Think of the new album video by JAF 34 “EMPTY” as something of a short cosmic thriller and science fiction film with obvious nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jodorowsky, Stephen Kostanski and Panos Cosmatos. Musically the arc is like taking the very concept of dream pop to much more ambitious heights than usual. Yes, the flowing, refreshing synth drones that evolve and slip into the cracks of consciousness. Sure the ethereal, simple guitar line that wanders even as it suggests a distant destination. But JAF 34 doen’t leave it there, chapters of this song proceed to give a musical depiction of the way we have regulated our time on the earth and given up so much of our lives to the commodification of not just our waking hours but how the content we help to create to offer up as products of social capital monetizable as experiences and bits of information for others and as markers algorithms can use to market to us and to other people whose own characteristics and patterns of behavior and consumption match our own. This recursive feedback loop the film suggests does in fact leave us fairly empty and running on a kind of treadmill that serves capital instead of our genuine selves. The music thus in the point in the film reflects the layers of distortion and, flux and frantic and desperate activity and for what? More wandering and chasing paths outside our genuine and organic interests and desires and following those suggested to us by an impersonal economic model that enriches large corporations at the expense of society and our individual psyches. It’s an ambitious piece of work that has more in common with a work of art out of FLUXUS, Holly Herndon or Laurel Halo than any standard experimental electronic or rock artist as its social critique is inseparable from its execution. Watch the “EMPTY” in its entirety on YouTube and connect with JAF 34 at the website linked below.
Digital Moss is the solo project of Evgenii of Russian synth/ambient trio I am waiting for you last summer. For the project’s latest single “nosa sifu” Evgenii makes maximum use of two voices on his modular synth for a rich and stirring sound reminiscent of Sinoia Caves’ work for the soundtrack to Beyond the Black Rainbow. It’s the kind of sound that suggests imagery and recalls the vibe and tone of avant-garde comics like material that would have been published in the magazine Garo in Japan and Italy’s L’Eternauta but perhaps more specifically this music seems to fit the comics and graphic novels that have come out of the Les Humanoïdes Associés (Humanoids in English) imprint. You know, the publisher of Métal Hurlant aka Heavy Metal. This song is so resonant with the style of Cathargo and The Saga of The Meta-Barons (and the work of Juan Giménez, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius generally) that one hopes Digital Moss, Sinoia Caves too (maybe a collaboration) is tapped when someone finally makes a modern movie out of any of that. There is a strong sense of place in some far flung future of abundant urban decay as far as the eye can see upon which one might project one’s imagination and find a space to explore and express the products of that ferment as people have so often done in the past and present in forgotten and neglected parts of big cities around the world. Listen to “nosa sifu” on Soundcloud and follow Digital Moss at the links below.