Are you one of those strange individuals that likes listening to the atmospheric sound effects from horror video games and movies? The misty soundscapes of Akira Yamaoka's Silent Hill soundtracks or the clanking, dungeon FX of the Saw franchise? Get ready to step into the bilge pump of your mind with Entropy, the latest from prolific composer Mixolydian hailing from San Diego, California.
It's hard to believe these dank, somnolescent sounds come from some place so perennially sunny. Maybe Mixolydian is suffering from Serotonin burnout, similar to an ecstasy comedown, as Entropy is more like some disturbed dream than Magic Kingdom.
Mixolydian sets out to create aural dreamscapes, giving voice and form to ambient atmospheres and abstract visions. If ever you were wondering what the shadows of some deserted mental institution sound like, or wanted to give a face to Capitalist Winddown, here's your chance. Mixolydian's goal is to blend harsh noise and evanescent beauty, and I'd say they've pulled it off rather magnificently with this dark ambient dance floor fire opal.
Mixolydian cites industrial classics like Die Form as formative influences, meaning electronics are used to pummel and punish, rather than glow and sweat. This is cyberpunk, make no doubt about it. We've seen the future, and it's not looking good.
Mixolydian's blend of industrial electronics has been coming back in, via underground imprints like Downwards Records or Hospital Productions. Most underground producers at this point are working with some blend of live electronics and hardware, which may be then polished and perfected in a digital platform. Industrial techno is like a drop shadow of late capitalism's spectacle, in which we all reside. If vaporwave is the sound of the virtual plaza, of 24-hour shopping and hedonism, Industrial techno would be the shuttered factories on the edge of town or the sweatshops where all of our unnecessary capitalist comforts are produced. This is dance music for Morlocks, grinding their talons, growing sharp and hungry, waiting for revenge. This is the sound of the sins of the past, dredging up from the bedrock like some sonic nightmare, knowing our entire system is built on inequality and bloodshed.
As Sigmund Freud and John Fahey both like to point out, the repressed will return. The truth will out. Rather than being used as tools for further escapism and selfish decadence, drum machines and synths are subverted to become weapons of self-annihilation.
Mixolydian invites us to really pry off the surfaces of things, to peel off that shiny veneer and see if things are worm-eaten and rotten. Not everything is - many of us find a beauty in the ruinous, cavernous expanses of urban decay, as depicted on Entropy's cover. It's no bad thing that the factories and the asylums have closed their doors. That's no way of life, for anybody. Unfortunately, these corrupt institutions haven't been replaced by anything better - leaving legions of unemployed laborers and dispossessed lunatics wandering the streets like shades.
We simply must do better. We simply must do more. We simply must do SOMETHING. But that's not to say we can't dance and dream and love, while we battle in the trenches. For a lot of us, that's the only truth and the only reality we've ever known.
Welcome to the machine.
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