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Dionysian Industrial Complex

May 28, 2024 synaesmedia

CPLX21 : Gilbert Lister Research – Mentufacturer chases the Green Fairy

Electronic musician Mentufacturer is currently investigator-in-residence at Gilbert Lister Research, an online micro-laboratory researching melody and music software. (dionysian-industrial-complex.net/cplx20-gilbert-lister-research-micro-laboratory/)

Even before this tenure, he had started exploring melodies and the chord progressions that underlie them, mainly through self-written code in the programming languages Sonic Pi, Haskell and Python. Now at Gilbert Lister this code has been condensed into “GoldenPond”, an open-source library for generating chord progressions.

This embrace of a rather traditional music theory (albeit through unorthodox means) led to sketches in what Mentufacturer began to call the “sepia” genre: modern electronic sounds coupled with a harmonic and melodic language that sounded like a throwback to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For the covers of these sepia releases, he eagerly embraced a visual language of old photographs and Edwardian ladies at the piano, which coupled with the existing Mentufacturer bilious radioactive green and purple colour scheme, began to create a sickly fin de si√®cle vibe to the whole thing.

Now Mentufacturer brings the first batch of Gilbert Lister’s experimental results to Dionysian Industrial Complex, this time drawing visual inspiration from the most extreme version of that end of 19th century decadence: the green fairy herself, who here becomes a metaphor for the overindulgence in melody.

In fact this in an album unhealthily obsessed with melody. Everything else is reduced to a simple formula: a basic beat, usually with crisp TR-808 sample presets, a diatonic chord progression splattered with secondary dominants and other tasty cadences and arranged into bouncy arpeggios generated with Euclidean rhythms from the GoldenPond library.

And then Mentufacturer engineers his melodies over the top, often using bizarre and harsh synthesizers.

It might sound like “video-game music”. And if your only reference for electronic music which is tuneful and not manacled to a dance-floor genre is “video-game” then that analogy might work. But it doesn’t quite capture the feel of these short “etudes” which continually throw up echoes of older styles of music despite their modern DAW-forged sheen.

Another way of thinking about it is as a kind of “hyper-muzak”. As Mentufacturer himself puts it “The better I get at this, the closer it gets to the music they play when I’m waiting in the telephone queue for my bank”.

But this is no smooth jazz. The whole thing has a thudding artificial quality. As befits its mechanistic origins. Nothing is organic or humane. The drums, chords and tune are pounded into the listener with little interest in subtlety of production or arrangement. Nothing to distract from, or soothe, the ear being bludgeoned with sugary-sweet motifs: overwhelmed and devoured by writhing earworms. Everything is clinically artificial and horribly whistle-able.

May 28, 2024 synaesmedia

CPLX20 : Gilbert Lister Research (Micro laboratory)

Dionysian Industrial Complex co-founder, Phil, has, for the last few years, admitted an increasing fascination with, and desire for, melody.

And in his personal musical projects Ovnilounge and, especially, Mentufacturer, he’s striven to experiment with bringing more melodic lines into his existing matrix of dance-inspired beats and electronic noises.

Last year, the germ of an idea formed, around a number of his projects and goals : to give this desire a more formal shape and identity. Hence the foundation of Gilbert Lister Research, a kind of online micro-laboratory simultaneously focused on investigating melody and software innovation in music.

For a while it seemed that this was a quite distinct project from Dionysian Industrial Complex which describes itself as a netlabel of “experimental beauty, devotional noise and techno-shamanism”. But in more recent months the overlap has become more apparent. While much of the D.I.C. output has been experimental noise and drone music without significant melodic content, there have always been some gestures towards tunefulness.

And there’s no reason that any of the label’s values should be antithetical to melody. We strive to create interesting and innovative syntheses of the ancestral and the Avant Garde. And at some point traditional melodic conventions pass beyond everyday banality to become exotic signifiers of an ancient past.

That’s how Phil is rationalizing this, anyway. ūüôā

Gilbert Lister Research‘s approach to melodic music is far from conventional. Mentufacturer, currently the laboratory’s official “investigator in residence”, is more a computer programmer than trained musician. And he, and the laboratory, are focused on learning the traditional language of functional harmony and melodic composition through implementing “GoldenPond”, a code library for generating chord progressions.

To be clear, this is NOT an “AI project” about getting computers to write music. (Although, in 2024 it is already standard to use AI to help write the library’s code) Instead, the focus is on making and testing tools to help computer based musicians to understand and work with music theory. It’s an unusual approach for humans to learn what has been a very human language by appealing to machines for help.

But in this sense Gilbert Lister Research can be seen to be just as much a practice of unifying experimentation with tradition, and futurism with ancestrality, as Dionysian Industrial Complex itself.

Finally there is a dark, science fiction twist at the heart of this project. Gilbert Lister Research is named after the hero of an Arthur C. Clarke short story : “The Ultimate Melody“, who believes that popular tunes are approximations to an ideal melody that synchronizes perfectly with the waves in the human brain. He uses a computer to search for this melody, immediately rendering himself catatonic upon hearing it. It’s ultimately a horror story where melody is the monster.

This is very much the kind of storytelling around music that we like around here, and which is at the heart of the Dionysian Industrial Complex aesthetic.

For all these reasons, we’ve now decided, perhaps perversely, that Gilbert Lister Research, the laboratory itself, should be a “release” on Dionysian Industrial Complex and, as such, be given its own catalogue number. This doesn’t quite make it a sub-label or other subsidiary. Rather it is an offshoot; a peer that has been “spawned” by the D.I.C. community. It will have its own independent existence, participants, goals and projects. But these may sometimes intersect with those of this label.

If you want to know more about Gilbert Lister Research, then visit its site, join the mailing list and start checking out its own products. However Mentufacturer’s first experiments with GoldenPond will soon be released here on D.I.C.

December 9, 2023 synaesmedia

CPLX 19 : Duo42 – Colapsamento #1: For Peace

Two armies prepare and train in secret. Each refining its tactics and strategies. Each forced to second guess the skills and actions of the other.

But all is hypothetical – a cloud of ignorance – until the moment, known only to one side, that an assault is launched and the war begins. All clouds of potential, all quantum uncertainties, the untested plans in the heads and hands of the untested soldiers, finally collapse into a single kinetic reality.

This is the compositional principle of Duo42. Two musicians who have trained and practiced in secret. One, euFraktus_X, in Brasilia. The other, TJ VJuga in Slovakia. (The first musician from that country we welcome to Dionysian Industrial Complex). Each prepares and plans their side of the collaboration independently. Recording, improvising (“comprovising” as VJuga calls it) with nothing but guesswork about the other. It is only at the moment of crisis, of collapse – the moment of live performance, streamed to the world online – that the two sides formally meet, their sonic arsenals are weighed and summed together, and the final reality of the music is crunched from the field of possibilities.

The result of that first encounter is what you hear here.

In 2023, “Collapse” and “Peace” are two words that orbit our minds, like baleful moons throwing crooked shadows. They whirl around our thoughts pulling and pushing all other ideas out of their way. Peace is the absent potential we are forever reaching and hoping for. Collapse is what happens instead.

Collapse is the arrival of a concrete reality. Punctuation. A horrid certainty.

You might, therefore, be surprised on first listening to this EP. There seems neither war nor peace in this music. There is no explosive sonic drama. No rockets or tanks. No screams of fear or hatred or pain. It is not the sound of war. It is, in its own way, “calm”.

But neither is it the sound of peace. This music is restlessly open and uncertain. There is no comfortable arrival at a tonic. No stable framework in which improvisers or listeners can construct their happiness. This is a calm that may be before, after or even in the eye of, the storm. But one that is never ignorant of the storm. A state of ongoing, rolling “alertness”.

The words here may also surprise. Largely drawn from a Derridan idea of “inner duplicity of the text” they are repeated in many voices and many languages. With performances by the daughters of both musicians. Sometimes sweet. Sometimes sinister.

But perhaps we should not be so surprised. Especially if we have spent any time on social media during recent conflicts. War is as much a conflict of narratives. Multiple interpretations of history, that have been prepared, polished and fine-tuned, for years in advance. Until suddenly flung into conflict with each other across the battlefields of social media.

The appearance do Derrida may cause us to speculate. Though this is not the sound of peace, maybe it is the sound of the SPECTRE of peace. The unconditional or ideal of peace which haunts us in war-torn times. The peace we remember with nostalgia and dream of for the future.

Note this EP is simultaneously released on Hevhetia (hevhetia.bandcamp.com/album/colapsamento-1-pela-paz-collapse-1-for-peace) and Dionysian Industrial. The Slovakian version is raw, unmastered. The Dionysian one has been mastered with the help of AI.

July 15, 2022 synaesmedia

CPLX 18 : BSBLOrk – 10 aNos aoVivo / 10 yEars aLive

In the 10 years since its inception as a spin-off from founder and principal programmer Eufrasio Prates’s doctorate research in 2012, the Brasilia Laptop Orquestra has become both a regular institution on the Brasiliense experimental and electronic scene, and an uncompromising and challenging pioneer of new compositional ideas and technologies.

The orchestra itself is a loose, ever changing collective that, over the years, has attracted a variety of musicians – trained and amateur, electronic and acoustic, experimental or just curious and open-minded – to participate in a range of performances and collaborations.

Many of these musicians have appeared under other identities on Dionysian Industrial Complex in recent years. Eufrasio himself has exorcised his heavy metal identity as euFräktus, and collaborated as part of Bioborgs and within a larger supergroup on Enantiodromia.

Nevertheless, it is BSBLOrk that represents and showcases the full extent of Eufrasio’s commitment to an avant-garde strategy: his ambition to push both musicians and audiences beyond the rules and conventions they already know, and to explore new systems of music making.

The first feature of note, BSBLOrk is a live configuration for performance, where each member has their own speaker and is their own source of sound. The totality is mixed “in the air”, with all the acoustic qualities (and sometimes weaknesses) of the performance space; and every listener hears a subtly different version of the event depending on their position relative to the musicians. In some performances the orchestra is scattered throughout or even encircles the public.

This obviously makes preserving and archiving the music a challenge. Until the COVID pandemic obliged BSBLOrk to adapt to a new kind of online performance, most of the recordings were snapshots from specific locations within an acoustic space. Often caught on mobile phones. On some pieces here, you will hear fragments of audience conversation or extraneous noise.

Nevertheless what IS captured, is the essential situated embodiedness of the orchestra. Neither electronic music, nor experimentalism should be taken to imply that this music is an abstract, cerebral exercise, detached from the world. Quite the opposite. BSBLOrk is embedded within the world and embraces all aspects of it fully.

This is particularly clear when considering three concerns that have cut across many works of the orchestra, throughout its 10 year history: physicality, play and political engagement.

The most visible fact of BSBLOrk’s performance is the heavy use of camera as input and control device for its musical software. The players, either sitting or standing, are always in motion in front of their cameras. Whether through subtle hand manoeuvres or grand sweeps of the arm, there is a necessary physicality to performing these tracks. At the same time, Eufrasio’s software, with its fractal and chaotic nature, introduces resistance to the intentions of the players, forcing them to fight against it. The physical world is not so amenable to human attempts to order it, and the instability inherent in the software creates and reveals this physical dynamism in both musician and music. Furthermore, the cameras are often turned on the audience, inviting or pulling in their presence and movement as further input and evidence of the chaos of the world.

This intersects BSBLOrk’s second dimension of concern: playfulness. Many scores are improvised through the enactment of, or ludic desecration of, game rules. In the “Pulses” scores (exemplified on this album with Pulsos Impromptu (2014)), players roll comically large dice to generate a sequence of random numbers that determine microscopic changes of frequency and rhythm in a field of drones and pings. (These dice have been used repeatedly in BSBLOrk’s history, to direct both musicians and collaborating dancers.)

Playfulness is what mediates between rules and rule-breaking in Eufrasio’s work. Every BSBLOrk score starts with some kind of rule-system. But often spontaneous opportunities to subvert those same rules are enthusiastically seized upon. In fact, the release of this album on Dionysian Industrial Complex, is itself a subversion. To the extent that DIC has “rules”, it is that the music should be “composed” and “chosen” rather than a mere record of an improvisation. And yet, here we are with an album that is, in essence, a record of improvisations.

The final dimension of BSBLOrk’s embrace of the world, is a political and social engagement: its music ranges from political satire, through environmental lament and on to eschatological role-play and theatre. This music is intended to mean something beyond the mere pleasures and pains of the listening experience.

Again, the ludic sensibility is invoked to mediate between apparent opposites and sometimes to make horrors almost bearable. From the first track in this compilation, which was once performed live in a squatter camp of the MTST homeless workers movement, where children danced joyfully in front of the cameras, delighted at the absurd noise they created (the version here is different); to the final track, where the musicians are engaged in a fictional game of Mutually Assured Destruction, hurling virtual nuclear missiles at each other. The voices of politicians are transmuted into insects on Insetos Impromptu #4. On the Impromptu Lis Marina, accompanying the installation of the artist of the same name, musicians role-playing branches of dysfunctional government, wheel and deal, and even encourage the audience to bribe them to change their musical policies. In 2020, when the world obsessed with Covid-19, BSBLOrk sought to find beauty in converting its newly sequenced DNA to MIDI

In other words, BSBLOrk’s music is never comfortable or easy. It is always ABOUT something real. And reality can be both ugly and beautiful. BSBLOrk’s music is unpredictable and uncontrollable by design. It rejects and insults musical conventions. (In Holofractal Impromptu #20, performed at the Understanding Visual Music conference, trumpeter Ricardo Borgman is thrown into one-man battle against an array of randomized samples of classical music) Even its own members are sometimes frustrated by Eufrasio’s stern refusal of anything resembling rhythm and melody.

But it continually throws down a challenge to its own members and the wider experimental music community. Demanding we resist the temptation to do what is easy or predictable. BSBLOrk shows that you can have the courage to continue to explore beyond the frontiers, that you can embrace both rules and rule-breaking, and investigate new kinds of order and new kinds of chaos, and ultimately find extraordinary sonic worlds there. Which are also your own world, heard in a new way.

This album, which has appeared in appropriate physical CD format thanks to the encouragement and support of Bryan Day’s Public Eyesore records is a welcome documentation and celebration of BSBLOrk’s first 10 years. It reminds us of what the orchestra has achieved so far, but also gives us a tiny glimpse of possibilities waiting to be explored in the next 10.

January 12, 2021 synaesmedia

CPLX 16 : The City and the Gallery

A playlist, originally for the Museu Nacional da Rep√ļblica in Brasilia, selected in mid 2020 by the artist / curator : Gisel Carriconde Azevedo.

It’s list of artists who all have connections with the Brasilia electronic scene. Including several artists who have released on, or are friends of, this label

The theme of the mix is a journey from the city into the gallery and back. From a space of urban noise, bustle and excitement, to a space of quieter contemplation, though not one which is entirely safe or comfortable, as it is haunted with our own social and psychological demons. Nevertheless, the gallery provides space away from the distractions of the city, for deeper, more spiritual or just broader, longer-term considerations.

MixCloud

Download

Tracklist :

  • J4ck Sh4rk – I Am Becoming The Worst I Can Be
  • Meduna – Prezata
  • Victor Valentim – Cinco
  • Ghales – Confetti Glyphs
  • Mentufacturer – A Piano Theme
  • Krispim – Cristal Molecule
  • Kurup – Bit Sil√™ncio
  • mymk – Red Oak Hologram
  • Phillip H√§xan – Lines
  • YPU, Palamar – Ansiedade
  • REC, Kino Lopes – Kapiroto, Pt 2
  • Dione Bigode – Rodent Love for Vintage Processed Trees
April 21, 2020 synaesmedia

CPLX 15 : Ghales / K-Torrent / euFraktus X – Enantiodromia

In late 2019, a group of Brasiliense musicians – including members of the Brasilia Laptop Orchestra (BSBLOrk) and Nomade Lab – were invited by the Alfinete Gallery to improvise a dialogue with an installation by Milton Marques.

The work consisted of a motorized disk, coated with loose plaster powder. As the disk rotated, it was ploughed and furrowed by a fixed metal hook pressed into its surface. At the opposite side of the disk, the broken surface was smoothed again by a heavy pad pressing on it; weighed down with bullets.

Hence the disk was a microcosm of an eternal cycle of disrupted and re-established order. Of creation and destruction. Of “enantiodromia”, things turning into their opposites.

As the disk rotated, the side of the disk undergoing destruction was closely filmed, with the image projected to fill one of the gallery walls. And so the microcosm of ongoing destruction was amplified to an apparently tectonic scale, becoming a vision of never-ending earthquakes or glacial collapse.

While this was largely an improvised piece, to structure the performance, two of the musicians were invited to “compose” two main halves or movements, by defining some specific instructions and material for the rest of the musicians to work with.

These two main movements or “balancing forces” were composed by Ghales (Torque) and euFraktus X (KronUs). With sound-artist K-Torrent invited to add new sounds from an affected and distorted violin, over the transition between the two.

Finally, the musicians were encouraged to return from the second movement to elements of the first in the final “coda” (here labelled Momentum), in which the piece “wraps around” to the beginning again.

The result, captured and lightly edited and remixed is, in many ways “epic”. Although it is also a confusion. A hotch-potch of ideas and styles in which we do, indeed, hear a world in constant motion and undergoing creative destruction. A juxtaposition of human and abstract. The organic and electronic. Political and geological. Melodic fragments and noise.

Ghales starts Torque with the introduction of Leandro Columbi reading found texts through his home-made effects rig, transforming the human through a catastrophe of stuttering, phasing, ring-mod and pitch-bend. Leandro’s vocal improvisations are sometimes intelligible, sometimes gibberish, and sometimes they turn into birdlike-whistling, or swoop down to low groans and bored muttering.

Meanwhile Ghales and djalgoritmo start to bring in LiveCoded percussion. A sequence of hollow synthetic clay pots which seem to be continually tripping over themselves ineptly, and thus fail to establish any kind of pulse.

Jackson Marinho enters with his custom made interfaces : modified meat-grinder and kalimba.

And gradually Ghales and djalgoritmo manage to bring the chaos into some kind of order by stacking up further percussive lines, introducing echoey bell-like riffs. And hosing them in a slurry of kicks and splashing cymbals. Until a rapid rumbling bass begins to dominate under jagged slashes of noise, and the world becomes a mutant honky-tonk and a stairway of rising brightly stabbing digital chords.

The other musicians are still playing as K-Torrent’s broken and effected violin enters. Signalling a transition between the movements.

From some indeterminate location, the voice of a Brasilian television presenter intrudes, calmly reporting on political turmoils and upheavals. And yet, as Leandro’s voice takes up the chant of “Irresponsibility” with a voice full of ennui, a background of drones and high-pitched whistles, gives the political coup against the presidency of Dilma Rousseff a hypnogogic, hallucinatory quality. As though it might all be just a bad dream.

In the aftermath of the transition, eufraktus X’s KronUs slides in with a poignant drone. Sucking, scribbling, rounded hushing torrents of melt-water. Leandro’s bird-whistles flit over a landscape of geological cracks and fractures, a dissolving glacier. A hiss of noise. Squeels and synth-tones rise and fall. But the cracks and pops become clearer as the sound of gunshots. Is this a war-zone? A nightly shoot-out in the favela? In Marques’s spinning discworld, the pad which smooths the disrupted surface is weighted with bullets. Does violence bring order then?

If Marques wants to imply this, the musicians seem to be disagreeing. As the notional calm starts to break up with the gunfire … the sounds become agitated. The bird-whistle becomes more frantic. Jets of doppler velocity fly overhead. Bombs go off. Lasers. The meat-grinder is in action. Leandro moans like a zombie horde. And we realize that this is hell. One of the danker circles of Dante’s inferno. Where a decrepit bell is clanking.

Time is inexorably winding down in a funereal dirge. And the glacial ice is melting. Entropy takes effect, sound is turning into white noise.

On the projected screen, the powdered earth continues its eternal crumbling collapse.

You can never step in the same earthquake twice.

And yet … euFraktus X’s score asks the other players to improvise around the cyclic nature of history. The pendulum will swing back from the dark period we are in. The political shadows will be dispelled by the light.[1]

euFraktus calls in a child, five year old Myrrha Morcelli, to interact with the cameras that control his musical software, bringing a playful energy of to the cacophany. The sounds of hell rearrange into a lighter, burbling dance. Is that a clarinet practising its scales? Are the gunshots really revolutionary fireworks?

Now Leandro’s incantations pick up pace. New rivulets of fresh warp-sound are finding their way out from the cracks. Leandro is stuttered and looped. And this builds energy. Even the clinking bells pick up speed. Riverrun. We are heading back to the beginning.

[1] This recording was made in the political despair of late 2019, before the great nightmare of COVID19 had exploded into the world. But we may choose to take a similar message of hope from KronUs. The disease year may be harsh, but we will eventually come through it.

Musicians

  • Ghales
  • Leandro
  • djalgoritmo
  • Jackson Marinho
  • K-Torrent
  • Mentufacturer
  • euFraktus X
  • Myrrha Morcelli
March 29, 2020 synaesmedia

CPLX 14 : Lionuki РO Único Caminho é a Frente

Maybe it was inevitable that Dionysian Industrial Complex would be offered, and enthusiastically accept, a vaporwave concept album about Posadists: the extreme Trotskyite sect turned internet meme factory, notorious for their belief in Communist UFOs, the necessity of nuclear war, weightless birth research and human-dolphin communication.

Vaporwave, and its cosy but uncanny British cousin, “hauntology” are genres that arise from a matrix of technological factors: laptops with DAWs and cheap sampling, the rich memeosphere of social media, the geological accretion of layers of recorded musical history available for plundering. And a new wave of musicians ready to engage it.

But how might this confluence of forces play out in Brazil? In 2019, “nostalgia” was perhaps a dangerous and ambiguous material to work with. The country had succumbed to the late 2010s wave of right-wing populism, social media fuelled division and historical revisionism. The government openly praises the last military dictatorship, and overtly threatens would-be opponents and protesters with a return of AI-5, the dictatorship’s decree that illegalized effective political opposition.

Lionuki‘s “O √önico Caminho √Č A Frente” gives us a glimpse of the artistic outcome of the techno-cultural milieu grappling with the pessimism of contemporary politics. It calls up the memories of a guerilla revolutionary movement that hardly was, but which has since been reinvented as a cypher for the meme age. Posadism gives old-skool communism a cute new-agey makeover. A technicolour dream of flying saucers and dolphin comrades; a messianic leader who is half Che Guevara, half John Lilly; an ultimate rapture of ETs flying down to save us from capital.

At a time where it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, it is perhaps easier to embrace a communism of jokey memes about nuclear apocalypse than to confront the challenge of building a more serious left-wing consciousness among a fractured and casualized workforce and toxic identity politics. And this may be the greatest pessimism of all. But in an age when the alt.right march under the banner of Pepe, the Frog and embrace the flat-earth, maybe politics is doomed to become a game between story-tellers, vying to produce the most outrageously compelling fictions? To quote Robert Anton Wilson: “The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill.”

All of which is very intellectually stimulating and entertaining to think about. But how does the music sound?

Fortunately, the most striking thing is that O √önico Caminho √Č A Frente (“The only way is forward”) is just sonically good fun. Jolly housey beats. Lovely melodic touches. Dubbed out samples of traditional Brazilian music. Its musical touch-point is the 90s dawn of electronic dance culture. Invoking one of those early free-ranging ambient / techno DJ voyages by the likes of The Future Sound of London, The Orb or Coldcut. At times it invokes Amorphous Androgynous’s Tales of Ephidrina, FSOL’s Lifeforms or The KLF’s Chill Out. With an extra layer of vaporous reverb.

This is an album of strong nostalgia for the techno-optimism of that era, from people who were too young to be there.

But it’s also knowingly contemporary. There’s lurking tragic knowledge that the hyperactive day-glo optimism of this lost era was doomed to fade. Everything here is sunset colours. Rosy pinks, oranges and aquamarine and sapphire blues.

Everything here reminds you of something else. Everything here IS something else. There’s a nonchalantly omniverous anthropophagy, as Lionuki casually stir Brazilian folk music and Anime soundtracks into their pot. There are sinister whispers and bursts of rockier riffs and bass grooves on “dias impossiveis šĹôś≥Ę”. The gorgeous “eeeee ee eee”, plunges us into communion with the dolphins through erotically vocoded murmurs and rubbery 303 bass which are then topped with twinkling Rhodes-like arpeggios until a sudden orgasm of synth sweep, ushers in a drum’n’bassish beat that might have starred on Plaid’s Double Figure.

“estranhos” is a come-down, cascades of downward scales, which quickly picks itself back up again on an awkward skittering railroad of FM bass. Before falling through bitcrushed and wah-wahed clouds into the intense pulse of “protetores da poeira estelar” (stardust protectors) that is quickly invaded by a disintegrating forro singer.

And we collapse into the final, grim denouement of our journey. The irony drenched “completa felicidade”, a sound track of waiting for the nuclear bombs to fall as the album collapses and this wild ride in the time-machine fuelled by regret hits its desperate end.

March 21, 2020 synaesmedia

CPLX 13 : Mentufacturer featuring Biophillick РSerpiente Neón

Mentufacturer describes himself as “an industrial kid who grew up to admit his love for melodic mantras”. When not working behind the scenes as one of Dionysian Industrial Complex’s founders / curators, he tries to make good on that claim with a series of quirky EPs that combine clattery and cluttered percussion with yearning melodic riffs played on cheap synth plugins.

But in this single, a collaboration with shamanic singer Biophillick, he sets his sights on the chill or glo-pop sound of the early 2010s. It’s a hazy and lazy affair in the vein of “Work Drugs” or “Neon Indian”. A sound that is sun-glare on sea and saturated beach colours.

Or at least, that’s where you feel Mentufacturer wants to take it. But strange moves keep disturbing the reverie. An aggressive pummeling battery of distorted kicks marks the end of each hyper-measure, like a beach bully kicking over the sand-castles. A sudden screeching tape-stop ruptures the vibe to announce a big echoey bass that might well have come from early 80s post-punk. The trappish snare-claps are just a bit too crisp for the impressionistic scene. Biophillick’s languidly murmuring, slightly androidified vocals, in celebration of hot light and the neon serpent of a thousand colours, help to re-establish the glo-wave feel. But it remains just slightly too robotic. The audio-equivalent of Biophillick’s visual art : an intense electric neon take on the succulent colours of nature.

See also Biophillick’s video for this track on Instagram.

November 7, 2019 synaesmedia

CPLX 12 : Tiwanaku Tekno – Gate of the Sun

Some EPs require years of research and development, careful refinement and revision. Respectful analysis and improvement.

This EP is not one of them.

Banged out quickly over a weekend, after Tiwanaku Tekno had spent a couple of days blagging samples of pre-hispanic instruments off of random YouTube videos for another project, Gate of the Sun is not an authentic piece of ethnomusicological research.

In fact it is nothing but good old-fashioned TECHNO. Minimalist and raw. Just a jam with a drum machine. Searchin’ for a groove with a handful of samples.

Nevertheless, there is respect here. And admiration for, and love of the sonority of these instruments. Tiwanaku Tekno cheerfully mixes samples of Aztec Jaguar whistles with Peruvian water-jugs with rattles and shakers and rain-sticks and a bunch of off-the-shelf samples from the “ethnic” category. But resists temptation to treat them as mere decoration to a more conventional electronic music. These drums, even in their crappy lo-fi sample format, rule in this world. As do the flutes and whistles whose tonalities and harmonics dominate once they take over, with no concession to more conventional (or European) harmonic or melodic structure.

The result is compellingly trashy. The kitsch exotica of new-agey “native” music, structured by the austere mechanical simplicity of techno. It’s everything you fear it might be, but also something you could potentially love.

This album uses samples, without permission, but with the utmost respect and gratitude, from the following videos :

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYvjyNGbqn8 ,

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYOcJDxASag ,

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBU_jPYgSA,

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjVXWImbWnE

September 11, 2019 synaesmedia

CPLX 11 : euFräktus / biophillick / djalgoritmo Р}bio{borgs

The rational world dissolves into a chaotic soup of fakeness and disinformation. Surveillance is freedom. Conspiracy is knowledege. And politics is the plaything of “hyperleaders” : anarchic outsiders, who paradoxically leverage social media blitzkrieg into authoritarian power.

Artists turn to dystopian science fiction for, maybe solace, maybe a vocabulary to express their horror and bewilderment at the present-shock we hurtle through.

A new arrival to the Dionysian Industrial Complex is djalgoritmo, a live-coder working exclusively in Tidal Cycles, the state of the art music programming language hybrid of Haskell and SuperCollider. His beats are a glitched texture of hissing, deep throated gurgles, fluttering clatter and spectral choirs, punctuated by stabs of synth bass and 808s.

On this epic EP he tells a dark story in collaboration with established Dionysian Industrial artists Biophillick and euFräktus, The trio explore a nightmare world bricolaged from the exploded fragments of dark science fiction movies.

Biophillick, the “real” Biophillick, is a techno-shaman channelling the cosmic forces of nature. But what is a shaman to do when trapped in the bowels of Metropolis? In the torture chambers beneath Airstrip One, in the aftermath of yet another World War Terminus? This Biophillick, the Biophillick of }bio{borgs, wanders through an underworld of electric sheep, where Furbies and Pokemon must substitute for true animal familiars and Anchimayen. Indeed, we struggle to determine whether this “Biophillick”, his lyrics a free-associated thoughtstream of unravelling techno-babble, might not himself be a failing replicant.

Meanwhile, euFräktus, picks up a sitar, like a reanimated George Harrison, and is transmogrified and transubstantiated. He ascendeds to become cosmic drone, a black Om-sound, drenching the ruins with background radiation.

djalgoritmo’s beats become distorted, birdlike whoops and drums pulverized by reverb. Biophillick stops to converse with an atomic beetle, in all its Kafkaesque helplessness. A conversational sound-world of rasps and clicks and thunder and bursts of static. Overdubbed with Bio’s fat laments.

But is Bio engaging with nature? Or wantonly pulling the wings off another artificial lifeform?

A Nexus 6, tripping on melange, in the pursuit of “more life”, finds himself in a spice trance. Now the sitar becomes more driving. A riffing protagonist. Locking with djalgoritmo’s accelerating, half-dancing, half-military, beats, into a travelling groove. A cosmic escalator or space elevator lifting Bio on a last journey. Escape velocity from this flattened Earth to a wider universe, accompanied by Furby’s warbling and trilling song.

Away, beyond the Heaviside Layer. To Arrakis. To join djalgoritmo and euFr√§ktus’s nomad war-machine in clairvoyant jihad against the drug-lords and trolls of social media. Bio becomes messiah. One day, he will return.