Music is a trick of irrationality. Patterns and code identified via contextual acuity in a framework of emotionality; human error.
Stine Janvin’s latest album (and his debut for the venerable PAN label) Fake Synthetic Music is audio designed with a schema of deprograming and of abusing such neural confusions. Reorientation down the pathways of spartan discipline; sensory formatting.
“The concept was created to present a full-body physical and ambient experience with the frequency range of her voice… Janvin works with the extensive flexibility of her instrument of the voice, and the ways in which it can be disconnected from its natural, human connotations.” See? Calculated.
Fake Synthetic Music releases digitally on PAN today (October 12) and on 2xLP in November. Order it here and watch a music video directed by Erik Ferguson (Rihanna, St. Vincent) below. Read the tracklisting down there, as well. In fact: do it all (and don’t stop) to engage in the bliss of the oblique.
Fake Synthetic Music tracklisting:
04. Like Right Now
05. Like Last Night
06. Tripple A
08. Lean In
09. Zen Garden
THE ONLY POSSIBLE RELATIONSHIP TO AESTHETICS TODAY IS A CRIMINAL ONE — a bad reproduction, a sniveling simulacrum, an amnesia scan of Moten & Harney
AS as simile,
as device of commensuration and comparison,
as simulation and symmetriba
as appropriation and extraction,
as the imprimatur of reproducibility and the material amnesia it extorts,
as another life inscribed as palimpsest onto a referent — a referent gone A.W.O.L.,
as the representational forfeiture of facelessness,
as the daemonic choreography of embodied discipline,
as the chain harnessing facticity to the world as picture and its schematic stigmata,
as the securitazation of the unrecuperable and unlicensed,
as the carcerality of the unilinear,
as that which — militarized and lumbering — 0domesticates the chaos,
as the foreclosure and criminalization of the vestibular (the outdoors and the rewild),
as the rerouting of the submerged into the spectacult,
as the conquest circle of sticky grammars,
as speech gone too wrong.
Another Life sounds like (or as) a lot of things: festival EDM, warehouse raves, Garden of Delete, Chino Amobi’s more abrasive work, happy hardcore. And that’s the point, at least I think. Matching Amnesia Scanner’s own maddening methodology, I will proceed with an extended simile of my own.
Like (or as) the bad faith bad politics bad joke matrix that is Wolf Eyes’s John Olson’s Instagram account @inzane_johnny, Amnesia Scanner unapologetically crib, jockey, falsify: to aesthetics they steal, and there they steal and steal. Siphoning the affective resonances and cultural capital invested in the cachet consolidated and brandished by dressing like you make records for Posh Isolation or posting about dumping Trumpf or hating the Grateful Dead and compressing a freighted web of attachments and intensities into a fixed set of fungible formats of enunciation and reference, inzane_johnny has managed to sear an overexposed and deadening blue filter into a certain optical unconscious.
At stake in inzane_johnny’s popularity and relatability is not just representation or tastemaking or anti-virtue-signaling virtue signaling, but a way of seeing whose blue grain and resolution obliteration make sound, speech, and conduct into a deviant art of exchange value circulating along the perverse circuits of digital labor as a technology of the self (the self to whom I cling when minimum wage is intolerable and I cannot see my coworkers as anything but normies and my dissatisfaction congeals around a sardonic syntax of disidentification and disavowal). But if a hermeneutic of generosity go under erasure in inzane_johnny’s flattening and flagellating similes, what emerges out of the margins is a possibility of identification and interaction developing into a wry consensus, a sniggering assembly of sympathies: another life irreducible to the vice of the scroll or the fungibility of the aestheticizable.
Emerging out of the rote grammars of disavowal and exchange in inzane_johnny’s visual output is a proprioceptive poetics of use value, of utility and phenomenon, of the haptic and the intramural that scribble off the platform and into hands, mouths, arms, chests, esophagi. The radical underbelly of the disaffected antipathy of inzane_johnny’s plunderoptic blue materializes in the belly laugh shared among friends, conspirators, relations. To cling to this anatomical metaphor, the butt of the jokes become the atomized and aggrieved ego whose extractive gaze authorizes and conducts the bitter ironization of everything. So glad I grew up doing this, not this; displeased Drake, approving Drake; chain punk, egg punk; the Venn diagram: the very mechanisms of commensuration and evaluation, in their insufferable pretension and presumption, their mythos of masculine ratiocination and equanimity, their violent regime of why can’t you take a joke?, their panoptic distancing, default when incessant repetition and reproducibility reveal the absolute unoriginality and imagined persecution motivating their invocations. The rapacity of their primitive accumulation, plundering affect and community into the exchangeability of aesthetics, flickers through the cool Clarendon rendering unattributed to whoever submitted the image in the first place.
What is subversive about inzane_johnny is not the account’s penchant for satirizing extremely niche subgenres or skewering Morrissey, but the criminal orientation it asserts to be the only possible ethical relation to aesthetics. In the ludic hands of inzane_johnny, similes swivel and denature: a decomposing, overexposed photo of John Mayer is inscribed with “GERRY [sic] GARCIA” in big block letters; a photo of Brett Kavanaugh with “SWANS.” Mechanisms of equation and equivocation stutter and stumble and crumble on inzane_johnny, corrupting the very authority to make comparison, to devalue, to distance. The tenor and the vehicle of each simile split asunder, snarling, snickering, delinquent.
Like (or as) inzane_johnny, Amnesia Scanner terrorize the simile. Another Life, chameleonic as it is demonic, aggregates its influences and kaleidoscopes them into earworming shards of electronic puncta, a diabolical mimesis whose loathsome grin belies its functionality as dance music. Under the dissimulating surface of accelerationist avant-gardism — the simulation of the simile — Amnesia Scanner carefully construct a somatically accessible sonics whose basic though intricately intercalating rhythm schemes tessellate through the contrapuntal harmonies of the distorted voices squeaking and shrieking and earsplitting all over the place. Rather than articulating a disavowing disidentification with the mainstream, Amnesia Scanner telescope the ironic distance of experimental music into a functional invitation to dance, to channel the molecular movement of sound into the cellular movement of dance. “AS Chaos” is like four notes arpeggiating over each other in a giddy pirouette. In an economy of movement, it’s — quite simply — useful (credit to Jessie for suggesting this idea of use). “AS Faceless” offers one of the most straightforward proposals on the record, its tremendous tremolo churning out marching orders with a galvanizing kick. “AS Unilinear’s” four-note minor key melody, cut out or muffled for most of the song’s Transylvanian tension, likewise condenses both its instruments (each note sounds a myriad of overlapping overtones) and its rhythm into a distillation of jacked up use value. “AS Another Life” swings across the poles of the stereo, its explosive hits and breaks torching the possibility of passive listening in its incendiary unfixability, its literal bounce across its sites of enunciation.
Vituperating the pomposity of simile and its authorizations, Amnesia Scanner suture and huddle, practicing an ethics of hapticity and proximity, of embodiment and conjugality ungovernable by the logics of comparison. The amnesia scan they enact derides the unfuckability of irony and catalyzes the saturnalia — the chaos — of identification and cohabitation. Rewilding the horizon of experimental electronic music, Another Life stages a coming-together that stays unmappable, unfuckwittable, fugitive. All around you, it’s just chaos: the intimacy of criminality collapses hamstrung armcrossing into arms strung and slung and hamstrings flung. Principles of taste divided into the undefined: Another Life exhumes the remaindered intensities uncaptured by the catastrophe of aesthetics and gorges us on them.
To end where Another Life begins, “AS Symetriba” sounds almost like the pixelated sound emanating from that notorious video of cyber goths dancing under a bridge, their tassels twirling over the neon gas masks and jet-black goatees. The devious gesture Amnesia Scanner are making in this sonic contiguity here — and more generally throughout Another Life — is a wry one, at least as old as Duchamp: a mockery of authorship and a robbery of the value that it conducts between concept and object.
But this is a shitty simile — and Amnesia Scanner know it. While Duchamp’s toilet stood on a pedestal in a gallery unused and unusable, Amnesia Scanner’s toilet invites us to dance like those goths and their fingerless gloves, invites us to use it, invites us to shit in it. If the art kids with the bowl cuts and the dangly earrings don’t want to let loose when the beat explodes into clattering syncopation and flanged exuberance, then let them keep their distance, let them hold it in, let them shit their pants while the toilet bowl gleams right in front of them.
Butterflies take for-fucking-ever to be born, if you really think about it. That’s metamorphosis, man — one day, you’re this fat little worm guy with like 30 stubby appendages crawling along on a leaf that you’re probably also eating, then you’re instinctively walling yourself up into a little slimy egg thing, and finally you re-emerge in your true form: beautiful, wings slick with goo, relatively lanky.
You know what I always say about musicians &mdsah; they’re exactly the same as butterflies, in every respect, except the musician pulls off a new worm-to-wings transition with each album cycle.
One musician getting set to birth a new butterfly of an album is producer TJ Hertz, better known as Objekt, whose new album Cocoon Crush will be out November 9 on PAN.
Per a press release, in the soundworld of Cocoon Crush, “ghostly synth passages weave through mind-bending weighty drums and ASMR-triggering foley collages scrape and sparkle.”
Cocoon Crush follows Objekt’s 2014 debut, Flatland, as well as numerous smaller releases. Stream the album’s first single, “Secret Snake,” here:
Cocoon Crush tracklist:
01. Lost and Found (Lost Mix)
02. Dazzle Anew
04. Nervous Silk
06. Rest Yr Troubles Over Me
09. Secret Snake
10. Another Knot
11. Lost and Found (Found Mix)
Many things in life can be informed by quotes from The Simpsons. In one of Homer’s unlikeliest of Zen proverbs, he tells Bart at an auto racetrack that “a watched car never crashes.” Of course, that’s exactly what happens the moment he takes his eyes from the track.
True to the bald patriarch, Amnesia Scanner’s latest video, the PWR Studio-directed clip for “AS Too Wrong,” takes this to the extreme. Inexplicably, a car rotates around and around, but fails to bite the dust, as if the world were placed in a perpetual anticipatory loop, expanding those few seconds before rubber twists and ultimately gnarls before connecting with grey, hard concrete. Is it trickery of motion graphics or something much more sinister? Judge for yourself above.
But first, the particulars. “AS Too Wrong” is the third single to surface ahead of Amnesia Scanner’s forthcoming album Another Life, available September 7 on Berlin label PAN.
Even in the ever-flexible world of the industrial avant-garde, the times they are a-changing: Puce Mary (heretofore an invariable mainstay of the Posh Isolation label), is anticipating a change of scenery with the announcement of a new album on PAN, and she’s also looking forward to turning the agression INWARD after years of being the artistic equivalent of a woman hurling demon/feral cats at passersby.
That’s right: her latest album, The Drought, is being touted as a first attempt at wrestling with internal trials and tribulations. Somehow nobody’s written an album that musically documents what happens to your digestive system after a courageous bout with spicy Mexican food, so now we can be thankful that we’re finally on the verge of having that. I can’t wait for the colorectal denouement!
Nah, in truth, The Drought is more about the emotional sense of “internal,” as a press release describes the album as a “first person narrative,” where the “traumatised body serves as a dry landscape of which obscured memories and escape mechanisms fold reality into fiction, making sense of desire, loss and control.” The release is still noisy and industrial-sounding, and Frederikke Hoffmeier is still found speaking in a way that erects our armhairs, but it’s also clearly following a path. The written works of Charles Buadelaire and Jean Genet were supposedly an inspiration.
Have a listen to the track “Red Desert” below and pre-order The Drought ahead of its release on October 5, here.
The Drought tracklisting:
02. A Feast Before The Drought
03. To Possess Is To Be In Control
04. Fragments Of A Lily
05. Red Desert
07. The Size Of Our Desires
08. The Transformation
09. Slouching Uphill
Since 2014, we here at TMT have been patiently awaiting the first major statement from the cryptorave mediators/technological fetishists known as Amnesia Scanner. Of course, that didn’t stop us from including the Berlin-based duo’s music on a bunch of year–endlists, but now, at long last, Ville Haimala and Martti Kalliala have announced their debut album.
Titled Another Life, the new album sees the duo exploring human and non-human voices within more pop-oriented structures, including a disembodied voice called Oracle that “represents the sentience that has emerged from Amnesia Scanner.” Pan Daijing, another TMT favorite, also guests on two tracks, one of which we heard earlier this year.
Another Life is due September 7 on PAN (if you might recall, label owner Bill Kouligas collaborated with AS back in 2016). Pre-order the album here, and watch the video for the album’s latest single, “AS A.W.O.L.” (dir. PWR Studio), below.
Another Life tracklist:
01. AS Symmetribal
02. AS Unlinear feat Pan Daijing
03. AS A.W.O.L.
04. AS Another Life
05. AS Daemon
06. AS Too Wrong
07. AS Spectacult feat Oracle
08. AS Faceless
09. AS Chain
10. AS Securitaz
11. AS Chaos feat Pan Daijing
12. AS Rewild
Blinks, the third EP from STAYCORE-/Bala Club-/SHAPE-affiliate Toxe is a vibrant, buoyant mess of sound and drama. Its four tracks operate as self-contained worlds, richly sketched, teeming with life: talkative synths and chattering drums flowing through honeyed tones and cartoonish squeals. Like some elaborate, crystalline object suspended in a space and time that’s not our own, overflowing with angles, edges, and recesses, her music plays with light and shade; absorbing the heat of a distant sun, smooth curvatures striated, weaving an affective mark that’s at once labile and forthright. We come at this music from above, viewing the goings-on of these otherworlds with a drones-eye-view, but as we peer more closely — our vision coming into focus — we can’t help but become entangled in their intrigues, triumphs, and sadnesses.
We begin our journey at “Honey Island,” landing abruptly on springy terrain that hisses and whistles in greeting. Undergirded by purposefully-placed bass tones, the track rolls brightly through the air — its notes hitting clear and true, reverberating gently as they move through the mix — a tumbleweed minesweeper, its intricate construction light and mobile, recursive surfaces shifting smoothly. Then, plunging deeper, “Big Age” welcomes us to a more temperate zone, where the drums rain down in precise volleys and the synths slosh around like water in a test tube, the former punch-drunk, the latter hazed-out. These sounds kern into one another, punctuated by the yelp of cartoonish cries and the whoosh of weird bodies speeding through the music.
“Perfect 2” rocks from side-to-side, built on an idiosyncratic center of gravity, tracing progressively wider arcs as it approaches a collapse that never arrives. Instead, the track straightens its back before striding forward confidently, its beat colorful and insistent, pressurized and precise, filling the crevices of its world with sound. Like putty, the track’s structure stretches and snaps as it moves, emitting yelps of pleasure/pain. Finally, “Blue Warm Up” tells the story of an organism waking up to itself, gaining consciousness as it becomes aware of its surroundings, stretching its feelers and hurling its perception outwards as flurries of sound — swelling harp, pitted synth — whip around its head. The track blooms slowly, its sounds grasping, kneading and treading the earth: a compressed sonic history of a computer-generated civilization moving, crying, laughing.
Taken as a whole, Blinks can be thought of as a series of excursions into emergent worlds that are remote from, but connected to, our own. These worlds are animated by a desire to grow and change, to reformulate themselves as they develop, altering their atmosphere and gravity, mutating with the help of drum and synth, the noises of cartoons and animals. Toxe has refined her sound to create an embedded music, attentive to that which it is contingent upon, that which it can touch and feel, a music that is febrile, alive.
A spirituality of dust might speak in the peripheral voice, were dust able to do anything but dissolve. One can speak through dust, nevertheless, in such a voice that dissolves the center’s dominion. For instance, one can ask: “Why have you forsaken me?” For instance, one can add: “You who are not…” And that one will never receive an answer merely confirms that we are loved for our loneliness and we are nothing if not lonely, but this does not mean that we who are nothing will never be. Yet, this vulnerability that lurks beneath the “always we would rather be” becomes the mechanism by which power coheres the coffin. The vulnerability to the Other in order to be is as primordial as dust, rest, and distress, and Power’s abuse is that the This that one becomes appears just as primordially infinite. What coheres is suspect. Yet the dust stirs.
What coheres is suspect. There can be no consummate wedding to the world without consuming that which one desires — or being consumed and identifying with what consumes you. The world — as with the self that claims it as its dwelling — forbids any other, anything other than a horizon of otherness reduced to its, his, transcendence. But what about her own call to the divine? What about the divinity that is here to be found and hereto be lost?
What about the most elementary aspect of love: the caress? By which lovers are reborn in and as the source of light? The mode of the caress is the peripheral voice, for instance. A caress blurs borders, blooms, shapes the not-yet, blossoms, pierces without penetration, blushes, weds without consum(mat)ing. A caress opens to the outside what was obscured with night. A caress gently opens the coffin’s constraints and offers respite to the corpse. For a coffin whose margins appear as the world’s, what better refutation than a worm? Or rust? Moss, mold, or dust?
A graveyard is indeed a peculiar place for a party. There — in the music video for ghost-single “Claustra” on the other side of the grave — the Eartheater herself, Alexandra Drewchin, writhes in ecstatic self-communion. There she bends back on herself. She becomes multiple. From abject forsakenness to “the owning of my loneliness,” “the end of the loaning of my onlyness,” she muses in apophatic prayer, fashioning that for which she longs in the act of gesturing toward it. For instance, loneliness is the void of onlyness. For instance, to own one’s loneliness is surely to inhabit such a void. What does not yet exist, what cannot even be spoken of for lack of language or self — this, on the periphery of the graveyard that appears as the world and the world occulted by its shadow, can be glimpsed in its absence.
Alexandra (dis)orients herself from this peripheral place, perhaps, for only when the earth is decentered can it be eaten. Only from the periphery can the ego’s totalizing allure be undone. Geophagus. Egophagus. And musically, the album’s apparent incompleteness — the always dissolving lack of coherence, the mosaic of multiple voices, the chance and chaos by which the songs were arranged — abides by the peripheral pull of curiosity. Ghostly chorals become whispers, moans, screeches, screams. Aching, bleeding strings offset through beats and beating stutters, eccentric, reeling. Harps and drum kits, hearts and their tremulous beating, all break.
The center of IRISIRI is itself decentered. The ghost-track “Claustra,” a microcosm of the verdant decomposition and lush disorientation with which Drewchin dissolves and fragments histories, situates itself between the double meaning of its title — a prison, but also an inner sanctum of sacred isolation. Its excentric exclusion from the album gestures toward the beyond as a decentering, recentering. Having ripped herself from the constraints of the metalepticchrysalis, now in a world without clear boundaries, brushed away with the wings’ caress — the rift between the veil and the sanctuary, the chasm by which the unknown is revealed — the excentric center becomes the (dis)orienting principle.
Like — IRIS — a message sent and received — SIRI — deviecer dna tnes egassem a — curiosity perforates the veil and returns, yet remains ephemeral. The sky is always touching the earth as woman is always touching herself, and with rain as with rainbows, she is brought to herself within herself. Without mediation. Her lips are always in constant contact. Neither one nor two. Nor reducible nor seducible to one, nor two. C.L.I.T., she postulates. Curiosity Liberates Infinite Truth, she apostrophizes. But why should a truth that is infinite have any need for us to be liberated? For the totalizing power of the man and his grave condemn the beyond to an abysmal night. Why have you forsaken me, you who are not? Or, rather, why have we forsaken you, by calling you, you?
Irigaray, if she says something, says “For if ‘she’ says something, it is not, it is already no longer, identical with what she means. What she says is never identical with anything, moreover; rather, it is contiguous. It touches (upon).” It’s a pleasure to be touched. It’s a pleasure to be dissolved. It’s a pleasure to be eaten, and, no longer lonely, to be, and only.
The last major releases from Eartheater — NYC-based composer/choreographer Alexandra Drewchin — were the double-hit of RIP Chrysalis and Metalepsis. Dropped back in 2015 on Hausu Mountain, both albums used Drewchin’s hardware accented guitar-and-operatic-vocals to build a strange, special, and beautiful discography that, free of easy comparisons, felt a little like a planet unto itself.
Of course, a lot has happened in the world since 2015. And although Eartheater’s newest record IRISIRI (out now on PAN) leans into sounds that appear much darker and harder — including Drewchin’s meticulous use of electronics now taking more of a lead — the truth remains that nothing sounds quite like Eartheater.
On the heels of the video for album-orbiting track “Claustra” and the release of IRISIRI, we had the chance to catch up with Alex on the phone one afternoon.
Can I ask what your astrological sign is?
[Laughs] I’m a Pisces/Leo/Scorpio.
Do you feel any sort of connection to those signs?
In all the mirrors that reflect reality, they all receive ourselves, so, I mean… Humans are paranoid schizophrenics when it comes to pattern recognition and that shit. It’s a decision, really. Sometimes it’s very useful for me to be like, “Oh, it’s just because I’m a Pisces.” I’m not doubting the planetary, astral pull, but people spout on that shit constantly.
It’s a little interesting that people who are about our age are looking back to these kind of ancient tools, like astrology and the Tarot, and reclaiming them in a very internet-based sort of a way.
As far as an oracle that I will admit to consulting, I really love the I Ching. My good old friend Greg Fox turned me onto it — I think I was probably 20, and he gave me an I Ching workbook, and I found it to be very helpful. You know, it’s one of the oldest texts in the world. It’s based on chance. What I like to do is throw the I Ching. To me, it’s much more gratifying — it’s like I’m engaging in some choreography, harnessing my energy and really able to focus and manifest myself into the situation. You ask it a question, but I try not to ask it a question in words. I try to close my eyes and put [myself] in this hypothetical place where there’s this infinite number of outcomes. I know it sounds a little abstract, but that’s part of the beauty of it. It’s sort of synesthetic.
In a lot of your music, it seems like you’re taking these forms that feel ancient and putting them alongside sounds that appear more contemporary. IRISIRI feels very “of the millennium.” Could you talk a little about the beginnings of the record and what were the first pieces that came up?
I never work consecutively. I don’t work in a linear fashion. The record that I first sent Bill [Kouligas, PAN label head] had mostly all completely different songs than what ended up on [IRISIRI]. It really was just a matter of chaos and chance that these were the songs that ended up [on it], because we were getting down to the wire, and I was like, “Okay! These are the ones.” Because they all have a specific through-thread, in spite of them exploring very different sound palettes. [“Claustra”] I consider to be part of the record — I’m calling it a “ghost track.” I know that’s creating some kind of obfuscation, for press and capitalism, but to me, it’s part of the whole thing. There was a limitation — I could only have 40 minutes on that record. In some ways, I feel like the next thing I need to do is release an IRISIRI Two and Three. Pull some Migos shit, just because there’s so much music. IRISIRI to me spans much farther than just the perimeter of just this particular tracked record.
What would you say is that through-thread of this bigger project?
I think that, maybe to a fault, I’m overly emotionally inspired by different expressions and sounds. I have this huge impulse to try all these different things, and I think that’s what it is, ultimately. It’s purging all of these intense desires just to sort of get it out, because I do sense that there are some much more focused, more modal-sounding records underneath. I feel like I’m in this purging of pent-up inspiration that is almost conflicting inspiration.
Your albums sound very composed and controlled, and I’ve wondered to what extent are those kinds of explorations present on the records, or whether that’s something you keep private?
I’m such an emotional creature. When I listen to the record, it’s like I’m watching a movie.
I definitely thought long and hard about the sequence of these songs and the way that the narrative happens. Everything was pretty symbolic in terms of the placement of each track. I’ve heard that they say, “Oh, yeah, you need to put all the singles up in the front,” because, you know, millennial attention span is, like, nil. I didn’t buy into that, obviously, on this record. I was like, “I’m going to put the really weird, conceptual, saccharine, lusty-ass track up there,” because that seemed like what the “film” needed. Then “Curtains” is the seventh track, and that’s the centerpoint of the 13 tracks, so that’s the intermission, which symbolizes a switch, and then the next song is “Switch”…
When you’re making a record, is there a point when you know what you’re working on is part of a whole? When does that center begin to form?
I’ve made so much music that didn’t even wind up on the record, so when I think about these particular songs, I need to comb through all of the stuff that is still attached, in my view of it, that nobody else can see or understand. I think the thing that is different about this record is that I actively wanted to challenge my comfort zone. With Metalepsis and RIP Chrysalis, I was functioning from a very comfortable place. Even the guitar as a blueprint instrument, things just flow out so naturally that way. So I wanted to challenge myself. On each track, I was trying to explore something different from the track before. And it wasn’t, “I’m going to master this one thing for this record, all the songs are going to sound cohesive in this particular new flex.” With Camae [Moor Mother]’s track [“MMXXX”], I got really obsessed with cutting up all these field-recorded glass sounds, and car doors slamming, and engine sounds, and painting in these micro-edits. And I’d never done anything like that before, ever, and I was just so pumped on it. Even little things, like, “I’m going to throw in the 3-against-4 woodblock polyrhythm sound” — and for all these techno kids out here who are probably just like, “Well yeah, duh,” for me, as the guitar, little romantic RIP Chrysalis/Eartheater baby, that was really exciting.
Then the same with the Odwalla1221 track [“Inhale Baby”]. I made so many tracks like that, this hyper, glitchy, ambient drama. I made that one track, and I was just, like, “This is for Odwalla, they need to be on this.” So that was a new thing for me, exploring producing a track and feeling like I don’t have to be the vocalist.
And then with the tracks “Not Worried” and “Inkling,” this sibling little duo thing happened. That came from a sort of cosmic, internet artist love affair between me and Ghost Drank, this adorable baby in Dallas — you should check out his visual art; it’s gorgeous. He secretly produces a lot, and this weird thing happened where he would send me a track, and I would just write a song in one take right over it, and both of those songs are just first take, all the lyrics right there, and I’d just double it and it was done. Those tracks really mean a lot to me. They’re very emotional and sweet.
For some reason, I feel like those tracks are like “Be Careful” on the new Cardi B record [Invasion Of Privacy], and the way that people didn’t expect that from her. They didn’t expect this more gentle music. My last two records were very melodic and soothing. People would say, like, “This is my bathtub record.” Meanwhile, my performances are summoning hell very often.
I saw you play at St. Vitus a while ago, and I remember thinking, “This is a very dark performance.”
It was probably that embarrassing one.
It felt very ceremonial.
I’m actually not a very witchy person. [Laughs] And then the track “MTTM” (“Married To The Moment”), that track is all modular. It was the second modular track that I made. So there’s a lot of infantile moments on the record. It’s all new things. And “Switch,” that was literally one of the first beats I ever made that wasn’t hardware. Every track is kind of standalone in me trying to figure out something new.
Something that comes up in your lyrics a lot is the idea of transforming from one thing into another thing, whether it’s some kind of body cyborg thing or something more internal. Like in the video you made for [mispronounces “Ecdysisyphis”] —
“Ecdysisyphis.” I’m so extra with the titles sometimes.
That same human/computer energy is really present on the new album. At what point in the recording process did that energy take over?
I think it was very present from the beginning. The post-RIP Chrysalis Eartheater was for sure really feeling that “The Internet Is Handmade” through-thread, which goes through all three records. It’s just so much a part of me, it’s hard to even talk about.
Thinking about the album as a film, to you does that mean more of a sensory, visual thing, or a long piece of narrative?
Both. I hope that it can remain pretty free-associative. I think the more you listen to the album, the more you’ll feel the characters — the parts of me, the different voices, the different feelings, the different moods that become like characters in this thing. I don’t know if it comes off super personal, because it’s all drenched in encryption at times, but it does feel very exposing to me. So maybe it’s me also protecting myself from feeling that vulnerability in viewing it as a film, to sort of separate the almost triggering emotions that can happen when I listen and hear these encapsulated emotional pockets.
Does thinking of IRISIRI as a film make it feel less or more personal?
It makes it feel less personal, but that doesn’t lessen the emotional intensity. I generally am mostly drawn to art that is very explicit and intimate and grotesque and strange and unpredictable. Something that I really love in film is the power of the scene cut — the change of scene and the change of atmosphere. I love feeling that one’s hormones and adrenaline and chemicals in your brain respond to the difference in how a film is edited. The difference you feel in a song like “C.L.I.T.” versus what you feel at the beginning, in a song like “Inkling” or “MTTM,” that arc — the different landscapes, that hyper-difference — is way more exciting to me than just a modal landscape. At least now, in the drama of this. There’s this emotional thing that’s going on, and there’s this structural thing. All these different scenes. The tracks all have their own locations.
So much of what Eartheater is — in your videos of performances — is movement-based. Do you see the choreography being as much a part of “Eartheater” as the songwriting and the albums? And how do you differentiate between working in those two modes?
One is a simulacrum from the other. I can feel the movement for a specific nuance in the body for every single song, every single lyric. Every little thing can be so clearly expressed and drawn out physically. That language — I flip-flop from feeling like it’s very hard to express myself to then feeling a hyper-sense of poetry in language. And sometimes that’s really frustrating for me, at least verbally. As a child, I was a really late reader. I had terrible dyslexia and was brutally teased because I could hardly read, and I had terrible test anxiety. But ever since I was young, I felt an incredible sense of body language. It becomes kind of an abstract concept, but I feel like I’m much more comfortable speaking with movement than I am sometimes even just speaking with words. It’s where I actually feel the most life and the most pleasure. That trinity of music, lyrics, and movement — it wouldn’t be a triad without that last point of movement. It’s absolutely one shape.
Other that Cardi B, is there any other art right now that you’re hype on?
[Laughs] Yeah fuck it, I love Cardi. I was in the studio with MOMA READY. He makes such beautiful dance music, and he’s also a really good dancer, and that was a cool moment that happened recently. We made a track really fast. I don’t know, I love my friends. That’s all I can think about, really. You know, my FLUCT girls, I love them so much. And Tara-Jo Tashna, she did an incredible performance at Company Gallery in Manhattan. It was so gorgeous… And then Deli Girls, I love those babies. I’m forever in love with Juliana Huxtable. I work with AceMo, they’re the best. Shoutout AceMo. Shoutout graveyards. Uh… I’m looking at the books next to my bed. Octavia Butler, Lilith’s Brood. Shoutout The Gentrification of the Mind by Sarah Schulman, an amazing book. Witness To A Lost Imagination, this book is fuckin’ good. Oh then of course Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music. Shoutout cactuses, jade, aloe, palm trees… I am in this place where I feel like this gooey little worm. I feel like such a little baby, and really open, and it’s probably not cool. But the baby is there. Big time.
Beebeep-beep-beep-beeep-beep!!! Hot PAN news incoming from the NEWSWIRE!!
Thanks for tuning in to Tiny Mix Tapes, your #1 news source for all things PAN! (That’s right Resident Advisor, we’re coming for you!!!!!)
This time the news is about an all-new release from Toxe! The Swedish producer and SHAPE alumna has knocked our socks off before via her work with Halcyon Veil and Staycore, but now she’s coming to PAN with a brand new EP, Blinks. Consisting of four new tracks developed over the past year and featuring original art by by Jasper Spicero, Blink reportedly represents “a period of inward flux” for Toxe, fusing “a sweet juvenilia with a bustling and eager pensive tone to outline her tessellating sense of self just below the surface.”
If that sounds a little confusing, don’t sweat it: you can just stream the first single, “Big Age,” for yourself down below! It’s a meandering, syncopated procedure full of sonic arteries twisting and turning amongst each other, but it still manages to capture the magic and immediacy worthy of her club-circuit cred. Hard to dance to, easy to love! (PAN, you can use that as your new tagline, but you have to give me credit, ok?)
Blinks arrives June 22 (you can stop holding your breath now) on 12-inch vinyl and digital and can be pre-ordered right over here.
If you just can’t wait until June 22 and you happen to live near London, you also can catch Toxe at her DEBUT live appearance at the Barbican alongside fellow TMT fave, Actress. That show is this coming Saturday, though, so hurry up and get tickets!
Blinks EP tracklisting:
01. Honey Island
02. Big Age
03. Perfect 2
04. Blue Warm Up