To listen to ZULI’s We Are All Anemic mix is to be confronted by decay. Sliding across an arid terrain, its sounds move, but with a momentum that is staggered, labored. The force of entropy is taking hold. Rough trenches wound its territory, their depths unthinkable. In the air whorl clouds of sonic debris: old computers, satellite parts, strange alloys. Across an hour of sound, we toggle between depth and surface, contemplation and distraction interwoven in noise, bearing witness to a fading geography.
I first listened to ZULI’s mix on a train to Glasgow. In the city, I listened to Denise Ferreira da Silva talk quantum physics and Leibniz’s concept of the plenum. She wondered how we could come to perceive the world otherwise, how we could loosen the constraints of coloniality, its ways of knowing and being. I wondered: could listening — hearing — provide us with a way out? Does sound not move us away from the concept? When we listen to ZULI’s mix, do we need to know? Or can we not simply enter into its moods, inhabit its structures, and leave with our perceptions altered?
In Glasgow, I heard Fred Moten and Nathaniel Mackey talk about debris and decay as a way of getting out from what keeps us under. They wanted an aesthetic of breakage, against wholeness. They want to register history as the sounding of decay, or decay as the sound of history. No smooth lines, but jaggedness, wear and tear.
In From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate, his epistolary novel, whose interlocutor he names “Angel of Dust,” Mackey writes:
Dear Angel of Dust,
I’m enclosing a tape of my latest composition. I call it “Not of Rock, Not of Wood, Not of Earth” and (here you can say you told me so again) I got the inspiration for it from the work of an artist named Petlin who works in pastels. I saw a canvas of his at the house of a friend not too long ago and was instantly struck by how he manages to make texture constitute itself of its own erosion, infuses color with a certain aura of captured ruin. It seemed he’d worked the powderiness of the medium so as to have it collapse into a capacity for infiltration, that a spectral choir of massed incursions chromatically cloaked itself in vows, in conceptual hoods of deprivation. I was surprised to find myself so moved (and moved to music no less), especially in light of my letter to you a few months back. But what I saw to be the tactile or coloristic counterpart of hoarseness proposed a scratchiness of voice, a self-seeding smudge with overtones of erasure as a possible arc along which our music might pass. I tend to pursue resonance rather than resolution, so I glimpsed a stubborn, albeit improbable world whose arrested glimmer elicited slippages of hieratic drift.
Listen to ZULI’s We Are All Anemic mix for us below:
Forces – “Frontiers of Freedom
City & i.o. – “Anxiety Object”
Daniel Ruane – “IV (CF BD)”
Selm – “Nineteen Voices”
xin – “Myopia”
YYYY – “lo que hay detras del miedo”
First Tone – “Reaction 2”
Cy An – “FINALFLIGHT(M)”
Shapednoise – “Moby Dick” ft Drew McDowall & Rabit
SDEM – “Mitherer”
FAKE – “solid scenario”
1127 – “Fragmented. Thought Train”
Emptyset – “Blade”
0N4B – “S7”
Rainer Veil – “Third Sync”
Katsunori Sawa – “Hatsushimo”
The Fully Automatic Model – “Long Forgotten Oxids”
Constant-Pattern Solutions – “A General Situation”
Renick Bell & Fis – “Tchae Eh”
Youthman – “29-300”
Broshuda – “Leg”