Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Yet the reality of 27-year-old Zane Michael O'Brien's existence and music is a truly bizarre combination of rustic, basic, level-headed and completely normal upbringing meets pseudo-spiritual-enlightenment via. intravenous force-feeding of the Occult and Magickal realm into his brain. Exposure to the modern Fucked Up World, partly through travel, but largely through the internet with its plethora of conspiracy theories and otherworldly ideas, have formed a very confused and complicated ego that churns out some of the strangest music you will ever hear.
I have a brief yet intense history with the man behind one of the 21st Century's most perplexing solo projects. It's hard to describe the music without also describing this person. I have spoken to him through Skype once, and a million times through little interactions on Facebook. When confronted with a video image of an unshaven man, about my age, scraping hash resin from a bowl in the dark basement of his father's house in Wisconsin whilst we talked about deep and fascinating subject matter, I could easily see both where he finds the time to be online almost 24/7, and why his music is so completely Caved In. There are no two better words to describe ʄ≜uxmuℭica. The music closes in on you from all sides and from the first note makes you want to just immediately hit stop and put the whole thing in the trash.
But there are two qualities I possess that have led me to a higher appreciation of many things that others would never listen to again: I like to be challenged musically, and I often find that what I have a knee-jerk reaction to hate, I grow to love.
In this way I would say, for me, the most comparable sound to ʄ≜uxmuℭica is Cradle of Filth's early material. Like the promising symphonic black metal albums of "Cruelty and the Beast" ilk, "HiFi ♮ SciFi ♮" feels like the beginning of something, something extraordinary.
At least, not-ordinary.
Despite his music clearly defying pigeonholing, Zane is a lover of tags; he labels his own music as "crunkgaze", "ghost-step", "post-whatever", "triangle-core" and many other delightfully unique yet utterly weightless terms. However, there is one tag that demands immediate attention in relation to ʄ≜uxmuℭica, and that is "witch-house".
Witch-house is a phenomenon that has grown from humble and genuine beginnings - of including Qabbalistic Symbology, Occult references, and Magick in musical creations - but that has now exploded into a disgusting "scene", whereby the coolness of your music is determined by how many uni-code symbols you can squeeze into a title.
Zane is as sick of this scene as I am, and I notice he no longer tags his own stuff as "witch-house". He has alienated himself from the scene, and looks down on the posers who have hopped on the bandwagon hoping to find success and glory. Yet he still uses symbols instead of letters wherever he can. Why?
Now we get to the nitty gritty, the true essence of what "fauxmusica" means. It's fake music. Everything from the timbre of the synth sounds he uses, the structure and melody of the songs, and ultimately the project's position in the "witch-house scene" - is fake. In that Skype conversation he was talking about how he felt like a "Spiritual Airport", not possessing any personality or ideas of his own, but merely acting as an air-traffic-controller for the terabytes of data that float in and out of our brains every day.
In this way, Zane holds a DarkMirror up to the world. What you hear when you listen to ʄ≜uxmuℭica is a reflection of modern media. It's as simple as that. In a stroke of genius he picked up the dead carcass of the witch-house scene and threw it back in the faces of those that created this sub-pop-culture bullshit, and we lapped it up.
I have listened to HiFi ♮ SciFi ♮ maybe 4 times now and only about half an hour ago did I manage to make it to the end. It's truly terrifying and horrible to listen to, but as a landmark in recent history it stands tall and proud as A Work of Something. It's not outrageous enough to be Art, not experimental enough to be avant-garde, and not musical enough to be, well, music. Tag it with weightless words and spam it on Facebook. Whatever the fuck it is, it Works.
Works, a term often used to describe a Magickal Happening... Magick is one of the greatest revelations a human can come across. It is not for everyone, a surety that can be illustrated by this very paragraph: some of you will simply stop reading once I start talking about Magick, others will "get it", and most inspiringly, others will be confused yet plough on in the hopes of learning something.
Magick is not for everyone and this album is not for everyone, yet in its Qabbalistic, spiritual alignment it stirs something within the air your speakers vibrate when you play this stuff, and performs Works. It doesn't need describing to the initiated, and it doesn't bother pandering to the disbeliever. It is also probably too inaccessible for the merely curious, save the bravest of them.
Above all, the highest of compliments I can attach to this album is to reiterate its absolute weightlessness, both in the treble-heavy, vacant synth lines' tone, and in its complete lack of emotion.
It is therefore a Work that truly reflects. It reflects how you feel at the moment. It reflects your agitation. It reflects your disdain for pain and anxiety and synths that sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.
It reflects your soul, for it is a DarkMirror.
Out now for FREE... I don't recommend this album, but you're going to listen to it to see why.
See what he did there?
HiFi ♮ SciFi ♮ <------ Direct Link to instant, free Mediafire download.
ʄ≜uxmuℭica Is part of the escc9 net-label, a Yorba Zergot initiative.