I had planned to say ‘another short one for you’ but perhaps this is just the length now and that is fine. Enough to post stuff to Instagram most days and continually re-muddy the waters of what this thing is.
I hope wellness abounds.
Xenogothic’s promised OPN deep dive was semi-realised last week, surfacing in the form of an account of its own abortive production. What remains though is a refreshing take on an album that I admittedly didn’t know what to make of following an early listen (it seemed to depart from the immediacy and relative coherence of Age Of, RIP my attention span etc) and which has encouraged me to return to Magic.
It was good also to be reminded of Lopatin’s incongruous emergence at the tail end of the freak folk and noise scenes of the mid 00s, a detail which for me had long been lost beneath a decade+ of wider post-post-vaporwave glut. I have the dimmest memory of seeing him play with oOoOO(!) in the foyer of the Southbank Centre around the time of Returnal, a shadowy and low-key nightmarish scene in which I observe myself continually pushing into, through, and out of the crowd like One Of Those People, anxiously preoccupied with anything except what is happening on stage.
Anyway, it’s a decade later and OPN is on Fallon now. Nothing is new/nothing is expected.
Side note: Apparel
I loved Claire Evans’ history of early hypertext for Are.na, specifically the pre-web webs imagined by Douglas Adams’ Hyperland, and actualised by Brown University’s Intermedia. Rather than presenting another prehistory of the actual web, however, Claire describes the routes taken by early adventures in hypertext as developmental ‘stubs’ or imaginary ‘dead nodes’ that would never become fully realised, while still prefiguring various recognisable aspects of our own informational intertwinglements.
While it might be a little basic to apply a what-if-Betamax-had-won sort of logic to Hyperland, Intermedia or even Apple’s HyperCard, I can’t help but want to imagine whether any of these early contenders might have produced a chaotic inferno of hate that was at least different to the one we ended up with.
Side note: Apparel
This is narrative as a battleground. Solarpunk as an engine to spin out new futures is designed to self-replicate.
I’ve been distractedly dipping in and out of the free episodes of Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst’s podcast, Interdependence, for a little while but the recent ep with Jay Springett on Solarpunk and cultural fracking was really excellent (and incidentally has convinced me to support their Patreon).
I was particularly grateful for the reminder to finally read Jay’s 2019 Unsound talk, which I’d saved to Instapaper a while ago and promptly forgotten all about (see also 90% of my Instapaper, hence a recent Itemsy switch). His framing of Solarpunk as ‘collective Memetic Engine’ lights me right up (no pun intended) and since I’m basically several years behind, I’ll be actively encouraging all Solarpunk (and related) reading recs while I set about acquiring a window box.
Chalk mark sex of the nation, on walls we drummers
as cathedrals. Cathedra, in a churning meat milk.
Speaking of distracted dipping, I’ve also been very gradually working my way through Elara FM’s Soundcloud archive, and this pair of readings by Amiri Baraka has been a real highlight so far. Listen through to the end for an incredible recording of ‘Against Bourgeois Art’ from when Baraka joined Air for a Cologne radio show in 1982.
While Elena Gorfinkel’s recent call for the obsolescence of the film list (which shook me to my core) must surely apply equally to book lists, I still find myself incredibly drawn towards the sort of end-of-year book round ups that Ignota began last week. It features the sort of dreamy balance of stuff I’ve enjoyed, stuff I want to read, and stuff I’ve not heard of, to fool me into thinking it was produced specifically with me in mind. Already this list led me down several wormholes, not least stemming from Himali Singh Soin’s we are opposite like that.
Real quick, a couple of music highlights of the week to finish: Bombino’s Live in Amsterdam is fucking fire because of course it is, the Danalogue and Alabaster dePlume record is deep and weird and surprising, and Liturgy’s new transcendental black metal opera is predictably epic.
Thank you also to whoever it was who flagged the incredible Amplify 2020, which features a ton of great shit recorded during lockdown, for free. I’ve been listening to and enjoying tracks from Benedict Drew, Sarah Hennies, Rhodri Davies, and Judith Hamann and I have barely begun to scratch the surface. Please let me know your personal faves.