Tag Archives: Enfant Terrible

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.

The Fall-Outer Church

Featuring : Europ Europ + German Army


This is the tenth time that 20jazzfunkgreats features German Army in its pages. Let’s have a party!

And what would this party be like?

A literal interpretation of their music brings to mind images of slowly turning wheels that propel instruments whose purpose is to cut your flesh.

A mythical interpretation involves glimmers of H.R. Giger-esque avatars circulating in silence over devastated badlands.

A socio-economic interpretation would see parallels between their sluggish doom and roll and the complex circumvolutions with which technological trajectories tear civilisations apart like exterminating angels. The clatter and click of multifaceted insects spying on your every act from their information hives.

These implications and suggestions metamorphose across domains like multi-dimensional homometabolous slake moths. And they add up to a post-punk party of politicised ambient, existential horror and vicious jacking. The kind of party that Throbbing Gristle would have thrown if they had been more into dub-reggae. A party where movement is to dance what J.G. Ballard is to sci-fi.

Our kind of party.

German Army – Communion Arm

German Army’s Last Language was featured in our 2013 adventure. But perhaps you died before getting to them. So here goes. You can purchase the record from A Giant Fern.

Here is the video Major Outlet, also in the record, which we are proud to premiere. You can watch previous German Army videos here.


Listening to Europ Europ’s ‘Repeating Mistakes in Life’ is like spinning the dial of a radio to surf the ether above Interplay Entertainment interpretation of Central-Europe’s apocalypse, just before venturing out of our nuclear shelter.

The songs portray landmarks in an uncanny valley between melody and noise, structure and entropy, man and machine. All sense becomes dissonance. Is that a number station or an obsessive ritual? A desperate lullaby morphs into a synthetic shriek, blades of distortion an acid house bass-line. Shit gaze is flayed, its entrails displayed in a metal table, where they transform into iron filings and dust.

There becomes here. The shadows that live in these places outside spill into our refuge and engulf us. We become a moment of beauty drowned in noise, the spectre of a song playing in someone else’s radio.

Europ Europ –  Not The Best Lie I’ve Had

Repeating Mistakes in Life is coming out on Enfant Terrible in the middle of February.

Drop a gem on thick oil, fling a jewel into a gut of jewels

Featuring : Mushy + Sololust


So here is the thing: Brooding diva Mushy, who has darkened our days & made our nights blinding with poems of doom drafted in a crumbling ruin, that Mushy, she has constructed a music compilation from the bottom up. It is called The End of Civilization. Mannequin Label is releasing it in vinyl today.

What is the message in this collection then? If this Civilization is ending, what will replace it, if anything at all?

The diagnosis of the decadence with which the previous cycle ends is vintage cold wave. The technological forces that humanity has foisted upon itself result in an eruption. Beneath the gradient, splendidly UXd façade of cognitive-cultural capitalism coil the same old forces, manifested not just in modern-times alienation (although there’s still a lot of that going), but also enforced idleness numbed by a stroboscopic glare of industrial spectacle, and social platforms for envy, titillation and espionage.

This dystopia is described with bubbling synthesisers, numb romanticism, a broken rebellion of people so young, so cold, so painfully aware of that emptiness inside one, inside others, between one and others.

We cannot tell what is the Shape of the Things that Come After. If Mushy & her coterie know, they are not telling. At best, they reveal the blurry contours of a New Dark Order. The cartography of streets that make their own use of things, streets that spawned gems like Rosemary’s Blind Myself.

The medium is the message is the medium and so forth.

In this instance, the hub where a myriad emotional wormholes in the shape of synthesiser lines that shine like necklaces made of teardrops converge, the framework for a glamorous disco stomper Ida No would have used to kick off the party tonight, if she had grown during the siege of City 17, instead of that dream of New Wave New York its outsiders dream.

No stars in her eyes, because she tore them out.

Rosemary – Blind Myself

You can acquire ‘The End of Civilization’ here. You will be able to see Mushy playing live in London this week. More information here, and at the end of the post.


We have learned what the End of Civilization looks like. But what does it feel like?

Ask Sololust.

In his self/titled 12’’ in Gooiland Elektro, he takes us in a tour through the ghostly airports of quasi-authoritarian countries, penthouses fitted with surgical metal & haute vacuity, the designed euphoria and robotic antics of the fashion disco party. Snapshots of a pyramid that is fascinating and awesome in its artificiality (i.e. its super-humanity), also fragile because it is built atop so much suffering & boredom.

And then there is the Ennui at its apex, an unspoken awareness of how little is at stake, and hence, an obsessive refocusing on the craft through which the unerringly banal McGuffin is delivered. Think of the expectation in the set-up of each of the novels of the Bigend Trilogy, and the disappointment of their resolution.

Exposure is the immaculately produced techno soundtrack for one of those intrigues. A corporate knife fight/Intellectual Property rip-off/product feature leak procedural that could have (or already has, or will have) starred you, design-aware knowledge worker/ free agent of the Creative Economy.

Don’t be fooled by the beige office furniture, tile browsers & nouveau retro tortoiseshell glasses, this is as hardboiled, vicious, virtualised & uncanny as the scenario of any cyberpunk hallucination. People get killed in this place.

The infernal arpeggio kicks in, just as you press *click*, and send that e-mail.

Sololust – Exposure

You can pre-order the 12’’ from Enfant Terrible Productions.

Here you have some more information about Mushy’s London Visit this week.

February 14th (Thursday) Power Lunches – w/ Y and Apostille – Facebook event

February 15th (Friday) – Rough Trade East in-store – Rough Trade website

February 15th  (Friday) – Manero Bar – Belle Sauvage Fashion Week Party – Facebook event

Even Cthulhu Needs Hugs

Featuring : The New Age

The New Age is the current vehicle for Swedish singer-songwriter Sara Lunden (no relation to the Danish jumper-wearer), and Soft Touch is her contribution to the Enfant Terrible-curated soundtrack to Exploitation by Edwin Brienen.

We don’t know much about Edwin Brienen except that he was the auteur behind Terrorama!, Hysteria, The Last Performance and other strange-looking filmic entities of which only trailers seem to exist. According to Enfant Terrible, Brienen makes excessively violent movies that poke fun at “sensitive subjects of our post 9/11 era and post-postmodern period: religion, sex, and politics; from fundamentalist Islam to the prudish Christianism, through exuberant homosexuality, and the delusion of formatted heterosexuality.”

As a bunch of polite nice jumper-wearing (mostly) Brighton-dwelling liberals, XXJFG doesn’t usually go much in for PC-baiting shock tactics, so we’ll leave you clever lot to decipher for yourself the motivations of this cineverse. What we do know, though, is that this 2LP soundtrack is all kinds of awesome. Full of crunching industrial minimalism and sleek, sparse, synth poems.

Within the unrelenting thud and pulse of the soundtrack’s four sides, Soft Touch – the album’s (and presumably film’s) final track – is the only space of vulnerability. As such, in this context, it teeters almost into faux-naivety, while at the same time reading as desperately, unapologetically heartfelt. Much like how the Twin Peaks soundtracks beautifully navigate an almost-untenable thread connecting the hyper-exaggerated sentiment of incidental sitcom muzak and psyche-staining horror (mostly within the same few soft jazz cadences).

And they’re the greatest soundtracks of all time.

Soft Touch is brutally simple. There can’t be any more than four chords in the whole song. The lyrics are not complex. The melody sounds like it was made up on the spot. Trying to parse the simple yearning of the song with Brienen’s schlock-laden trailers has us hunting for cynicism and irony… but coming up delightfully empty. This is just one great love song. Its design is flawless.

It works as well as Beyoncé and Frank Ocean’s similarly stark I Miss You, and reminds us a little of old-skool XXJFG heroine Sally Shapiro.

The New Age – Soft Touch

We don’t spend every day wishing the world was more like a Lovecraft story, you know. Even Cthulhu needs hugs.