Entropic Advance’s endless collapse is the Sound of Civilization’s Slow Decay Into a Mysterious Future

If ever there was a title to the current season of human civilization, endless collapse is it and this collaborative album between Denver-based experimental electronic/ambient artist bios+a+ic and Seattle-based avant-garde soundscaper noisepoetnobody (under the name Entropic Advance) is a musical analogue to what seems like a pervasive feeling that just when we think we’ve hit a new low as a species we keep showing ourselves that we haven’t seen anything yet. There are no grand political statements or observations on this album, just that mood of seeming to be caught up in the flow of society’s static as institutions, norms, formerly generally agreed to beliefs about what constitutes truth and a reliable path to knowledge and so much of what makes up the world as we know it erodes into insolidity and an ambient white noise of what can only be described as not just future urban decay but the kind of prolonged collapse Edward Gibbon described in his colossal 1976-1789 masterpiece The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire but this time a global, interconnected civilization, the collapse of which will spare no one in the end. Humanity will probably survive but the successors to the Roman Empire never had nuclear technology, advanced biological weapons and so many of the other fun stuff awaiting us if and when global hegemon’s fragment and pass into history with a massive power vacuum filled by groups and leaders we can’t yet imagine.

This album seems to have been based on contemplating the dark future that even the most cynical and dystopian cyberpunk never really considered and how realistic it is for a collapse to not feel like one until it’s well under way. The sheets of processed white noise, the organic yet fragmented rhythms and distorted drones of the title track and “behind the projected” is reminiscent of a dark negative image of Tangerine Dream’s “Thru Metamorphic Rocks” from Force Majeure Those familiar might even flash back to the stark, gray, deeply haunting imagery of Andrei Tarkovksy’s 1979 film Stalker and it’s air of mystery and yearning for dream fulfillment in the face of existential peril. The titles of the songs tell a tale of a similar voyage of waking up one day (“sunrise”) and becoming aware that you’re living in apocalyptic times except it’s not as dramatic or as sudden as science fiction and mythology has lead you to believe (‘endless collapse”) and you try to figure out a way to preserve your sanity while reconciling yourself with the tragic reality and envisioning what it might be like to exist on the other side of this time (“a bridge between worlds” and “from the ashes”) only to hit upon the oddly comforting idea that we all go through these shorter cycles in life as part of bigger trends and often only get a brief period of respite that we should treasure (“catch a breath”). Despite these heady themes it is a soothing listen and one that also perfectly embodies the melancholic yet faintly hopeful mood of the world today. Who knows where we’ll end up in the next year or ten but this album is also a reminder that being paralyzed by those concerns isn’t going to derail the worst possibilities and that creative work can be a cathartic way to break that psychological freeze.

Listen to endless collapse on Bandcamp and also, if you’re so inclined, give a listen to noisepoetnobody’s excellent 2021 album Insanity Mirror on Bandcamp as well. Connect with Entropic Advance at the links below for more information and to stay appraised of Wesley Davis’ various creatie endeavors.

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symbolicinsight.com/entropicadvance

dpe0’s Haunting and Affecting “Devotion” is the Soundtrack to a Perilous Existential Journey

dpe0, photo courtesy the artist

There was a time in the 2000s and early 2010s when horror movies and thrillers had truly enigmatic soundtracks and deeply evocative sound design that was as much a part of the cinematic experience as the visual elements. Oftentimes that side of the movie was more compelling than what was on the screen or just edged it into the haunting and affecting. “Devotion” by dpe0 comes from that lineage whether formally or otherwise and it sounds like it was written after a marathon of listening to old Hearts of Space broadcasts alongside watching the entire works of Andrei Tarkovsky and Bela Tarr. It is spare and simple in its composition but its low volume puts your listening focus in the distance as it evolves slowly with hazy, melodic drones that echo through a cycle that never quite resolves and because of that it holds your attention with a vague sense of anticipation like something mysterious and transformative is on the horizon. It brings to mind when the “Stalker” character from the Tarkovsky movie of the same name leads “The Writer” and “The Professor” into the “Zone” and towards the “Room” where it is said the wishes of those who step inside are granted. Listen to “Devotion” on Spotify.

Fatima Al Qadiri’s Score for Atlantics Embodies the Complexity and Tragedy of the Film

FatimaAlQadiri_Atlantics_Soundtrack_crop
Fatima Al Qadiri Atlantics soundtrack cover (cropped)

Senegal born, Kuwaiti raised composer Fatima Al Qadiri brings the gravity of her experience with war and post-colonial history to her darkly evocative soundtrack for the critically acclaimed 2019 movie Atlantics. The movie, marking the directorial debut of Mati Diop, is the story of a woman in a suburb of Dakar, Senegal who falls in love with one of the construction workers that have been building a futuristic-looking tower although she is betrothed to another man. The track “Boys in the Mirror” is imbued with that sense of melancholic longing, conflicted emotions and portents of tragic endings. The linger keyboard melody is reminiscent of Eduard Artemiev’s beautifully brooding and desolate work for Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972) and Stalker (1979). The depth of tone, the suggestion of texture and an organic flow that courses through your mind, haunting it long after. Listen to “Boys in the Mirror” on YouTube, stream Atlantics on Netflix from November 29 onward and follow Al Qadiri at the links provided.

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