The dystopian scenarios of the cyberpunk literature explore the distributional outcomes of a winner-takes-all tech-powered economy, where the powerful get their kicks out of implementing convoluted conspiracies, meddling with drugs, perversion and crime as a the only channel to reintroduce uncertainty in their sheltered and spoiled lives. Creativity and innovation still thrive in the forlorn street, that street that finds its own use for things, but it’s all hustle, a far cry from the utopias imagined by Vannevar Bush and the sapient pioneers of the Golden Age. Sentient constructs swim under the data surface of this world, threatening the status quo with their own special brand of otherness.
This otherness permeates the post-human scenarios depicted in hard sci-fi, where we fast-forward past the singularity to populate the stars. The material mess is done away with, abstracted under a rug decorated with complex systems of equations, over which our own echoes hover alien like jellyfish in a philosophical migration to the outer walls of the universe.
Synthetic music we call synthetic because of the tools with which it is made, perhaps also because it articulates the possibility of synthesis, a balance between the perfect logic with which waveforms flow across a circuit to alter sound-states, and the emergent, never completely self-aware, always failure-prone being-in-doing instinctiveness of a flesh-full operator.
This synthesis represents the state of Man Machine, a moment of grace where the born and the made stand in loving embrace, not as individuals but as societies, alas, not ecosystems, for positive feedback loops and chaotic effects will always conspire to decouple them, into either of the local optima we referred to above. And if they didn’t, stagnation would ensue anyway.
We can’t win, but we can listen to wonderful synth songs that capture the integral and the ascension, like tableaus of longing stretched across the silicon dome of an uncompiled basilica.
The text above may have caused the incorrect impression that synthesis can only (only!) convey breath-taking vistas of grandiose neon canyons, or the formally beautiful ballet of an android coterie.
Nothing further from the truth, synthesis is also the gestalt of a roller-skating jog down a Californian seafront late in the summer. Coolio Franco’s lazy boogie in your Walkman blue-bites an alternate reality application in your wraparound sunglasses to create a moment of pastel-powered synaesthesia as thrilling as any angelic epiphany.
Go and retrieve the rest of the album at Bandcamp.
Crine’s Albedo is a psalter of sepia hymns blown across the moors of our consciousness, ectoplasms of moments that we know we never lived, but nevertheless miss as phantom limbs.
Its Hall of Wisdom rises in front of us, holographically, and we step through its baroque gates Alice-like, Flynn-like, Valerie-like, seeking the original substrate of this girl revenant that haunts us.
A perceptual interruption after, we stand on a beach of white pebbles encroached by geometrical waves of liquid crystal, they pulse to the metronome of a cosmic microprocessor. She stands in the distance, a faint shadow, we walk towards her but we get no closer.
We know we will die here, and robotic crabs will devour our corpse, and she will stare for a bit, and then be gone past the dunes. We also know we will return, caught in the loop of a memory of a memory.