A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Untrue was a particularly timely document, heralding and commenting on the death of the second wave of British rave, and the onset of postmodern isolation. It was a perfect accompaniment for wandering city streets, lost in yr own mind, drowning in swarming echoes between yr headphones.
ID Situation, the newest EP from Dave Fleet, better known as Laica, scores those very same streets, but fast-forwarded 13 years. It says a lot about where we’ve come from, and hazards some guesses about where we’re going.
ID Situation is dedicated to “the millions of unknown faces caught on hours of grainy CCTV images every day, to all the footage that will be stored away and never looked at again, the boxes full of old VHS tapes of empty streets and hard drives loaded up with hidden shop corners.” ID Situation would the closed-circuit surveillance of Actress‘ Ghettoville; people wander with no purpose and nowhere to go; the shadows seem to breathe and pulse with malignant intent, as B-boys throw down next to trash can fires and iPod docks.
The best news is that, the English collective unconscious seems to agree that rave has made a come back, as Burial’s hollowed-out nocturnal miasma is superseded by polished chrome breakbeats on ID Situation. Fleet employs the hypermodern precision of information overload drum ‘n bass to simulate the sound of a tracer trail of digital identity, as past, present, and future blur together in the all-encompassing hard-drive. These burned out, bombed out storefronts and derelict warehouses have been used for PARTIES, (and maybe some black magick). While Untrue was the sound of nostalgia for a life you didn’t experience, call it the ghost of rave, Dave Fleet’s music is very much grounded IN the club, IN the warehouses.
This has much to do with Fleet’s time in the trenches doing the Numbers Broadcast radio show, playing real techno for real heads, as well as writing for the excellent Darkfloor website. Going back through the NB’s playlists illustrates the fact that we and Dave Fleet have almost the same listening habits and cultural concerns, from rhythmic noise to industrial techno to polished chrome beat science, meaning we were primed off the bat to flip shit for this short and tasty black-wrapped missive. You will find elements of all 3, on ID Situation.
While a lot has been said about this generation’s inability to produce anything new, Laica’s beats and immersive environments show that there’s a lot of optimism, in this hyper-precise rearrangement of sound. Yes, we may be re-organizing tiny slivers of what has come before, in ever more complex and convoluted arabesques, but isn’t that what music has basically been doing all along? Whether you’re manipulating a symphony, via notes on a written page, or hallucinogenic fragments of yr record collection and sounds from daily life, to create something unique and personal, what’s the difference?
It also massages some of the paranoia and fear we have over this digital meta-data. On one hand, we are trapped and confined in the virtual grid, and it’s very, very hard to break free, making us easy prey for marketers, on the other hand, we can use this meta-data to streamline our lives, our habits, our tastes. If Google uses some complex algorithm to suggest British horror movies i’ve never seen, where is the harm in that? I’d rather see ads for DJ mixes, remix software, and old weird television, than for brake pads or fried chicken, or some other shit i couldn’t care less about.
I’m imagining a world where complex HD cameras could analyze yr movements, like yr training to be a samurai, and training software could point out the weaknesses in yr style. Possibly even correct these mistakes with some sort of sensory suit, giving a gentle nudge, to tuck in an elbow or bend a knee. I’m imagining a world where you could download the neural impulses of a top-flight violinists, and have them implanted into yr nervous system. Using these tools to free ourselves, rather than be enslaved.
Technology is a genie in a bottle, and there’s no putting the stopper back in. Like Atomic Power, the world will never be the same. Our minds, our lives, our art, will be irrevocably altered. What i’d most like to see would be a combination of the unlimited potential of futurism, with classical technique. With every resource at our disposal, shouldn’t we at least ASPIRE to be Beethoven, or Walter Benjamin, or The Wright Brothers, or Jacqueline DuPre?
Laica is straddling the gap between both worlds. ID Situation has the imaginative sound design and immersive psychoacoustics to be well and truly experimental, while the beats are tight and focused, constantly shifting like some alien mecha angel, mercurial in the moonlight.
ID Situation comes with 2 remixes: one from Decadnids, and one from Production Unit. The Decadnids mix strips the postmodern freneticism from the original, casting it in somber and subdued shadows, like the original city streets, submerged under water for 200 years. Burial meets Drexciya? Production Unit’s mix cranks the alarm, ratcheting the tension and excitement up to 11, as warning signals spiral around yr head. This is the sound of a race of space scorpions, descending on an earth city at the height of midday. Are they here to help or harm?
Laica has proven himself, over and over, to be a restless and inventive producer. When last we met him, he was creating dark ambient environments for Alrealon Musique, while this release sounds right in time and in line with the postmodern beatmakers, from Stones Throw to Fatima Al Qadiri.
The limited edition vinyl comes wrapped in sharp black bubble wrap, so act quick, while some remain!