Zero-Intensity

We had a big Urbanomic night out on Wednesday, as Robin and I popped down to Corsica Studios to be subsumed by zero.

It was a bitterly cold December night. The kind of night where your nostrils frost on contact with the outside. Haribo on the bus kept sleep at bay and then the bass and swelling crowd did the very good job of that afterwards.

In New Cross, we’d spent a few hours talking about “redness”‘; about Reza’s Sellarsianism and the myth of the given; the pink ice cube; “perceptual taking” and Deleuzian intensity…

We didn’t arrive at many answers for any of our questions but it was more than fitting to find ourselves immersed in red such a short time later.

I didn’t know what to expect from the night, but then again I never do. That’s the joy of Ø. Mala’s reputation preceded him but Dis Fig and Intentionally Cold were a mystery to me. 

Dis Fig is a haze to me now. I remember hearing a cut from Flowdan’s 2014 Serious Business EP and not a lot else. This was a strange track to hear. The last time I’d heard it was cutting through the Cornish countryside in Robin’s car a few months earlier. It was strange to hear it again, once again in his company. I remember nothing else. I felt buffeted around by that wall-cracking Corsica bass and the bitter wind outside. Chatting, nodding, drinking. Not taking much in but just bathing in the red.

Intentionally Cold was certainly that. Robin referred to their set as “headbanging constipationalism” and “jouissance in frustration”. I was hard to disagree with the self-confessed “old junglist”, whether for better or for worse.

The entire set was a wall of tight loops, no air to breathe, the desiring-lyricism of SZA and Kendrick curtailed into the most pointed of vocal loops — I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck — expressions of free spirit violently smothered. It certainly captured something of the present moment in its sadomasochism.

The contrast that followed was stark. Mala‘s set was full of air; full of emptiness. Flashes in the darkness, like a lighthouse clearing the air after a storm.

Admittedly, I don’t get out that much. The last time I heard a set like this was probably 2011, before dubstep went white. (Never mind techno, Make Dubstep Black Again.) It took me back to dubstep nights in sticky Welsh basements but even those didn’t have the dynamic range of Mala’s set, making the silence as heavy as the bone-rattling bass in itself. 

The contrast between “then” and “now”, “old” and “young” — jeez, we’re talking about just 10 years here but the temporal shift felt massive — and their intensive conversation really caught me off guard. I ended up on the night bus home, slightly nauseous, thinking about what has really changed.

Zoom out. Not a lot. Different intensities. Still red. 

2 thoughts on “Zero-Intensity

  1. >The contrast between “then” and “now”, “old” and “young” — jeez, we’re talking about just 10 years here but the temporal shift felt massive

    This is, as they say, a big mood.

    Like

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