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It all went a bit Jacob’s Ladder: Our take on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Featuring : Life Companions + Magna

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We still have vivid memories of the first moments after logging-off the lurid killing fields of Hotline Miami. If we tried to reconnect to the physical world around us too quickly, it didn’t go well.

It was as if we hadn’t decompressed properly after scuba diving in an abyssal depth inhabited by monsters that were our worst traits and the worst excesses of our culture incarnate.

As if we had been conditioned, Manchurian Candidate style, to go Charles Bronson-Gosling when exposed to very specific stimuli: a message encoded in the flickering of a VHS tape, the claustrophobic loop of a fist-fucking techno soundtrack.

As in that nightmare scenario which could well represent the apex of dread in the otherwise sheltered life of a knowledge worker in contemporary western society: that moment when you wake up somewhere suddenly. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know what you did last night. You just remember the lights. The strobes. Maybe you took something. You don’t remember. There is something wet and sticky covering your hands. Whimpering. Is it you? What is it?

Oh my God what did I do last night?

You did bad things son. There is no turning back.

Life Companions – Richard

Hotline Miami 2 Wrong Number loses, by definition, some of the impact of Hotline Miami the first. The expansion in the layout of the levels and the length of the game also take away some of its glorious, stinking condensation whose blueprint is the apartment/chainsaw fight in Scarface. There is more space to breath, there is more range to snipe. These aren’t necessarily good things.

The inclusion of new characters, some of which are not just psychopathic cyphers provides some moral relief, and the narrative, we gather, seeks to offer some twisted meaning. But again, these are not necessarily good things.

Distance, morality and meaning are not the defining features of fever dreams of carnage and chaos, which is what Hotline Miami is to us.

Of course, these are all minor niggles, expressed from the distance of a Good Friday morning, after a shower and over a coffee.

We rewind to our situation inside Hotline Miami 2 a couple of days ago, cycling through the levels of some coca-disco with naught but a machete, bereft of conscience and ethics, as the ghastly, gristly materialisation of our lizard brain surfaces from our id triumphant like some pixelated version of Blake’s Great Red Dragon. A Dragon that is uncannily summoned in the game’s coda, a moment of pure what-the-fuck psychedelia we will refrain from attempting to describe, you have to see it for yourself.

We go back to those moments which are the putrid, pure heart of Hotline Miami 2, and we feel empty, like B F Skinner rats set loose in a labyrinth based on a feedback loop of cracked skulls and brains splattering walls. It’s hard to put it in words. It is not nice. It is not clean. Perhaps it is cleansing. While we are in there we don’t care, we just are.

Magna – Divide

The incredible 39-track soundtrack suits perfectly  everything we have described above. You can acquire it in luxurious triple vinyl here or digitally, from Steam, here. Find out more about Magna. Worryingly, we couldn’t find any web information about Life Companions. We are awaiting their phone call.

But what IS the symbol?

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Is it a question mark carved into a glass eyeball, is it a pentagram with a goat’s head in the middle, is it a butterfly, is it a faded tattoo of a dolphin on a 30-something-year-old man’s belly, is it a shuriken, is it a windmill, is it a rooster, is it a woman in a red dress conducting semaphore and hopping on one leg, is it a murmuration of starlings revealing occult patterns in the sky, is it the shiny plastic keyring of an oil corporation’s logo, is it a skull and crossbones viewed out of the corner of your peripheral vision everywhere you go?

The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol – Humidex

The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol – Prarie Doggin

 

Go to The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol’s Bandcamp to get more sounds!


Digital collage by Peggy Pop

 

20JFG, bought to you by the letter ‘M’

Featuring : Mark Barrott + Myster EEZ

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Last year Mark Barrott’s Sketches From an Island managed to forcibly wedge open a portal to warmer universes and simpler pleasures.  At least for those of us stuck on islands with intemperate climates.  As we emerge spluttering out of winter Mr. Barrott returns with another distillation of pure, crystalline vitamin D.

Saviours or Savages starts all gamelan polyrhythms — if the gamelan was constructed entirely for pads and synths.  Which is delightful in its own right of course but nothing compared to the huge synth washes and string stabs that soon impose themselves on the track.  As if the forest was at once impossibly dense and lit entirely in pastel neon.  A blue and pink vista stretching out like Miami in the Amazon.  If (crazy fascist) Henry Ford’s Fordlândia had taken root in Brazil and birthed a South American Detroit, this is its Techno.

Mark Barrott – Saviours or Savages?

This is taken from Mark Barrott’s new 12″ on his label International Feel.  It’s out on April 27th from all quality purveyors of music.

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Speaking of Detroit…

MyStEr EEZ has brought us lovely tape distorted Detroit sounds, beamed straight from Cybertron to Berlin.   Where Mark Barrott fuses the forest and the night, MyStEr EEZ takes the radar pings of a city at 4am and reflects them back onto themselves until he has constructed a cathedral of isolated sound.  An cold, dark, complex isolation that ironically draws all who hear it into its pulsating 4/4 heart.  Like a venus fly trap of Techno.

MyStEr EEZ – DEEP STATE THE AWAKENING

No buying info for this one.  It exists purely on our collective hard drives and hearts.  You can hear various related things at the GOD69 Soundcloud.

Numinosity

thezone

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Pour Le Plaisir’s The Movie is a track that cannot be summarised in words without falling into cliché. We needed to go beyond that.

Upon listening it, we decided that the eeriness of its melody and the relentless progression of its synth-line demanded a narrative treatment. We therefore commissioned, through the friend of a friend, an elevator pitch for the movie that The Movie would soundtrack. The friend of our friend sent us an elevator pitch. It was good. We would probably watch the movie encoded within in a night of insomnia.

However, we realised that that the emotional complexity of the situations faced by the protagonists of this story – that mix of horror and fascination with which they advance towards a beacon which is the reflection of light in the killer’s blade – were too subtle and multi-layered to be summarised with a simple plot summary.

The friend of our friend suggested a visual treatment, and put us in touch with a film-maker friend who would shoot some footage capturing this elusive je-ne-sais-quoi at the hear of The Movie. This is what he sent us:

Down a derelict industrial state, an abandoned warehouse, sucked dry by invisible forces. A formless silhouette in a window, or perhaps a pastiche of shadows anamorphically coming together as we enter a diorama of decay. Think of the evocative videos that provide the McGuffin for Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, imagine, if you can the industrial belt around Stalker’s Zone after the Zone has expanded to engulf it.

We listen to The Movie and these are the things that happen inside our head. There was no friend of a friend, there was no elevator pitch or visual treatment, just the unseen force inside The Movies devising a conduit to invade our dreams like it has invaded our days.

Pour Le Plaisir – The Movie

Pour Le Plaisir’s The Movie is included in the wonderful Tin Machine EP which is available in vinyl format from X-Ray Records, the vinyl-releasing branch of Blue Tapes. Full and Proud disclosure: Blue Tapes is part of the 20JFG fief and you should treat it with the fear and respect it deserves. Go and acquire the thing right now.

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John Carpenter is obviously the granddaddy of this type of music, and one of the holy patrons at the 20JFG church. You must be all aware that this year he released his solo debut album – Lost Themes – in Sacred Bones records.

This is the first time that he wasn’t constrained, in his music-making, by images. He was also collaborating with his son, who has a penchant for prog, and his grandson. Perhaps as a consequence, the music soars higher, more colourful and luminous than his trademark minimal work, dragon-esque and closer to the hyper-chromatic hallucinations of Goblin.

Several of its songs should soundtrack the amazing fantasy films that Carpenter has yet to make (imagine his adaptation of Leiber’s Swords of Lankhmar or something like that), or that he already made in an alternative world which is more awesome than ours (take that Leibniz).

Anyway, here you have one of those….Wraith.

John Carpenter – Wraith

Pick up the record from Sacred Bones.

We couldn’t conclude this post in a more suitable way than with the video for Cindy Savalas by Palmbomen II. In it we find a melange of X-Files/Twin Peaks/Altered States/ and dream-like fragments of Michael Mann’s Manhunter: a looping of primeval pulses, subconscious urges and cosmic noises that mirrors the  electronic organicism of Palmbomen II’s music, house music sang by amoebas, acid spilling from the rifts in planet-shaping volcanos, the romantic melancholy with which we stare at the blue blue ocean whence all life spilled out, not that long ago.

We will have a special feature on the album at some point soon.  Go and get the album from RVNG.

SATURDAY MIXTAPE: For magicians

Featuring : Podcast

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“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

[Cosmos, Part 11: The Persistence of Memory (1980)]”

20JFG – For magicians

Elegy for the Banger

Featuring : Walls

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Walls — the dance hydra that is Sam Willis and Alessio Natalizia — are calling it a day.  Which is sad.  But they’re leaving us with their third LP, a collection of work they’ve completed in the time between their second LP and now.  Not that they’ve been slacking.  We’ve covered a sliver of their solo stuff is this ‘ere blog.

What I want you to take away from this rambling intro is that this LP is a timelapse of two musicians who love ambient and massive dance music as much as we do.  So it’s as full of drifting found sound synth tracks and pastoral Krautrock,  as it is absolutely Russom-esque bangers.

Ah bangers.  Those tracks we’d look forward to playing in inappropriate venues at inappropriate times on inappropriate PA systems to audiences that were kinda’ into it.  We would be, of course, losing our shit in the booth.

Which brings us to Moon Eye.  A track I was compelled to write to Mr. Willis about after listening to it on repeat for about 20 minutes.

Well, Moon Eye’s a banger isn’t it.

No question mark, as that wasn’t a question.  It was a statement of full-bodied arpeggiated fact.

There’s something so seductive about the Banger.  It creates a vortex in the usual push and pull between the outsider and the communal.  It creates a singular space on the dancefloor where every atom in the sweaty atmosphere feels as if it belongs to you and everyone at once.  The music speaks to you on a physical, singular level and you look around and find yourself in a crowd of people having the same, singular experience.  Come the machine revolution they’ll be carrying us to our energy tanks to the pulsing cones of Function Ones.

Moon Eye is the slice of dance music colonised by our lord and saviour Gavin Russom (who’s released music on Willis and Natalizia’s label).  A pulsing, insistent bedrock of techno, feedback laced synths and beautiful, beautiful arpeggios.  Walls are tuned right into that line where mind altering drugs and enough co-ordination to still move, briefly co-exist.  Prime Banger terrain.  It’s as if a million paths of light converged as one and then…dropped*.

WALLS – MOON EYE

It ends with the synth equivalent of heat death, a mournful loop — like a funeral procession for ecstasy.  Always implicit in the Banger, the comedown, but here it’s faced rather than shunted into the next morning.

This is taken from Walls last LP, Urals.  It’s out on May 5th on their own label: Ecstatic Recordings.  It’s very good.

* this whole post may be an attempt to reclaim the Banger but I may have over-reached in attempting to reclaim the ‘drop’ from its EDM bog of eternal stench.

 

A circle is a simple shape in Euclidean geometry

Featuring : Circle

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A circle is a simple shape in Euclidean geometry. It is the set of all points in a plane that are at a given distance from a given point, the centre; equivalently it is a digital currency company that makes it easy to exchange, store, send and receive bitcoin. Circle is Europe’s largest healthcare partnership, operating a network of NHS and Private hospitals co-managed by the clinicians and staff who work in them. Centra Homes, part of Circle Housing, has now launched a limited collection of 25 stunning three bedroom properties in Rainham, near Barking and are always looking for high calibre staff to help us enhance the life chances of our customers. In return we see the current businesses in need of investment. View all of the investment opportunities on our peer to peer lending marketplace for small business loan last year. Get a business loan. Join 7,100 businesses already borrowing. Loans of safer communities through local volunteers working with sex offenders to minimise alienation, support open to anyone over the age of 50, supporting individuals and communities to lead the circles, you already know how to find the area and circumference of a circle. Now we are going to explain how to calculate the length over the age of 50, living within the geographic area of a local Circle. Its mission is to build and support the premier organisation, in the world, for magicians. This site has information about the society, the headquarters in London, and also Cartesian equation: x2 + y2 = a2 or parametrically: x = a cos(t), y = a sin(t) Polar equation: r = a. Click below to see one of the Associated curves.

Circle – Salvos

From Circle’s 2011 LP Infetkio.


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