titassite

Our augmented future

Featuring :

In our augmented future, the boundaries between physical and digital reality will be dissolved by super-fast networks, seamless interfaces, and smart artificial intelligences. There will be a rabbit hole around every corner, a trip every minute and an epiphany every hour. That venerable icon, ‘here be monsters’ will once again appear in the maps, but not because we ignore what’s in those locations, but because there will be actual (digital) monsters there, hyper-evolved spawn of today’s Pokemon, and whole tribes devoted to hunting them.

In this world, any sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence can become your mate, your crush or your nemesis, and there will be lots of them, a multitude of agents, daemons, side-kicks and non-playable characters in the digital adventure of your life.

One special type will be the divergent stochasts, agents whose role is to keep you on your neuronal toes, get you out of your routine, expose you to other views, prevent you from getting trapped in a cognitive cul-de-sac, always a risk in the hyper-specialised, custom-made economies and realities of our augmented future.

Your government will give you a tax break, bump you in the queue to access public services, marginally prioritise your favourite policy priorities if you spend a set of time with a divergent stochast. Same for employers who want to sharpen their employee’s creative edge. Schemes for hanging out out with a divergent stochast will be the mental and cultural equivalents of the  subsidised gym and bike-buying schemes of yore.

There will be a whole industry devoted to the design and implementation of divergent stochasts, and many methods to do this. One of them will be the Contrarian engine, which will map your media consumption and social network, benchmark it against a global average or consensual reality, and design a Divergent stochast to plug those blindspots in your perspective, like some sort of ambassador from humanity’s collective intelligence arrived to pull you out of a filter bubble.

But today I wanted to tell you about another type, the teenage art-scout divergent stochast designed by Spotify. The idea behind it, inspired by venerable behaviouralist theories, is that cognitive rigidities are not a content problem, but a process problem: we get stuck in a comfortable rut, and build a lifestyle and worldview around it. The way to address this is not to send over a digital intellectual with information you weren’t aware of and theories you hadn’t considered, but to shake you out of your rut, maintain you in an experimental, open to experience and learning state.

Just like when you were a teenager.

It would be easy to implement a divergent stochast replica of your teenage self, but most people will find this unnerving and annoying. What Spotify will instead do is to create a divergent stochast based not on your teenage behaviours and habits, but on the music you listened when you were a teenager. They will project this into a vector, and from there into the personality, look and feel of a digital person.

You know how some people look like the music they listen? The art-scout divergent stochasts will literally be evolved from the music you listened.

They will arrive in your flat most unpredictably, with a crazy scheme, an idea, an adventure, you will be irritated, you already had a plan for the evening, but hey, you will find something alluring in the demeanor of this familiar stranger remixed from the mythology of your past. You will listen to it talk excitedly, or calmly, or aggressively, or seductively, and it will be as if a certain fearless, curious flame that once burnt inside of you had been rekindled, the needle will be shaken out of its groove, you will nod at this playful revenant, and just like that, you will go out together, to get in some trouble.

Susumu Yokota – Panicwaves

Susumu Yokota made us think of the text above because many of his songs sound as if as if they had been generated by a deep neural network trained on all things which are crazy, exciting and garish and somehow disconnected stylistically but at the same time linked at a deep, intuitive level, psychedelico-cybernetic hits for the cosmic ambulance that the Culture’s Special Circumstances sends out whenever a planet is at risk of collapsing upon itself due to terminal boredom.

Tune for a Replicant is included in the first album under his name, Frankfurt-Tokyo connection.

Coal Face Techno

Featuring : Collector

As is customary in January, we’ll begin the year with the good stuff we missed out on during the last.

Today’s slept-on track comes from Collector.  A reinforced bunker of Techno for these dark times.  While the snares and handclaps are there, they’re  fucked up by everything else in the mix.  Or more accurately, they’re fucked up by the massive bass tone that dominates everything, like a blinding searchlight sweeping across your vision, over and over again.  It’s Techno that embraces Noise, consumes and is, in turn, consumed by it.

This feels like the counterpoint to Gavin Russom’s remorseless, onyx Techno she was putting out as Black Meteoric Star.  Where there the analogue synths (and their distortions) were the glow around which the tracks huddled.  Here any distortion is bleak, industrial and relentless.  You huddle from it, not with it.

Collector – Downtown

This is taken from Collector’s EP, Forced Extraction on Beat Concern.  You can get this now from Beat Concern’s Bandcamp right here.

 

Maquina maquina

Featuring : Daniel Maloso

Happy New Year! We are sorry you haven’t yet received our Best of 2017 but it got stuck in a gnarly zone of the Dreamlands, which is where we travel to retrieve our long term memories (> 2 months) in case you didn’t know. We are currently organising an expedition to rescue the list from the Cats of Ulthar and the Gugs, we will bring them to you eventually but it might cost us some blood. Feel grateful.

Not that the timing of a best of the year matters that much anyway. As we have told you again and again, the internet has smashed space and time into a constant here and now where objectively distant points overlap, and objectively proximate points blow apart from each other in directions determined by our personal and shared subjectivities.

This is why you will never find a premiere in this place, why you will never hear us talk about anything that’s trending or even mention the idea of trending, and why we post our best of a year in January 2018  or later depending on the mood of the cats of Ulthar and the Gugs.

This mis-synchronicity is also why we get stupidly excited to kick off the year with track you probably know already because it came out in 2010 and you surely have gone to good parties since then and someone must have played this (this is the way we discovered it at a New Year party in the small hours of the 1st).

In another wonderful spacio-temporal twist, we thought it was some 1990s hidden Spanish rave gem by Chimo Bayo or one of his affiliates but no, it is by Mexican EBM / techno perv Daniel Maloso. It sounds like a GTA video-game-nasty set in the Valencian coast at the height of the Ruta del Bakalao, banned because someone steganographed mind-control glyphs in its lurid arpeggios that make you go out and jack cars and crash them into shopping malls and dance in the roofs naked or at best wearing a gimp suit.

Daniel Maloso – Ritmo Especial

More info at discogs.

A beginning is a very delicate time.

Featuring : Samo Sound Boy

When I was a lot younger I was convinced that the best track on an album would be its last one.  When the album was king, the band/artist/whatever would make some attempt at sequencing their work, which usually involved placing their epic/wigout/experimental track last.  This led to the situation where I’d just skip to the end to check for a 8 minute krautrock opus snuck onto a Brit Pop record.  It was semi successful.

Now I’m a lot older and the album as a concept is fading and an obsession with endings is starting to feel like tempting fate.  And while Hip-hop continues to delight in structures and form (and mixtapes!), tracks which are always going to get skipped on Spotify seem like some aristocratic indulgence.

Which is why today I’m going back to 2015 to bring you the first track from an album.  And it’s called ‘Introduction’.  Absolutely zero messing there.

Unlike the rest of Samo Sound Boy’s Begging Please — the album it opens — Introduction seems completely removed from the club.  There’s a moment in Lost Highway when Bill Paxton rings his own home from a Hollywood party and speaks to himself.  The rest of the album’s the Hollywood party and this track’s standing on the roof of a convenience store out in the middle of a purple hued desert asking ‘who’s this?’  And it’s glorious.

It also mainlines two minor movements in dance music circa 2015: an embrace of New Age and the pure emotion of Japanese soundtracks (Videogame / Anime / anything Joe Hisaishi).  Simple delicate melodies over sustained synth chords.  A  woozy nighttime haze (that possessed and consumed Vapour Wave).  We’ve written in the past of the horror at the heart of New Age, its own eventual disillusionment contained in the utopia it yearns for, and it’s wonderfully in affect here.  Those organ chords, a religious summoning that will go unheard.

It’s not completely divorced from its fellow album tracks.  Towards the end what sounds from a distance like 2-step arrives to provide the perfect mix point.  A point the next track on the album wonderfully doesn’t pick up and run with.  So we’re left with a build that just evaporates into the perfectly conjured, grainy night of the rest of the track.

Samo Sound Boy – Introduction

Introduction is taken from Samo Sound Boy’s Begging Please which is really good.  It’s out on Body High (a label he co-owns) and you can grab copies on vinyl off Discogs or stream it from wherever.

Music for board-gaming

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.

We started our imaginative careers in sci-fi and fantasy worlds of literature and role-playing. Later, we applied the sense-making apparatus thus developed to process music into kinaesthetic scenarios where beats stomped like the boots of space commandos, and synths unfurled in front of your eyes like the evil pixels thats simmer in the boundaries of a necromantic spell.

Today, we play board-games where whole universes are reduced to compact and elegant sets of rules. We create mixtapes to animate the ensuing soirées. The arts meld and clash and in their overlap create a wormhole through which we are again transported some place else. We become once again children, teenagers, young men, us, searching for the weird fantastic high that lies in hiding behind all our intermediate highs.

Here are some examples:

In Seven Wonders you are the ruler of an ancient Mediterranean civilisations who through industry, trade and war, accumulates the resources to build a Wonder that will astonish the world, bring immortality to your name and glory to your people. Gail Laughton’s “Harps of the Ancient Temples” is its perfect soundtrack: brief and enigmatic harp compositions with melodies that simmer holographically like torches glowing over the stone walls of corridors extending into the darkness, into rooms of full of treasure, ritual and mystery inhabited that peoples that were like us, but oh so alien.

Gail Laughton – The Hebrews 425 A.D.

In Great Western Trail you are a cattle farmer, cowboy and engineer. You assemble wonderfully diverse herds of cows which you will drive across the plains, into steam locomotives that will take them to their mass slaughter and consumption in markets far away.

Although this is a game of cold economic strategy and route and resource optimisation, it nevertheless brims with the romance of the Wild West: open skies and epiphany-inducing masses of clouds, the wind in your face and the echo of an harmonica. What better sounds to accompany this adventure than Dibson T Hoffweiler’s glowing guitar whirlpools of timeless Americana?

Dibson T Hoffweiler – German Wedding Journey

You can acquire When I Went West here.

Saturday mixtape: Myxomatosis

Featuring : Podcast

Life is short. Filled with stuff. Don’t know what for. Some ball of various stuff. Like the love of your friends. That’s the important stuff. The rest never got going. But i have a business proposition.

I learned all I know. By the age of nine. But I could better myself. If I could only find. Some kinda seed funding and a tax haven. Some kinda inheritance i never worked for.

I’m looking, I’m looking I’m looking for, something only a few of us are lucky enough to be born into.

Like wages don’t rise. Like corporations don’t pay tax. Like we need a minimum living wage. This baby needs…

An FM radio jock telling you who each moment in your life was sponsored by, and how helpful that is to your very existence.

XXJFG mixtape – Myxomatosis

This post was brought to you by Living Wage & Stop Funding Hate & The Cramps.

Some Zone, Some Threshold

Featuring : Identity Theft

With two Identity Theft posts in a month it’s almost like the old days,  putting up as many tracks by our favourite bands as we could.  And so here we are (again) with a new track from a new album by Identity Theft.

Reconnaissance Peak is a giddy mix of early-80s Eastern Block spy thriller and tape delayed vocal experimentation.  The noise of the later buried underneath the melodies of the former, like some demon among the spires.  The hissy, drum machine and bass line propelling us on with almost metronomic fervour towards some border checkpoint.  Some zone.  Some threshold.

It’s music that has become strangely comforting.  The bleakness it evokes — cold cyan vistas, brutalist architecture, hollowed out heroes smoking against the night — now seems at least anchored.  In a world of all out information war where post-modernism’s been weaponised, the past’s ennui seems somehow preferable.  A concrete dread rather than a gaseous one.

Identity Theft – Reconnaissance Peak

Reconnaissance Peak is taken from Identity Theft’s album Reconnaissance.  You can get the tape from here or the digital from here.  and you should because it’s very good and very sad but very good.