#8: Wallowing in surplus
This music doesn’t just assault your ears; it invests your entire body. It grasps you in a physical embrace, sliding over your skin, penetrating your orifices, slipping inside you and squeezing your internal organs. After about four minutes, a calm takes over. The noise continues. After five minutes, a feeling of utter peace takes over.
Don’t bother asking me about whether it’s true. I’ll claim I made it up. But for the purpose of the following column, let’s pretend it does exist: A secretive underground danceclub, elaborately seclusive, run by rogue sorcerers and fallen mages. They are not using magiqe while working their instruments. It’s not about two different concepts that are somehow interwined. Their process of casting actually consists of rhythm, of chord, of tonality. It is the fundamental plane of spellcasting where magiqe DOES something before it MEANS something. I suppose that’s how all sorcery works, really, before you attach the concepts of all those different religions, houses and schools onto it. There is a fundamental layer of pure performativity, on which a spell IS not anything at all, means not the slightest bit – It acts: It bends, it twists, it distorts. Any meaning whatsoever, any effect that is intended, only derives from this fundamental interference afterwards. Even in the strictest of all conservative schools of spellcraft, my brother told me, there is always a surplus of performativity. A spillover. Some part of a spell that’s never overhauled by it’s properies and outcomes. Whether or not any “know what” (sorcery is) only builds upon any “know how” (you do the stuff, you feel the impact) – or whether the performativity of casting (the process!) always, ever, subverts and transcends it’s subsequent meaning, it’s effect, well let the graybeards figure that out. Here and now, five insane wraiths on guitars and drums wallow in the pure, unfiltered surplus of reality.
I could worry about this cosmic decadence. But things rush up on me, suddenly, in waves, and then slip ever-so-slightly out of focus. Densely articulated textures fade in and out. You pick up on subtleties you didn’t notice before: wavering rhythms, minor chords, muddily shifting tonalities, synthesized special effects. But such words fail to convey how deeply embodied – how physically attentive, you might say – this music actually is. An intensity freed from specific content or focus; an erotic, bodily feel no longer tied to particular organs or zones. A sound as floating, enigmatic, and decentered – as ‘ambient’ and all-embracing – as anything. Often it’s impossible to determine which of the musicians is producing any given sound, or even which sounds are being played at all. In short, you are brought into forced contact with the gritty texture, the raw materiality of our reality (or unreality), because you can’t organize your experience of it in any pre-programmed way. The excess of utterance drags your mind under the spillover effects of the distortion. And there’s real intensity at work in the process of actively forgetting. Your attention is continually being diverted and distracted, even as your senses are stimulated into hyperdrive. It takes place neither in the noise itself, nor in the performance, nor even in the bodies and minds of the audience; but somehow in between all these.
I don’t know. Maybe the whole idea of magiqe was never intended to fullfill any special purpose, never intended to be harnessed into funcionality. Maybe it’s just there. A vast excess of reality, that surrounds us, that encompasses us, that makes the whole of our experiences look like a text that can be distorted with the slightest ease.
Of course, you don’t figure all this out until afterwards. You begin to make sense of it only as it slips away. The concert is over, and now it’s the relative silence of the muddy ‘Borrough street that hits you with the force of a shock. I’m glad my priest is there. You feel at once exhilarated and drained. The concert is over now; I’m tired, I’m drunk, and I’m stoned. I have, I must admit, only the vaguest idea of what happened. I’ll probably recall even less when I wake up with a hangover tomorrow. But somehow this seems appropriate.
I don’t think I’m Fiction