META-NOMAD

Review: digital americana mixtape

There’s an odd formation of ye olde Green Day grossness within the first strums, throw me a bone slices into a vibrant cocktail of pain, energy and remorse, the lyrics almost undefinable, reminiscent of a chaotic young-adult malaise spent amongst estates of dry grass. At once and all together you begin falling, a youthful freedom tinged with responsibility, deterministic punks.

eviction – entry of the DIY aesthetic ten-fold, crust and sludge combine into a harsh feedback of nausea-noise. Shoulders dislocate and the dancefloor rectangle spirals into a circular alco-chem-mess. The frame of the tracks so far a broken speaker, giving its all to the last, vibrations as formation. Caustic feedback as a musical resolution. Evicted from your ear drum’s expectations. and so damn angry‘s beginnings see reliable sincere angst mutate into something a little more digital, americana falling apart at the seams, becoming only capital-cana within the contemporary. Anger of the 21st century…exhaustion and apathy and the tap of a metal-machine, fractured digital output. There’s a sadness in the loss of the singular and fixed, yet what of an entire generation who knew no different.

happywaiting. A strange assemblage of notes, scrapes and whines, oddly jaunty and forgetful synonymously, the bar its own, its smell putting others off. cold shoulder to cry on quickly understands the subtle escape attempts of punks’ formative years, from the background, encased in a suffocative gauze of drone is the sincerity of a lonely musician attempting to scramble at the scraps, swiftly strummed into place by an faintly upbeat riff.

care, there’s lots of it within this album, a modest, warm and husky-late-night-sesh filled embrace of what went wrong. Withdrawing much of the energy from past artists, too many to name, into an exhausted, sympathetic and yet encouraging voice of a move forward, however bleak the first few steps might be. hellion 1, the digital disallowing true connection, a tinkered flicker and then dudbeats and 404’s spat into a sporadic frenzy. A heart palpitation run through melting vinyl. With bark alone testifying to the neutrality of your decision; western digital and western waste care not for what you do, just move. Post-nasal drip spluttered down strings.

walk with me allows the past to enter more thoroughly, a mid-morning, hot-sun jig with a beer, but everyone here senses that everyone here aint that great; feelin’ rough, hangover tough, dicky belly, foggy skull and over into the next morning, glugging down to bear the pain.

your heart’s too hungry. One of the best tracks I have the pleasure to review. A defiant sigh beaconed to no one, but fuck, why not. Maybe you should stop, maybe you shouldn’t, this album’s as pleasant as a hangover is going to get, your fear’s strange, not tacked to anything really.

Gotta admit, I went into a nostalgic trance for a bit there, :: i love you but, didn’t help, it takes me back somewhere I really can’t put my finger on, somewhere covered in annoyance and disappointment and yet, comfort. You only want to be horizontal right now, face perpendicular to the skies, colour don’t matter, you’re in your head…and you aint getting out for a while. Sorry champ.

 


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Review: CLWNWRLD PRESENTS: THE RINGLEADER’S SYMPHONY

You’re sat in this cafe, this cafe. The windows, the large, bowing panes of glass feel as if they’re vibrating, reflecting and strumming against bulb lines. Maleficent trembles as your entire glaze’s over, eyes over chips and under-others into a chem-soup. Into the muzak-home of a banal existence, falling backwards into plastic and mundanity as one does during a slow mourning; the daily march overstrung by a realist chorus of chiming techscape. [_Jester’s Bliss_] is our trance-trajectory into meditative k-scapes.

[_Train of Freaks_] is where the literal nature of the album awakens. The paranoia and intrusion of boxcart trivilations suffocates you, unable to focus on nothing or something, a constant to-and-fro of anxiety-sweats, too much coffee creates a beat-pandemic of repetition. Gaping caustic reverb mutating into authorative cluster-headaches. Don’t bother. [_Eyes in the Shadows_] does it too. We have two for the price of one on paranoid underground haste, flicking into ‘worst’-mode, coat-grip away from those. A spiralling tunnel-drone into your back as you refuse to turn. Haunted subways united the fears of the strange and mundane.

There’s calm in light, but only if one has just been removed from the dark, the reality is, the horror never leaves and a reminder of its existence only exacerbates your quivers. And your heart does this…thing, an expansion of the blood, cells collapse outward, muscle-pain, lung-stretch. Each deep breath acts as an aching reminder of life within the smog-pen. you, you… [_Drunkard_]. [_Leaf Lady’s Song_] tin steps past an arcade, a young lad without limbs drums on an arcade machine, rolling his head on the buttons in hope of hitting the big time. A Lynchian “Watch that man! Watch that man! Watch that man!” or “Hey! Hey! Hey…Sally!” with verbal elongation and smokers husk wouldn’t go a miss here; backstreets, fuck you, smoke behind the eyes.

[_Liz’s House of Color_] damn this thing kicked in.”Hey shut the fuck up im listening.” “Hasn’t that guy drunk 8lbs of coffee today.” the street flicks into anxious-time, a ripple effect under your feet and unto the morning into an eye-roll begotten. Teen tam tom and the trance rolls into a chased temporal agency, you want a headcave, watch this. Arcade boy has grow a huge leg and is stomping onto you, the subway train has stopped just out of sight and you just know the driver is reversing in hopes of finding you. Where’d you leave your bag? It had your Grandma’s polyfiller in it, she uses it to glue her teeth in. You wonder why the beat works for a second, just before it crashes. You’re finally home, resting your hand on your head, brain matter clicking into channel Z, LCD flickers in and out, tech-shutters and shadows of a neon sun fall upon your lids. Your sofa fucking hates your plump arse.

Sometimes my face shifts between 2 to 3 planes, flesh on flesh.

Laughter…from the rafters. Those little fuckin’ Deet Deets at it again. Beep boop. It will not stop. “Hey ma.” “Yes.” “?” “It’s been going on for days love, just ignore it.” [_A Midnight Conversation_] has begun. Over and over, then, then, the phone rings, a long jaunty ring, puts me in a fun panic. We call it happy sweat, the perspiration becomes faster, and faster, I spew sweat like jets from the innards of my elbows. I gotta sit down. I can’t, I’m still on the fucking train. Clowntime is in. Loud, open mouths produce rotund boops. They arch forward and back, faster each time, throwing their heads back and forth, smiles getting wider, and not a hair on their clown heads moving. Static comedic pulsating on a train. A pivoting immovable nightmare, I try to move, they all scream. Clowntrain baby! They march. The nightmare you have to sit through, acknowledging the pain one is about to suffer prior to suffering, this is hell. yet, sometimes, the pain doesn’t come, and one is left into a clicking-coma of worry.

Off you fucking get. The train doors were made of bio-waste. They sludge in and you step off. The ride keeps going. Out into [_Hollow City_] you know you’ve left this time, there’s no light. Just heavy beams of dark glow. You just want to walk. [_New Life_] plays like a pleasent Nintendo game, a farming sim. A warm summer where you kissed a girl once fades into memory, skyscrapers dissolve into the background for a momentary glimpse of contentment [_Perching Square_] Look at this fucking idiot. indeed. it’s clownworld, screech time clicks into gear, mechanistic screams for dumb human dreams. Try move, bitch. No movement, only submission to any clown who wonders by, an old animation where the lines are schizophrenic. Resist. The end here is sincerely morbid, a melancholic death involving tech, I can’t explain this; there’s acceptance here, a deep acceptance…of the future, and all that it will bring, it is he who walks knowingly into an electro-static death space.

[_NUTMEG SESH_] OH ma BOY. You were prepared for the future you thought, you didn’t think it would be so malicious, and downright mean. watch it, watch it all. Every vice of the past flicked into overgear and assembled on a hedonistic plane of sadomasochism. Industrial sex-drive mashed into a flesh blend. [_Manifesto_] the utilization of the previous tracks work as a means to contextualize the death of coherence into a chasmic meltdown of sonics. [_Take a Hint Royal Jester_] but that’s the problem isn’t it, the future doesn’t take hints, the temporal jester throwing  himself into chaotic schizo-tonic, why don’t you take a hint, yeah…

 

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Review: subboreal – childhood’s end

Quaint electronic ticks and early morning coffees arise from a forgotten train journey, nothing more, nothing less. Trees pass and pylons tower overhead. Path, a path of electric and static through romantic shadows. Sonder & sadness both sewn into this metallic tapestry. A mind races, unable to enter fully into that they wish to, a book unread, a text not sent, as time passes without event to fill it.

Euthanasiaa stark title, pushing off with heart monitor remembrance, a pulse runs directly into a paranoid-loss. Overclocking your emotions into a palpitation ever-present, bulging and pulsing into veins flowing. The skyline has changed, your memories fading into an abysmal grey sludge, another beverage, another piece of the past disintegrates into wishes. There’s a lust for warmth here, a need, a want, for warmth and for a care that cannot be found amongst forgotten chips darting vertically from a washed-out landscape.

You can’t ignore the future, you can only inject nostalgia into your circuits as more and more fear washes over you. Journey, it’s ever present and the dreams a fleeting glimpse, the only hope for what it was you had: the screens, ticks, beeps and slides all melt forwards into ruining your vision, inescapable temporality has entered the memory of your earliest birthday parties, cutting the cake instead of your parents, bundles of wires where friends used to be, a static hum is sung amongst the revelry.

Mind entering a panic drive. Attempts to enter somewhere forbidden, not stopped, only warned against. You may enter here, but be warned, you’ll leave a different entity. Worship cyber and bring forth the cold of metal. Bags getting heavy and the sting of your ill red skin worsens. Harmonic aluminium hell. Screech melodics enter into the mundanity, you can’t sleep for fear of waking into more electrical-detriment. Each sombre-tone erased, ever so slowly. Each placid inch of help and love grows downward, rotting as it falls. It’s over. But it still has to continue.

As the sterilization comes, you’re already anaesthetised by the suffocation and fall, quietly into a bed made of humming. Bone splinters and spinal plunge, take the hand of steel, let go of flesh, of life, of sense. Come forth into repetition pure. We can give you your memories back for a second or two, it wont help, but the illusion of help might be nice, amongst your trees of youth, horizons lost to polite play, everything you had, had, had.

Short, but then childhood is.


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Solaris: Acceptance of Horizons

We want to extend the earth to the borders of the cosmos.”

Surrounded by sublime vegetation, trees and earth, a lake spans forth caressing the traditional architecture of a home. Rain comes heavy overshadowing the minor footsteps of humanity. There’s subtle references to a far off world called Solaris thrown into the picture, each suffocated by the remaining humanity within Tarkovsky’s writing and cinematography. There’s a sense that the question Kelvin poses, namely whether or not science can be moral or immoral needn’t matter here, for these grandiose questions are juxtaposed against the timeless tranquillity of the traditional countryside, a cliché that only someone with Tarkovsky’s skill could make original once more.

Image result for solaris 1972

We’re introduced to Berton, a pilot who previously witnessed a four-meter-tall child on Solaris, slimy, nude and creating a waves within the ocean, a horror which was dismissed by the masses as a hallucination, and in a typically Kafka-esque manner Berton’s life and story has become the subject of ridicule, yet needless to say, the man himself is wary to bring the nauseous memory to the surface once more, for fear of its induction into the plane of reality, or at least, whatever remains of reality for our horror-stricken Berton. The opening to Solaris acts as a grounding for a past, one that teases little and is sincere in its acceptance of animals. An element of contrast that thematically resides at the back of one’s memory throughout viewing, against the coming madness fades a memory of normality.

Image result for solaris 1972

Upon arrival to the station Kelvin is greeted by little hospitality, all that awaits him within the station hovering above the ocean is paranoia. Consistently placed circular windows look out onto Solaris’s surface, a surface entirely oceanic and irradiated. A pulsating behemoth of water emanating a desire to the lesser to prod its potential mysteries. Kelvin soon learns his only acquaintance upon the station, Gibarian, has committed suicide, reportedly he entered into a perpetual state of depression “since the disturbances began.”

Before long such ‘disturbances’ become apparent to Kelvin and the viewer, hallucinations appear which are collectively shared by those aboard the station. Materializations of a conception of memory, or the memory of a person are brought to life on Solaris. Kelvin’s deceased lover Hari has returned and as such he decides to fire her away in the knowledge that she is dead, yet Kelvin soon learns that the hallucinations will never fully leave, and they are to return time and time again, each time learning more and more from the matter of your memory. The infinitesimal corpses of your memories materializations pile up as the ocean continues to probe your mind for the most minute of details. Each hallucination only as much of that ‘memory’ or that ‘person’ as one’s mind can muster, as such, our crew are left with ghost like visions of their past loves and experiences.

Image result for solaris 1972

These abstract horrors cling to nothing but their provider for life, and so the lives of hallucinations are entirely burdened to their creator, as such they will do what they can to convince your of their reality. As the 20 years deceased relative you once knew attempts to convince you of their reality, piecing together fragments of your own mind, be reminded that you are not going insane, you’re merely being probed by a planetary ocean with a consciousness, one that’s far more advanced than your own, humanities’ hardware is outdated and so you shall only receive packets of information caught in an empirical feedback loop. Attend to your own madness, and be kind as to not step upon others’.

Of late and of the past there has always been the unspoken idea that space exploration will act as a form of physical transcendence for humanity, wherein upon our ascent into the cosmos our limitations shall leave us behind, an ignorance so pure as to imagine that merely some form of empirical travel could remove our horizon when in actuality we’re still within it. It is not ourselves that have changed, only our position relative to our birth.

Tarkovsky’s vision of Lem’s Solaris is unapologetically anti-2001. 2001: A Space Odyssey is mistaken in attending the idea that humans could outsmart technology, 2001 goes as far as to imply the reversal of Solaris wherein it is Hal whose memory is slave to its fragmentation as opposed to humanity. Solaris from its very beginnings fully integrates the natural flaw that is humanity into the perfected systems that either they’ve created, or exist elsewhere, outside or noumenally. 2001 at its core is a story of man’s mastery over space, to argue this point I put forth Ebert’s explanation of 2001’s ending:

 

By now, man is intelligent enough to realize that the monolith was planted by another intelligent race, and that is an awesome blow to man’s ego. So he sets out toward Jupiter because the monolith beams signals in that direction. And man takes along “Hal 9000,” a computer (or tool) so complex that it may, even surpass the human intelligence. The ultimate tool.

But Hal 9000, made by man in his own image and likeness, shares man’s ego and pride. What is finally necessary is the destruction of Hal – after he nearly destroys the mission – and that leaves one man, alone, at the outer edge of the Solar System to face the third monolith.

And here man undergoes a transformation as important as when he became a tool-user. He becomes a natural being again, having used his tools for hundreds of thousands of years to pull himself up by the bootstraps. Now he no longer needs them. He has transcended his own nature, as that original ape did, and now he is no longer a “man.”

Instead, having grown old and died, he is reborn as a child of the universe. As a solemn, wide-eyed infant who slowly looks over the stars and the Earth and then turns his eyes on the audience.

These last 20 seconds, as the child of man looks down on his ancestral parents, are the most important in the film. We in the audience are men, and here is the liberated, natural being, Kubrick believes we will someday become.” – Roger Ebert

 

Ultimately at the end of 2001 it is man who ‘succeeds’ or transcends, man achieves mastery over his literal creator somehow and in quite a sentimental way becomes a dough-eyed infant looking down upon Earth. The ending is a Kubrickian rarity, it is – debatably – positive. Humanity overcomes space, a superhuman AI and eventually overcomes their own limitations.

If we’re to return to Solaris however one realises from the very beginning that such a case was never going to be put forth. Where Kubrick has apes utilizing tools, Tarkovsky has man pondering his morals, Kubrick gives us Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, the dawn of something great. Tarkovsky originally wanted nothing, but allowed us schizo electronic sounds as an opposition to unbridled hope. Where 2001 is forgiving, Solaris is vindictive and condemning. Tarkovsky understood that not matter how far we travel, nor in what vessel or whom with, we will always be dragging along with us the vicious memories of humanity.

In their cluttered and confused attempts at grasping the teasing’s of those superior to them humanity only claws back its own insecurities. If for one moment, man, you thought you were going to outsmart a concentrated planetary conscious you are mistaken, for it need only to remind you of a character in your own play to make you grovel and retreat. You might declare as Gibrarian did in a fit of madness “I am my own judge!” but be warned, for on your return to home you shall find no need for pleasantries, for you’ve entered into a labyrinth of horror wherein your worst fears are realised for eternity.

You arrive home to find all has been replaced by a perfect replica, each inch of the supposed matter attending to your reality instils a deep sense of the uncanny. Your dead wife runs to your side, your memory of her lost to time and so she too is lost to time, you’re left eternally with a cast without a script nor characterisation. You are left with only that which you created. An eternity without anything new. The slow death of mystery.

Review: Canned Meat – Soundtrack for Over​-​the​-​Counter Pharmaceuticals

Soundtrack for Over​-​the​-​Counter Pharmaceuticals R E V I E W

Facing eternity within a flesh-based ontology. The sky here a deep static, orchestrated from the past. Pharma-scape exists as a soundtrack prescription to a mundane life.

The unique nature of medicinal stench hits my nostrils, pharmaceutical stores reek of desperation:

Hey Chap, why don’t you get fucked!”

I collapse into a flesh heap and we begin.

I am with the floor, strewn sack of bone-coverings emancipating gallons of vomit-inducing sweat into every aisle. Pillboy climbs onto the counter and spins on one leg, shin-bone freeing itself, firing a flag-dart into my spinal column. Sweat Angels in Bedsheets he repeats over and over and over, increasing in speed, until it blends into delirium, a chaotic mixture of opiate brain-chasm and rust filings…eventual release into a swamp of tinnitus. Floor trembling, hurling chunks of rotten pill-dogs into the cities ventilation shafts. The city sleeps perpetually, in an ever pulsating slumber of hell-dreams. Upon waking the transition is so smooth one knows never where ‘n what ‘n when they are and the drums continue until the your head is ache.

– f l e s h d e s c e n d s – Sun-Ra Spirals – f l e s h d e s c e n d s

Revelry of nomadic om descends from a pill-legume heaven, a transcendent symptomatic malaise covers all. Minor ticks involved within the rare behaviours – they’ll pass with time -, none of this is psycho-somatic, it’s pure pill dictatorship as the static rises into a cacophony of hellish drone-time.

Downwards the effects begin to take place, beginning to rise and fall. Your sweat jumping out and back in, each and every gland attending and expanding for its own nausea. You pile them to the back of your throat as the plastic wrappings melt into a sludge trickling off your teeth, singular affects combining into a distorted enlightenment. And stop. The eye of the storm has malformed beyond comedown into dark-tranquillity, plateau-time is now. A member of the union shouts from afar:

Do you have enough electrolytes boy?”

I return a quip “Ktttssexiphenxetopratenzenzapetsatoladrine! Ine! Adol! Ine!” as each layer of my psyche flickers over the next and under the former, causing dopamine collapse. Each plateau ascending into a higher level of melodic chaos, each second attending to the caustic end of a dirty VHS reel, dragging its tail through pharma-splinters in the hope of death.

Foaming Blood isn’t attending any of your polite shit, as each tooth rots from the root until all that’s left is bone-foam, lunging up from your gums, out of mouth, dissolving floor. Vibrations loosen each socket of your being, until simulacrum of tremble. You’ve been invited to what looks to be a short melody, allowing you to recompose the overdose into a worse structure, you begin to survey the damage, your psyche has been dismantled and workers are feasting on the separation. They’re having a party, with the splayed relic of a collapsed lung as the centrepiece, each singular line is an impossibility, vibration and repetition initiates a confusion in the crowd, rampant idea-incest begins prior to the Hellenistic vomit ritual. Follow the bile-brick road: lines of micro-workers, each holding a white blood cell, dance in perfect time, retching gut drippings into your veins and stems. You’re being remoulded, legs of concrete, head of medication-Jell-O.

A clip of humanity comes through the blood-film atmosphere, its crass nature pauses all efforts of frivolity as we’re taken back to a dead Eden. Dead Eden pretending to care, the chimes made of pill-casings, and the harps assembled from tendons. Eat from the tree, eat from the floor, eat from the snake, for it’s all pharma. We can help you feel how we want you to. A nationalistic repeat covers the world, salutes from all, cover your heart before the mulch it’s become drips out. Rib-ache. – Waiting for the Scalpels to Arrive in the MailThere’s a point in time wherein screams become futile, not because of atmospheric lack, because of pure aural suffocation, a drill like odour hum so violent your widened mouth crumbles, lips melt into one another, flesh decelerates into a pulp-casing.

Allowed subtle reminders of pharma worship, knelt before gates made of ache and crush. The devoted allow their migraines, for hope of pharmaceutical intervention. They beckon and descend down each vein, each slower than the last, your kneel becomes compulsory. Kneel before the great dispenser and pray for a maggot sized helping. Lines of skulls jerk in time, choreographed seizures act as sacrifice. Arms lift themselves, skin brings with it heavy bone, perpetual fracturing. The ground entirely grated metal, to allow for extension seepage. Hell is a repetition never interrupted, a repeat so loud no sound can enter. The great churn begins, knee caps fragment, flying through each orifice. Your entire being is displaced into a welcoming tumour. There’s no layers here, plateau eradication as the perpetual swirl gears in. The dark meditation, allies with the alien Cancer. A job of death. The purpose of an existence is to end another’s. Eternal drug-spiral within an unconscious mass of breathing tissue. Becoming-fever, sweat-session, hallucinogenic-nausea: The Cancer Killing Bees Part II is over:

Rewind the serotonin tape please…ple…pl…”


Canned Meat

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Review: Nishiki Prestige – XOXO

The factory of LOVECRYPT came to me via the incessant malaise of ‘Weird Twitter™”. A basic-bitch search for fresh music isn’t going coax it into appearance. It disturbed my interests due to its extrovert leanings on the esoteric, political & philosophical. – “Who taught you how to write about music?”

No one. But I jus’ listened to that there XOXO by Nishiki Prestige, and I sure as h-hell wanna dish my digits into the keyboard, see what falls out, you know?”

“nO one will hire you.”

“HELLO! And welcome to the album review for Nishiki Prestige’s XOXO, an album put out by LOVECRYPT FREQUENCIES. And boy oh boy oh boy, we have one hell of an album for you. Help help.”

To digest the few remaining ashes of music journalism, tasty little titbits of shit. The problem here being that the factory-esque vision of marching k-ants divulged by XOXO’s first track 10 Years has seduced me into a rotten disorientation. Thrown into an insta-nostalgia for a future within its own creation; I’m witnessing a labour-march, an assembly line.

 

And When Grew Up Way Too Fast climbs down, the disorientation diversifies into chasmic slows and rises; the birth of constant beginnings, every halt ‘n jerk is a possibility for another circuit and direction, towards another musical commodity. And this creative spasmodic zombie rides high into Haunted Stars hounding with it large areas of tonality and pressure, both of which are teased continuously; a melodic form of stress. The first of many tracks in which the past is captured and held in the background, seeping through when the pipe occasionally bursts: retro-static bulges and nostalgic urges of known music appear.

Let me tell you this boys ‘n girls. The whole damn thing is like Burrough’s dirty K-offspring. A big ol’ fancy pants article, that could well be non-linear. Deleuze would say oh boy maybe they just well damn get it.”

The fragmentary consumer aspect of Apply to Broke Skin shifts inwards. Commodified medical plasters for the album itself, cornerstones of thought – Zizek on ACC – key themselves in. But not before we’re told to Celebrate good times, Celebrate Accelerate good times. The mandatory cause for Acc-celebration is the Acceleration itself. All is immanent.

The night-circuit science fictions surrounding Zuckerberg come to life in a hyper-circus named Zuck Theme, where the fun is but a simulation – we’re all on this programmed holiday. The relaxation accelerates. A harder relaxation for a premium member! The fun gets better! Just prior to the k-collapse as the test ends. Holiday-terminated.

The mellow tick-work of human flesh, its evaporation. Its comfort.

The slow embrace of a singular heroic hum. Melting into acidic launchpad.

 

“I like fast music.”

Julie, would you agree that one could say…if they so wished, that the grandiose themes utilized in this sporadic album would seem arrogant when used elsewhere, but here, amongst the disjointed quasi-hedonism of acceleration, they become gentle reminders of history eating itself?”

Oh Jonathan, I would agree, but I hate your filthy gut smell.”

 

Downtime was never invented as we hurl another into the grind. K-Goth. Those textural relics once seeping through are subsumed into consumerist submission just as quickly as they’re re-written, re-packaged and sold. Cybermemory is failing. Amongst Lifetime of Grey Skies one believes, that maybe, oh just maybe, there was someone onboard who could impersonate a pilot, because this sure is a friendly minute or so. But that lack returns – in Baby, If You Come that need for something revelling in its cyber-vitality, that acidic pinch of the fresh-take ad infinitum.

 

And the guidebook says: N O S T A L G I A FOR TOMORROW: no hope for today.

 

An attempt, I think dear audience, at articulation of the fact that acceleration is not synonymous with speed, and holds its real purpose and eventual terminal-degree in reformulation.”

 

Imagine a piece of data facing its eventual death, breathing its last. – I’ll Be There For You.

 

Future is a Machine would work well as a traditional end, but there’s no end to acceleration!”

 

* applause *

AND OH christ. It’s all capital R real and the rag ended cyber-guts trail off into this ephemeral, anti-tranquil hellscape. And as we sit arm in arm, hand in hand, bearing witness to the consumer horizon overtaking humanity, an aural assemblage of all that was provides the soundtrack to our demise.


 

A link/player to Nishiki’s album can be found below, along with various other relevant links:

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Pleasantville: Knocked from Stasis

The residents of the town Pleasantville are within a TV show called Pleasantville, which our two protagonists, David and Jennifer, find themselves thrown into. A town & TV show which is of 50’s attitudes, whereas our protags are from the 2000s (it seems.)

Thus the town acts as a place of temporal-stasis, a pure-linearity, a linearity which is temporal and spatial, as its main street curves in a loop onto itself. Only that which has been written of the show can happen: A basketball will always go through the hoop, things are done in order, etc. etc. Yet once our two protags are thrown into the town, they act as malicious agents, though not on purpose, anything they alter brings consequences, a quasi-chaos theory within a smaller universe (the town of Pleasantville).

The subtle changes to the Universe remove the ‘written’ characters from their existential script, the one in which they meaning. Once the characters, acting as extras to the universe, NPCs if you will, realise they can do things outside of the written order, their world begins to deconstruct in both negative and positive ways. The sexually repressive attitudes of the 50’s: handholding, kissing at ‘Lover’s Lake’ etc. are cast aside for full-blown MTV-style lovin’, in fact this sparks a conersation in which Jennifer, who’s in her early 20’s, has to explain what sex is to her 50’s mother, the style begins to evolve into a Greaser care-free style, and that which becomes altered in the ‘meant-to-be-black-and-white world’ begins to appear in colour. Yet, certain characters who realise that they can act off script begin to question the ‘point’ of their existence, for if the chef at the diner can put the lettuce on the burgers before the cheese then his entire world is altered, he begins to question. The questioning acts in certain ways in accordance with Artificially Intelligent learning, exponential growth of knowledge: The chef realises he can place lettuce before cheese, and quickly learns he could go just not make a burger at all, or even not go to work. Thus the protagonists act as agents within a linearity, both wielding the possibility to knock existent-zombies from their unconscious statis.

Chef: What’s the point bud?

David: You make hamburgers, that is the point.

Chef: It’s always the same…

David: Look, you can’t always like what you do, sometimes you just gotta do it because it’s your job, and even if you don’t like it you just gotta do it anyway.

Chef: Why?

David:…I think that you should try not to think about that anymore.

(Note: Some filler from the conversation is cut here.)

Anything authentic, which in this case is that which is not-of-this-world begins to take on actual colour, as opposed to the black-and-white 50’s TV aesthetic. These acts of complete authenticy eventually begin to, in small ways, destroy the world, causing a tree to self-combust into flame: flame, which, as something not used within the actual TV program should not…be. Leaving the firefighters in awe of flame and actually using their equipment for its use for once, in Heideggerian terms this act is for the firefighters to take that which is present-at-hand and utilize it, transform it, into the ready-to-hand. This acts leads the in-Pleasantville characters to question the ‘outside’ of Pleasantville. The books which were previously blank, begin to become filled in via the protags memory of them, thus the characters begin to read that which they never should have, they begin to shed their black and white shells and become conscious of the metaphysical colour. Many of them become, especially the older generation of extreme 50’s conservative values, become self-conscious of the colour; self-conscious of their enjoyment of the culturally transgressive, and as such, paint themselves back to black and white, to cover their new found ‘cultural-outside’.

One scene in particular, though a little romantic, is incredible in terms of a metaphor for political and cultural escape. The chef is given a book on Art to flick through, as he enjoys painting, the process of him viewing beautiful works of Art is literally euphoric. Yet, he still cannot see ‘colours’.

Chef: “Where am I gonna see colours like that. Must be awful lucky to see colours like that, I bet they don’t know how lucky they are.”

An erudite comment on existentialism and the perspective of the artist.

Among other things, the film has a reasonably transparent criticism of the patriachy, in which William H Macy’s archtypal father character, continues to ask where his dinner is when he arrives home from work. It’s not on the table, as his wife is out expressing herself, enjoying her own life outside of the linear. He explains this to his group of pals:

There was no dinner.”

“*GASPS*”

“If George here doesn’t get his dinner, anyone of us could be next.”

A questioning of values begins from the older conservative townsfolk. They believe it will just “Go away.”, yet of course those who’ve experience the colour do not want it to go away, there begins a questioning, largely from the women at first, starting with George’s wife, who realises she can do what she wants.

And so begins the films comment of black segregation in America in the 50’s. People begin to display ‘No Coloureds’ signs and talk of seperating the pleasant (black and white) from the unpleasant (coloureds), the comment itself is a little weak. And so begins violence towards ‘coloureds’, violence, which up until now has not been part of their world, they are as of yet, to see blood.

The film roughly follows the linear history of black segregation politics in American, finishing in David and Chef painting a large mural on the side of the Police Office, showing the rise of the colour and the change.

It is a film of political, cultural and existential apathy. Directing its artistic sensibilities towards the absurd nature of those who find themselves in multiple forms of stasis, towards those who are stuck.

The Big Short – Bureaucratic Horror

“I mean for instance, one of the hallmarks of mania is the rapid rise in complexity and the rates of fraud…” – Michael Burry

What’s the initial setup for your most basic horror film? An ordinary world, the world as a given, everything fine, normal and we as a viewer still have our nerves. Everything is as it should be. There may of course be a hero, a protagonist with which we will side, usually we shall take the side of those who we feel are more morally just. Then something goes wrong, a disturbing force, something mystical, strange, violent and absurd shall overthrow the narrative, we are given a clear warning of this, some eerie tone or a sense of unease and foreboding is given. The problem is usually solved, or fixed, the villain or sense of unease is killed/ended and those who’ve survived go on with their lives.

In this case The Big Short begins entirely in the ordinary world, we are told of Lewis Ranieri the father of mortgage-backed securities in the 70’s, we don’t know who he is, but he changed our lives, which already pushes a sense of unease, someone changed all our lives and we never knew, this is nothing unique of course, except it comes apparent later on as to why it’s a malicious global economic change. The ordinary world is short lived, we are given images from the 2008 housing crisis, people being evicted from their homes, poverty, strife, anger, worry and fear all crammed into roughly 2 minutes of news real footage. There isn’t necessarily a singular hero in this case, prior to beginning the film the audience understands that it’s about the 08’s housing crisis, so, who does one support? Who are we backing here? Who’s out hero? Potentially you could argue our ‘hero’ of sorts is the likes of Michael Burry who foresees the crisis, however, much like the rest of the films ensemble he merely uses his knowledge to profit from the crisis. Not that he, or any of the other protagonists could have done anything about it of course, to step in the way of big business is to commit career suicide, so you take what you can and leave, I guess. Perhaps the future economy is our hero? What we want to survive in an underlying sense of security in those who hold our money and safety, though the film’s general premise doesn’t bode well for this idea i.e. This has happened twice now, within a 70 year time frame. So, what kind of horror is this? A bureacratical one, constantly fluctuating with a sense of kafkaesque frustration.

Wall Street loves to use confusing terms to make you think only they can do what they do.”

Of course, this is nothing new. Look at any system in which there’s something at stake which those who know don’t want spoiled, or to have the wealth spread out amongst even more people: Bitcoin, stock markets, morgages, taxes, forex, etc. these systems are made implicitly to push people away. So already the viewer is given a new world in which the narrative is to make transparent was has for so long seemed like complete gibberish, techo-jargon explained to the layman, so we can see it for what it is, simple exploitation. We are given a world in which we’re the fish, yet the problem being, the time has passed, 2008 has passed, so we are just relieving the intricacies and underlying structure of a collective nightmare.

“You have no idea the crap people are pulling and the average person just walks around like they’re in a goddamn Enya video. They’re all getting screwed…Credit cards, pay day lenders, car financing, fees, fees, and more fees. And what do they care about? The ball game or which actress went into rehab?” – Mark Baum

 

As witty and humourous as Baum’s statement is, it’s true, it’s always been true and will forever be true, as long as we stay within the capitalist realist state we are currently within. The interesting feeling the film emanates here is that of nausea, an uncanny situation in which the horror is unfolding from both sides inwards, there’s no hero to save us, any possibility of salvation has been buried in time under stacks and stacks of paper work, maybe not, that could just be conjecture. However, the viewer now understands they are in there’s no out as this has happened, so they are just to sit and watch the horror unfold, slowly watch as the scaffolding is poked and prodded until collapse.

 

Who bets against housing?”

 

That’s the problem, complete in 4 words. Who, as in, it will never fail because everyone knows it wont. Bets, it’s a dumb gamble. Against, it’s secure. Housing, it’s housing, it’s always fine, I mean it’s housing for christ’s sake: we live in them. Everyone does it so no one questions it, The Big Short tells the story of when the mad man on the street is finally vindicated, those shouting “The End (of the economy) is Nigh!” of course no one listens, and no one will care afterwards becuase they’re too busy trying to find a new home or work out what the hell happened. Most horror movies at this point either have a clear villain win or loss: the villain either kills the victims or vice versa, that doesn’t happen here, everyone is left to deal with the remains, as if a big economic villain came in ravaged 99% of the parties involved and left without any damage to itself because it never existed in the first place. The viewer, left empty, just continues on, I don’t know how to finish this because the movie itself can only leave you with a distinct sense of dread that the walls that surround you aren’t financially secure, nothing is, it could all crumble…well, we already knew this though didn’t we.

Ivan’s Childhood

“War is no place for children.”

 

Ivan’s Childhood sits as a blueprint for Tarkovsky’s career, with an idea towards accessible spirituality and metaphysics, towards the il y a and dread of existence. One strikes one foremost, as with any Tarkosky film is the imagery, a sublime mixture of intensly humane images, contrasted with striking, quasi-abstract death-imagery.

Ivan, a 12 year old Russian boy, whose family, we learn, has been killed. He had joined a partisan group and had attempted to cross the front line into Soviet territory. He is captured by the Soviets and installed into the war effort, his small physique and swiftness his beneficial attributes. A stoic and contrarian boy, a boy pushed temporally into the realm of man prematurely, allowed access into a chaotic masculine space before one should be. His attitude allows him to fit in.

Ivan’s dreams are interspersed througout the film, the viewers gut directed towards near overdrive as one forgets Ivan’s childhood, accepting the film’s plot as truth-of-the-matter, normality forgotten, for peace cannot exist in wartime as such neither can the innocence of childhood. For a directorial debut one quickly realises Tarkosky is working from a different plane, one where the hidden, the shadowed and the mist no longer exist as a limitrophe, but are brought to the fore and Ivan’s present emotions are laid bare; amongst the half-lit swamp, the suffocation underground and the rumble of flares overhead. Which each glowing terror a moment in Ivan’s future is destroyed, physically, metaphorically and metaphysically, which each act of violent-self a piece of childhood cannot happen.

Ivan attempts to cross the river, back from where he came, an attempt at the impossible, attempt to become what one was, to erase the past. As such Ivan becomes lost in the swamp, in the mist, in the gases and gunfire. We are to find out about his fate in the final scenes of the film. As the Third Reich is overthrown, papers on the floor of an ex-Nazi government building show that Ivan was hanged. We are shown the room of execution. And then cut to a dream, Ivan playing a child’s game on a tranquil beach, all the while a dead tree sits waiting, amongst the frollics and fun there lies the metaphysicl truth of the matter, the childhood lost, tainted and never returned.

Tarkovsky seems me a director one should begin at the beginning with, one shouldn’t start with his magnum opus’ as I feel the emotion and imagery may in fact be too much, it may seem kitsch almost, when in reality it is the utmost calculated spirit and mystery. All Ivan knows is war, without hope of a childhood, born into war and his life is of war. Violence, horror and survival is all he knows and in certain respects all he will (now) ever know, a life scolded by the war. A tension between a sweet yet dangerous nostalgia – that of what is childhood is meant to be – and the reality he is within. Nostalgic dreams become nightmares; the impossibility of normality is true horror. Ivan’s loss is pure, dead loss, a side may have won, but no -ism, -opia or -ology can redeem the death of a child. A vacuum of meaning where there should be enjoyment exists in the total now, it has happened and as such the celebrations at the end of the film fall flat; Somebody won, it has ended, he is dead, hate is no-more…but what of our Ivan? What of a child? This can seem to be empty sentiment, the typical “Think of the children!”, but Tarkosky’s presentation of such a statement retrieves it from its mutation as something used. No longer are we to think of the children as a thought to get us to act, we are presented with the children, the innocence, but we are presented with a narrative complete, as such we are simply to witness what has been and attempt to learn. Ivan was gone as soon as he heard the first bomb fall.

Ivan is mad, that is a monster; that is a little hero; in reality, he is the most innocent and touching victim of the war: this boy, whom one cannot stop loving, has been forged by the violence he has internalised.” – Jean Paul Sartre (http://people.ucalgary.ca/~tstronds/nostalghia.com/TheTopics/Sartre.html)

Arrival – Heidegger, Levinas and Fatalism.

Arrival  – Dir, Denis Villeneuve. 2016.

 

I used to think this was the beginning of your story. Memory is a strange thing, it doesn’t work like I thought it did. We are so bound by time, by its order.” – Louise Banks

 

Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is as gentle as a Kubrickian film is ever going to get. Overbearing stoicism, captured in wide shots and a general sense of seclusion and alienation, one is not so worried about the aliens as a potential for hostility, but if this will actually change anything, one feels for the earth. Whatever this is, it is already above the idea of humans vs aliens, it is beyond the horizon, into a dark unknown, an unknown even those who travel through space and (potentially) time cannot enter.

Amy Adams as linguist Louise Banks, who we see from the beginning has lost a daughter to cancer, in a flashback overcast with the idea of a dream made, then destroyed. The news comes in, as it always does and always will, aliens have landed…finally? It seems this way to Banks, who is nonchalant to the news, it’s clear to the viewer nothing could overthrow the hand life gave her, she cares not for the one dealt to the world. She’s asked by the government to use her skills as a linguist to communicate with the aliens. At the army camp, situated next to the ‘landed’ ship, she meets Ian Banks, a physicist, whom she has a relevant love interest with. I feel in the case the word ‘alien’ cheapens the detail and nuance applied to this film’s extraterrestrial, who I feel are at opposition to hostility, one has a sense of fright and worry, the extraterrestrials understand they are the strangers. Which at once gives the viewer the feeling of unease, who here is the authorative ‘species’ or genus, the hierarchy has been dissembled, we are at threat together.

The aliens or ‘heptapods’ landed in an oval pebble type ship, as high a skyscraper, yet gentle on the landscape, not too authoritative, not cold nor warm, there, still and settled.

The heptapods reside in there ship, within a lit room filled with what seems to be steam or smoke, separating them and the humans is, I guess, the heptapod equivalent to glass, the humans the other side, in their own large room…which is only illuminated with light from the heptapod side, and their own feeble technology (Glow sticks, lights etc.)

The heptapods bring a new illumination, one humans are only just becoming aware of, a world anew; and so the task begins of how to communicate. The illumination in a sense is post-Platonic, our minds are no longer the only source. Illumination of the Other? Or has the horizon simply ‘moved’. The Levinasian illumination (Existence and Existents) is inverted, the possibility and potentiality of hostility from light, a physical manifestation of uncanny-sense. We supplied the light to our own world for so long, and now an-Other supplies a new light, one that can go beyond our ‘known’ horizons, through time and temporality.

And so the task begins of how to communicate. The heptapods communicate via what seems to be 3-dimensional rings of smoke, the meaning of which change via the subtleties of the shape. Banks begins to understand the language as something which addresses time, addresses temporality, eventually leading her to understand that it can help one understand and view their individual history and future directly, a language that can take one within their history, within their future, within their time. A language in-keeping with Martin Heidegger’s theory of historicality:

[Death] is only the ‘end’ of Dasein; and, taken formally, it is just one of the ends by which Dasein’s totality is closed round. The other ‘end’, however, is the ‘beginning’, the ‘birth’. Only that entity which is ‘between’ birth and death presents the whole which we have been seeking… Dasein has [so far] been our theme only in the way in which it exists ‘facing forward’, as it were, leaving ‘behind’ all that has been. Not only has Being-towards-the-beginning remained unnoticed; but so too, and above all, has the way in which Dasein stretches along between birth and death. (Being and Time 72: 425).

Thus, Dasein, a being such as a human, one which can interrogate its own being is at all times behind its past, and ahead of its future. We are pushing our past, correcting and changing our experience with knowledge of our past, and attending to our past with direction towards possibilities of the future. So the language of the heptapods is a practical manifestation of Heideggerian historicality, praxis-language.

The film doesn’t however, extrapolate on whether the language is in favour of will, or is in fact fatalistic. The ending allows the viewer the knowledge that Louise Banks has seen her future, and that in fact the flashback at the beginning was a flashforward, and at ‘current’ she is witnessing her future, the one she will have with Ian, whom she met whilst working with the heptapods, they will marry, have a child, divorce, and the child shall die of an incurable disease. She decides to stay with Ian despite knowledge of her future, thus can she now – via heptapod language usage – change her future? Improve her relationship with Ian, have the child at a different time so it may potentially avoid the disease. It’s unclear whether at the beginning she (potentially) subconsciously knows of her future – this would be a possibility within the logic of the film.

These questions are classic philosophical questions, those of freewill, free-choice, determinism and fatalism, are our actions our own? Yet the questions are asked via a Heideggerian framework, one in which language is employed as spatio-temporally free-floating, existing outside of physics. A pure metaphysical language. A Heideggerian language of historicality, applied via a Levinasian ‘extraction’:

Moreover, the very fact that a painting extracts and sets aside a piece of the universe and brings about, in an inwardness, the coexistence of worlds that are mutually alien and impenetrable, has already a positive esthetic function.” (Existence & Existents, Emmanuel Levinas, p48)

Usually it is only that of a physical ‘spatio-temporal’ object that can extract from culture, physically that is, an idea etc, an object such as a painting or poem or film carries with it a sense of time, an individual-time. The language of Arrival and that of the heptapods is the extraction of time from a fixed linearity, it is a language to remove the shackles, the individual’s time becomes economic, theirs. Though if the language is, as the film’s linearity would have us believe, fatalistic, then the language is but a curse, we can view our future and do nothing about it? A world learning of their unchangeable futures is a paradox in itself. To teach a class of students how to utilize heptapod language to view their future, would be to teach a class of linguistics students their future’s look very bleak, many of them will die and suffer loss, and will want to change their future, as such, the language only be a tool, a gift, a means to alter one’s future.

The heptapods act as the symbolic manifestation of a transcendental understanding of Heideggerian thought, an understanding in which one can transcend human limitations, break free of deterministic shackles.

Afterword: There is of course the argument that the heptapod language would be part of one’s ‘preset’ path, as such determinism still stands outright, the language may only act as the ability for larger states of flux within a preset horizon.