Saturday, January 23, 2021

Set Adrift on Memory Bliss

I've been beginning each day musically with PM Dawn's 1991 "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss". Being that the track and video were in heavy rotation when I was 15 years old, this one resonates deep. I wouldn't say I was a huge fan of the song at that time, and honestly, I'm not even sure if I realized back then that the bulk of the music is lifted straight from Spandau Ballet's "True", another track that feels archetypal to me know, as I was absolutely aware of its pop-chart presence 8 years prior when I was 7 and had my ear pretty much constantly glued to a little blue, transistor radio that I would take to bed with me every night. Despite that, I don't have a memory of putting two and two together. This was probably because, at 15 in 1991, I'm not entirely sure I (or anyone other than the musicians doing it) knew what sampling was yet, or how it was being used by a lot of artists to craft new music beds for their beats and lyrics. 

At fifteen, "Set Adrift" was definitely not in my wheelhouse, and yet, I can remember sitting on the ottoman in my parents' living room while Friday Night Videos (we didn't have cable) played PM Dawn's video. The tropical images flickering before me, I remember thinking there was something so calming about the song. I never sought out the album, but that memory has stayed tethered to me at a distance so that every great while I think of the song. 

Last spring, without planning it, while writing the initial draft of Murder Virus, I came to a chapter that I automatically named after this song. I don't name all my chapters, and as I said, I hadn't planned this, but I guess days of hardcore writing had the soup in my head at full boil and that's what came out. And it fit.

After, I went through an increasingly frustrating attempt to locate the song on Apple Music and could not. Then, two days ago, my Horror Vision co-host Ray Larragoitiy and I had a conversation on the phone that ended up moving around to PM Dawn, and I learned that Ray had gone through a similar search (Note: This song is most definitely in Ray's wheelhouse; he's also the one who, a few years ago, played me Al B Sure's "Night and Day" and subsequently led to my presence on-again-off-again obsession with that song) and located the song and the reasons behind its current obscurity. 

Rights. It comes down to the fact that "Set Adrift" on "Memory Bliss" contains samples from other bands (from what I see there are the Spandau Ballet and a Soul Searchers sample), or if it's another case of a pre-streaming artist who has been left out of payment rights from their music via streaming services and thus taken the label currently holding the license to court. Either way, Ray also cued me in on the fact that other than youtube, you can actually find the original Set Adrift on Memory Bliss on Apple Music (and not on Spotify, though) on the OST for the 2012 movie Seeking A Friend For the End of the World.


Last night, K and I rented Steven Kostanskis's new flick Psycho Goreman on Amazon and set up that little Discord watch party with our friends that I mentioned a few days back. The party itself worked pretty good; there were definitely some issues with volume, but overall, it was cool to watch a flick like this with my long-time movie night friends. Of course, we all had to mute our microphones, so there wasn't the usual camaraderie during the flick, however, it was still a cool Quarantine experience, even if one I wouldn't repeat on a first-time viewing again.

So how was the flick? Fantastic! I think I've posted the most recent trailer here a couple times lately, so let's go back and revisit the original one, back from March of last year:

There's a definite perfunctory nature to a lot of the script, especially when it comes to character development and motivation. That said, look at those insane practical effects! 

The writing is not bad in any respect, and if anything does itself a great service by quickly developing a kind of visual shorthand that moves you through exposition and development at a fast clip, because all this really does that one could pick at is creates a 'quick to get to a punchline without a proper set-up' feeling. But again, this isn't an issue that that will resonate negatively to anyone who is A) a fan of this kind of cinema, and B) is not a major publication new critic. 


PM Dawn - Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
The Jesus Lizard - Wheelchair Epidemic 45
The Jesus Lizard - Puss 45
The Jesus Lizard - Lady Shoes 45
Mission to the Sun - Damaged (pre-release single)
Mission to the Sun - The Unbroken Sea (pre-release single)
Small Black - Best Blues 
Small Black - Duplex Single
The Police - Synchronicity II (single)
Robert Fripp - Exposure
Queens of the Stone Age - Villains
The Black Keys - El Camino
The Jesus Lizard - Last EP
Jefre Cantu- Ledesma - Love's Refrain
The Jesus Lizard - Liar
Ministry - The Last Sucker
Lard - Pure Chewing Satisfaction
Dance with the Dead - B-Sides: Vol. 1
Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf



With the inauguration, the Tower definitely toppled this week. However, what also happened, is we kind of started a process whereby all the crazies come out of the woodwork and into the light, which is both good and bad. I had this happen to me this week - beyond the media streams all around us - when an old friend resurfaced on social media to show his ignorant worldview and it made me realize what this card is really communicating is something I think will ultimately be more insidious. 

The war on education and the educated. 

Have you noticed alt-right folks using the term 'indoctrination' to replace 'education?' This isn't something new, but I believe it's found a larger setting of influence in the wake of our previous administration, and it seems as though the idea of avoiding or actively badmouthing/undermining education is going to become a much bigger issue in the immediate future. Because, you know, why go learn facts if they conflict with what you want the world to be?

Make no mistake, this is a major campaign in the larger setting of the war on reality that I believe will undermine what we think of as real to the point that, in the next ten years, I believe the world and Reality will no longer look anything like what it does now. And that's true of the current moment, if you stop to compare your day to day in 2021 with your day to day of just a few years ago, however, if Reality takes a big enough hit, my guess is that the Science Fiction needle might move drastically enough that things really get strange, kind of like what March 2020 did.

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