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Chrome vs. Rust

Featuring : Chrome

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You think, Chrome is a funny name for a band whose music feels as though it is rusting to the touch; as though it’s flaking away beneath the players’ fingers.

But then you hear that flange at the start of TV as Eyes that sounds like a plane being torn in half and you remember; ah, YES, you motherfucker. You beautiful, shiny scream.

Chrome – TV as Eyes


 

Screen grab from L’entr’aperçu – Robert Cahen – 1980

Machine Learning

Operations At An Amazon.com Inc. Fulfillment Centre And An Argos Distribution Warehouse On Cyber Monday

I was walking down the warehouse collecting parcels with the new system. The Glasses make everything easier, icons telling you what to pick up and where. A book from section D65, some shoes from section E23. HDMI cables from section B12. An arrow tells you the fastest route through the warehouse, and tells you how long it should take. You do it.

Its not good if you take longer than the system says, your supervisor gets a warning. Too many warnings and you have to go the supervisor’s office for a chat. The supervisor tells you to walk a bit faster, maybe you should spend some time at the gym after work. The company pays for it.

You can also use the Glasses in the gym. There is a programme of exercises specially designed for warehouse staff, personally adapted to your weight, body mass, weight of the parcels you usually handle. The system measures how well you are doing in the gym. It’s no good if you don’t do as much exercise as the system says, your supervisor gets a warning, you catch my drift.

Anyway, I was walking down the warehouse doing the usual. You don’t know what this place is like. There is no logic to the way all this stuff is arranged, or at least no logic that you or I could understand, but a logic that the system can understand. It takes into account what kinds of stuff people are ordering, from where, with what type of delivery. Shoes and books and magazines and toys and tablets and games and cables. It looks messy and confusing, and this is why the company like the Glasses so much. It simplifies things for us as we go around picking up stuff. All those neat icons, arrows, and messages, and the bloody timer too.

So, I walked past [Redacted] in section Z64, he wasn’t moving. He was just looking at one of the shelves, standing there, as if they had switched him off. I thought maybe his Glasses had crashed. With the Glasses, you never see anyone standing around anymore. You are always on the move, you know that timer. [Redacted] had a funny look in his face. I was doing ok for time, I put a good trot on at the warehouse after all that time in the gym, so I stopped for a moment, and asked [Redacted] what’s up. Maybe the system had confused him, he is a bit older than other people at the Warehouse.

I also felt like having a quick chat, I hadn’t talked to anyone in the whole day. Just me, the System and all this stuff.

For a moment, it was as if [Redacted] couldn’t hear me. He just stood there, looking vacantly at whatever junk was sitting in front of him in the shelves of Section Z64. Then, it was as if he had woken up from a daydream, he finally saw me. He smiled, and he said:

“Chris, I think I have finally figured it out. There is no-one out there. All of these parcels we are picking up from the shelves and putting in the vans, they are not going anywhere, they are going to other warehouses where other workers like us put them in shelves for other workers to pick up. There is no-one out there. This is not a delivery centre. This is a training centre. Not even for us, but for the machines that will replace us. This is why they measure everything that we do, why they record everything that we do. We are just showing the system how to build better drones. Well, I will show them, I will show them all right.”

He suddenly had a very intense look in his eyes. It really weirded me out. You never see anyone with an intense look in their eyes in the Warehouse, maybe because they are distracted by the instructions from the System, overlaying everything they see. It really weirded me out, I didn’t know what to say. The timer in my Glasses had gone from green to amber so I thought I better get moving. I told [Redacted] that I had to shoot, maybe see him at the gym later (now that I think about it, I don’t think he ever went to the gym).

So I got going. I was in Section Z76 when the screaming started, that is something else you never hear at the Warehouse, the Warehouse is usually the humming of the aircon and the nothingy music they play in the speakers, the wheels of the trolley wheeling away. Definitely not screaming.

But this time there was screaming, and thudding, and a wet sound. You know what happened next. Perhaps I should have stayed with [Redacted], spoken to him, perhaps noticed the axes and the knives and the razors sitting in front of him, in Section Z64.

[Record of Police Interview with Chris S., 2 days after the incident]

Neugeborene Nachtmusik’s self-titled album in Enfant Terrible contains many different kinds of darkness. The oleaginous darkness of an ecological armaggedon, the fractally decomposing darkness of nocturnal woods, the electronic darkness of an invisible servo-powered algorithmic fist just before it crashes your digital mirror. It is pretty damned great and you should get it when it comes out in April.

Neugeborene Nachtmusik – Kino Sputnik

As a bonus, here you have another song that revels in the dual-uses of technology, as a tool for mass-destruction, oppression and empty consumerism, but also as a device for transformation, rebellion, and dancing. It is as good as it gets, so enjoy.

Cabaret Voltaire – Kino (12” mix)

As included in The Original Sound of Sheffield 83-87.

V’Ger

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20JFG have been vibing on Ariel Kalma since way back in the pre-recession non-stop Bacchanalian dance party that was 2007.  We picked RVNG’s LP of unreleased recordings by Kalma in our 2014 year end round up and here he is again, on RVNG, collaborating with fellow synth voyager Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.

Recorded in a remote part of Australia, the resulting collaboration is like all the best bits of New Age — if everyone would just take off their energy masks and bathe in the noen flecked glory of the Old Ones.  Kinda’ like the end of Cabin in the Woods if it was a homage to 60’s experimental psyche films.  If only.

But I digress.

Strange Dreams has that ethereal melody that called all the spacemen to Craig Leon’s yard.  But spinning around and about this higher synthetic plane are the voices: chanting, breathing, sighing.  Where Holly Herndon was techno these voices are part dirt, part dawn chorus.  Dancing with the melody and the voices are those bass parts that always speak of progress: rich and warm — music to lay the foundations utopian citadels to.  A menagerie of hopeful sound.

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe & Ariel Kalma – Strange Dreams

Strange Dreams is taken from FRKWYS Vol.12 which is out on April 13th in the UK.  You can pre-order it wherever you are in the world, right here.

All 1960s communes had blogs

Featuring : The Ceyleib People

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This song reminds me of when we lived in a  commune in the 1960s.

Writing the blog was trickier then – we sold all our drugs so we could buy a Burroughs 205 from the University of Virginia. It cost 1 million dollars. It was a moderately priced machine. Computers were better then. Our Burroughs had a central processing system that used 1,800 vacuum tubes. Vacuum tubes are much cooler than microchips.

The Burroughs B55000 cost 5 million dollars, but swapped the tubes for transistors. This was the beginning of the end for digital media. In 1971, Intel invented the microprocessor. We blame this for GamerGate

Back in those days, we used AT&T’s Dataphone modem to blog our posts to communes in Germany and Japan. It’s a little known fact, but all 1960s communes had blogs. Acid Mothers Temple and Amon Düül had particularly insightful and taste-making ones.

Unfortunately, Google Translate had not been invented in the 1960s. We don’t speak German or Japanese.

It was via the Düül’s blog that we first happened across underground American psych masters The Ceyleib People, whose single album – Tanyet (1967) – provided a sonic blueprint of sorts for the particularly hairy form of kosmiche funnelled by Amon Düül and others.

Unfortunately, our commune wasn’t blessed with the greatest dial-up link at the time, so Anton I – the joint blogged by Hairy Düül – sadly took 43 years to download.

The Ceyleib People – Anton I

In the meantime, we spent years poring over clues in that cryptic Germanic prose as to what this music might actually sound like. Because humans were telepathic in those days, we were able to network our ideas about this music locked in plastic grooves on the other side of the globe via mystikal orgasms acquired through lysergic lotus position group-sex.

Sex and drugs in the 1960s were mostly functional – a  workmanlike process to facilitate third-eye communion, much in the same way that the children of now might FaceTime or Chatroulette.

But listening to Anton I now, we feel relieved to know we were pretty much right all along. OK, so there’s little less of the acoustic grime and raga-footwork present in the The Ceyleib People’s own version of their music then we predicted, but surely a reunion is due. And that email we sent the guys back in 1968 should be arriving any day now.

Entropy R Us

Featuring : U

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Last Friday we attended the wonderful Where To Now party at the post-Turkish Bath basement of Stoke Newington’s The Waiting Room.

The whole night was a delight, but we were particularly blown away by U, with his Cronenberg/Wild Palms TV set up, and his all-encompassing electronic music, one moment of intolerable flaying by blunt giant cylindrical fingers, followed by another spent boogieing levitationally across ill-defined ketaminic strata.

It was like plugging into some sort of panopticon style Russian novel if you replace the varied circumstances of the populace before the Bolshevik revolution, with the varied circumstances of humanity in a cyberpunk, data-overloaded, neon-crypto-message pumping world that’s  already arrived, how come you didn’t notice?

You were distracted by the shiny lights and the bumping beats, that’s why.

Let us go to U’s first release, “Eah”, out in ManMakeMusic in 2012 shows the dancefloor face of the performance we witnessed in Friday: abstract soul techno smudged with a dash of 2-step shuffle.

You pass through it as if through a collection of scented, iridescent membranes, leaving something behind, maybe a digital copy of your brain took a wrong turn and ended trapped in U’s murky alcove? Hard to prove that, but don’t worry, if it did, U has enough tricks, twists and traps to keep that other U entertained until the heat death of the universe.

U – Eah

(Image via jpegheaven via Otaku Gangsta)

The method of Goth

Featuring : Single Lash

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We posted about Nicolas Nadeau’s other project (with Xander Harris), Slow Pulse, in May last year.  This year we’ve got Nadeau’s Single Lash — his voice still seeped in all the pained fragile beauty of Goth, but relocated from the city to the fields, where guitars endlessly drench the landscape.

Drown is just such a slice of wilderness.  The guitars roam all around, like restless waveforms tracing the contours of the land.  Vast slow riffs that speak of cyclopean structures rising out of the grass flecked hills.

In the midst of this, Nadeau appears like a sage whispering atop just such a pagan hilltop.  His voice projected with supernatural power throughout the land.  Deep and resonant with the force of something, if not occult, than primal.  This is, after all, the method of Goth rather than the mere trappings.

Single Lash – Drown

This is taken from the self-titled album by Single Lash.  You an pre-order it from Mirror Universe Tapes on…tape (and download), right here.