Like mojitos, everything comes back into fashion again.
And like those who have been drinking mojtios anytime between 2008 and next month, people remain blissfully ignorant of their unfashionability and… better than that… probably wouldn’t care if they knew, anyway. (But seriously, they are the chemical perms of the cocktail bar.)
So it goes with my ‘taste’ in music.
Like pretty much everyone else, my taste in music coalesced around the era that it was most prominent, most transformative, in my life. Which would be those warm Sydney summers of the mid-to-late nineties… Paris house, progressive trance. And I know that will annoy loads of people but when has that ever stopped me?
The macro cultural trends at the time were very much MDMA for the evenings, marijuana for the morning after -watching VHS tapes of X-Files, lighting bongs with alien grey lighters and talking about chaos magic. This was a good time for space movies. For me, ‘the sixties’ ended one night in 2002 when I was doing the DVD buying for a couple of hundred music/DVD stores (back when people bought such things). Having taken a load of speed and Absolut vodka, I was up watching Waking Life at 3am so that I could plan how many to buy and where they’d go. There was some missing time, there was a vague sense that the numinous had shifted from something experiential to something you just talk about. That was it. The air had been let out of the balloon.
Daft Punk is the mojito of my heart. Sorry I didn’t come of age in a cooler decade but there you have it. It was warm, I was pretty and high, all Australians are great big sluts, my mobile phone had four backlight colour options and nothing else… Good times.
Then we had the neckbeardy, money-focused noughties that destroyed the entire world. Fantasy was just about hobbits. Back to work. There’s no god. Have a fucking cosmopolitan. But, as previously indicated, the macro culture is trending back toward the psychedelic and numinous. Heck, Scully herself is back on TV! And you can also stream the entire upcoming album from the mojito of my heart on iTunes right now for free! (Come in, Sekhmet. Sekhmet, do you copy?)
We also have a crumbling of the previous ontological fascism. (More specifically, we have the rise of multiple ontologies.) Witness the TED fiasco. Witness the sea change in the ‘war on drugs’. Witness the return of decent space movies! And the absolute-best gnostic head trip I have seen in years:
From an interview with the creator:
“Well, so much of the story is about being effective at a distance. The main thrust of it is the breaking down and building up of a personal identity and where that comes from, but when we get into the next… the “closer to text” layer, which would be… you know, we’ve got central characters that are being affected by things they are not aware of, things they can’t speak to or name.”
That’s about as close to why this amazing movie is relevant here without going into further detail. Watch it.
But, of course, it’s not just music and it’s not just movies… it never is. It’s things like Hood By Air, a deliberate blurring of social and gender categories shot through with a genuinely cosmic understanding of what is of value in our world.
For a start, there’s the word ‘hood’. Here’s Shayne Oliver explains:
We’d be running around wearing heels with parts down the middle of our hair, but wearing these t-shirts that said ‘Hood,’ just to mix it up. I’d sometimes get into altercations with people over [the shirts], but at least I knew there was power in something I made.”
Power, energy… check out another interview with the HBA team:
Leila: I think the fucked up thing about copying or when a huge label copies, is that they’re going to use that idea once. So they don’t know where that come from. You can’t reproduce that season over season. You can’t focus on it, and develop it and then turn those ideas out over and over and over again. They’re going to play that style out and that’ll be it….
Soto was more blunt: “It’s very interesting to watch your brands become more mainstream, but to be excluded from that…there is so much vampire energy. I want to be careful. I’m still a struggling artist staying broke while other people use my ideas.”
I am waaaay too old, fat and profoundly uncool to be personally interested in HBA but I mention them for two reasons:
- They are other hands on the elephant. (Actually, it’s a space squid, but the metaphor holds.)
- Whenever you despair of kids these days, remember that, in many ways, the kids are always all right. That’s just how humanity rolls.
Whilst you could make the case that this is a rehash of the late seventies gender/norm atomisation (Bowie, etc), such a contention -whilst true- only gets us so far. It’s not like it was new then, either. It’s entirely shamanic, it just needed to be re-membered, then and now. It reminds me of what Genesis P-Orridge said about how personal synchronicities increased after the creation of hir third gender.
And the soundtrack for the space squid’s latest wrigglings is also the soundtrack to HBA… and come straight out of NYC’s GHE20G0TH1K parties. It’s synchrosomethingly appealing that one of the luminaries is Venus X. Here she is, doing her thing:
The dharma of cat videos
Think on this:
When the improbable dominates the archive to the point that it seems as if the library contains ONLY the impossible, then these improbabilities don’t feel as improbable.
I think there is already evidence that this ocean of extraordinariness is inspiring, galvanizing, prompting, daring ordinary folks to try something extraordinary. At the same time, superlative epic failures are foremost as well.
Here is how one uses the extraordinary. Recall The Verne Effect and consider the potential impact on your consciousness of daily viewings of dozens of very low probability events. That cat riding around on that roomba may just be making it more likely that your enchantments will succeed. If we shift our expectations that then the highly improbable becomes more probable… we move the needle for everyone.
And so we come back to the most anticipated album of the year. Not only does it include the musical signature from Close Encounters -providing a pleasing Truffaut/Vallée French connection- it also ends with a track making use of a recording of Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan. How many hundreds of millions of times will these words be heard this year?
“Hey Bob I’m looking at what Jack was talking about and it’s definitely not a particle that’s nearby. It is a bright object and it’s obviously rotating because it’s flashing. It’s way out there in the distance. Certainly rotating in a very rhythmic fashion because the flashes come around almost on time. As we look back at the earth it’s up at about eleven o’clock, about maybe ten or twelve diameters. I don’t know whether that does you any good, but there’s something out there.”
The name of the track?
I am pleased, earthlings. Very pleased.