(Concept art for Tron, illustration by Peter Lloyd based on a Syd Mead design, via here.)
We continue the Constellation Tatsu bonanza after III Professor last Monday with three cassette releases that together comprise a ‘Summer Adventure Pt. II’ to bootstrap another summer holiday within your summer holiday or non-holiday, a transversal expedition into another spaces and another times, through a sonic wormhole, powered by the mightiest of motors, hope and imagination.
You can pick them up together here.
The SF in Grapefruit’s SF Chrome could refer to Science Fiction or San Francisco, and both connections would be meaningful, not least because they represent things that should themselves be linked.
SF Chrome (1), the smooth surfaces and clean lines of the silver machines in Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories, the silver machines that mankind rides out of the cradle of the mind, silver that pays our membership fee at the society of galactic civilisations.
SF Chrome (2), a psycho-enhanced collective intelligence flipping the dial of radio reality to discover new modes of perception, swim with the wild beasts lurking in the abyssal depths of its own self.
These two modes have historically been in conflict. Tribes of technocrats at war with the constructionist drop-outs, this is another manifestation of the rift between the two cultures that keeps mankind stunted. Yet we will need both tribes to work together if we are to achieve escape velocity and thrive in the real worlds out there. We will need the silver machines, and we will need the alternative modes of perception, tools to make sense of the great weirdness that lies awaiting.
We see them come together, if only for a few minutes, in SF Chrome, the elegant swing of metal objects peacefully dozing in their perfect orbits, the progressive pulse of emotion preceding the primal scream with which we are born into the stars.
Go and order Stolen Highway from Constellation Tatsu.
The stories of true explorers brim with the unbelievable because these individuals see the frontiers they are pushing in a febrile state, their sensorial systems on the verge of a breakdown (which is why the perceptual experimentation we mentioned above is good training for outside-bound mankind), there is only so much they can take in, remember unbiased and recount in a way those of us who stayed at home can understand. Hence the chimeras, sirens, leviathan and four-legged selenites that populate the first maps of a terra incognita.
Bataille Solaire’s Documentaires feel to us like the musical translation of the voyages of one such adventurer, an Olaf Stapledon or Stanislaw Lem touring the natural & natural-like wonders of the universe, staying away from commercial hubs and urbanised planets, and in his loneliness and misunderstanding attaching faces, personalities and human motivations to the phenomena he encounters – motherly nebula and old red crones, curmudgeonly black holes and ululating pulsars, a whole society of bickering Gods embroiled in the great Epic.
The tools Bataille Solaire uses for this translation are the synthetic melodic chains of the modern French and German masters, the emotional grand gestures of Jan Hammer or early Vangelis, and the bass flips & slaps of the P-Funk diaspora.
The format of its output may well be a science Documentaire, but distorted and stretched so that it mirrors cosmic ‘reality’ like Miami Vice mirrors a day down at the police station –distorted, thrilling, hyperkinetic and truer that truth, it makes us want to go to the stars even more than before, but also makes us feel a pang of fear at the potential disappointment, for how could they live up to our expectations of burning pastel & nova swing?
Acquire Documentaires here.
Panabrite has now been featured twice in 20jazzfunkgreats, so we revisit what we had to say about him before. We used his songs as inspiration to reinterpret the financial-capitalist ziggurats rising by the Thames as pieces of a modern day Stonehenge, and suggested that if Laurie Spiegel had been born in Atlantida instead of Chicago, she would have sounded like he does.
These two descriptions could still be applied to the marvellous spirals of sound contained within Cortex meditation, spirals which are abstract not in a theoretical way, but in the realest way there is, in the way in which blood pumps through the circulatory system and the brain, abstract in the way in which synapses fire away to translate light into sights, and sights into emotion, and emotion into an understanding that goes beyond the here and now to encompass much more.
Do you want to see how real? Walk down the hill where you live while listening to a Panabrite song, say Night Sweat, through a park where a man pushes a child in a swing, under trees strobing the setting sun, and feel the soft melancholy piano, the questing packet of bubbling synths & the deepstaria enigmatica of ambient noise prise the container of this moment open so that information from parallel realities, past realities and future realities, may overflow it and be overflown by it, and overflow you with an epiphany that’s best not put into words, but kept in music.
Get Cortex Meridian here.