Malcolm GIVEITAWAY14

[UNO NYC; 2015]

Styles: acid house, techno, drone
Others: AFX, µ-Ziq, Gobby

Why is there such a peculiar draw to states of anonymity?

It may or may not be a stretch to pose that the experiences of nearly every musician operating on the internet is dealing with — or are perhaps even enslaved to — interactions that are quantified and codified, where meaning is placed upon numbers, words, and ether. The art itself becomes an abstraction of that individual’s place, or more interestingly, lack thereof. A completely or nearly anonymous musician, therefore, offers a curious refrain from action-A and action-B, relevance-X and relevance-Y.

Inevitably,

(a) The artist, along a continuum that stretches from God’s voice to the masses (Wagner) to the DJ,
(b) A writer (of sorts), for a press release or review like this,
and/or
(c) The listener

will apply information that is correctly or incorrectly deemed relevant to a work, often in an amalgamation of all three — be it from original thought, word-of-mouth, or external experience, with or without conceit or intent. It’s hard to ignore these things when they are designed to elicit a particular experience of a receiver/donor/buyer.

That’s not to say that Malcolm, the recent addition to UNO NYC’s stable, is devoid of time, place, or signifiers relevant to the world into which his/her/their music has been released. But the curious nature of Malcolm’s choices inside and outside of the digital waveforms on offer are inextricable.

The digital-age possibilities of manufactured lo-fi and bent hi-fi present themselves time and time again in the works of artists like Malcolm. These works take the fundamental elements of electronic music and skew them at their whims, with the unshakable and punishing aura of “functionality,” a lingering result of the adherence to dance forms and means. Sonic objects key to acid house, techno, and drone music are processed literally and figuratively in unconventional ways, the usual action following form reversed.

But by now, this is old news. With our devices, these machines with which we attempt to break out of our predetermined place in an increasingly ethereal net, how far can we go without the inevitable hearkening back to our predecessors and contemporaries? How radical is an anonymous flux when the manicured and obvious personas that flood our musical landscapes are essentially just as empty of authenticity, but lack the defining lack of blank anonymity?

Sometimes you just gotta vent what you’re thinking, and Malcolm really brought this out in me. Those are just my superimpositions, but maybe that’s the most alluring thing about these bent impressions of acid and all their connotative power. Free from the baggage of contrived gestures aimed at person-X listening to tune-Y and discerning this or that, the “faceless” Malcolm’s tunes speak. And in contrast to my waffling, I’d like to put it bluntly: these are quality tunes.

Links: Malcolm - UNO NYC

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