Shallow researches on the existential opus of the 1990s technomystics gave those cruel socio-technocrats that arbiter society’s incentives schemes the idea for their latest punishment mode- if found guilty, you spend your time in a virtual jail of your own devising (A ‘Stationary State Paradise’), which through tedium eventually teaches you to hate what you thought you loved, giving you little to look forward to once you are released- while complying with international agreements on prisoner conditions.
But human psyche works in twisted ways, and there are rumours of a movement of Stationary State Squatters (SCUBE) who commit crimes so that they can spend years trapped in the drone of a vaguely pleasurable (in some cases even purposefully painful) scenario, like psychonautic dervishes spinning in the perpetual wheel of a designer hallucination.
The Ministry of Revenge is currently reviewing the scheme. In the interim, let us take a peek into the virtual worlds populated by two law-breakers suspected of belonging to SCUBE.
(The artwork above is from Vernor Vinge’s Marooned in Real Time)
Prisoner Lambda finds herself marooned in a tropical island. But this isn’t one of those utopian scenarios full of palm trees, delicious coconuts and friendly animals. Not even a place of time-shifting adventure where enigmas lay nested inside secrets. Both types of Stationary Paradise have been tried, by the way, with deleterious consequences for the mental health of their subjects. No, the sky of this Stationary Paradise is an oppressive cloud inhabited by electrical monsters, whence collapses a never-ending monsoon, slimy insects crawling in the mud, and scarce shelter.
Prisoner X feeds on vaguely expired canned food she extracts from the military crates that whimsical oceanic currents bring ashore from a McGuffinesque shipwreck. She stretches a ragged army blanket between two shattered tree trunks in the outskirts of the sickly looking beach, and stares at the subtle shifts in the tonalities of the gray wall trapping her within what MOR psychologists suspect is a mental projection of the last refuge from an ecological apocalypse that has exterminated the rest of mankind.
She’s been here for 8 years. It is doubtful she will be much of a danger to society when she comes out in the Spring.
Now that chillwave is officially over, we request a new genre better reflecting our melancholy inclinations, somewhere in between tear-gaze and introspective Balearic- it should sound a bit like Jesse Ruins’ Ends of the Solitude: a blue excerpt from the last day of holidays in a parallel universe where Jan Hammer matches the output of his legendary keytar to different instances of silence in the cracked grooves of a MBV dirge-ballad.
Prisoner Omega has transformed his Stationary Space Paradise into a futile cycle of repeated death sentences: he races through the white torus of a disabled spaceship as it slides slowly into a black hole, a dynamo in his jumpsuit generating energy to boost away from imminent disintegration.
But how could a single man’s feeble organism succeed where stars themselves fail?
The answer is, he doesn’t, he doesn’t even get to witness his crippled vessel sliding into the event horizon that shuts him down from our universe, for his torus has no windows. It is just him, some minimalistic sensors, and Albert Einstein’s ghost dancing mischievously to a relativistic tune whose echoes transform the basic physical environment and his body, dissolving them into the unknown.
One black moment which isn’t black, for black can’t exist in the place where he’s gone, and back to the race.
Nihiti’s album, ‘Other People’s Memories’ (out on vinyl in October) is a luxurious excursion across dazzling dreamscapes, an amalgam of progressive rock, non poh faced IDM, and playful experimentalism which make you feel like you were somewhere else without being in between places, it must be the stickiness of that bass rumbling like Deerhunter in some seriously abstract trip, it must be these guys’ experience producing soundtracks.
Check out Endless Runner as it crashes glorious through the dimensions like some non-creepy triumph of alien will, shedding genetic memories on its wake that sound like pianos, the jettisoning of layers reveal, as it reaches the final sprint, the taut musculature of a techno dancer. It can’t win, because it is alone.