Salve the Anthropocene

I was left a bit disturbed after reading Salvage Zone’s The Tragedy of the Worker: Towards the Proletarocene, which is a stark essay charting humanity’s misuse and disrespect for both each other and the environment. It is a beautiful essay detailing the failure of a neoliberalism and post-industrial capitalism to build a society where work may be both “sustainable” and dignifying.

I wanted to make something to soothe my thoughts on this, so I went into my basement and mentally chained myself to my desktop. The track linked above was the result of about a week’s effort. Ultimately, I’m fairly pleased with the arrangement. Some parts don’t really mesh together as I planned. Still, I am glad to have made some of the digital instruments used in this, which came together a bit better than I’m used to.

The song creme (credited to hide, although it’s unclear who the artist really is) had been stuck in my head. Specifically, I found the synthesis of human vocals over shimmering lasers to be soothing and infectious. When I sat down to try and get some sounds out of the way, my head kept getting pulled to those infectious “nananaa”s that are woven through the original track. After some desperate attempts to simulate that melody (including a few hours desperately recording some “nana”s of my own with a cheap microphone and a basement ill-suited for recording), I ultimately decided to rip the vocals and some of the melodies from the song directly. I’ll call this an “homage.”

My skills with DAW (and sound theory itself) are suspect, so I found myself getting frustrated that what I had created was not properly reflecting what I envisioned this tiny project to sound like in my head. But interjecting the source track into my rendition tended to calm me down, and helped reorient the noise I had produced into some sort of coherent melody. In pulling some of these samples, I’ve applied some audio effects that distort the main melody and emphasize a clean sample at certain parts. I’ve also added a sort of baseline, altered to keep the listener sharp. The whole thing can feel a bit chaotic at parts, so some of the upbeat grooves might be interpreted as optimistic or dangerously frenetic.

I can’t promise this track will have any effect on an outsider, but messing around with some pirated software is one of the best pleasures we have in the Anthropocene. I wonder how much longer we’ll have reliable electricity to keep this running?