Light a candle. Draw the required sigils. Now, raise your arms above your head and slowly, gently, exhale your soul. You won’t need it here. This is Audioccult, and it’s time to get low. Illustration: Alex Micallef
The following are selected excerpts from a short book of writing and art I’m working on. I know this is Audioccult and all, but for once, none of the following contains references to cum. Pay it forward.
Fragment from 1. The Strangling Hymn
On a good night, by this point the sweat will have begun to drip into my eyes. It has been a blindingly good night so far. The bass is strong, the crowd is enthusiastic, and for once the monitor doesn’t sound like it’s underwater. Even better is the fog machine, which usually spurts more like John Lithgow than John Holmes, but tonight it has voided the writhing crowd almost entirely. Twisting the fuck-slick knobs before me, I line up samples and beats in geometrically perfect lines. The concrete walls sweat as Soulja Boy spins into a flock of shattered choirs, the voice of Azealia Banks refracts off binaural beats with 10x echo, and powernoise R&B is Forever 21. Genre Jesus will be in agony until the end of the set. There must be no resting in the meantime.
“This is what counts”, my blood tells me. “This ceaseless Now.”
Transcendence through the propulsion of sound. In this sealed baking container of sweat and smoke, we breed and sate lust, tempt aggressions and arrogance to a greater goal—a better perception of spatial/spiritual connections through the necessity of flesh. Skin the mediator of sensation, fetishism the product of the mind. In this corrupt plane, honest reactions are rare and must be wrenched from the human body. It must build like bile in throat, choking you out until the Real comes out your mouth. We have built an Icon of Bass to be consumed rather than worshipped, digested and rebirthed. Not in fire as the Phoenix, that child of the Sun, but in smoke and shadow.
Fragment from 13. The Orgasmic Culture
There’s a need to find meaning in life that is singularly human, and negating that (with or without malice) is widely considered a turn-off. What is it, then, that allows it to thrive so richly in our culture? What inspires us to create images, words and sounds worshipping destruction?
We’re not in the habit of deifying our nihilists, and why should we? Aside from the fact that most claiming the name are closer to mopey teenagers than existentialists, even the most clever one would be a cultural dead-end. Despite that, and despite our overall confidence in ourselves as a race, we love to terrify ourselves on a daily basis with the thought of our own annihilation. The Russians are coming. Saddam can touch us at any time. Osama Wuz Here. The Russians won’t allow anyone to come. There are weapons, and leaders, and they are not Ours. We fetishize the incomprehensible End because we fear it. Approached with a pair of tweezers and a microscope, this attempt to “solve” the logically unsolvable is strange indeed. More, it’s even somewhat gruesome—mankind’s attempt to place itself outside the natural order of things. Surrounding itself with death images is rather like a large-scale jack’o’lantern display, totems to scare off the real bogeyman. In every beautifully-rendered explosion or reverb-drenched industrial shriek is emblazoned the words “The unknown terrifies me.”
In a dream, I ride a crest of light upon the detritus of man, represented primarily as an HD inverted sneaker logo. As my surroundings disappear, I am able to reach out and touch the Truth that negates negation. As I do I realize that, in knowing everything, there is no reason to know anything. Life without questions, without natural entropy, is pointless. Perhaps this is why we’re so fascinated by our own ruin, by the idea that values and life itself either doesn’t exist, or shouldn’t. Propped up by our existential night lights, we’re all secretly trying not to bore ourselves to death.
Fragment from 4. The Separatist
The opposite of giving birth is not death. Rather, it is inverse birthing—a reclamation of something that came from you, whether flesh, emotion, or desperation disguised as philosophy. Can you imagine what it’s like to suffocate a memory? To separate the organic from the inorganic, restoring and updating the internal systems that were in place before this new life or idea was given shape? What must you sacrifice to get there? The numbing tentacles of modern medicine have expanded upon the human nervous system to the degree that any sort of pain, once just a daily part of existence, can oftentimes be snuffed out at whim. This modern philosophy has brought more than nerve anesthesia, however; it has also produced cultural forgetfulness. Pain isn’t always a bad thing, something to deny and tuck away behind walls of man-made chemistry. We see things from a different perspective when we hurt.
A man walks into a cliché social setting. “Make me one with everything,” he says. So the bartender stabs him through the heart. Through the foam of blood bubbling on his lips, the man sputters, ” That was supposed to be an allegorical joke about life!” The bartender nods and says, “So is this. It’s just a bit shitty.”
Published November 14, 2014. Words by Daniel Jones.