Lee Gamble In a Paraventral Scale

[Hyperdub; 2019]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: electronic design, sonic city-building
Others: Demdike Stare, Raime, Laurel Halo

Cities. New cities. Cities that aren’t even on this earth yet. The kind that Lee Gamble, on In a Paraventral Scale, gives a language to. Cities like shrines shining, where stars spill their milk-light on the silken earth, the air cracking open like an egg. Cities where the cyborg-sublime meets avant-garde sound design, where brujería mixes with psychedelia. Where poets twitch language into glitches, splattering syntax in a fight against their techno-financial bondage. Where apartment building after apartment building builds into a 4/4 rhythm, one after the other after the other. Where there is hurt of wanting the financially — and metaphysically — impossible.

To be the poem-glitch that combats the wage-slavery: there’s the rub. To be above, at the top of a skyscraper, in a blanket of mist, in the secret of your own being. Then to be inside a sound — a sound like the perception of the Other’s body as an extension of one’s own. A sound like metamorphosis gathering amidst dazzling emptiness. A sound like wind wrinkling street puddles. A sound like a robot’s human-shaped buttocks sitting in a metal chair. A sound like pigeon poo landing on pavement. A sound like money being printed on a large machine.

Gamble’s making sounds like all of that, with Autechre spasms and Resident Evil soundtrack dread combined into one. The melodies don’t propel; they put buffers and stopgaps between other moments of intense sound design. Like a luxury car at a car show, they exude and ooze sleekness and velocity. But hidden within that is a terror: the terror of being surveilled, minute by minute, devoid of ontological access to the eternal or the metaphysical. The terror of automation taking over your life. The terror of money scraping your insides out. Of your inner emptiness pushing you over the edge.

Yet inward toward this vortex we go, into our virtual coil. Inward toward a city within a dream. Toward a roar of plane engines in our face, strong winds slapping our hair around. Toward some crude, sullen murk we call a living space, an architecture. Toward the headquarters of this necro-enterprise. Toward warfare, without the war.

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