Noisy underground monument

An unpredictable binary journey through a branched noisy relief.

Cadlag, the slovenian all-star noise/drone project with its new album and its accompanying text, suggests binariness, the all-encompassing enemy of today’s mainstream progressivism. The term “cadlag” as an actual mathematical term and in the relationship between the album title (“plus”) and its belonging opposite, the minus, all of that is accompanied by a philosophical-mathematical-poetic interpretation in the so-called “postmodern” style or newer “continental” thought. The textual content speaks of an empty absolute form, form of an addition and subtraction, of a two-way movement, justified thru (the movement, of) its own emptiness, in which life is also embedded/ingrained.

If I want to combine my listening experience with the aforementioned description, I have to make a big detour. For me, “Plus” is firstly and foremostly a therapeutic listening, as much as the therapeutic effect of a half an hour massage would be (I never tried it): it is strong, it hurts, but you can feel it, how your muscles are being dissolved in the comfort and how the pressures of everyday social reality is being swept away, with the potential for action being released. And in this we find ourselves in the second disposition, a different mode of being, something that thoroughly interferes with the existence itself, through the ear as a medium, unlike the channelings offered by established (pop) music codification. But not to juxtapose both alternative and mainstream, pop and underground, to resort to such simple divisions, thus reproducing the myth of the music industry and post-subculture life. In fact, this is one of those music albums that actually, through the ear and the body, pushes the listener, at least in my case, to the opening of a new perspective, through which we are able to perceive the mutually inherent fertilizing dichotomies, but only at a suitable distance.

The album succeeds by sonically materializing this binariness, this increasingly hate-engrossed ontological pattern. The most archaic binaries, emptiness/fullness, the dual terms that are being inscribed within the human culture (throughout its history) in many different ways: man-woman, white-black, sweet-salty…

The rustling, buzzing and the condensed sonic interiority, lengthily enters through the ever-present ambient chirpings and dronings. Despite the rather obvious presence of the form and its conterpart fill-up’s, however, their roles of both are not so easily definable. The dark and penetrating core that is finally being nested/over-sieged, might well act as a moist shelter. Both parts are being scraped-away, the sawdust particles flying in all directions, and their scrapings flicker-away, looking for some kind of contact and/or getting entangled in some form of a dance. Two things being obvious and inevitable throughout the journey: the fullness of it and the sheer intensity. We are left astonished by the clarity of the sound and so called general chaos. If we were to listen the album while resting, we would probably find it hard to endure, as the frontal attack works on the hearing/listening, as an interpretitive thought process, as it was already mentioned, trapping the muscles in, vibrating in the bones and simply not allowing us to rest, requiring some sort of motor relaxation. Nonetheless, this is not some rough, harsh noise, but an elegant and moving sonic firework, occupying your horizon for a good half an hour.

Despite the recognizable pattern and the central binomiality, being paradoxically questioned and at the same time consolidated through its noisy sound-excavations, having in mind the level of the general impression of the set structure, it is difficult to talk about predictability here, as the intensities are being distributed throughout the (live) recording. Once again, we are confronted with the paradox of temporality, when improvisation and live listening merge together and reproduction of the live composition/improvisation for later, delivered for the private listening, because the improvised construction of the movements of intensity, despite the same sound matter, its ingredients, must certainly take place quite differently via live performance/experience or simply later (private) listening. But not to overthink too much, what I want to say is that relief is quite varied, that things surprise us as it unfolds further and through dynamics of change and suddenness, they lead to the the listener’s climax, also meeting in a rhythm, characterized by the very incongruency of the next step. In its own way it establishes itself retroactively. It is more a cosmic rhythm than a musical rhythm, like ripples, the dance of sound and non-sound, which in a violent rush (and heavy saturation for the ears) pushes us through the landscapes and opens the space that is able to trigger gentle feelings while it brings us to the edge of non-sentimental tears. — Of the kind that draws us beyond meaning, from the depths of our minds, body, and cosmos. In short, the listening that is offered before us, has the ability to bring us (or was this just my own personal experience) to the vicinity of sublime points of dissolution-s, otherwise rather sparsely distributed throughout our lives, drowned throughout the routine-s and thinned down, unnoticed, almost to the point of imperceptibility. Basically, we are the last people. And that is why, perhaps, instead of providing stencil therapeutic techniques for today’s alienated crowds, listening to “Plus”, would be much more appropriate. Let’s imagine how it suddenly spreads through the remnants of disciplinary institutions, schools, prisons and offices, intercepts our ears via rickrolling, similar to those on the internet. Ah, utopias!

Let us return to the relationship between the real-time nature of improvisation and the reproductive nature of the recording for the later listening, inducing the change, of not only space but the spatiality itself. This release is actually positioned exactly at this cross-section when it serves the meal with accompanying VHS video. We haven’t watched the whole footage except the six-minute and forty-seven-second-long long except, i.e. trailer on YouTube. In the middle of the video-footage-screen, a “plus” awaits us, which looks as same as the focus point for the rifle-gun, similar to what we see in shooting video games. The camera somewhat shakes and twitches, circling around in all directions of the space, where the concert was actually executed. We see only the silhouettes: the chains of the Hrastnik industrial coal-miners place (called vašhava) where the whole event took place, the relationship between the openings and the surface, flattened on the same level, the musicians, their instruments and hardware. Blurred, trembling, random, black-and-white, viewed with an alien gaze that mystifies the dimensionality of space and opens us up to other modes of visual perception. And of course the listening-perception. While being packed for reproduction, together with the perception of it (through some sort of creative reception process, in which the recording engages us as listeners, and thus presents/embodies the level of its own sound, moving constantly through its multi-directionality), the album strangely maintains its weird coherence. Noisy underground monument. Translation by Neven M. Agalma (2020).

Hrupni podzemni monument

Nepredvidljivo binarno potovanje po razvejanem hrupnem reliefu.

Novi album domače all star hrupne zasedbe Cadlag v spremnem besedilu sugerira binarnost, vedno večjo sovražnico današnjega mainstreamovskega progresivizma. Izraz cadlag je sicer matematični termin in razmerje med naslovnim plusom ter pripadajočim mu minusom je pospremljeno s filozofsko-matematično-poetično razlago v slogu tako imenovane »postmoderne« ali novejše »kontinentalne« misli. Besedilo govori o prazni absolutni formi dodajanja in odvzemanja, o dvosmernem gibanju, upravičenem v lastni praznosti, v katero je vpeto tudi življenje.

Če želim svojo poslušalsko izkušnjo spojiti z omenjenim opisom, moram narediti velik ovinek. Zame je Plus namreč v prvi vrsti terapevtsko poslušanje, kot je najbrž (nisem poskusil) terapevtska kakšna intenzivna polurna masaža: močno je, boli, a čutiš, kako se ti v ugodju raztapljajo mišice, kako iz njih puhtijo pritiski vsakdanje družbene realnosti, se v njih sprošča potencial za delovanje. V tem pa je že druga dispozicija, drug modus bivanja, nekaj, kar preko ušesa temeljito posega v eksistenco, za razliko od kanalizirajočega usmerjanja, ki ga ponujajo etablirani (pop)glasbeni kodi. Pa ne gre za to, da bi sopostavljali alternativo in mainstream, pop in underground, da bi se poslužili tako enostavnih delitev, ki same po sebi reproducirajo mit glasbene industrije in postsubkulturniškega življenja. Gre za to, da je to eden tistih glasbenih albumov, ki skozi uho, telo, dejansko postavijo poslušalca, vsaj mene, v neko novo perspektivo, s katere se da v primerni oddaljenosti pogledati na obstoječe medsebojno oplajajoče se dihotomije.

To mu uspeva z zvočno materializacijo binarnosti, tega vedno bolj osovraženega ontološkega vzorca. Najbolj arhaične binarnosti, praznina–polnost, para, ki se v človeške kulture skozi zgodovino vpisuje na različne načine: moški in ženska, belo in črno, sladko in slano …

Šumeča, brneča in zgoščena zvočna notrina dolgo vstopa v ves čas prisotno ambientalno žvrgolenje in dromljanje. Kljub precej očitni prisotnosti oblike in njenega polnila pa njuni vlogi vendarle nista tako enostavno opredeljivi. Temačno penetrirajoče jedro nazadnje vgnezdeno prav lahko deluje kot vlažno zavetje. Oba dela sta scefrana, od njiju letijo odpilki, njune strganine pa migotajo, iščejo stik in se zapletajo v plese. Dve stvari sta ves čas očitni, neizogibni: polnost in intenzivnost. Osuplja jasnost zvoka v vsesplošnem kaosu. Če bi hoteli to plato poslušati leže, bi morda težko zdržali, saj je frontalni napad na sluh, interpretativni miselni proces, ki se, kot smo rekli, zaje v mišice, vibrira v kosteh in preprosto ne dovoljuje mirovanja, zahteva gibalno sprostitev. Pa vendar to ni grobi, harsh noise, temveč eleganten in tudi ganljiv zvočni ognjemet, ki za dobre pol ure zasede vaš horizont.

Kljub prepoznavnemu vzorcu in osrednjemu binomu, paradoksno prevprašanem in obenem utrjevanem ravno v svojem hrupnem izzvočevanju, pa seveda tudi na ravni splošnega vtisa o strukturi seta težko govorimo o predvidljivosti, saj so intenzitete razporejene čez celotni posnetek. Še enkrat več se pri tem soočimo s paradoksom časovnosti, kadar sta sopostavljeni, zliti skupaj improvizacija in poslušanje v živo ter reprodukcija improvizacije za kasnejše, navadno zasebno poslušanje na drugi strani, saj improvizirana gradnja intenzitete kljub isti zvočni materiji gotovo poteka drugače v živo ali ob kasnejšem prisluhu. A ne modrujmo preveč glede tega, reči želim, da je relief precej razgiban, da nas zadeve presenečajo in prav v svoji nenadnosti vodijo k poslušalskim vrhuncem, da se srečujemo v ritmu, za katerega je značilna ravno neujemljivost naslednjega koraka. Zato se po svoje vzpostavlja tudi retroaktivno. Bolj kot glasbeni ritem je to kozmični ritem, valovanje, ples zvoka in nezvoka, kar nas v silovitem drvenju skozi krajino, v težki zasičenosti ušes lahko pripelje do nežnih občutij in roba nesementimentalnih solz. Takšnih, ki črpajo onkraj pomena, iz globin uma, telesa in kozmosa. Skratka, poslušanje nas lahko pripelje, ali pa je samo mene, v bližino sublimnih razstopitev, sicer dokaj redko razporejenih po naših življenjih, ki so tako in tako vedno bolj rutinirana in stanjšana skoraj do nezaznavnosti. Smo pač zadnji ljudje. Morda bi bil prav zato namesto nudenja šablonskih terapevtskih tehnik za današnje odtujene množice primernejši prisluh Plusa. Predstavljajmo si, kako se naenkrat razleze po ostankih disciplinskih institucij, po šolah, zaporih in pisarnah ter nas v stilu rickrollanja prestreže na internetu. Ah, utopije!

Vrnimo se nazaj k temu razmerju realnočasovnosti improvizacije in reproduktivne narave posnetka slednje ter s tem spremembe ne zgolj prostora, temveč tudi same prostorskosti. Izdaja se namreč sama umesti v ta problem, ko postreže s spremljevalnim videom na VHS. Slednjega si nismo ogledali, razen šest minut in sedeminštirideset sekund dolgega trailerja na YouTubu. Sredi ekrana nas pričaka plus, ki je pravzaprav merilo puške, podobno kakor ga vidimo v strelskih videoigrah. Kamera se trese in trzajoče kroži po vseh smereh v prostoru, kjer se izvaja koncert. Vse vidimo v silhuetah: verige hrastniške industrijske vašhave, kjer se je odvil, razmerje med odprtinami in površino, ki sta sploščena na isto ravnino, glasbenike, njihove inštrumente in strojno opremo. Zablurano, tresoče se, naključno, črno-belo, gledano z alienskim pogledom, ki mistificira dimenzionalnost prostora, da odpre druge moduse gledanja. In s tem poslušanja. Ki ga je mogoče obnavljati, skupaj z ogledom v nekem kreativnem recepcijskem procesu, v katerega nas plošček kot poslušalce vključi in s tem udejanji nivo lastnega zvoka, ki v svoji večsmernosti stalno ohranja čudno koherenco. Hrupni podzemni monument.


Categories: Reviews