20JFG went on a trip this weekend, without stepping on train, bus or plane, this trip didn’t even require walking.
We flicked a switch in the desktop of this machine, and we were washed ashore in Proteus.
What is Proteus?
1. Proteus is a procedurally generated 8-bit island developed by Cambridge programmer Ed Key. The visitor to Proteus roams its hills and valleys, like Key strolled down English fields when he was a child. The visitor also roams the melodies and moods of Proteus, the vegetable ragas and fuzzy drones of a vivid dream enacted live, so that it can become the substrate for further dreams. Oakland based musician David Kanaga is the marshal of Proteus’ musical winds.
2. Proteus is a language with one word.
The word not spoken is outside, everything minus Proteus.
The word spoken is Proteus, a poem broadcasted from a radio tuned to the cycles of an island which may be heaven or limbo or that odd place where we scatter from our scattered bodies. Its alien words rain upon us while we descend a hill, into algorithmic clouds blocky like the clouds which are one of a children’s first 5 drawn shapes (body, house, sun, tree, bird), and we are drenched, cleansed, rejoice.
3. Proteus is a paradise and its denial, arcadia tinged with the sadness of alien memories and abandoned ruins, and of the realisation that we will soon be ejected (also so that we can carry its message outside like we are doing now – is it a weaponised meme for mass enlightenment? Hum).
4. Proteus is a Pacific Sandpit dreamed in that theoretical space where the astral personas of Philip Glass, Terrence Malick and Notch play together in a summer night.
It is like the songs we leave with you today. We could easily imagine them chopped and scattered in graciously self-contained modules of feeling, across the spaces of Proteus:
Anarresian physicist Shevek integrated simultaneity and sequence with intervals, making possible the ansible for trans-galactic communication, and also faster than light transport.
Minimal Electronic legend J D Emmanuel achieves the same effect with his synthesiser meditations: dissolution of eternal distances, opening of wormholes into a vast series of vistas, most of them of barrenness, silence and peace. It is not a coincidence that his latest release of live pieces in the phenomenal Aguirre records is called ‘Time Traveller’.
You can acquire ‘Time Traveller’ here.
Constellation Tatsu cadets Looks Realistic produce, on their part, chunks of sound of an almost geological ponderousness, tectonic beats dropped at the pitch with which glaciers descend upon the south, like brave astronauts voyaging between the elements. We then experience a combination of awe (the epic through which our world is formed) and homeliness (for this is the state of the world to which we owe our existence).