Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
There is no one that tackles the concept of artificial life quite like ₳§ᗐMR. The artist continues to release thought-provoking material that seeks the holographic in the real and the real in the holographic. A year in utero, 𝑵𝒆𝒘 𝑳𝒊𝒇𝒆 ® finds ₳§ᗐMR collaborating with a number of other talented artists to further explore our relationship with artificial intelligence in a progressively digitised world.
Atmospheric sounds bleed through immediately as ₳§ᗐMR begins 𝑵𝒆𝒘 𝑳𝒊𝒇𝒆 ®. Anticipatory chimes spray out into a busy scene, a voice stumbles over itself with gentle echoes as pure pad sounds spread upwards through the general din of activity. desert sand feels warm at night assists ₳§ᗐMR in creating an engaging atmosphere on Digital Sunlight For The First Time. And, true to its name, a bass section begins to murmur alongside euphoric synth as the track opens up like a flower underneath the sun. Sounds of life coalesce with a soup of digital ethereality. The two artist’s continue to send these pure almost fragile sounding notes surging through the growing background noise. As the track reels from the swell of noise, we hear voices in the dust storm of sound. One voice is mangled by the onslaught of corrupted sound, and the other sounds out above it pure and lamenting.
Self-Enhancing begins with what sounds like some giant electrical cable cut loose still surging with energy. A cold synth line begins underneath it, cascades of residual sound from the subtle melody filtering down toward the strange shifting noises. The artist is joined by Future Anonymous on this track that seems to explore methods of bettering oneself in ₳§ᗐMR imagined future. Though the word enhancing, coupled with the sinister tone of the track conveys some horrible process that dehumanises the subject in the process. A fragmented voice is pushed forth through a computerised gauze toward the end. It seems intent on uttering forth a real sense of sadness, but is hindered as the subject has been transformed past the point of sounding human. The conclusion is touching and effective all the same.
The company promoting such an enhancement process seem to double down on their promises in the title of the next track We Will Make You (The Best That You Can Be). Celestial nihilism grips the introduction of the track as a voice theorises that the universe is all for nothing. Off of the back of this sample, a scratching bass loop begins to burn a hole through the centre of the mix. Glittery notes trickle endlessly either side of it. CHROM-47 lends a helping hand on this particular track that spirals deeper down into this dark sound. The bass lifts itself from the glitchy sludge, firing off a sharp arpeggiating tune. ₳§ᗐMR keeps the glittering high frequencies far away from the incendiary undergrowth for the whole runtime. Toward the end a voice, calmer than the one that began the track, begins to describe the divine obsolescence of life in general. Two warring concepts are placed very distinctly within the 𝑵𝒆𝒘 𝑳𝒊𝒇𝒆 ®, humanities unquenchable desire to extend their own life, even with growing feels of universal banality.
A much more floaty feeling is communicated at the beginning of Au·to·mat·ic A·poth·e·o·sis. Heartfelt string chords are caressed into the mix by the artist, robotic voices scratch below as ₳§ᗐMR introduces sprays of cymbal and trappy snare hits. The voice seems to reel off numbers at random in an unending monologue. ₳§ᗐMR helps the track to retain this suspended nature even as more melodically commanding synths begin to play in time with the beat, withholding any low frequency to drive the track in a specific direction. Everything levitates before the listener before euphoric dance synths begin to spread across the mix confidently. After they play out a few times, taking control of the track, they fall away leaving the voice still counting.
m a g g i e . w a v joins in for Thought Incubator. The two artists let an explicitly emotive instrumentation loose from a breathtaking endless stream of euphoric sound. A bass drum sets out a simple path through the beautiful cacophony as percussion and melody clamber onto it. Every element of the track is positive, each percussive sound pushing forward with a steady momentum. Though some instruments seem to noodle around unaware of the overarching structure the heavy bass drum brings everything somehow into rhythm. The listener gets the sense that ₳§ᗐMR and m a g g i e . w a v are showing us the more hopeful side of a technological world. One where thoughts and feelings can be preserved indefinitely. Where loss and love can be kept pristine and pure; visited, analysed and appreciated. The track ends as a voice beckons us forward with promises of a brand new life.
Chords swipe in and out of focus amidst background distortion. A machine seems to be started up. Rough hardware sounds replaced with softer welcoming glissando keys. Dissonant percussion replaced with more powerful impacts. Body/Connection/Cut represents a short time in transition from real to engineered. Synapses connecting with circuitry, calibrating itself with brain function. A voice breaks through the instrumentation, again diction hampered by algorithmic vocal synthesis. But a palpable human emotion is evident. A serpentine bass section slithers in the background, reclaiming the sonic narrative as the voice disappears suddenly.
An eerie sample from The Lawnmower Man begins You’re Going To Love Your New Life! (Inside Of A Server). Foreboding warnings of the submersion of the real world into the virtual delivered soberly as ₳§ᗐMR constructs a suitably creepy background music. As the sample concludes, thick synth notes tower over the ambience. They spread throughout the mix like a self-replicating virus, followed by a timid percussive section. The artist keeps a laidback feeling throughout the track, the rattling hi hat keeping a steady momentum as the melodic elements play out with a menacing tone.
V// Tomo helps inject some urgency with a fast-paced rhythm played out at first by snare and drum. Crunchy percussion hits out as muffled whistling glides toward the centre of the mix. The percussion becomes more fully formed as it begins to career around the soundscape, oddly-timed delays causing it to judder before the residual sound is swept up into the ever-moving beat. Reality v. 2 has the pace of a drum & bass track, and this sense of a winding wormhole journey is evident to in the instrumentation. But, in the wider context of 𝑵𝒆𝒘 𝑳𝒊𝒇𝒆 ®, the listener is more than aware that the track’s power goes beyond mere style and sound.
More nods towards this theme of thought and memory preservation on the track Forget The Past (We Can Remember it For You). A threatening voice clambers past the distortion, begging the listener to open their mind. Each time the voice repeats, the more of the soundscape it seems to claim, getting louder and more aggressive. Bass and percussion begin to work together as multiple melodic strands jut out parallel to each other. There is a sense of technological progress, but ₳§ᗐMR ties this up in cacophony. Certain synths and parts of the percussion seem to be lighting a way forward, but its impossible to tell through all of the noise.
Soul▲Craft joins ₳§ᗐMR on Ersatz Heaven. The two artists surge forward through tense percussion and overwhelming pad chords, emerging with a dramatic 80s rhythm. The title of the track conveys a flawed catharsis. A life stained by artificiality can only achieve an artificial resting place. Still this voice promoting unending assimilation into the technological realm speaks, promoting the amalgamation of knowledge and power into one soul entity. ₳§ᗐMR makes the listener witness to the complete assimilation of the world around them, a chord progression performed by tremendous strings and synths continues to surge forward. They swirl around the soundscape until the track comes to an abrupt ending.
The title Complete Reconstruction brings about a feeling of defeat on behalf of humanity. And so too does the atmosphere ₳§ᗐMR and V‡▲D‡M∇R create. It is devoid of feeling or an organic soul, a strange creature-like sound seems to wisp around the landscape. A heavily digitised sound begins to dominate the track, almost sounding like speech in its delivery and timing. But all that can be heard is a gushing of machine-like roars and screams. It continues to sound off, seemingly desperate to express something. A harsh wind blows through everything, carrying with it percussive debris as the two artists set out a thunderingly deep beat. Ghostly choral pads sweep from one side to the other. A voice does appear, sounding tired and soulless. Unable to lift itself out of the robotic monotone that has been implemented upon it. The two artists paint an incredibly macabre picture as we pull towards the end of 𝑵𝒆𝒘 𝑳𝒊𝒇𝒆 ®.
The tone picks up, but becomes no more human on the conclusive track …And That’s How I Assimilated. The sound of heavy construction runs alongside an apocalyptic melody that screeches and falls in and out of tune. First Kings helps to push this industrious sound as the crashing of materials fills the higher frequencies. Tenacious strings fire out over the sky above us, but it seems that the human element has already been defeated, or assimilated. The tone here is one of cold calculation and automation. A voice appears at the very end, mired in the sludge of digitalisation, it professes to feel exactly the same.
On 𝑵𝒆𝒘 𝑳𝒊𝒇𝒆 ®, it feels as ₳§ᗐMR pushes those themes they have explored so much before into a bigger, overarching storyline. While doing this, the artist has also sought the help and assistance of a number of collaborators, giving the album a more dynamic feeling. One can’t be too sure if the subject was a human being all the whole of the earth itself that was being assimilated into an artificial intelligence. But what is certain is that ₳§ᗐMR presents the concept at an impressive scale, with a arterial vein of sci-fi brilliance running through its centre.