The writer disappears into writing, the musician into music. The digital landscape of Tumblr can answer and propose questions to us, while we, beholding its scrollable majesty, are absorbed left and right and up and down. Endo Kame, the producer who just released a small album on Beer On The Rug, has a Tumblr that is an extensive catalog of photos — mostly travel photos. Some are of interiors, such as a cat sleeping or a bed bestrewn with music equipment, while others are landscapes, such as Joshua Tree, Big Sur, and the Hall of Horrors. These photos, absent of a face, a body, or a narrator, suggest that Endo Kame travels and that traveling (extending the human phenotype into the implantable landscape) is as interesting a project as making music, and that making music can sometimes be as touristy and as aesthetically rewarding as traveling: an experimental, multi-creative and pluralistic version of the creative process.
And then the trapdoor opens, the sky opens, the screen opens, and the music comes on. Music 4 Eon Green starts with shifts in the narrative lens. Things slowly hover into view. Things, meaning objects, meaning things. Submarine music meets technological code, floating on unfathomable oceanic murmurs. Gun violence meets skiers huddled in the lift, ready for alpine takeoff. There’s a tension here between our attention to the environment being developed and an attention to attention itself. Things are developing, like a womb or the scab on a wound. We scroll through a picture of an almost empty parking lot, a picture of the Wichita Public Library, then pictures of interiors, such as a dark wall slashed with sunlight. Language follows us too: “This was posted 3 months ago. It has 0 notes.” “This was posted 4 months ago. It has 0 notes.” And so forth.
Music 4 Eon Green isn’t exactly house or techno or beat music. But the beats are there, driven by a BPM, which is to say that the hardware and the dense enclosure of the club are also there, its ghastly artifice. By track three, “M4U,” there are hints of tribalism and wind, salt, sand, and air. Like the desert(s) featured in so many of Endo Kame’s photos, the sound, when you really squint and hear it, makes stasis turn into serialism, into clusters of waves moving into each other rhythmically and then out of each other. This is music that illuminates Endo Kame’s photos, giving the idea of the desert, as well as those other areas of “non-sites” — an empty parking lot, the front entrance of a skyscraper, a melon stand — a sense of purpose. Minimalism is a form of maximalism. What goes on in a parking lot, a motel, or a roadside diner could possibly change your life forever.
Or maybe this desert we look at in a photo stares back at us, reflecting our very own entanglement with musical equipment. Or better yet, the vast openness of that other desert: The Internet. Scorpions and snakes function like malware and trojans. There’s a mysteriousness embedded deeply within these tracks, as if they are secrets or are secrets to each other; this is music that, while exposing its secret, minute after minute, makes unlocking that secret even harder. We have linguistic clues, though. Endo, coming from the slang term for the dank tip of the marijuana plant, and kame, the Japanese word for turtle, an allusion to the Kame House, home of Master Roshi, the trainer of Goku, hero of the Japanese manga (and popular American anime series) Dragon Ball. So, we have a marijuana smoker who enjoys Dragon Ball. Does knowing that help us listen? (It does. But the song titles here, “Woe,” “Launch,” and “Kanoe,” do not.) The true act of listening is listening as if you’ve already listened. From funky, overexposed moments to plain truths, it is all there, actually, which isn’t to say you desire it yet. If only but ghostly. A mountain of sludge, thick and rubbery, advances.