Hello Sweet Oblivion

A Note From the Editor: We here at The Little Black Egg have been occupied with a particularly gnarly copyediting task for the last week or so. With aching vertebrae, tired eyes, and fingers marred by paper cuts and red pencil smudges, we push aside a manuscript that looks like it was marked up by a schizophrenic football coach trying to plot a non-linear passing play between verbs and prepositions in order to provide you, Gentle Reader, with the kind of Content you’ve grown to love us for.

I’ll tell you directly: if a drink or two wouldn’t impair my ability to make sense of the 270 page, agrammatical nightmare sitting on the table in front of me, I’d treat myself to a Dreher and park myself in front of the TV until my brain began producing alpha waves again. In lieu of that, I’m sitting around listening to Vrioon by Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Let’s pretend I was a clerk working at a big, imaginary record store organized by genre. If I was called upon to file this album, I suppose I’d stick it in the bin marked Ambient or Minimal Electronic or something like that. To tell you the truth, there’s so little going on with this album that I’m at a loss as to how to describe it. There’s this sort of hum, sometimes it’s percussive even, and occasional little piano things, like if Cecil Taylor played Muzak at 16 rpm with one finger, and echoes, and blips and buzzes.

I don’t know why it took two people to make this. My best guess is that each kept an eye on the other. You know, to make sure no one’s pulse rate dropped below six beats per minute.

That probably doesn’t sound very compelling, but what the hell. This isn’t a very compelling album. It simply doesn’t compel. It’s just sort of there; it isn’t going to get up and go somewhere else. There are enough little variations that it doesn’t get repetitive, and sometimes it speeds up without ever really moving. It’s kind of like being in a hospital waiting room in slow motion and sort of half-understanding all the paperwork that you’re supposed to fill out, but not really caring about it because you have really bad tunnel vision or something. There’s no point in thinking about it, or even paying any attention to it. Paying attention is just such a hassle, isn’t it? Don’t bother. Let the stinging nettle patch of your conscious mind gently wilt into fertile green paste.

Vrioon has six tracks that would be pointless to describe. Still, it’s fun to list them:

1. Uoon I
2. Uoon II
3. Duoon
4. Noon
5. Trioon I
6. Trioon II

For whatever it’s worth, I particularly like “Trioon I.”

You know, I’ve read a bit about Muzak, and how it was designed to be broadcast in workplaces and public spaces to calm and soothe people—to sedate them, really. That’s kind of fucked up, considering that Hypothetical Office Worker X doesn’t get a say in this sedation.

However, let’s say Hypothetical Home Office Worker Y gets his hands on these ambient, aurally-administered sedatives . . . goodbye cruel world, hello sweet, sweet oblivion. Not only does Vrioon not compel me to go anywhere or do anything, it removes my desire to even be compelled. Just like a lobotomy, I guess.

The frontal lobe of the human brain is nothing but trouble, anyway.


Michael said...

I'm actually quite compelled to hear this record. You should try some Bernhardt Gunther. Or some other Germanic spelling of the same name. It's along those same lines, or even less.

thmorehouse said...

an unassuming mechanical spider spinning its web -- that's what 'alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto' is all about. trust me. on occasion i select the album for play at buffalo's compassionate little independent bookstore. and, let me tell you, it goes over a hell of a lot better than 'bohren and der club of death' (featuring tracks such as, "the art of coffins" and "destroying angels".) as one customer (apparently) said to her child: "Let's get out of here. This music makes me want to kill myself."

the more you know...

thmorehouse said...

"club of gore" that is...