freud's early disciples, especially Alfred Adler, who saw in it a reaction to a feeling of inferiority (1907). Melanie Klein attributes it to the activity of partial primary objects, as do Donald Winnicott and Wilfred Bion. Jacques Lacan considered compulsion an "object-cause of desire," which he formulated in terms of an "object a." For Jean Laplanche compulsion is the effect of "messages of enigmatic origin." These are accompanied by the progressive objectification of the foundations of the compulsion, and an increasingly greater effort at translating them into objects or representations.

Concepts that are similar to compulsion in the Freudian lexicon include pressure (Drang ), introduced by Freud in 1915 in the Metapsychology (1915c), which is the equivalent for each drive of what compulsion is in the totality of mental life. Similarly, an urge is the irrepressible fulfillment of an act during a moment of paroxysm, whereas the compulsion implies an internal obstacle to its fulfillment.

The Freudian idea of a constant and insistent force associated with certain thoughts is not without its drawbacks. It does reflect the speech of certain patients, especially during obsessional neurosis or cases of mental automatism (Gaëtan de Clérambault). But by emphasizing the element shared by all forms of internal compulsion, as Freud does in the Outline, the concept is sometimes used to justify exclusively medicinal or behaviorist approaches to treatment. The initial Freudian idea is, however, quite different. It attempts to reestablish the relational conditions that give rise to compulsion, to restore it to the internal setting in which it first took shape.

GÉrard Bonnet

See also: Bulimia; Change; Development of Psycho-Analysis ; Dipsomania; Excitation; Negative transference; Negative, work of the; "Notes Upon a Case of Obsessinal Neurosis (Rat Man); Obsessional neurosis; Obsession; Pleasure/unpleasure principle; "Remembering Repeating and Working-Through"; Repetition compulsion; Resistance.

Bibliography

Adler, Alfred. (1974). La pulsion d'agression dans la vie et dans la névrose. Revue française de psychanalyse, 38 (2-3), 417-426. (Original work published 1908)

Freud, Sigmund. (1894a). The neuro-psychoses of defence, SE, 3: 45-61.

Further Reading

Busch, Fred. (1989). The compulsion to repeat in action: a developmental perspective. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 70, 535-544.

Kubie, Lawrence S. (1939). A critical analysis of the concept of a repetition compulsion. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 20, 390-402.

Loewald, Hans W. (1971). Some considerations on repetition and repetition compulsion. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 52, 59-66.

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Compulsion

Compulsion

Definition

A compulsion is a repetitive, excessive, meaningless activity or mental exercise that a person performs in an attempt to avoid distress or worry.

Description

Compulsions are not voluntary activities and are not performed for pleasure. Instead, a person with a compulsion feels the need to engage in a particular behavior to relieve the stress and discomfort which would become overwhelming if the activity were not performed in a specific, repeated manner. Examples of compulsive motor activities are washing hands until raw, repeatedly checking the security of a locked door, and arranging and rearranging items in a set order. Some examples of compulsory mental acts are counting or silently repeating specific words. If a person troubled by compulsions is unable to perform such activities, stress and discomfort increase. The performance of the acts relieves distress but only temporarily.

Often, compulsions are not acts that could logically be expected to relieve or prevent the fears that inspire them. For example, a person might feel compelled to count numbers in a certain order to "undo" the perceived damage or threat that follows a thought or behavior. Or a person might check to make sure a door is locked every few minutes. Compulsions, in some cases, are attempts to undo obsessions and are usually not successful.

See also Obsession; Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Dean A. Haycock, Ph.D.

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compulsion

com·pul·sion / kəmˈpəlshən/ • n. 1. the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint: the payment was made under compulsion. 2. an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, esp. against one's conscious wishes.

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compulsion

compulsion XV. — (O)F. — late L. compulsiō, -ōn-, f. compuls-, pp. stem of compellere COMPEL; see -SION.
So compulsive XVII, compulsory XVI.

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compulsion

compulsion (kŏm-pul-shŏn) n. an obsession that takes the form of a motor act, such as repetitive washing based on a fear of contamination.

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compulsion

compulsionashen, fashion, passion, ration •abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, contraction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, fraction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction •expansion, mansion, scansion, stanchion •sanction •caption, contraption •harshen, Martian •cession, discretion, freshen, session •abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, complexion, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, erection, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, section, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection •exemption, pre-emption, redemption •abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension •conception, contraception, deception, exception, inception, interception, misconception, perception, reception •Übermenschen • subsection •ablation, aeration, agnation, Alsatian, Amerasian, Asian, aviation, cetacean, citation, conation, creation, Croatian, crustacean, curation, Dalmatian, delation, dilation, donation, duration, elation, fixation, Galatian, gyration, Haitian, halation, Horatian, ideation, illation, lavation, legation, libation, location, lunation, mutation, natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, rotation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation •accretion, Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian •academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition •addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, friction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction •distinction, extinction, intinction •ascription, circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription •proscription •concoction, decoction •adoption, option •abortion, apportion, caution, contortion, distortion, extortion, portion, proportion, retortion, torsion •auction •absorption, sorption •commotion, devotion, emotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion •ablution, absolution, allocution, attribution, circumlocution, circumvolution, Confucian, constitution, contribution, convolution, counter-revolution, destitution, dilution, diminution, distribution, electrocution, elocution, evolution, execution, institution, interlocution, irresolution, Lilliputian, locution, perlocution, persecution, pollution, prosecution, prostitution, restitution, retribution, Rosicrucian, solution, substitution, volution •cushion • resumption • München •pincushion •Belorussian, Prussian, Russian •abduction, conduction, construction, deduction, destruction, eduction, effluxion, induction, instruction, introduction, misconstruction, obstruction, production, reduction, ruction, seduction, suction, underproduction •avulsion, compulsion, convulsion, emulsion, expulsion, impulsion, propulsion, repulsion, revulsion •assumption, consumption, gumption, presumption •luncheon, scuncheon, truncheon •compunction, conjunction, dysfunction, expunction, function, junction, malfunction, multifunction, unction •abruption, corruption, disruption, eruption, interruption •T-junction • liposuction •animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, Persian, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version •excerption

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