Sunday, February 13, 2022


Underway at Aloysius, a thoughtful series of posts exploring the sorts of spaces and ^scape routes that electronic music opens up (electronic music taken as everything from Luc Ferrari and Francois Bayle to Aphex Twin and Psyche). The series starts with Creative Mode On,  establishes Music As Diegesis,  enters Zones Without People,  gets Super Hostile vs Super Docile , traces Palimpsestscapes, and today contemplates Vanishing Visions and Unknown Memories.  (And here, already is another episode: Transfigured States).

Opening statement lays out the terrain -  "the internet makes a sort of engagement with music possible that’s incredibly expansive in its reach yet utterly introverted in its nature" - and subsequent posts unravel the implications of this tendency toward sonic solipsism combined with infinite extension of the listening self, examining different modes of listener projection (embodied performance versus nonhuman expanses) and so on. As well as analysis and speculation, there's also some terrific synesthetic evocations, e.g.

"Right out the gate you’re assailed by an industrial-machine drone of suffocating pressure. Layers constantly fade in and out, but through these changes in color and intensity this force never dissipates; at times it disconcertingly resembles the human voice. At intervals it lets up for just long enough to allow various species of feral mechanical creatures to burst in, snapping and barking in their own dialects. You soon find that these chrome and gunmetal hell-creatures are capable of accelerating into near-unfollowable flashes of violent, unpredictable movement.... Through all the fluctuations that follow, you never get more than a few seconds to relax; even at its most subdued the piece bristles with tension and inhuman malevolence. On three occasions, descending swarms of nanobots envelope you then evaporate into trails of steam.

More tasty bloggige - Woebot with an appreciation of Neil Young that takes issue with the widespread viewpoint that "his bruising, ragged, noisy rock music" in the Crazy Horse mode is the good stuff and the more tender, plaintive side is sappy and commercially pandering. There's fascinating stuff about Young's medical history and psychology I didn't know... as you'd expect Matt folds ol' Neil into his ongoing preoccupations with health, spirituality and the counterculture, acclaiming him as "the pre-eminent psychic and spiritual musician of our times". 

Because he's been in the news as a culture-warrior of late, I recently found myself playing Young for the first time in.... quite possibly a couple of decades actually. And I think I largely agree with Matt's take. The full-blast Neil w/ Crazy Horse live experience was one of the most purely powerful rock shows I've ever experienced. But I've never once returned to Arc-Weld after the first and only play. While excited to pick up Live Rust on vinyl cheapish back in the '90s, it never became a regular listen like Rust Never Sleeps itself. That said, probably my faves, the songs I would go back to over and over, combine the pained plaintiveness and the ragged rawness: "Powderfinger", "Cortez the Killer", "Southern Man".