Ethr3 The Consciousness Of

[Self-Released; 2019]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: dance, electronic
Others: emergent properties

They say you can’t name a mountain badly; they don’t say anything about hills. And so, despite the number of Capitoline clubs and big-character promos, Seattle isn’t exactly known for dance music. To make and market any fourth-floor heresy here — a place still very much predisposed to a sometimes unbelievably dated alt sensibility — reflects a kind of Alexamenos-is-faithful graffiti instinct. It’s a nose-thumbing reactive whim to not only trespass, but to declare oneself on, and in, personal terms.


1 Pearl, called as a brother of Cobain by the will of Neil the Younger, and Peter of the Temple Pilots, 2 To the church which is at the place called Duwamps, where there is craft beer and horse clams, to those who have been sanctified in Teen Spirit, Saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our LORD Kurt, their LORD and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from the LORD… 10 I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our LORD, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment…

Loose feet were verboten in the temple celebrations. These were sanctioned by the Patriarchs of the Church of the Altered Rock, who ruled their small crusader state with a fierce iron down-stroke. And so those who wanted to boogie had to go deeper underground.

It was the 16th Sunday in 7/4 time, the feast of Saints de la Rocha and Morello, who had — amid the tumult of the fateful Battle of Seattle decades earlier — martyred themselves on a crucible of blown-out drums and obliviated wire tones. “Wake up!” they chanted, memorably. But what were we supposed to wake up from?

In any case, it was a tragic sequel; and I wasn’t eager to be caught on a dime out past curfew. But something had found me. The heretical dance zealots, those who passed along record-relics in a sonic samizdat, had petitioned me to an invite-only gathering.

I’d heard them speak of the new shreds of gospel in hushed tones. Between its invisible ellipses, it elevated tantric groove beyond mere repetition-as-change monotony. Most important, it flexed a galvanic energy that had the potential to woo converts. For the first time since the last time, the people were excited. And so I sat and prepared myself for a listen.

It was called, mysteriously, The Consciousness Of. The first verse, titled “Ghost of a Shadow,” came with an ominous thrum of light digi-fied percussion in that familiar four-by-four heartbeat. Soon matched by light bass and twinges of synth, it was like manna, and I hadn’t realized until that very moment that I’d been starved on nothing but empty broke-beats and and power strums, all rendered red in a concertina of speed and violence.

But Consciousness wasn’t afraid to buck the Pentatonix. In fact, like a lot of good dance, it unshackles itself from any kind of twelve-bar predictability entirely. And so I, charmed by this charged valence, took notes.

The verses varied widely in form and function. Each fluidly borrowed licks and phrases from several different sonic precursors, in a seeming deliberate homage to the unity of the greater electronic dance movement. The drum-and-bass-inflected chapter “Sideways,” for example, jumped abruptly from danceable to eclectic in some profane marriage. “No Other Way,” a titular testament to true life, dabbled in scratchy funk rhythms. And I soon realized then that I was bearing witness to a nu-syncretic kind of dance, one that existed way above things, like a stylite.

They, the Patriarchs, couldn’t make us dance the same dance; not forever, at least. And, contrary to the presupposed infallibility of these leaders, the dance zealots recognized, and appreciated, the imperfect nature of their gospel. We all agreed it was laced with a kind of easygoing respectability, one that, despite its disparate elements, genuflected to some previous oral history. There were moments that felt almost too quotable, tired, as if by mirrored eyes. It observes the outskirts without charting completely new ground.

But the purpose of the verses was clear. The people, they had to dance again, they had every right to. And The Consciousness Of laid bare the potential of the people, to do more than simply sway.

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