Silk Road Assassins
State Of Ruin
[Planet Mu; 2019]
If sound is a story about what happened to itself, then State of Ruin is a coyote sucking the pheromone-marrow from a fallen cyborg. Its rhythms are like muscle-spasms, its melodies like prayers. Explosion after explosion after explosion occurs, until exploding becomes boring. Synth-sounds dance like bodiless brains, or brainy bodies, or bodies without organs. Lasers shoot at you.
It sounds corporate and governmental and scary: a vision of the smartphone as torture chamber, the collapse of civilization, the endless scrollable Feed of Death. Sometimes this album makes me want to tear my eyes out, bite the curb, become unaware of my humanness. It’s a sublime grotto 2% of the time and a hellscape 98% of the time. The poetry of our everydayness morphs into the Anxiety of Time. And I don’t like that morph at all, because it’s real, and it’s here to stay.
However, like all electronic music, there’s rhythmic hope within the bleakness: the dancey palm-tree sway of “Bloom,” for example. On a song like that, the lure of the sounds turns into the lure of flesh. The digital leaks into the physical, and the physical has to keep up with the invasion.
Ambient moments also briefly appear, envisioning a trans-human space or a space where humanness becalms. But they don’t last long; it’s like giving birth to something and immediately starting to kill it. Overall, an atrophy of emotionality lingers when I’m listening. What I think of as a climax is actually a defeat, a sigh, an evaporation. Timbres collide into each other, thrown onto dark streets, torqued and unseen. This is the sound of suffering, of longing, of the government spying on you, of brief retreats into relaxation amidst a transforming cityscape. This is digital automation entering the flow of the socio-linguistic, or stark outlooks amidst techno-financial mind-control. This is the sound of a colorless decline.