Sunday, February 25, 2024

Erosion Cylce

While you listen to the wonderful opening track from Erosion Cycle's 2015 Maladies - available on their Bandcamp HERE - follow the logic of how I re-discovered this artist I first connected with about a decade ago. It's a weird and winding road.

I began Sunday morning in a manner I try not to begin any morning; I picked up my phone. Sunday's go one of two ways: I either barely touch the damnable device all day and reach for a book instead, or I feel the need to read the latest Orbital Operations from Warren Ellis the moment I open my eyes. Yesterday proved a case of the latter. From that OO email, I redirected to Ellis' Ltd site (his daily notebook, which I often pick at during the week via the RSS reader Feedly). The article that caught my eye is titled "Cory Doctorow Blogging Style." One of the things I love about Warren Ellis, besides pretty much everything he writes, is how he serves as a hub for access to so many other writers. I share Mr. Ellis' fascination with hearing what writers have to say about their Process, and although I am familiar with Mr. Doctorow in name and reputation alone, a glimpse into his blogging style held a strong pull for me. Blogging continues to be a passion of mine, and in an age where it seems to have largely lapsed as a relevant cultural format, I find inspiration and solace in other people's versions of it. Especially someone as prolific as Cory Doctorow. 

In familiarizing myself with Doctorow's Pluralistic, I began to lurk about, reading various thoughts and articles from the site's four-year history. That's when I hit on the "Enshittification" piece and, subsequently, THIS PIECE Electronic Frontier Foundation published as a five-part article on the cunning (and ruthless) manner in which social media companies basically capture an artist's followers and then ransom them back to them. I finally get it. For anyone else who feels as though their posts are the equivalent of hollering into a cyclone, here, then, is the answer. 

When I used to add links to these daily posts on social media, at the very least I'd get some interaction from friends and followers. Then, for years FB began to classify any link to my blog as "inappropriate or harmful," based on, I finally deduced, the link to one of my previous musical project's names. This, as well as a growing general disdain, led me to all but stop using FB and eventually deactivate the page for a number of months. Later, when I re-engaged, the idea to link this Blogspot page to the URL solved the censoring problem. However, now I had next to no engagement for the posts whatsoever. 

Zero engagement can be tough when you've previously enjoyed a livelier go. I write here for my own benefit primarily, however, those years of having others chime in on my thoughts/work had created a sometimes reciprocal relationship with interaction. It's the same with all the podcast projects I do - it's nice to know someone other than myself is listening.

So now I understand. I've known since the Muskrat took over the bird page and made it x that my posts were being squashed in order to persuade me to pay for that blue checkmark. Not doing that. Hell, I'd love to actually drop my account there altogether. That said, like FB, it is the only avenue of "direct" connection I have with some folks, so I keep it regardless of how my steeping resentment prompts me to avoid actually posting on it for large swathes of time. 

Anyway, by the time I finished reading all those articles by Cory Doctorow, I A) felt physically gross from staring at my phone for so long, despite the intellectual gymnastics my choice of reading promoted, and B) I ended up falling down a rabbit hole and pruning my follows on x (yeah, I don't understand how staring at a largely vapid social media feed fed to me by an algorithm that devalues me at every turn could prompt more time spent on said platform, but that's an avenue of insidiousness perhaps best left deconstructed by someone who earns their dimes in a field of psychological study). It was while doing this that I stumbled across Erosion Cycle for the first time in literally probably ten years, and fell in love as soon as I hit "Play."


TENET absolutely blew my mind.

I am SO happy I waited four years for a chance to have my inaugural viewing of this film (because there will be oh so many more) on an IMAX screen. 

For comparison's sake, I'll say this: Christopher Nolan is the exact opposite of Nicolas Winding Refn. Refn makes beautiful images that he strings together with concepts so foul he basically dares you to continue watching. This is not a negative criticism, and also not exactly accurately applied to Refn's MO until he became a box office draw. Only God Forgives, Too Old to Die Young, Neon Demon - all of these followed the breakout success of Drive and all of them, in some way or another, attempt to punish the viewer's revelry for their imagery with themes, characters and situations that are psychologically grotesque. We see examples of this in but not limited to Martin's high school GF or, hell, episode five of TO2DY; Gordon's request near the beginning of Only God Forgives and Julian's relationship with his mother, or pretty much all of the themes in Neon Demon

Christopher Nolan, on the other hand, takes such care and pride in his work as a cinematic creator, that he develops stories that require multiple viewings to fully grasp. If you make a beautiful movie that everyone understands outright, they may return to it from time to time, but not nearly as much as if you challenge the audience's intellect; in this way, Nolan creates a compulsion to return to his films to "figure them out." I was halfway through TENET and already planning my next viewing.



The new episode of The Horror Vision Presents: Elements of Horror is up on all podcast platforms and with a swanky video on youtube. Full-Spoiler discussion on Gerald Kargl's 1983 "Video Nasty" Angst. I've been putting more and more work into these, and that's definitely starting to pay off:

Also, the recent episode of Drinking with Comics - now an "only YouTube" show, where Mike Shinabargar and I talk in-depth about Robert Kirkman's Energon Universe, especially what he and Joshua Willamson are doing with GIJOE:

I had a lot of fun doing both of these, which is really what it's all about. 


High on Fire - Electric Messiah
Justin Hamline - The House With Dead Leaves
Jim Williams - Possessor OST
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch - Censor OST
The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
The Bronx - (I)
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
Chelsea Wolfe - She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She
Amigo the Devil - Yours Until the War is Over
Stephen Sanchez - Angel Face
Ozzy Osbourne - No More Tears
John Carpenter - Lost Themes II
Erosion Cycle - Maladies
Amigo the Devil - Everything Is Fine
Jerry Cantrell - Brighten
Nobuhiko Morino - Verses OST


From Jonathan Grimm's Hand of Doom Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

• Page of Wands
• IX: The Hermit
• Six of Pentacles

Page of Wands, the Earth of Fire; Tempering the Will to Earthly Concerns. The Hermit is, in my experience, often an indication to regroup and lay low. Finally, the Six of Pentacles can indicate the Balance of those Earthly Concerns, so I'm reading this the same way I've been reading a lot of these of late - take a respite, regroup and save, then redirect my Will. Several "Earthly" concerns I could align this with, but I'm wondering if this is a direct response to something I've been thinking about just before breaking out the cards. The idea that I consulted them without consciously realizing that's what I was doing is a little too good to pass up. 

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