James West (DJ Midi Mayne) Busy Night Time 1997

[Bootleg Tapes; 2016]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: rave, club, e-cig, walkman, jock-jam
Others: Actress, Color Plus, Galcher Lustwerk

Let’s take it from the top again.

Like this: imagine you walk into an arcade and discover Street Fighter for the first time. What really startles you, more than the violence, the music, or the combination thereof, are the people behind the fighters, watching the fight. Moreover, not that they are watching the fight, but that they are watching you participate in the fight as the mind-as-fighter/god-player, as you control the arms, legs and entire body of an entity out to do damage to another entity, out to “win.” Staring into their faces, and noticing how some bystanders encourage the fight, while others cower away, too afraid to look, questions of why you paid the 50¢ to be assaulted by such sociological politics. (You also stare at them long enough to not concentrate on the task at hand, allowing the CPU to win easily.)

The experience only reminds you of a quote by Graham Harman: “all things do not reflect all other things as if in a mirror; there are firewalls between things breached only occasionally and with difficulty.”

Here’s the rub: it’s 1997. In this alternate universe, Harman hasn’t written that quote yet. In this alternative universe, when you’re in the club, you’re in a social body much larger than yours, a body that oftentimes will make you feel like you think too much about your problems, which are, inside this temporary body and this temporary appearance, not even noticeable, because in the club there’s no time for the weak, the timid, or the lame. You can either cum on camera or you can’t, but either way, you have to be brave like someone who struggles with their identity and happiness, because we’re getting high, getting up, and getting the hell to that rave over yonder, whether or not you shit your pants on this car seat right now.

On full blast on your Walkman: Busy Night Time 1997. You enjoy it because it’s not demarcated by dramatic incidents, but by moments of symbiosis, when a counterpoint of tones can’t be reduced to their separate materials, but come together, alive like an amazing sandwich, each ingredient acclaiming the other, every part of it a specimen of rave-archeology, which is, at long last, an ideology you can grasp, because its implacable economy governs each MIDI stem and each bass stomp, causing a sort of gap, a gentle slit highlighted by colors, smells, textures. The whole thing resonates its aesthetics beyond itself, making the club, also at long last, not the only locus of all that’s worthwhile, as you imagined all along: not the oasis in the desert, the bite into a Snickers bar, the deer in the crosshairs of a hunter, the flawless risotto perfectly plated by an Italian chef, the cleanest dishes washed by a dishwasher, the Ableton expert’s two-hour live set, etc.

Club-ideology is neither automatic nor easy to participate in, and it’s unclear how its aesthetics extrapolate both into the future and into the past. But we know that it does, because it has never dissolved into what it used to be, which strengthens the mystical attraction of the good old days, or the so-called “early days,” because those swirls of history become, among other things, a puzzle. To continue, to not continue, to understand, to challenge, to accept, to mutate, to remix, to rediscover, to dig up, to (de)fossilize — well? All of those practices still happen, even with the advancements of technology; they huddle alongside the old equipment, blurring how musical work gets done. That was the desire all along, planned by some unknown magician, and here we are, participating in it, as if by default.

But we’re at the rave, not in the philosopher’s opium den, right? A thick layer of slimy machismo hangs in the air. Who’s got the biggest dick in this place? I do. And I’m in Supreme and all these other fuckboys can’t touch me. But let’s get serious real quick. There is no end of the series of (mis)translations of this danceable music. As language becomes more free, everything else becomes more expensive, including the right to dance, especially in this moment, and in the following moment, and the thousands before, and twenty seconds after that. Shifting adumbrations choke the future outlook of all cityscapes. Who knows where this continual changing back and forth will take us. Yeah, who knows. It’s time to shit your pants again, but do it this time dreamily.

Links: James West (DJ Midi Mayne) - Bootleg Tapes

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