Imagine a 3D model of someone’s bedroom containing every single object within it, and every single bit of information concerning that object. Where it is positioned, how it arrived there, what was done with it, what was felt about it. Imagine it as a digital version of Georges Perec in Life: A User’s Manual.
Photographs, t-shirts and books, disintegrating sneakers and second hand furniture, posters and fanzines, chunky red toys, piles of papers, train ticket & gig stubs, discarded packets of cigarettes, coffee mugs embossed with novelty slogans. The cause of that smear in the sofa and the distant psychic echo of whoever stayed in that bed. Everything captured in its splendid, damaged, lived-in imperfection.
And records. Every sound within every record and its emotional significance, the identity of those it was listened with. Every single scratch in its black (or coloured) surface and why it happened, scars from skirmishes in far-away battlefields.
The capacity of the database populating this model rivals those used to describe whole swathes of the galaxy. Data mining algorithms can recognise patterns in its chaos and disentangle a trajectory from the detours. But still, there is an absence. A music generator of a sophistication as yet unreached could perhaps compress all this embodied experience and define the contours of that piece which is missing from the heart of this existential puzzle. The day to day of a rumbling drone, romance as fractured melody, the highs and lows of a personal epic that can’t be wholly put into words, and which that way is shared with/by others.
We don’t have that generator, but we have songs. We have the Velvet Underground and Young Marble Giants, The Beat Happening and Arthur Russell’s World of Echo. We’d place Royal Limp, in a non-hyperbolical way, in that same zone of low-frequency, subtle and honest beauty.
(And here’s Andy Auld himself with a great review of Vision Fortune)
Vision Fortune opened a show I put on for Maria Minerva in Brighton last year.
I booked them based on the Eastern promise contained in a cryptic email, sounds beamed straight from Sun City, and reports of a transcendental live show drenched in feedback. It is the feedback that gives the first indication that Vision Fortune’s set has began, the main room of the venue being obscured by a black velvet curtain draped across the entrance; perhaps to intrigue the casual drinker in the main bar, perhaps to alienate. What We Do Is Secret.
The next indication is far more intrusive, as bright white light beams through the gap in the curtain and cuts sharp lines across the floor of The Green Door Store. I abandon my post on the door, walking into a room besieged by harsh strobe light and a wall of sound. Bewildered audience members struggle to adjust to the light as prolonged drone gives way to swelling psychedelia. Vision Fortune could comfortably sit alongside psychedelic contemporaries such as Leeds’ Hookworms but their hypnotic stomp comes from elsewhere; evoking influences as disparate as tambura-led drone and Eyeless In Gaza, less Spacemen 3 and more Blues Control.
Their set works as one continual composition, songs such as ‘Black Coral’ and ‘Void Of The Valley’ weaved in between menacing drone and feedback. Some audience members falter, driven to respite from the persistent abrasive strobe, others remain, drawn closer, reaping the rewards that a hardened resolve can provide.
Their recent single on Mannequin record distills their live show into a two-track psych burner; ‘Void Of The Valley’ is a personal highlight, drenched in saxophone and held-together by spiritual incantations, taking Vision Fortune ever further from Southern England and into the void.