Hype Williams Rainbow Edition

[Big Dada; 2017]

Styles: repetition, repression, regression, catharsis?
Others: Frantz Fanon, Frank B Wilderson III, Saidiya Hartman, Hortense Spillers

Lithe feline rises to meet stately dog. They touch only in their separation. What would be the division of the whole becomes division’s amelioration, peace, only by the addition of their bodies that in other contexts might be selling shoes. The LGBTQ+ rainbow becomes an additional cage. Almost logos, the animals are trapped and enslaved by the bars their own bodies connote. Division itself fractures and fragments, all the while displaying its opposite with its own face. “It seems to him there are a thousand bars and behind a thousand bars no world” (Rilke). Capitalism renders enslavement freedom. It creates a false world to replace the one that vanished. Might the awareness of this banal contradiction bring freedom itself into light? Surely one can’t resurrect it from its same ideality that masks the way in which we are not free. Thus, the appropriation of artifice.

Hype Williams want to destroy this world — the world.

What about my freedom, you ain’t got no freedom, you a copout / We all have different ways of doing what we think is right for ourselves. You are livin in a dream world, and if I feel the pain I’m gonna do something about it. And if it means jumpin up and down, then you watch your sister jump, you just be careful who she lands on. All of you, you are uncle toms. Not the old uncle toms, nah. You a brand new breed. And if you keep lookin the other way long enough, you know what you’re gonna see? Nothin. And that’s like super beautiful because there’s nothing for you to do but go right on. Their world is dead. There’s a new thing happening. New and beautiful (“Madting”).

Hype Williams wants to destroy the world, the world as it already is, the world that is dead. Something new and beautiful is happening, a new thing — a new world?

Rainbow Edition isn’t new. Most of the album is a rearrangement of the Hype Williams EP sweetchinmusik vol. 1. Rainbow Edition isn’t new. The moniker itself is a facetious facsimile of another, while the group that dons it is headed by pseudonyms (of pseudonyms (of…)). Rainbow Edition isn’t new. The beats — hazy and hushed as a drunk, stuttering stroll through the motley trash heap of a culture that progresses only in its decay — almost sound like dull forgeries of other more serious sounds, unironically appreciated though their withering bones gleaming through rags. Rainbow Edition isn’t new.

Rainbow Edition is new — beautiful, too.

But how?

It lacks an authorial voice. Since no one made this album, no vision binds it together with its identity — it doesn’t cohere. As the voices relate — the freedom that the “I” claims is “my” freedom is not — your freedom isn’t yours because you are not you — all of you. In fact, this lack of an authorial voice is only the active suppression of active voices — the voices that are heard — the sounds that Rainbow Edition appropriates and, in so doing, exposes them as they are: lifeless. Rainbow Edition is (Hype / υπερ / above) music. We don’t hear the sounds. We hear the sounds after their own sound has been destroyed.

And as the music repeats — for instance, the sound quality continually decreases as if this sound were material, as if in one playing it deteriorated with the force of accumulated use — the façade falls and new life has sprouted where once was only dust. So voice-overs — the authorial replacement, previously mere introduction and transition, commentary even, buried voicemails — become singers, become the melody, as repetition voids the commonplace of speech and one hears the phrasing of annunciation. So the preposterous pan-flute or synth strings, Casiotones for the immature, begin to sound like real music, as if shed of their veneer.

Now consisting of “Silvermane” and “Slaughter,” whoever they are, the new Hype Williams boasts a monumental task: to excavate what is empty, what already lacks substance, and in clearing space let it be occupied once again. Althusser says, of Marx and Machiavelli, that the literary space of the critique conceives of more than the present infinity of ideology asserts, of an outside of the present, therefore assimilating new subjects not bound to the empty identification with the ruling (white, male, rich) ego.

But away with intellectual vanguardism, because, as Susan Sontag notes, “The experiences of Camp are based on the great discovery that the sensibility of high culture has no monopoly upon refinement. Camp asserts that good taste is not simply good taste; that there exists, indeed, a good taste of bad taste.” Meaning, of course, that the revolutionary prejudice of the outside — the patronizing force of the vanguard for whose leadership we wait to arrive from beyond — is merely ruling-class taste in disguise. Better, it will come from within. No false desire for authenticity; let us reappropriate the object as it is. “Camp — Dandyism in the age of mass culture — makes no distinction between the unique object and the mass-produced object. Camp taste transcends the nausea of the replica.” And, so it threatens to destroy the world, the world as it already is, the world that is dead.

Responding to a revolutionary tendency of those class reductionists et al. to discipline black people, Frank B. Wilderson III says in a radio interview: “What freaks them out about an analysis of anti-Blackness is that this applies to the category of the Human, which means that they have to be destroyed regardless of their performance, or of their morality, and that they occupy a place of power that is completely unethical, regardless of what they do. And they’re not going to do that. Because what are they trying to do? They’re trying to build a better world. What are we trying to do? We’re trying to destroy the world. Two irreconcilable projects” Hype Williams, too, want to destroy the world. They go further than ethics and actions; they demonstrate that being and modes of existence — as represented in the domain of culture — are not merely unenthical, but also meaningless, substanceless, wrapped up in the burial shroud of false consciousness.

I liken this destruction to H. D.’s pronouncement: “there, as here, ruin opens / the tomb, the temple; enter” — a destruction of what is false, dead, not living, but at the same time bringing what is real, what is really alive into being — the tomb and the temple.

Jumping up and down is a revolutionary activity.


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