Notes on Acid Horizon

For all my banging on, somewhat speculatively, about a kind of conversation to come, where we can talk about cultural newness in the terms of the present and actually do justice to how pop-musical developments provide glimmers of a now we’re often too caught up in things to appreciate, this conversation held on the Acid Horizon podcast got right to the heart of things in the most brilliant way.

It’s very easy to say that we need to up our game and, instead of dwelling on clichéd readings of decades-old blog interjections, we need to focus on providing our own. But Will and Anton’s contributions here are precisely the sort of necessarily contemporary reading of hyperpop I’d felt was needed. As conversations go, it felt incredibly vital.

If you can’t already tell from my gushing, I was ecstatic listening to this. In many ways, it was vindicating. Two people who evidently know more about the musical impact of this moment than I do — theoretically speaking especially — elucidating its importance in a way I certainly couldn’t.

I do get a shout out towards the very end of this episode, when Craig mentions the “anti-hauntology” debate had around these parts explicitly, but the conversation prior to that had already moved on from the confines of that debate considerably. It’s not an addition to my calls to move the conversation along; it just does it. It is an example of where we could be at. Agree or disagree with Will and Anton, and I imagine the more academic nature of the conversation will nonetheless leave some people feeling a bit confused, they kicked the ball into a whole other court and it is thrilling to listen to them do so.

As an aside, I would like to highlight a moment towards the end, when Adam talks about a post-goth Fisher — a beautifully resonant reading that was so in tune with why this blog got called “xenogothic” in the first place — and shines a light on a tendency I’ve been trying to clarify more recently: the negation of the negation. Was SOPHIE a negation of goth? I’m not sure its that simple, but understanding her contribution more generally, as a negation of negation, feels like very fertile ground for further discussion. Again, that was the accelerationist way.[1] It made me wonder how this fits into Noys’ foundational critique, of the persistence of the negative and the affirmationism that it can otherwise produce. Which side is SOPHIE on? As the accelerationists demonstrated, it’s not such an easy judgement to make.

I haven’t had time to think on this any further for myself at the moment. Maybe this is just an opportunity to fold this episode of Acid Horizon into the mix. If you’ve been following the “anti-hauntology” debate between this blog and Blue Labyrinths in recent weeks, this really is a must listen.

[1] And, perhaps we should note, also the Ccru way — though I’m all for affirming the specificity of the 2008 moment, turning the Ccru’s post-2000s punk “nothing” into something new, they remain a generative multiplicity. Niall made a good point on Twitter I think, saying:

I want to contest the reading of the CCRU as relying on a singular mythic structure (Lovecraftian) for understanding of ‘the outside’. Doesn’t this elide the plurality of other myths also underpinning their work, like Burroughs, Drexciyan mythoi, other occult influences etc.?

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