“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Every Trick in the Book

Dance is the default art. Everything is made of it. And I got almost all my eco ideas from being in the techno scene from 1988 to now, so listen up hahaha: 

If you haven't tried MDMA, this tune pretty much embodies the initial sensation--especially if you've taken slightly too much or you're taking some more slightly too soon  :)))))

I was at all the places in London in the late 80s and early 90s where everyone like Goldie and Bukem showed up and invented drum and bass. Makoto is doing this here, but also, he's pulling every trick I've ever heard of to make A Good Dance Tune in any techno format whatsoever. And he's gone and bloody used them in exactly the right amounts, in exactly the right places. To wit, in no particular order:

Double time (or even triple). You can dance to this very slow. Nothing like dancing slow motion in a welter. 

In particular, that delicious moment at which the bassline appears to be suspended above the tune, like bells, before we dive back in. That's just too confident, isn't it haha

The introduction of a second riff that is slower than the first one, and inverts. 

The sicky, detuned modulation down a tone for four bars, then back up. Serious MDMA imitation thing there. House music hugely favors bitonality, often by accident, for this reason. 

The sicky in general main tune on whatever non-percussive keyboard sound that is. Modulated. Too much bliss, you're about to throw up unless you figure out a way to channel it out of your body. 

The use of that "I'm turning a key in a clockwork toy, I'm winding this up and soon..."

The initial sinister "alert, alert, something is coming..." sound. Warning: Emergency Exit. You Will Activate Pleasure Alarm. 

The gentle versus brutal. The chords versus the rhythm. 

That, coupled with the "this record is malfunctioning, a riff is stuck" on the high Rhodes piano-like minor third oscillation. 

Alarms are always always good. I remember outside Trip in central London, the police turned on the sirens and we just danced to them. 

The way the voice is a siren, or either, or neither. And the way in the end it's gated to the cymbals. 

The This is just a bouncy piano riff or is it the Mothership descending above Devil's Tower

The major/minor oscillation, the feeling of This is demonic intense...or is this beatific intense, that ambiguity. 

The suspension, the fact that in general the rocking back and forth doesn't resolve ever, and the endless pedal points, not just one but maybe three at times, in the treble, and the reinforced bass. 

The one and only sudden stop of the brutal drums. 

The reverb: on the one hand, we're in a very small room; on the other hand, we have just pushed out of orbit and look, there's the hyperspace tunnel opening. 

Makoto's colleague Mr. Wheeler, who is said to be collaborating, but you can't hear him sing or speak, you only hear his voice going "huh" in the way you do when you're slightly impressed by something slightly unexpected, "curioser and curioser" as Alice would say, this "huh" being placed almost inaudibly during gigantic tsunamis of tune. Thus imparting a feeling of "This gentleman is so deeply interwoven in the music that he doesn't need to stick his ego out, he's got a nerdy trip master intellectual vibe that is frankly very sexy because he is in fact In Charge, but of what? Just the 'record and observe' kind that you are reduced to when you're sliding down a wormhole at superluminal speeds." "Fancy that, this is a fucking belter masterpiece." The dandy approach. It's the end of the world but I'm going to be so polite and wear the best suit. James Bond. 

Did I miss anything out LOLOL


John said...

best build & most joyful Makoto vibes since Golden Girl

Josh Whipkey said...

I'm a painter, so a proclamation that dance is the default art - that everything is made of it - is challenging. I'm wondering if painting, or any art form that is not dance, violates your philosophy of overcoming "nature".

I've recently discovered Clayton Eshelman's Juniper Fuse, and his idea that "the fall" happened in the caves during the Upper Paleolithic, and though he does not isolate the imagery on the cave walls, he certainly gives them some credit for acting as a catalyst - or, at least, one of the terms of a dialectical movement... the "push" away from being-animal toward being-human.

I think Eshleman's ideas add ballast to your philosophy of ecology without nature. I wonder, though... what do we do with all the broken hammers? I make broken hammers. I make as many as I can, and they help me cope. Is ecology without nature recognizing broken hammers for what they are, or is it an attempt to rid ourselves of the need for them?

MDMA, in the brain of someone with weapons-grade anxiety, produces an extraordinary calming effect. I could imagine being completely chill and introspective as the apocalypse unfolded before me. The "hangover", however, is a low like no other. Too risky, and even the "memory" - listening to Makoto-Osiris, for example - takes me to the place that overlooks the void. A place with no Other, perhaps, but a place with potentially no me, as well. I lack the upgrade to deal with that sort of thing directly.

I had a very positive experience with the band Gojira, and the song We Were Made for One Thing on their latest album Fortitude. I'm not a metalhead, but every so often I hear a metal tune that has a SSRI effect in my brain which makes me much more chill in the face of the apocalypse, but not so chill as to not care, anymore. The only hangover is the sound of my heartbeat. The default drum/bass?

I enjoy your analyses of music. Your thoughts on Pink Floyd and The Cure have been especially thought-provoking. I've been listening to both those bands for as long as I've been listening to music.