Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sustain/Decay : choice cuts from the abstract pluripotentiality

//edit: it is driving me batty that I can't seem to edit the text of this one.....sorry. deal with it.//

Something to make you want it...a few of the submitted proposals for Void Front's upcoming anthology....

Cymatic Church

For the cymatic Church, drone was Pantheistic; resonance within the architecture of the Church betrayed a God in nature and insulted the Christian God beyond nature. Certain forms of drone were especially forbidden within the walls of the Church,1 as was the geometry of the pentagram and golden triangle. The Devil’s Drone was attenuated by ancient dampers of resonance, and in 1234 Pope Gregory IX outlawed the tritone in Church music. This pagan resonant interval was considered sacred by the architects of the Church, and to preserve their dark secrets they encoded cymatic2 symbols into the architecture of the Church.3

Cymatic representations of the Fibonacci ratio 13:8 or 1.625 are embedded into the architecture of Churches.4 After the ratio of 13:8 the ratios of adjacent numbers in the Fibonacci series converge into the infinite golden ratio and damping increases, gradually canceling all fractional standing waves and leaving only whole number harmonics. The Devil’s Drone was muzzled by the architecture of the cymatic Church itself, and the standing wave patterns of drone avoided long before Chladni’s scientific discoveries.5

The Church strictly forbid the standing waves of drone, relegating the Pantheistic knowledge of resonance to the secret knowledge of the Underworld. But in the very act of outlawing drone the church indelibly bore features of what it negated. The damping effect of the cymatic Church was so effective that to this day it is used extensively in the design of speakers and other media to cancel resonance. The secret knowledge of the Church’s architects disseminated into the modern world. It no longer has anything to hide.

Two things interests us in this essay: First, the cymatic Church — a chamber which amplified the Angel’s symbolic resonance while minimizing Pantheistic drone with anti-harmonic damping effects — as well as its modern correlates; and second, drone compositions designed to exploit the resonant and damping properties of the cymatic Church. We will explore an array of cymatic media and composers such as Emptyset who subject Woodchester Mansion’s irregular spaces to their sonic investigations inscribing its architecture onto their drone; the composer Paul Jebanasam with his Music for the Church of S t John the Baptist which was created especially for the church of St John The Baptist; and Maja S. K. Ratkj with her Crepuscular H our which was inspired by the phenomena “crepuscular rays”and is to be “performed in a cathedral or similar”. 

1 The unstable character of the tritone, for instance, rendered it particularly unsuitable for the resonant chambers of the Church. The tritone is a restless interval, and was known as Diabolus in Musica and cautiously avoided in the theory of the “old authorities”.

2 Cymatics, from Greek: κῦμα, meaning "wave", is a subset of modal vibrational phenomena. The term was coined by Hans Jenny (1904-1972). In 1967 Jenny published two volumes entitled Kymatic, in which, repeating Ernst Chladni's experiments (see below), he claimed the existence of a subtle power based on the normal, symmetrical images made by sound waves.
3 The Rosslyn Chapel is but one example.
4 This is the first non-resonant Fibonacci ratio. This begins the convergence of the subsequent Fibonacci ratios which lead to the golden ratio (~1.61803) found in the pentagram and “golden triangle.” There can be no fractional, or unstable, resonance at or near the infinite frequency proportion of the golden ratio.
5 In 1787, the jurist, musician and physicist Ernst Chladni (1756-1827) published Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klangesor (Discoveries Concerning the Theory of Sound), laying the foundations for what came to be called acoustics, the science of sound. Chladni is best known for demonstrating that sound actually affects physical matter and that it has the quality of creating geometric patterns.


Summoning the Black Flame
Trepaneringsritualen's Music and the Philosophy of Noise

Dark ambient ritual noise band Trepaneringsritualen allows the listener to contemplate the "black flame", the foreclosure of existence. The droning monotony transmits what Maurice Blanchot in his The Writing of the Disaster calls "the language of waiting", a silent mode of communication that is directed towards nothing other, the No-Other which is death. Noise is the infinitely dense form of silence, the recollection without object. Each object, through such dark ambience, contains objecthoods glued to its form. Trepaneringsritualen's "All Hail the Black Flame" is animated by a sense of basic incompleteness. In Peter Schwenger's view, the defining characteristic of objects, including the objects of love, is the impossibility of possession. We must ask what is the "mysterious item" of Trepaneringsritualen's love? What is the Thing that we pray to when we engage in black rituals, when we "hail the black flame"? What is it that blackens the flame? According to the lyrics of the mentioned song, there is a "Ceaseless Howling", both "Cherished" and "Despised", underlying all existents. Indeed, every object, we argue, may be interpreted as constituting a ceaseless howling, a manifestation of noise. Alphonso Lingis observes that human voices, however individuated they may seem, are indistinguishable from the murmur of the world. Rather than seeking to escape from noise, we must recognize its inherent unity with silence. To unite oneself with the murmur of the world is to "become what one is" and be dispersed among degraded ruins. This black flame is more than a mere absence. Poetry annihilates the world and makes room for manifestation, the irruption of volcanic emptiness. "Language", writes Pierre Klossowski, "is the stranger inside us." A sinister stranger, we add, the strangeness of the darkened flame.

The Bouncing Wall

Through mediation and remediation — recording and rerecording —images and words are rendered unintelligible, nothing more than the operators of resonance (artifact drones, codec drones). In this essay we will explore two examples of resonant phenomena: Alvin Lucier’s I Am Sitting In A Room (where a subject, hidden behind a device, vanishes into artifacts of resonance), and Florian Hecker’s Chimerization (where the subject’s voice is recorded in an anechoic chamber and processed through chain-linked, hyper-chaotic algorithms). We explore the absolute difference of Hecker’s algorithmic process and how it can dissolve the drone of the resonance chamber, faintly attenuating it with an increasingly complex network of “walls” undergirding the subject and the recording device (through this process drone is grafted into a complexly spatialized environment that smothers the tyrannic drone of the resonance chamber).

What interests us is the interpellation process of the resonant chamber, and how the subject becomes nothing more than a functionary of drone. We will unpack the subjectification hypotheses of Butler and Foucault, combining them with Flusser’s theory of “triple abstraction”, as well as DeleuzoGuattarian theories of resonance and cave systems. We will also explore how the work of Hecker explodes the quadrangular architecture of “cubic” resonance chambers, and palpates haptic space to produce topological fictions.

We hope to provide an evacuation route; a plan of escape; an échappatoire that siphons the “arborification of multiplicities” which form “when the black holes scattered along a rhizome begin to resonate together” forming “the Face” that binds the town and the countryside. 

Ritual Intoxication Toward the Universal Field : Pleromaticatalyst

//the song of empty space - Aliza Shvarts, Sunn O))) - Kannon liner notes//

In this essay we wish to triangulate a tradition of ritual intoxication that transtemporally cuts across cultural and geographic boundaries, an historical flattening that is isomorphic to the dissolution of social, neural, and psychological boundaries found in many altered states of consciousness.

We shall utilize the work of mathematicians Gabriel Catren and Fernando Zalamea in coordination with cutting-edge psychedelic research to illuminate the cyclic, pendular, homotopic continuum between the particular and the general in the phenoumenodelic experience - any experience that //involves a shift of the very transcendental structure that renders a transcendent experience possible (Catren)// - and which unfurls the pleromatica out of hyper-enfolded limitations of the stratified human - “transcending transcendence” onto a “free field” of “impersonal experience”, the immanent “void-plane of zero-intensity.” In order to demonstrate how drone music itself functions as a phenoumenodelic opening onto the pleromatica in the audible field, we will diagram the structure of the drive to ritualize intoxication and codify psychedelic gestures toward this unified universal field that emerges in diverse localities ranging from hash-eating Sufi saints and the Eleusinian kykeon ritual to modern drone metal performances that collapse the difference between the visual and audible. This collapse amplifies the ekstasis of dissolution and unveils //...not the inside knowledge of an elite but a kind of “low intuition,” a universal openness to movement, difference, sensation. - Sadie Plant, Writing on Drugs//


That sense of unreality was all the more wonderful because the next day I heard sounds as unaccountable as were those lights, and without any emotion of unreality, and I remember them with perfect distinctness and confidence. (Yeats, 2004, p. 139).

There are sounds that present a quality of otherness and have an illusory, almost paranormal quality. They can have an atmosphere of liveliness, unreliability, presence, or mystery. I am interested in sounds that have no discernible source and/or whose presence alludes to an impossible sense of place. The listener can hear it but cannot locate it— as though it were a spirit from another realm. This sonic situation can lead to interesting perceptual results, much like mystical negation.

In the visual realm, this is a situation known as isoluminance and is common in mystical art. Isoluminance can be identified in many religious art traditions, where the divine body is represented as glowing or shimmering. Examples of this can be seen in medieval paintings of holy people, in Hindu and Buddhist art, and in the Yolngu art practice. The divine is represented by light with a shimmer or a glow to represent the spirit. Though isoluminance is a term used specifically to refer to light, there are analogous experiences in sound. I argue though that the ephemerality and time-variable nature of isoluminant phenomena brings this particular visual experience closer to sound and the mystical-ephemeral than to the normal visual sphere. The conflation of location and identification can lead to interesting and somewhat supernatural impressions of objects in space, because the eye can easily identify the presence of an object but cannot easily determine where the object is. Sometimes, when the object is not located in the visual field, the object is interpreted to be from another, possibly spiritual, realm.

In sound, I consider sonic isoluminance to be aberrations in the spatial/locational information gathered from a sound. This would be identifiable as a sonic object but impossible to locate in space, or would seem to have spatial qualities separate from a known listening space. Within this context, isoluminant objects exist almost outside of the realm of space, time, and form. Their conflation of the “where” within the space of the “what” can conjure new, often mystical, sonic experiences and I propose to write a chapter on the meaning of these sounds in a mystical and musical sense.

The Black Depth of the Droneswarm 

In this piece we argue that the drone is the sonic expression of the swarm insofar as the latter is the formula for the One and the innumerable, the infinite and the unnumberable. The droneswarm may be heard in the buzz of existence without being, but more often it is not heard at all except in the resonance of the funeral bell, since it occurs above or below the threshold of human perception. For the most part the droneswarm has no relation to human perception or aspirations, even as it provides the indispensable undead condition of life including the matrix of cultural and social being, its infrastructure and the possibility of its complete de-structuration or destruction. This is an essay on the blackened depths of the droneswarm that can only be evoked and assessed in terms of the uncomprehending effects of incomprehensible catastrophe. It draws on the devastating histories of pestilence in the visual arts, in scientific and religious speculations, in fiction, and currently in contemporary music and lyrics, in particular black metal, the RAT guitar drones of Sunn 0)))), and the plague songs of Scott Walker. The piece revisits the Black Death in order to explore the swarming contagion and voracity of rat rationality (Negarestani) alongside the bacterial logic of Yersina pestis (S1(S1(S1(S1àS2))) in order to metaphorize excess, base materialism and existence below the threshold of being that refuses the biopolitical quantification and management of life. The indistinction of the droneswarm refuses the division of life and death upon which biopower depends, its resonance dissolving the measurable limits of human calculation and moral utility, heralding the necessity of a different conception of ontology, of being and existence, in anticipation of ‘all these plagues that are coming that we have no answer for’ (Walker in Young, 2012).

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