TCF 415C47197F78E8…

[Liberation Technologies; 2014]

Styles: new aesthetic, abstract rave, HEX
Others: Amnesia Scanner, /F, Holly Herndon, Arca, Nick Land, James Bridle

At first glance, Lars “TCF” Holdhus’s digital-encoding-as-title in his work(s) appears as perhaps an impenetrable, meaningless series of characters. They may or may not spell out a text that we can “identify” in a traditional sense, that we can read and process. But is this mode of communication really more abstract than our regular communicative language, or is it perhaps more “real”? In a more mundane, everyday online setting, actions like sending a text, an email, leaving a comment, giving a thumbs-up, etc. are ritualized performances, detached by a web of intent and impression from their initiator’s original intent.

4c 61 75 67 68 20 61 6e 64 20 6c 61 75 67 68 20 0d 0a 61 74 20 74 68 65 20 73 75 6e 20 0d 0a 61 74 20 74 68 65 20 6e 65 74 74 6c 65 73 20 0d 0a 61 74 20 74 68 65 20 73 74 6f 6e 65 73 20 0d 0a 61 74 20 74 68 65 20 64 75 63 6b 73 0d 0a 0d 0a 0d 0a 0d 0a 61 74 20 74 68 65 20 72 61 69 6e 20 0d 0a 61 74 20 74 68 65 20 70 65 65 2d 70 65 65 20 6f 66 20 74 68 65 20 70 6f 70 65 20 0d 0a 61 74 20 6d 75 6d 6d 79 20 0d 0a 61 74 20 61 20 63 6f 66 66 69 6e 20 66 75 6c 6c 20 6f 66 20 73 68 69 74 20 5b 49 56 20 31 33 5d 2e

When immediate and inherent meaning dissipates into a codified form of communication (that, in turn, has the potential for infinite amounts of compounding meanings attached), do we really have control over what we say in a digital world? TCF’s 415C47197F78E811FEEB7862288306EC4137FD4EC3DED8B tackles not only misinformation, but also information gone awry, deconstructed, and rebuilt — reformed, if you will. It’s in the same ballpark as QR codes or binary encoding. What may at first appear to be something akin to digital detritus, something that has no aesthetic value whatsoever becomes something far heftier when the ramifications of its form take hold. After all, language is merely a code, but it’s one we are conditioned to embrace and understand unconditionally, to hear and to speak, to read and to write. The same could be said of a timbral language in music, and this duality is especially important in the case of TCF’s music.

055 052 032 054 056 032 054 053 032 055 050 032 054 053 032 050 048 032 054 057 032 055 051 032 050 048 032 054 101 032 054 102 032 055 052 032 054 056 032 054 057 032 054 101 032 054 055 032 050 048 032 048 100 032 048 097 032 054 053 032 055 056 032 054 051 032 054 053 032 055 048 032 055 052 032 050 048 032 048 100 032 048 097 032 055 052 032 054 056 032 054 053 032 050 048 032 054 057 032 054 100 032 055 048 032 054 102 032 055 051 032 055 051 032 054 057 032 054 050 032 054 099 032 054 053 032 050 048 032 048 100 032 048 097 032 054 049 032 054 101 032 054 052 032 050 048 032 054 101 032 054 102 032 055 052 032 050 048 032 052 055 032 054 102 032 054 052 032 050 048 032 053 098 032 052 057 032 052 057 032 052 057 032 050 048 032 051 052 032 051 055 032 053 100 032 050 101

The primary instrumentation and compositional approach is akin to a synthesized, plastic world in a perpetual state of shift. There are many instruments that are identifiable as strings, woodwinds, steel drums, and occasionally human voices; one would assume these are sampled or synthesized. However, they are dominated by an assemblage of even more abstracted sounds, many of which are ineffably digital — they’re the sounds of hi-def, metallic sheen that artists like Fatima Al Qadiri and others have also used in their work. But where Qadiri’s works (mostly through the medium of dance music) and those of her collaborators have tackled ideas of simulation, in particular simulated violence and sexuality in a strangely, fascinatingly tactile way, TCF’s compositions retain the abstraction of their labeling insofar as they do not belong to a typical, immediately tangible form of music.

Of course, there are contemporaries of TCF who also trade in a similar language of instrumental abstraction — Oneohtrix Point Never’s repurposing of banal, digital speech on his Music For Reliquary House or Holly Herndon’s speech and breathing enslaved to her digital frameworks on Movement. 415C47197F78E811FEEB7862288306EC4137FD4EC3DED8B belongs to the tradition of these artists that not only embrace the fake, the plastic, the “unreal,” but seemingly wholeheartedly derive aspects of their aesthetic sensibility from data, from code — particularly that which contains errors or glitches.

00110000 00110101 00110011 00100000 00110000 00110100 00111000 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110101 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110000 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110100 00100000 00110001 00110000 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110100 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110101 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110101 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110000 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110100 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110011 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110101 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110001 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110101 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110001 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110000 00100000 00110000 00110100 00111000 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110100 00100000 00110001 00110000 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110011 00110010 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110100 00100000 00110000 00110101 00110100

So one may think that TCF’s conventions for titling his compositions like “Db 9F 72 A8 B4 1C 62 8A 3C 96 22 8B 5B 03 23 6F 81 16 64 76 3E 0A D8 16” would bear some resemblance to commonplace language when decoded into HEX, as they follow the conventions of that particular branch of encoding. However, the results from decoding them appear no clearer — at least not in written English, at first. In an interview with Lisa Blanning, TCF says: “All my work has encryption in various layers. Maybe even the presentation is an encryption in itself. And therefore the people that won’t be triggered like that won’t access it. You could almost say that encryption is also just the kind of attractors, and if there’s no attractors for certain people, they won’t access it.”

Just how far the layers of obfuscation run is hard to tell. In the same vein, TCF’s tracks writhe and shake under the pressure of the coarse, highly processed electronic form they take, but they are not without moments of textural and melodic beauty. In fact, despite the realm of digital composition that TCF embraces being hewn from objects that are bizarre and foreign to non-digital beings, it’s one that’s so carefully imagined and designed that a plethora of architectural possibilities are afforded.

Indeed, 415C47197F78E811FEEB7862288306EC4137FD4EC3DED8B shoots far beyond simply maintaining an intriguing, “digital” soundworld. The sixth track (and for sake of brevity, I’ll refer numerically) builds an imposing and extreme pseudo-orchestra that whirls and shakes with a violent, harmonic energy. Elsewhere, the second track recalls the (literally) shakier moments of Daniel Lopatin and Tim Hecker’s Instrumental Tourist, and the third track sits in a similar zone to Amnesia Scanner’s AS Live from earlier this year — the dismantling of enormous, resplendent “realistic” sounds in a vortex of cathartic, plastic delirium.

However, TCF’s creations are not purely digital media — as the effect of the music itself is extremely visceral and moves beyond a temporal exclusivity — they sit in an extreme sphere that draws from a kind of sterile digitalization that may well be initially as impenetrable as his more subtle, banal encoding suggests. But through the broken code emerges a sound that is surprisingly, bizarrely emotive, engrossing, and human.

6G 3U TY 2R TH 89 W

Links: TCF - Liberation Technologies

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