A great double-sider from digital miscreants Danelaw and Beachers on Graham Dunning’s ace Fractal Meat Cuts label. Both artists use their allotted space to investigate the borders between fleshy bodies and algorithmic intangibility, kind of, although each track these grey zones in their own idiosyncratic manner.
Danelaw’s ‘We Love You Come On Home’ serves up seven beat-less cuts that hover weightlessly, like clouds of nanobots, their swirling drift a response to internal hive mind dynamics rather than any human oversight. ‘A Dance For Summer’ vibrates in dense particulate shimmer, clouds of AI chaff that ebb and flow in evolving cycles as if moving slowly toward sentience. Similar granular textures appear elsewhere, often resolving themselves into human-sounding voices, although whether these are traces of earthly presence let behind after being uploaded to the cloud or simulacra created by super-capable machine learning isn’t exactly clear. ‘It’s Hard To Tell The State I’m In’ seems to describe an early prototype of those approaches, with sung vowels glitching like a bad render, and synthetic chords and mechanoid creaks exposing the network infrastructure beneath the featureless surface.
But in the world of the machines, humanity is only ever an inconvenience. Even those corporeal traces are gonna get de-fragged eventually, leaving only the pulse and shift of Danelaw’s closing tracks, a double tribute to Arvo Pärt that’s also a requiem for homo sapiens after their total assimilation. Good night and good luck.
If Danelaw pictures a world in which humans metastasise into pure data, Beachers aka Daryl Worthington salvages some organic presence to imagine a post-human utopia. A single vocal sample (taken from a pack purchased on eBay) is the building block for all these tracks, Worthington using this humble source material to summon a cyborg realm in which losing our meatspace is a liberation, one that lets our minds roam free in a heaven of zeros and ones.
‘Them’ comes on like a bunch of extras from Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’, shooting the shit after a hard day at the vocoder, the breathy scat-chat aligning with undulating synths in cheeky delight before settling into quantised monotone burble. ‘Falling’ ain’t so much ghost in the machine as exhalations dancing through the hard disk partitions. The vaporous semiconductor moans cast spidery grids for the not-there lung work, while a beefy kick drum gives adds a stern shimmy. And while there’s no percussion on ‘Apart’, the vibrations are even more transcendent, Worthington fashioning a cascade of coos and yowls whose soulful cries evoke both pathos and exultation in equal measure.