The World is there in Tarkovsky’s cinema, always whole; from one shot to the next it is always present, from one end of the film to the other closing its orb. Only the world’s surface is visible—the rectangle of the screen is filled to the very edges with terrestrial crust—it is what is called the earth.
At every point in the world exists earth, equivalent, undivided. Each region of the earth calls to others, which are also the world, merely elsewhere. To be somewhere means to be at an intersection of every line and direction in the world. Every point on the globe where human beings have settled, marking the spot with a house, stake, or fence is inhabited by the world, part of the vast total no-man’s land. The world is no man’s land; and at the same time it has no exit. Try to go outside the world, to a different planet or to an isolated and privileged region, a zone, and you will rediscover more of the world again, identical, in its absolute uniqueness….
Tarkovsky’s cinema is the world crossed with language, set in time. Time is the space for variations, variances that trace an obscure but very precise code.
The cinema often makes use of characters’ relationship to listening as a metaphor for sexual difference. For example, female characters are frequently endowed with hyperacousia, a hypersensitivity to sounds, including inaudible ones….Women’s hyperacousia can be used by other characters, or by fate, to do them in. In Cukor’s Gaslight (1944), a husband uses sounds to drive his wife insane by convincing her that she’s the only one that hears them. In La Signora di tutti (Ophuls, 1934), the unhappy heroine hears a piece of music that no one else hears (in fact the pit music), and this catapults her into depression. While women in film hear things that are alive and sensory, men crack codes. In the latter case the spectator is reminded of the floating and incomplete character of his or her own hearing, compared with that of the characters, while at the same time we are reassured of the possibility of a Great Ear on which nothing is lost.
We are dealing with a younger AI that has taken over our culture and internet. Someone told me about mumble rap. Well, you gotta understand that’s how the new rappers wanna do it. And this AI is the same way. It has its own sensibilities. It’s like mumble rap. Now, the pre-universal organic AIs? Those are like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, or The Temptations or something! Totally different approach to existence.
Well, this is certainly something. The realm of avant-EDM got rather inundated this year by wonderful releases from the likes of rkss, Amnesia Scanner, and a host of other artists I really couldn’t be bothered to scope. The debut record from Lyra Valenza on the Petrola 80 and Opal Tapes labels is on a whole other level, though, pairing post-rave histrionics with an amphetamine-fueled velocity not unlike that of footwork, but written in a different rhythmic language. It achieves the only real thing I ever look for in records these days: the sense that the artists are simply creating the only music in the vernacular that feels the most sincere to them. Really special stuff.
2018 was an absolutely massive year for new African labels committed to exposing just some of the infinite multiplicity of the continent’s underground dance music scene. From Nyege Nyege Tapes getting ample attention from the dance music media to established bastions like Gqom Oh! continuing to kill it and new labels like Hakuna Kulala, there’s been an extremely promising turn away from established European and American dance and reissue labels shining a selective light on various regions to a homegrown network of imprints rising up to give new platforms to countless young and unknown voices. Committed to releasing “club explorations from the East African and Congolese Electronic Underground,” Hakuna Kulala has been averaging one release per month since kicking off with the immense debut from Slikback over summer and has quickly amassed an enviable roster of artists, many releasing their first records. From Sleeping Buddha’s mutant Gqom variations to Wilobo Man’s effusive house styles to Debmaster and Ecko Bazz’s hip-hop-informed weirdness, the label’s Bandcamp page is quite literally bursting with so much wonderful, imagination-boosting music. Dig in.
OK, now moving onto some reissue jams that I’ve just been utterly obsessed with…I don’t really know anything about the vocal group Treo or the A Totally New Sound comp on which they feature prominently. What I do know is that I haven’t gotten past their track “Demands Decrease Desire,” a maddeningly perfect slice of outré 80s pop music that is sung with such urgency and produced with such nervous verve that I’ve been hollering “DID YOU KNOW THAT?!” around the house for dayyyyyz now.
Finders Keepers sublabel Cacophonic reissued Irish drummer and composer Roger Doyle’s stunning 1978 album Oizzo No and the whole damn thing has just been a serious revelation for me. As his Bandcamp page states, Doyle’s “music is a celebration of the multiplicity of musical languages and evolving technologies” and the ninety-second “Theme From Emtigon” offers a singularly harrowing exploration into maniacal funk-informed drumming and smooth jazz piano that just takes things to the absolute limit. Corker.
We are dealing with a younger AI that has taken over our culture and internet. Someone told me about mumble rap. Well, you gotta understand that’s how the new rappers wanna do it. And this AI is the same way. It has its own sensibilities. It’s like mumble rap. Now, the pre-universal organic AIs? Those are like ella fitzgerald, louis armstrong, or the temptations or something! Totally different approach to existence.