My housemate took a rope-tying class downtown. She said it’s only $10 every first Tuesday of the month, and it’s usually something like $150 per couple. They learned a few different ties. She mimicked the instructor using her best miracle-workout infomercial tone: “It’s all about endorphins! circulation! where the blood is moving!” Coy millennial couples can warm up to this. It’s like yoga. Yeah, endorphins. We bury our thirst for bondage — a desire to be bound, to be held and subjected, to allow intensities to pass — under the alibi of endorphins. We’re post-Freud, all of us. Fetish takes a back seat to Reason. Form trumps the instant: What is this? What are you showing me? I need a smoke. You don’t think we just need the nicotine? We want the cigarette too, yes?
They learned a few ties. Some were experienced, some were new and curious. Liza said they called one Netflix & Chill. Arms behind your back, legs lifted, you lay on your stomach with your head up: you gaze into a laptop screen indefinitely, as it is placed in front of you.
Your master starts Archer, Season 1 Episode 1. You think this consumption is betrayal. Bondage doesn’t work like this. Transcendence beyond the flash of a screen? I don’t know, but what’s the longest joke you’ve ever heard?
Episode 9 comes to a close and: Are you still there?
Your master hears this still silence, enters through the door at the rear, walks to the foot of the bed, trackpad guides cursor, she confirms, “Yes” and recedes.
Some cruel meme. ISIS antics wash to oblivion and signal fades to noise as it always does. It always has. Vibrancy becomes aggression. Structure dissolves: a stream of intensity. The “Chill” has yet to arrive. You wonder if it ever will. An odd curse, an odd way to live.
Bandcamp liner notes for Curses make a demand: “PLAY LOUD.” This is immediately followed by a suggestion: “Play in sequence or shuffle mode.” It has four big movements — “Curse Against Humanity,” 36 tracks; “Casting Destruction,” 13 tracks; “Ode To The Death Of Enemies,” 18 tracks; and “Cursed in Eternity,” 32 tracks — that may be torn apart and leapt between. You may endlessly reconfigure the body. You may grind it up, and you may consume it. You may not know what organ you are tasting. It does start to taste the same.
At first, it binds me. I allow its movements to remain intact. 79 minutes of audiophilic cacophony: a new condition to pass through; a pile of noise, procedural and even; a universe that is both dense and empty. My car was wrecked the other day. Someone backed into it. I watched it roll downhill, turning across two lanes and slamming against a large curb. The result was a flat tire and severe damage in the undercarriage. Curses is coming through the speakers of my Enterprise loaner as I leave L.A. Traffic follows me North to desert hills. I can’t move, and I can’t excuse Curses.
The digital promo copy of Curses has unnamed tracks. Amidst a TIF, JPEG, and PDF in the folder “weasel walter - curses (audio-cover images-onesheet)” are 99 MP3s respectively named “Track[01-99].mp3.” The second time I listen to Curses, I use Shuffle. I trace its pseudo-random algorithmic ordering by renaming each file as it plays. “Track58” becomes “Ode To The Death Of Enemies 09.” “Track 37” into “Casting Destruction 01.” I do this 99 times. Each entry is a recitation that begins the semi-chaotic reconstruction of the disfigured body of Curses. Without looking, it feels impossible to know from which movement of Curses a single segment has arisen. I imagine each track as a small unnamable fleshy organ indifferent to its place in a larger organism. With a single rope, I bind each piece. Shuffle makes a selection; I recite the name of the curse it has selected; with its new name, it leaps to the top of the list, and, suspended, it begins to form the superstructure of its lost body, now bound and held together with unlikely seams. In regress, I find curses just the same. I can’t remember what I did to it or what it did to me. We get along just fine.