Thanks to finding a bunch of photos from my time in Japan on a couple of recently-restored hard drives, I’ve been suffering from mega bouts of mega Nippon-nostalgia. Mostly, I’m missing Tokyo. That city is just so big and amazing, its hard not to miss. Nothing will ever really compare to it, and nothing can even really describe it.
That means I’m envious of Gejius, who’s living in Tokyo right now.
The kid dropped a free album of tracks that you can download on Soundcloud. He describes his music as funky space disco, and you know I love that style.
As a reader pointed out last year, I spend a lot of time talking about Golden Robots here on 199X.
What’s not like to them? Its like the perfect merger of technology and art - a beautiful mechanism. I like nice watches, but I’d rather be friends with a Golden robot. It would probably be awesome to party with.
Anyways, here are a couple of tracks that might get you thinking about Golden Robots.
Back in the day when I first got into blogging I came across A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto.
Back then, it was pretty much the most bad-ass thing I’d ever read.
From the text:
“Cypherpunks write code. We know that someone has to write software to defend privacy, and since we can’t get privacy unless we all do, we’re going to write it. We publish our code so that our fellow Cypherpunks may practice and play with it. Our code is free for all to use, worldwide. We don’t much care if you don’t approve of the software we write. We know that software can’t be destroyed and that a widely dispersed system can’t be shut down.”
That’s some heavy stuff right there. Fight the good fight, Cypherpunks.
Then list to some equally heavy beats, courtesy of Borracho! and Cyberpunkers
I just saw the video for Alejandro by Lady Gaga, and I couldn’t believe how much it reminded me of an Alastair Reynolds book.
The world Alastair paints for his readers is far-future: humans can live for centuries and are able to genetically modify themselves, yet the world they live in is still very full of pain and suffering, much of it self-inflicted. The awe of long-distance star travel is coupled with dangerous and painful conditions for travellers that make it possible.
There’s this overwhelming sense of discomfort and unease in the books, like something terrible is going to happen. Most of humanity lives in an asteroid belt called The Glimmer Band, and it is full of remnants of previous advanced technology that has been rendered unusable by an alien threat. Constant reminders of that pervade that remind the reader that not everything is alright in this future, and while its unspoken much of the population seems to think the same. This has given way to bizarre decadence by some, and masochistic religious cults in others in the world of The Glimmer Band.
I liked the books, yet I have a hard time reading them: none of the main characters are likable, and terrible things happen to people. Everyone is uncomfortable, sleep-deprived, on-edge, going crazy or all of the above.
Like I said, I got pretty much the same feeling when I watched the video for Alejandro.
Anyways, here’s a Rusko rework of the Gaga original (via Gotta Dance Dirty)
The Panther Moderns were a sort of youth terrorism organization in the book Neuromancer by William Gibson:
“Panther Moderns,” he said to the Hosaka, removing the trodes. “Five minute precis.”
“Ready,” the computer said.
It wasn’t a name he knew. Something new, something that had come in since he’d
been in Chiba. Fads swept the youth of the Sprawl at the speed of light; entire subcultures
could rise overnight, thrive for a dozen weeks, and then vanish utterly. “Go,” he said. The
Hosaka had accessed its array of libraries, journals, and news services.
The precis began with a long hold on a color still that Case at first assumed was a
collage of some kind, a boy’s face snipped from another image and glued to a photograph
of a paint-scrawled wall. Dark eyes, epicanthic folds obviously the result of surgery, an
angry dusting of acne across pale narrow cheeks. The Hosaka released the freeze; the boy
moved, flowing with the sinister grace of a mime pretending to be a jungle predator. His
body was nearly invisible, an abstract pattern approximating the scribbled brickwork
sliding smoothly across his tight one piece. Mimetic polycarbon.
Cut to Dr. Virginia Rambali, Sociology, NYU, her name, faculty, and school pulsing
across the screen in pink alphanumerics.
“Given their penchant for these random acts of surreal violence,” someone said, “it
may be difficult for our viewers to understand why you continue to insist that this
phenomenon isn’t a form of terrorism.”
Dr. Rambali smiled. “There is always a point at which the terrorist ceases to
manipulate the media gestalt. A point at which the violence may well escalate, but beyond
which the terrorist has become symptomatic of the media gestalt itself. Terrorism as we
ordinarily understand it is inately media-related. The Panther Moderns differ from other
terrorists precisely in their degree of self-consciousness, in their awareness of the extent
to which media divorce the act of terrorism from the original sociopolitical intent….”
In the book, the “random acts of surreal violence” described above take the form of the Panther Moderns facilitating a raid on an office building by hacking into the building’s computer network to basically hypnotize everyone inside into thinking they’ve been poisoned. At the same time, some of the Moderns called the police to tell them that:
“an obscure sub sect of militant Christian fundamentalists had just taken credit for having introduced clinical levels of an outlawed psychoactive agent known as Blue Nine into the ventilation system of the Sense/Net Pyramid. Blue Nine, known in California as Grievous Angel, had been shown to produce acute paranoia and homicidal psychosis in eighty-five percent of experimental subjects.”
Throughout the raid, the Panther Moderns refer to themselves as ‘Brood’ and another character as Cat Mother.
Since Neuromancer is pretty 80s, here are some synthed-out tracks to get you thinking about the original cyberpunks:
Part of me wants to think that those tracks are what the Panther Moderns would be jamming to if they were actually around today. A bigger part of me knows that they’d probably be fucking around on 4chan instead.
If you like this playlist, you might also like the Space Dub playlist I put together (smiliarly inspired by Neuromancer), or the mix I think Thanos would have given Death.
Monarchy’s Black the Color of My Heart is probably one of the most beautiful songs that I’ve heard in the past while.
The lyrics are of the epic variety, but can still evoke a ton of feeling, and that drum sounds like a heartbeat throughout the song. Its the kind of stuff you can read sci-fi to on a cold day, dance to as you smile at your girl in the club or catch yourself trying to sing along to as you walk down the street.
They’ve definitely got a sound that’s like the best of The Golden Filter and Empire of the Sun: spacey and futuristic, but with enough warmth to remind you that you’re still human.
I don’t have a lot more information Monarchy, but The Golden Filter’s new album is available for order, and if you buy the CD or vinyl you have a chance of getting a personalized Polaroid photo from the band.