Sunday, May 05, 2024

"Tis no man - tis a remorseless writing machine" (1-3)

Mvuent, who blogs as Aloysius, returns - after a long silence - to his "audio animation" series Esoteric Experiences At Home and abruptly finishes it with a flurry of posts, topped by a "retrospective" on the entire series in the form of colloquy with fellow Dissensian Luke Davis

That conversation nods to the tradition of endings to books like More Brilliant Than The Sun and Neon Screams - instead of a conclusion, the author clarifies their thoughts via a more colloquial exchange with a sympathetic interlocutor (although it may actually be an imaginary exchange, a disguised auto-interview - Luke insists that he never spoke with Kit Mackintosh for their "dialogue"). 

Although the end of the blog series, this might actually be the best starting point: read the scintillating after-thoughts, then go back to the beginning and gird up thy brain for the epic series, which ranges across a vast span of music, from composers like Francois Bayle, Michel Redolfi and Laurie Spiegel to producers like Eon, Luke Slater, Trevor Horn, Sacred Tapestry, Autechre, and The Caretaker. 

It is a commitment, but one absolutely worth making - indeed it's essential reading for anyone interested in electronic music, synesthetic listening, and how to write about sound-shapes in motion rigorously, but without reduction or getting lost in technicalities. Hopefully a down payment on a book, it's a flashback to the golden age of  blog series and macro-essays by such as K-punk and Rouge's Foam. It teems with arresting images and suggestive concepts ("the sound character" -a quasi-living entity that inhabits a soundworld; "fog of war"; "a consilience of imagination").

Here are some tasters: I have separated the imagery from the pieces of music they evoke, so that you can enjoy them as pure language.  

"Passage through an area guarded by 'stone bees', whose undulating buzz reverberates eerily through the caverns"

"It's as though the bells have sunk beneath dark underground waters."

"Subtle fluctuations of volume heighten the euphoric feeling that you’re not just hearing but actually moving through them, like an airplane caressed by clouds"

"The central sound character cycles through all sorts of tactility transformations, melting, smoldering, and brightening at various stages of the journey. By the final minute, it’s charged to a triumphant energy apex."

"...  a parallel world in the uppermost frequency range. Sound characters heard in the main dimension can be faintly heard passing through the upper world. About halfway through, a rapture occurs. Every sound character shoots up one by one. After a moment of lower-world silence... the miracle is reversed: characters can be heard swooping down from the heavens." 

"It's as though the seas and birds have turned into gold"

"A kind of harpsichord machine gun is being fired off to adjust ozone conditions."

"The sounds of ballroom performance transform into gust front wind and a cacophony of unvoices"

"... reimagines its weathered materials so vividly that they're transfigured into poetic sound climates"

".... you finally set foot in this landscape of inner sublime"


For sure, there's an "ear of the beholder" aspect here, as there is with any verbal evocation of sound. But the balance of precision and poetic puts me in mind of Gaston Bachelard's inventories of  imagination and taxonomies of tropes  -  the same heightened attentiveness to movement, space, and light,  applied not to literature but to electronic mindscapes. 


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A playlist for the second half of the series (i.e. the April posts) - designed as a resource for readers rather than a continuous listen. 



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Another Dissensian - who may or not wish to be identified by the forum alias or  real-world name -  has launched a promising new blog: L.S. Trackhead


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Finally, truly a remorseless pitching machine, Kieran Press-Reynolds drops new pieces (with more to come in the weeks to come)

At the New York Times, a piece on the "influencer horror videogame" Content Warning

Talking about shitpostmodernism with Emilie Friedlander + Andrea Domanick at The Culture Journalist 

Bladee's Cold Visions as Pitchfork's Best New Music

A survey for The Face of internet rap's underground genre sprawl

A No Bells celebration of the return of Bushwick club Rash, which had been razed by an arsonist with probable hate-crime intent

Nia Archives debut album, appraised for Pitchfork. 




4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the Aloysius series. Their writing about "sound-shapes in motion" reminds me of the long-shuttered deadlistening.com blog, which would rhetorically boogie in a similar way, i.e.: "...the jam flies down rails of light, banking around hillsides and tunneling through showers of rich watercolor rain. Footing is easily lost as perception is swept up into the buoyancy of music. When Garcia eventually directs the band into Uncle John's it rings with the message that we have arrived. There is a vast opening of hands and hearts here. You can feel it everywhere."

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  2. Mvuent's triumphant return to his "audio animation" series, Esoteric Experiences At Home, caps off with a fascinating and unconventional retrospective conversation with Luke Davis. This dialogue-style recap harks back to esteemed literary precedents, providing an engaging, introspective end rather than a traditional conclusion. The format brings to mind the speculative possibility that the conversation might be an inventive auto-interview, adding layers of meta-commentary on the series itself.

    The series itself is described as a treasure trove for enthusiasts of electronic music and synesthetic experience, presenting a deep dive into the auditory signatures of legendary composers and groundbreaking producers. It's suggested as not just a series but an essential expedition through the evolution and depth of electronic music, enhanced by Mvuent’s vivid, imaginative language that vividly captures and conveys complex auditory landscapes.

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