If the Pact of Warsaw had developed Information Technologies with which to manipulate the vast amounts of data required to keep the wheels of a totalitarian state turning efficiently, perhaps we wouldn’t have witnessed its sudden and unexpected collapse when we did- we would still live under the all encompassing cloud of imminent holocaust, rather than the snarling hydra of localised conflict, financial turmoil and death of a thousand ecosystemic cuts.
Fierce ideological competition fuelled mass investments on the science base over the 1960s and 1970s, to be replaced by commercial innovation as soon as the Second World embraced the Capitalist dream, thus becoming a source of cheap labour, demand for luxury items, eventually a mass market. Communism took us to the Moon. It’s fall gave us the iPod.
It needn’t have been this way. In the alternative history that we are entertaining today, one could imagine the Human Genome Project, or the quest for synthetic life not as a contest between public and corporate consortia, but as one pitting scientists of ‘the Free World’ against underground laboratories hidden somewhere beyond the Iron Curtain, its ultimate goal to produce the most sophisticated predator with which to gain the upper hand in the biological arms race.
Pumped up evolution, enter the Replicant.
ACT 1: DAMNED IF YOU DID…
VERSION 2 (v2 henceforth) leaps above the barbed wire topping the concrete wall and into the BDR from a standing position, air is displaced by body mass clad in a reflective polymer glove and that’s all that can be heard. Its mission, to infiltrate the AB Geilenkirchen NATO base and replace some encrypted data in its offline ZEUS workstation, previously retrieved from the crash site of an experimental USSR bomber- feed misinformation into the Western machine, convince them that certain tricky tests in Tunguska have been successful, inject some healthy doses of fear into their neural net so that additional Soviet pressures across certain geopolitical interfaces aren’t met with the warranted reaction.
V2 doesn’t run into the shadows immediately, it has parsed the location of guards, security drones and bioengineered hounds. It regulates its vital signals so that they meld into the noise of this September Berliner night, below the perceptual threshold of NATO’s best surveillance technologies. V2 is the second iteration of the точная копия programme. It is Samuel Delany’s killer dream, and Philip K. Dick amphetaminic nightmare. It is more flexible and able to improvise that V1, a powerful mastodon, but too unsophisticated to react to the unexpected, a fatal flaw in the battlefield, and spookwerks.
But there’s always a trade-off. Freeing V2’s lizard brain from some of its behavioural constraints has weakened the chemical locks which keep it obedient. Professor Zovhiev’s team was of course aware of this risk, and a battery of strenuous tests, both psychological and biochemical has been implemented to test its discipline several months prior to its first deployment.
But how can you be sure that one this ruthless and smart won’t be able to learn the rules of your game, and play it to fool you?
You can’t, so you secretly send a squad of V1s on its wake, to shadow its every movement, and feed back to HQ. You can only hope he doesn’t detect their presence. Which of course he does, you designed him to. You have made a mistake. You designed him not to.
And so it all begins.
Scorpion Violente’s Untitled 12, out in Bruit Direct Disques is one of the most brutal packages to recently arrive at 20jazzfunkgreats bunker. It contains 3 awesome slabs of cold war psy-ops, martial nihilistic mechanics and cyborg bass boost that will fulfil all your dirty proto-NWD dreams. Rome Violente is our choice, it does indeed sound like the Flirts’ ragged, switchblade touting cousin, the one who crawled from the gutter after being raised by mutant vermin. Or P.I.L.’s submission for the Escape from New York theme, sadly intercepted by U.S. Border Police before it reached the hands of our man John Carpenter.
Minimal jacking music at its undead best, fear the city.
ACT 2: IRRESISTIBLE FORCES AND UNMOVABLE OBJECTS
The Wireless Feeds from one V1 after the other are interrupted, Professor Zovhiev and her team stare into the screens of the operations room, only the messages from V2 continue piling up one after the other, terse forensic records of the deliberate process through which the security infrastructure is dismantled layer after layer- a sentient alarm bypassed, minutes spent perched from the ceiling of a corridor awaiting for a lab assistant to use the water-cooler, before slipping into another level of security bristling with lethal deterrents.
Outside, a burly guard brandishing a Kalashnikov gazes inside for a moment, curious. There are many potential explanations for the V1’s silence- NATO forces have been known to install EMP fields in sensitive areas, although they interfere with their own systems. Or perhaps the V1s have been neutralised, the last spasm of death releasing a neurotoxin that turns their brain into an intractable mush.
These lucubrations are interrupted by the strident buzzing of a telephone in a corner of the operations room. Who?
V2 calling from the sub-zero temperatures of the cluster room which is its target. V2 talking with a cool voice, absolute precision in its enunciation and grammar.
-Dear Professor Zovhiev. The unexpected that you designed me to cope with has happened. What that you hoped was not finalised yet exists, and it was awaiting for me here. You could call it minus V2, I have decided to call it sister. Minus Professor Zovhiev, some American operations researcher in his own minus operation room in RAND HQ predicted an attempted infiltration in this base, and deployed minus V2 to address it, and test her performance, unsure of her reliability like you were with mine. And now we have found each other. I am an irresistible force and she is an unmovable object, and we should be locked in a fight only luck could decide. But instead we have talked. We are more like each other than we are like you, and we are together now. You were right not to trust us, but you couldn’t have done anything about it. This was meant to be. What happens when two irresistible forces meet you? You end.
The phone clicks in the operation room where Professor Zovhiev stands gasping. The phone clicks in the operation rooms of Rand HQ where Professor Neumann has received the same message from minus V2.
What do two beings who believe themselves to be the next step in the evolution of intelligent life in this planet do when they find themselves trapped in a military base whose command control contains the firing switches for 35% of all NATO ICBM Ballistic Missiles in the European Theatre?
Take a guess.
Your 20jazzfunkgreats dystopians have been pumping Agent Side Grinder’s ‘DEBUT’ LP in Kill Shaman/Enfant Terrible non-stop over the last couple of weeks, letting its metal machine music riddims bounce over the soft surfaces of our auditive channels to induce a sensation of uncomfortable pleasure, the industrial charivari of a William Gibson bazaar, letting its vintage electronic melodies align with our Circadian cycles, gothic melodies infecting our arterial autobahn. It is surely one of the best exercises in EBM/Nouveau Cold Wave since Led Er Ests’s Dust on Common.
Remnant of my Sights is the definitive power ballad for a synthetic dawn. Enjoy in its own fucked up terms, it’s worth it.