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: SHALTMIRA
“‘Fugazi and the sniffles?’ Wow, that sounds like a great band name!” Psyche, fucker, I’m not your nice mom making a mom joke, but you ARE going to experience at least one of these things today following a nightmare about pomelos. – your brain
That was the note I found taped to my lamp at 6am this morning. Apparently I have the equivalent of alien hand syndrome, only for the entirety of my body. Chronic insomnia has been my unwanted lover for the last couple of weeks, thanks largely in part to an absence of chronic and the difficulty of finding strong sleeping aids in Berlin. It turns out that you can’t get Valium if you just recite the lyrics to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under The Bridge” to the doctor. Fucked up but true.
It’s not the most healthy lifestyle in the world, but it does give me time to catch up on a lot of music I’ve been putting on hold lately. Unfortunately, most of these albums are probably the last things a person running on four hours of sleep in as many days should be channeling: ambient noise and experimental forms of metal. But with so many electronic musicians exploring elements of both lately, it’s hard not to be sucked in along with them. The timing for my DJ game is extremely fortuitous as well, considering how mind-numbingly stale trap and filthstep—two genres that initially drew me for their harsh danceability—have been in the last couple of years. All those whirling snares and bass-heavy drops are now being superseded by metalized techno and industrialized hip-hop, strung together with brvtal guitars. You’d be surprised at how well rave horns work with guttural screams.
As fun as it is to start experimenting with this stuff as a new element in my sets, it’s definitely going to lose some of the dynamic I’ve built. Most crowds know Rihanna, and they’re sure as hell going to like the way heavier and more danceable version by RL Grime. These same people are most likely not going to know Bone Awl, and it’s a solid bet that they don’t want to thrash to it on a Saturday night at their favorite dance club. Things like Death Grips and Rainer Veil bridge that gap nicely with bitter and morose updates on digital hardcore and UK garage, but it’s a fine line to walk. You can’t just dump a bunch of Hospital Productions tracks on most people’s ears and expect them to go as crazy as when that first bass wobble hits them. I’ve been to similarly-themed nights in Berlin, including a few memorable ones at Berghain. While the sets were great, noticeable portions of the audience were often made up of glum-looking old goths, indifferent regulars, and confused tourists who—after gamely trying to do that one dance they knew—would head up to Panorama Bar, never to be heard from again (apart from the bartender, who they’d invariably ask where to get drugs). The problem is always the same: large crowds don’t want to party to depressing music. Shocking, I know.
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Published February 07, 2014. Words by Daniel Jones.