Amnesia Scanner ANGELS RIG HOOK

[Gum Artefacts; 2015]

Styles: accelerationism, experimental club, evolution
Others: Lotic, M.E.S.H., Arca, Autechre, Ruby: The Adventures Of A Galactic Gumshoe

This is aesthetics. A wet splash, then dismantled breaks. Androgynous voices speak and signify: millennial coolness, digital deities (“Google Krishna”), post-capitalist society; a body’s value is innate (“I hand the driver a flake of skin and a fingernail”). Symbols of hacker culture give way to phony symbols (anagrams), which then automate (to save processing power): thunderdome anagrams. The further you inspect the symbology of AS ANGELS RIG HOOK, the less sense it seems to make. What little meaning can be deciphered in Jaakko Pallasvuo’s text strays too far from any specific narrative to tell a story, swapping Blade Runner noir musings with ASMR barbers or non-sequiturs whenever it seems poised to make a little sense. The music is alien and new, sounding like water swishing in mouths, glass shattering, metal against metal. These textures also sound like KRRRXXTCHHH or SSPRRRSSH. It’s a useful description, because like Lotic, M.E.S.H., Arca, et al., Amnesia Scanner work with sounds for which there is no name yet.

Amnesia Scanner’s ghostly formalism seems to derive from the same spirit of Lotic’s hate-hype-copy mantra, pursuant of a vocabulary of texture and space that allows for modular sound-world building, free of any associations that pit it to one particular genre or region. The coldness of the music adds to this. It may be alien, fragmented, and concealed, but it conceptualizes common experiences, particularly those of city life: the rustling of paper trash, the screech and rattle of a subway car, the echo of empty streets. This kind of universal concrète offers an alternative to the stylistic traps of modern electronic music, creating sound combinations that have yet to be naturalized and absorbed into the mainstream as musical loanwords, whereas each utterance of an 808 kick carries an instant cultural association. But it’s also clear that the elements of modern club music grew from once-startling territories, so it’s likely that in a few years, nothing about Amnesia Scanner will seem weird. Their impatience with their own acts of creation shows they know this all too well.

Like AS LIVE [][][][][] before it, the primary impulse here is aesthetic: a flurry of modern, particulate creations whiz by in a surreal dérive, a highlight reel of possibilities and dynamics in the post-genre clubspace. Free-associations and deliberate ideas collide as a series of eager, caustic experiments in danceability; Jaako’s spoken word poetry provides momentum without meaning, depicting a near future where two disembodied voices ride in a “hovertaxi,” drink Club Mate, and transform a bird into an orange polygon. Through its scant 15 minutes, we are transported from deconstructed breaks, to cavernous snaps and sizzles, to synth maximalism, to a staggering grime beat on the point of dissolve, suggesting a possible future course for exploration. It’s all seamlessly blended, too, finding nigh-impossible points of association in harsh timbres and different BPMs, which speaks to both their skills as DJs and to the incessant march of progress demanded of them and facilitated by new and better instruments. Trends are not an act of individuality, it says; they are a public duty.

I hesitate to make any presumptions about Amnesia Scanner’s ethics, background, or politics. Outside of an oft-toted collab with Mykki Blanco and two or three photos, they’ve remained stubbornly insular: along with their bizarre website, with its encrypted references to biohacking, day trading, and cell division, the way they integrate their visual and aural components seem to suggest that some DNA simply grew from the internet and obtained sentience (and a DAW), starting as simple protein strings on early tracks but evolving into more complex structures with each new YouTube video. It’s likely too that the complexity shown on AS ANGELS RIG HOOK will only further divide and multiply. Along one side of this single-copy dubplate is etched a graffiti ouroboros, but this is no more than an introjection, food for helical viruses, a piece of culture to be assimilated and built upon. Machine learning in the club.

Links: Amnesia Scanner - Gum Artefacts


Some releases are so incredible we just can’t help but exclaim EUREKA! While many of our picks here defy categorization and explore the constructed boundaries between ‘music’ and ‘noise,’ others complement, continue, or rupture traditions that provide new forms and ways of listening. Not all of our favorites will be listed here, but we think each EUREKA! album is worthy of careful consideration. This section is a work-in-progress, so expect its definition to be in perpetual flux.

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