note to readers: re: [[[THE RIVER.mp3 download here]]] +++ a note re: re: – this is the first of two parts that make up “version 1” of The River (2021) – a link to purchase “version 2”, a printed book (w/ links to multimedia bonus features) will be available later this year. this piece itself is quite long so I’d highly recommend viewing in your web browser instead of email. besides the book, I’ll be spending time working on projects that are larger in scale and won’t be posting as frequently in the upcoming months but hope to have cool things to share with you soon — thanks for reading, for your subscriptions, and for your Time💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌💞💌
I. Babylon Society
But instead of Being between the Tigris and the Euphrates, we float down algorithms, down the Amazon, between Places and non-Places, between iCloud and Google Earth, between Never and Ever and 4ever Forever. I can’t remember infinity, I can’t grasp it anymore, I don’t remember the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, or if they ever existed. But like I Can’t Even implies a void, a vacuity, Śūnyatā, with weightless Reality, like you’ve slipped beneath the surface, because that’s what’s necessary to feel the flow of the river —and it’s where I Can’t Even becomes I feel like paul (from bible) in 2021:
And when the riverrun past Eve and Adam’s meanders Beyond and you realize that all of this could’ve been an email and the email could’ve been a post and that the email is a post and the post is an email and that all that is left is post-posterity posting, an email chain to avoid bad luck in the late 2000s, and the task rewriting of Finnegans Wake, line-by-line and without direct reference, 4ever an infinitely updateable text, like Don Quixote, like Hamlet, like the Aleph — all have been written but have yet to be written, and are being written everyday as the world unwrites and rewrites itself in every Moment of BeautifullyBeing :
We reach the commodious vicus of recirculation — of which there are many: this isn’t back to Howth Castle nor Environs, but to DJ Nate and Gucci Goggles, Tsai Ming-Liang and Houllebecq, bladee and Cartier’GOD, Duras and Korine, monker178 and USER-0, Borges and low iq mark fisher, evilgiane and Caspr, Ghatak and Renoir, Yeat and Carti, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, Veeze and Icewear Vezzo, edolls and Madjestic Kasual, Foolio and Spinabenz (Wake):
It starts with the River because it has to end at sea – Raul Ruiz understood this when he put Time Regained on the screen and opened with a title sequence layered over the river Vivonne by Combray – a river with two paths, of Guermantes and of Swann, which then opens up the possibility of infinite paths, because last night was an infinitely iterative statement that contains all of Time and is a place without Place – where there’s shawties off the molly @ the Reena Spauldings Mali – they said Bamako was the new Balbec where the ocean’s in the mind like a feast in Heaven with ancient Peach Trees and malbec coverflowing and the cups runneth over and the suns set over nd I put the sky in my double cup on some Spinabenz shit – like the ground like a green light like it's my first week out & they like nah he tweakin: a thousand years ago we’d be in Timbuktu but we move to where the water runs because we all want to reach the ocean and stack the double cups into triples since the ice melts mean you gotta get every sip of wocky slush while u can:
The River is what happens when things flow – where flow is flow is flow is flow is flow is flow is flow is flow – it’s on some Spinabenz first week out jerry stackhouse shit because Spinabenz is to Jacksonville is to the St. Johns River like Finnegans is to Dublin is to Anna Livia Plurabelle and all of the rivers: it flows, it envelopes you, it’s the eye of the storm, because you can feel the flow and all you can recognize it as is the flow. It’s Contain Episode 72: The Gospel of Angelicism01 – where Barrett, Pool Boy, Nina Power, and others talk shop about the work of Angelicism01, where Pool Boy brings up the ideas regarding the pornographic vs. the erotic and Nina brings up the concept of unsexed reproduction in respect to angels and I’m lost in remembrance of Houellebecq’s ~erotic~ short film La Rivieré (2001), lost underneath the hithertitheringriverings mounted on the tunnels by Times Square, lost in the orinoco flow– then Pool Boy reading Latréaumont wakes me into thinking about Amalia Ulman’s Dignity, her face as a work of art, Plastic Surgery, and the perfect nightcore of it all on tommytohotty’s MID SMOKER’S ONLY (see 3:39):
1 Corinthians 14:10 “There are probably many kinds of languages in the world, and none is without meaning.”
Q: How does The River Speak?
The Moment is Icedancer – it has to be, because it will be, until the ice melts and takes Frosty the Snowman with it. Before that, we have to pour up until our cups runneth over – because of the goodness and mercy to follow for all the days of our lives: dwelling in the House of the Lord 4ever on some clairo shit. So walk with me, walk with me, or walk away from me, for the last time: just after Everything Is Cancelled
Heidegger said ‘A properly unique beginning thus lies in whatever is said poetically,”and the autotune-drenched mumbling-moaning-crooning of SmartWater marks the ice dance, with that little synth, before the snares, before the water’s dirty, before the dirty Pradas, It feels like 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us”. It feels Beyond, like if Eternity was a sound, the way it used to be. Like when Frankie Cosmos sings “I am living in a condo // it replaced your favorite movie theater tho” – a lyric embedded into ‘This Stuff’ on Vessel – and I’m back in the haze of a 4/20 hearing those words at the show, hours after Nausicaa had happened once again, hours before reading a Frank O’Hara poem so disorienting I started violently vomiting because the theaters are closing – a few years later and I’m outside of Kings Highway Cinema, the last porno theatre in NYC, and it’s masked by a scaffolding, you can’t even see the marquee, with info posted on the outside about it being renovated and converted into apartment units. I never went inside, just like that hentai theater that used to be off 3rd ave and Burnside and Abel started his career with 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy (streamable via xHamster) then I was tweaking off time’s heroin in Cinema Village to Siberia, Tommaso, and The Projectionist, which followed Nicolas Nicolaou, who was forced to sell Kings Highway to maintain Cinema Village and Alpine Cinemas, the oldest theater in the five boroughs. We’re emerging from our confinement into a new world that’s the same but a little worse Still, nothing will ever Feel like this again, the same way, nothing will ever Feel like This again, and it’s not that Death has to be Beautiful, but that Every Fleeting Moment Can Become As Such:
When Tsai made The River (1997), he birthed a techno-angel: a post, a film, a clone from spawned from the wake and all the rivers within it, before it, with it, and after it. Houellebecq did the same when he made The River (2001) a handful of years later – and they sprawled with so many other cloned rivers into a geography where the map was the territory, as well as the essence of the territory, yet constantly shifted from form to form to form:
Axiom 2: that which happened to us after Finnegans Wake, why it was written, why we still-post, what shall we do.
It was the case that J.J. died because of the space that opened up between how he lived in an angelicist book, the book of the night, and then how the book of the world opened to plunge Anna Livia Lucia into the camps. But Finnegans Wake definitely happened, and every poster is now an intern for Anna Livia Lucia. It happened just as Thot Breaker happened in 2017, just as the archive of DJ Kirsten Angel Dust happened between ~2015-2020, just as the TikToks of @empathi happen now in 2021, just as the Book of Paul (from bible) happens now in 2021, just as jewelxxet really did R.I.P. in April 2021, just as ileanwheniwalk really is right now the most fluorescent rapper in the world, #WOO.
In a world where everything is becoming pornographic, the angel delivers the message of rebirth, that of an infinite river, forming and reforming itself, beyond the physical, with a wetness that cannot be grasped or felt, but just is. But when two versions exist, one borne from the next, the potential for rewritability is unlocked – the way forward becomes that of angels. Because the author is dead and the reader is dying and then the reader is dead and all that’s left are scrolling ghosts grasping intangible scrolls, because the only escape is into the river, into the infinite, into the Beyond that was the internet before the Internet, that is WorldBecomingInternet, that is Gestell, and what – after – becomes a flow of unsexed reproduction bringing by another commodious vicus of recirculation of images: Infinitely More Rivers unto the Sea.
And The River does speak – it speaks a language that translates the Essences of media between forms. It’s what happens when, in the depths of despair, you see an image of Migos with motivational meme text on Akram Shah’s (who you remember best for that one photoshoot with A$AP Rocky) IG story, and it speaks deeply to you, so you deep fry it and make it your own before tweeting it and pinning it, to create a feedback loop, a reminder to yourself, a direction of the flow state apparatus so that the image becomes a digital talisman of sorts, one you see constantly, with a strong message that continually reaffirms itself, and forces a projection towards and into The New. And in turn, that image recirculates and takes on a life as its own, before you see it months later as cover art on Soundcloud, perpetuating The New itself. The River speaks when you’re geeked up off an addyand reminded of BEANDAY II so you go to Nolanberollin’s page, then his second page GOTGLOCKS, and then click on sergeant gutta’s page, one of the three accounts it follows, and you scroll and scroll while you’re geeking and geeking and see it and it’s a Moment, a Moment you’ve never felt before and you click play, and it’s Drake’s Over My Dead Body cut up and remixed into a banging house tune that you loop into the infinite for as long as Infinity lasts – like cowboy swag // what in tarnation: All of a sudden – there’s Image and Sound – there’s Two Versions:
Because to lyric-post is to sample an essence, the same way taking an image and moving it into collage samples an essence, the same way ripping audio and twisting it into whatever sound you desire samples an essence. It’s like Serge Daney said: “
PEOPLE PRODUCE WORKS, AND WE DO WE WHAT WE CAN WITH THEM, WE USE THEM FOR OURSELVES”
And to post Drake lyrics is to sample the essence of iterations and self-reference into self-mythologization – because nothing’s like going from 0 to 100 real quick except going 0 to 100 real quick, the same way good weed & white wine make you come alive in the nighttime, and posting “i'm rocking chrome hearts shooting basketball just like i'm drake” makes u feel like Veeze feeling like Drake:
And if Finnegans Wake is treated as an infinite and infinitely updatable text, then we see the collision of every internet and every river, the River within Joyce, the River within Drake, within Veeze, within Nolanberollin, all in the Internet as River – where the River both Is and Becomes Internet as Intelligence as Body of Accumulated Media. Because Walter Benjamin dreamed of a book of quotes, and you can search “Zaza” to create a Book of Zaza, because Drake said: “champagne poetry, these are the effortless flows // supposedly something else is controlling me // under a picture lives some of the greatest quotes from me”, because the internet contains entire arcades projects of Chicago Drill and Fredo Santana can’t die yet because he’s Posted into Being everyday, because the soundcloud algorithm plays Ice Wing Angel after BEANDAY II, because Audrey Hepburn’s Moon River Becomes Frank Ocean’s Moon River, and the two drifters off to see the world are with Life, right around the bend, and Moon River flows into River into Ocean into Beyond:
III. Beyond Heaven Beyond
You have to fill your double cup up with Heaven because The Cosmos were stolen by the Copernican Revolution. You have to go down to the river and pour that bubbly, drink that muddy drink, and drop 8 ounces in the baby bottle – baby bottle pop, with everything purple (swag), trued up with Two Cups shook up with dirty sprite, and the dirty soda, Spike Lee [movie] White Girl, ice tea, with the purple Actavis, and no droughts, no prisoners, like Albertine hiding behind the sunsetting sky, it’s uno dos cups stuffed, it’s L-E-A-N-I-N-G, it’s Lean, lean, lean, lean, lean lean lean with 500 horses inside the machine & 500 DNAs in the ding ding, it’s cutting up nature and stitching it back together like DJ Rashad: we got Drank we got Kush we got Barz in this bitch // we’re just tryna have a party, get retarded in this bitch
Houellebecq’s short film La Rivière (2001) depicts a world after the extinction of man, a world of angels and kisses on the shore of a river, a world with a map that we can only glimpse, a map that cannot keep up with the continual flux of the world. The film begins with an epigraph from Latréaumont’s Poésies I: “Depicting suffering is a nonsense; everything must be given to see as beautiful”. Then we see the Map, and a beautiful woman holding it – though once it is implied the Man is extinct, it becomes clear that these are not women but angels. Throughout the film, the angels get physically intimate in search of pleasure, though these actions continue to unravel the film: are they fucking? are they making love? does it remain sex if this isn’t how they reproduce? what exactly is happening?
Throughout the film Houellebecq utilizes overlays of white text over the image: the first sequence reads “L’occupation du monde” (The Occupation of the World), laid over a kiss, imbuing the film with the idea that a kiss can overtake the world. The next overlay “Le monde entre les peaux” (The World Between Skins) precedes two bodies intertwined in pleasure, followed by the phrase “La douceur des secondes // Installe un noveau monde” (The Softness of the Seconds // Settles a New World), and later, another phrase: “Près de nos corps mêlés // La rivière est profonde” (Near our Blended Bodies // The River is Deep). In the scene immediately following this overlay, we leave the physical geographies of the River and move to an orchard, where the River Beyond meets the Climax. Four bodies entangled with one another as dissolves blur the temporal structure of the reality. Houellebecq changes his text overlays to all caps, and delivers this sequence reading:
WE ARE RE-CREATING A WORLD // ENLACED WITH CARESSES // AN INTERLACED WORLD // WE RE-CREATE SPACE // WE RE-CREATE OUR SPECIES
Houellebecq’s La Rivière contends with the conflict between the erotic and the pornographic – despite watching angels fuck, we are not watching pornography, but a poem dripping with eroticism unfolding itself on the River’s edge:
The body’s overflowing of sexual feeling towards the other especially in being-in-love is also this speaking out of heaven’s strings of light in a talking of existence to itself in ultimate intelligence. Under heaven’s sway as compaction of strings of emptiness there is no formal limit to what ‘love’ and ‘sex’ and ‘sexiness’ can become and already are.
Water is the emergent harmony of its chemical details. What assures us that water is created by God is not any one of those details, but the way the details unfold to form a whole, a home, a medium that is unmistakably for-us, and would not be if anything about it were otherwise.
no tears in a World of water — like just hold ur Breath long enough to swim to the bottom & grab a handful of sand so by the time u Surface it’s slipped thru ur fingers and you Inhale
…poetry is the semiotic flow that emanates the perceptual and narrative forms that shape the common sphere of experience. Reality, in other words, is the sphere of human interaction and communication secreted by language and refined by poetry. Poetry builds and instills the strata of mythopoeisis: it is the inspiration of the social imagination and of political discourse. In Hölderlin’s words, “poets establish what remains.”
in Heaven everyone is forever a flower in bloom while everything is pressed into an infinite book and when you’re dying of thirst you simply reach into the river and bring the reality-kiss to your lips – it’s the double cup after Time with Grimes’s † River † leading you into Heaven or Las Vegas from the hotel lobby up the elevator to your room listening 2 marvin's room chopped and screwed before it morphs into DJ XXlur666 fragmenting Analog 2 like can u meet me by the lake by the lake by the lake by the lake by the lake until Heaven is Las Vegas is the River is By the Lake is Beyond. it’s the Pure Vibe Shift of soundcloud, like the Pure Vibe Shifts of other Internet geographies and you can feel the boundary of it, right up against your skin, asking: “Where is Heaven (on Earth)? // How do we reach Beyond?”
The River as Pure Vibe Shift as The River happens when people work together to re-create a space, and in the process re-create a world, and amidst the interlacing fragments wrapping into and around one another, we’ve recreated our species.
It’s unprompted, it’s anti-algorithmic, it drives towards The New regardless as to whether such a thing exists, or can exist. The River is how you get to the sea – the sea is where Eros can still be, despite the total commodification of sex, because in Heaven you don’t need pools, everyone is swimming all the time. In Heaven, there’s the cascade of waves, pulled by every Moon you ever knew. In Heaven, there are image concepts that are Pure and Imageless.
In Heaven, there is only an ineffable sea, and within it every form of Eros that has yet to be and cannot be imagined is transubstantiated into Being. In Heaven, there are no borders and there is nothing to grab onto: there is nothing to do but Float and Vibe, just as you did down The River thru the estuary and into the sea, into Heaven. In Heaven the watches are faceless and the Rivers are waterless — we feel this thing Happening all the time it’s happening in the air Right Now like the space between us is filled with it: (because everything is Everything)
IV. Havoc In Heaven
Havoc in Heaven happened in China in 1964. It was before Wuhan, before Tibet, before Xi, before Tiananmen Square, before Mao died, and it was birthed from Journey to the West, a novel rooted in the time of the Ming Dynasty of the 1500s. Yet Havoc in Heaven is American – because it is an animated film, a concept introduced to China when Out of the Inkwell, an American animation landed in Shanghai in 1918. And though the Wan brothers, pioneers of Chinese animation sought to develop a uniquely Chinese style, the technics of the concept were rooted in the West.
But because the roots of Havoc in Heaven were birthed in 1500s China, it presents a Reality constructed with different axioms — one that presents an inversion between Heaven and Earth, between Angels and Demons, between Good and Evil. The Monkey King, ruler of Earth, travels between worlds, first descending into the Sea, where he gets a magical mythological weapon, before returning to Earth, then ascending to Heaven, where he fights its rulers who seek to control and diminish him, eventually declaring himself Equal of Heaven. Those that reside in Heaven refer to The Monkey King as a demon, though it’s clear The Monkey King has a number of properties similar to that of Angels in the West. Hölderlin suggested that titular river of The Ister seems to flow backwards, and comes from the East; these inversions — of the demon being Good, of Heaven being Evil — show the backwards flow of the river. The Demon Monkey is able to destroy Heaven and return to Earth because of his self-cloning abilities, performing angelic unsexed reproduction throughout the film. The reversals of Western notions are striking – it suggests another World, one with axioms fundamentally different from the ones we operate under, axioms which have spread to and taken over functionally the entire planet.
Maybe that’s how it used to be — that the East flowed into the West, as Hölderlin suggests. The Ister (2004), is a film that travels up the Danube, creating a Map of the river that inspired Hölderlin’s poem intercut with commentary from philosophers Bernard Stiegler, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe that explore Heidegger’s lectures on the poem. In it, Stiegler brings forward the idea that the technics of the West, culminating in the technics of America have subsumed all:
Until man, life rests on the combination of two systems of memory: genetic memory, DNA, and on the other hand, the memory of the individual… My past at the same time is German, French. It is also American, because now everything is American.
Throughout Technics and Time, Stiegler demonstrates that technics develops faster than culture, with a major rupture in this process having occurred during the Industrial Revolution. Hamlet tells the ghost “the time is out of joint”, and this dislocation between technics and culture can best be seen through Benjamin’s fable of the Angelus Novus, flying forward in the name of progress, without looking back to see the destruction it is wreaking. Bruno Latour offers an alternative critique to this perspective, which he calls “Modernist parentheses”, situating our ecological crisis as an escape, fleeing from a horrible past:
It is in the wreckage of the angel that Tsai Ming-Liang’s The River (1997) is situated, where Lee Kang-Sheng’s character contracts a mysterious illness while floating in a polluted river while standing in for a corpse during a film production. This river takes us on a deliberately slow journey of pain, as we watch Kang-Sheng writhe physically and emotionally as his and his family’s world collapses around him.
The pain of Kang-Sheng’s character comes from the pain of “Real Life”, or rather life beyond what was once celluloid and what is now digital, from an injury Kang-Sheng himself suffered during the production of Tsai’s Rebels of the Neon God (1992), an injury which would go on to affect him for the rest of his life, and become a recurring element of Tsai’s films. In Nick Pinkerton’s book-length meditation on Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003), Pinkerton states that “Each of Tsai’s films, then, represent a marker in the lifeline of Lee Kang-Sheng”, and brings up the similar relation Francois Truffaut had with Jean-Pierre Léaud, citing What Time Is It There? (2001), where Kang-Sheng’s character purchases and watches a pirated video copy of The 400 Blows, itself a river of a film that takes you to the sea and ends frozen in Time. Pinkerton also provides the following quotes from Tsai on his relationship with Kang-Sheng in relation to Truffaut/Léaud:
There is something very unique about film: its reality is not the same as the reality of real life. However, you cannot say the reality in film is fictional or unreal — it is real but with a fictional apparatus. Interestingly, the recreation process can sometimes make a film’s reality immortal; as soon as an image or a face is captured on film, it will no longer age. I am looking for a face that is chosen by the film to live in its reality and for me Hsiao-kang and Jean-Pierre both possess that special quality. Their faces were chose by directors who make films in order to create art. When Truffaut chose Léaud from more than 1,000 boys who auditioned, and when I met Hsiao-kang in an arcade on the streets of Taipei, we both recognized that this is the face for the film reality we want to recreate. Actually, I think I take this approach even further than Truffaut. Whereas he used Léaud to recreate major events in the first half of his life, I just want to thoughtfully observe Hsiao-kang’s face.
As we have continued to collaborate, Lee has aged and his body has changed a lot. Usually in the film industry, when an actor ages and changes, the director will get a different actor to perform, Rather than choose that path, I chose to accept these changes and to allow the audience to watch as someone gets old and sometimes gets sick. I am using the changes in the body of Lee to have a conversation with the world. He will always be my actor.
So it goes back to Vessel — when we see Kang-Sheng working as a projectionist in Goodbye, Dragon Inn, and how he carries Time with his body, with the reels he carries, with his Face. When the film within the film is over and the theater within the film has emptied out and we’re outside in the pouring Taipei rain, the Cosmos reemerge anachronistically as “I am Living in a condo // it replaced your favorite Movie Theater though” echoes in silence, underneath the rain, before a Cantonese oldie enters and fills that empty associative sonic space and closes the film, with lyrics longing for a past that will never be regained. Every Tsai film captures a different Time and a different Kang-sheng, serving as a reminder for the complete instability of the present — once a shot ends, no matter how long the take, that Moment is gone — nothing will ever feel like This again.
nothing will ever feel like This again
nothing will ever Feel like This again
Nothing will ever Feel like This again
That’s what watching Tsai is like —
The link through the body of Tsai’s films is The Body of Lee Kang-Sheng — we journey with it atop the bike in Rebels of Neon God, through the black markets of What Time Is It There, through the watermelons and porn sets of The Wayward Cloud (streamable via xvideos), and into its decaying stages pictured in Days. This last film, Tsai’s most recent, follows Kang-Sheng journeying to Thailand to treat his back, for the injury that started cinematically at The River (1997). It’s a film of silence — the few lines of dialogue in the film are left intentionally unsubtitled and instead we sit with Kang-Sheng, moving slowly, painfully, gingerly through an ever-changing world:
To watch Tsai is to watch Illness as an event — both on a physical, human level through the body of Kang-Sheng, but also on a societal level, as Tsai probes the alienation that affects the urban landscapes that make up our megacities. And through these cities and with these cities, Kang-Sheng carries Time: he carries it with his Face, with his Body — and with his Ass, which fully and emphatically comes into the picture during the (quite literal) climax of Days — with LKS face down ass up double cheeked up on a Thursday afternoon before a massage between that turns into a handjob which turns into a kiss. And…
…sometimes a kiss interrupts the other erotogenic zones and sometimes not and there is a fine art, a very fine art, of knowing when yes and when no. Once one adds kissing to a handjob or any type of oral, one cannot go back. Hence, meticulous. It’s not for want of kissing.
It’s when this Kiss comes after the Ass, when you’re Tweaking off Time’s Heroin and you’re dilating with the film lost in Space, thinking about Angelicism01’s essay, Lee Kang-Sheng’s Ass, a piece written before Days was made, which recognizes the same American-ness that Stiegler claimed to be invading the world in Kang-Sheng, first comparing him to the quiet, near-silent roles of Ryan Gosling, but then extending Kang-Sheng’s position into that of a 21st century Charlie Chaplin — so when the music box in Days rings with that theme from that Chaplin film, all you can think is ‘damn vro’ — knowing nothing will ever Feel like that again as memory folds into time folds into Memory folds into Time:
After the Kiss, the men shower together and linger in moments that seem to stretch for eternities before a cut sends them on their separate ways, after which Tsai forces us to deal with the devasting forlorn loneliness of existence — the last shot is of the man who massaged and kissed Lee Kang-Sheng. We watch him play that Chaplin theme on the music box, accompanied by the hums of traffic, as it conjures memories in him and in us, before he gets up and leaves. We linger for a second — then cut to silence and Pure White:
Isaac Goes’s Worlds ends similarly — with Pure White after images and sounds that have taken us through… (in the most literal sense) Worlds — there’s light, there’s butterflies, and the rest of the Universe inside of it as well, if you look and if you listen close enough — because you might not see the butterfly but you might see something that triggers Lana’s voice and happiness in your head such that all of a sudden you think you’re looking at Norman Fucking Rockwell! In a sense, it goes from Everything into Pure White, the combination of every color, of a rainbow made into One, of Everything. And Worlds grapples with the difficulties of trying to Represent what It Is, what The River, what the Flow is, what Everything is — and the film starts underwater before emerging through and past the surface and extending into our Beyond. There’s so many parts to it that you could break it up and put it back together into infinity — which is why it works. It isn’t a version of a thing but a thing (for all of us have ‘the thing’s and of course there’s also DThang, v much another incredible Thing happening in our world of Things) — it feels like a map that is the territory — so when the film (or rather the pixels) flicker(s) I think of every frame of cock crammed into Paul Sharits’s Razor Blades, and when there’s the breakdown of the digital screen it’s like when the reel for Jordan Belson’s Samadhi broke at Anthology Film Archives —except it’s there for everyone watching it on The Internet, in the Forever that is Never, that we’re all eternally present and absent for, the same way you think your laptop or headphones or TV or speakers are fucking up the first time you watch 88:88 — because that’s what happens when it enters Online.
And naturally there’s another part that reminds me of Takashi Ito — because of the reds, and because I spent the summer before last in front of a screen cutting Ito clips to SGP’s Northside Drive Zone 2 ATL 2020 and Ashview Heights Legend between coke binges and prayers utterly despondent searching for a Soul until I had a Vision of God and a Moment of Clarity — but really the most important part is when those synths hit around 9:41 and the sounds bring Marvin’s Roominto your mind — when a flash of light takes you into the cotton candy sky and all you can think about is the cups of the rosé, cups of the XO, and all the bitches in your old phone. That you could call one and go home. That You’ve Been In This Club Too Long…
[to be continued…]
what is a vibe shift? - a second note – re: ‘re: stacks’? “For Emma, Forever Ago” came out in 2007 (recorded winter 2006/7) on myspace. And examining the “re:” – was it just “regarding”? Or was there an email sent about ‘stacks’? This was before T.I. said “stacks on me // patron on ice”, before yung bans and lil tracy made ‘stacks in my slacks’, before yung lean dropped ‘more stacks’ on Warlord:
Shawty, roll up, I'm a smoker // We gon' fly high, they below us // Bitch, I'm running on the road to the money bus // My wings fold up, smokin' winter lungs // My boys roll up, rollin' honey blunts // I got pills look like rainbows in my tour bus // More cash, more stacks and there's more for us // Money foreign in my pocket and it's for us
So what if it’s “re: stacks” b/c he sent an email about ‘stacks’ & someone’s hitting him back? Did he leave the cabin to visit an internet cafe every now and then on some Walden meets Snooki shit or was he really up in that bitch, like full ~Leave Society~ mode (even tho Li’s still on the internet) 15 years before that shit even dropped? Was the stacks email about Gucci Mane saying ‘hit a lick for ‘bout fifty stacks’ on “lawnmower man”? Or was it about G-Unit South and Lil Scrappy saying ‘Killers run up in the club, ballin with a bigger stack’ and Young Buck saying ‘Club goin crazy, we throwin out stacks’ on Money in the Bank– because there would’ve been a Time Before Stacks, the same way there was a time before ‘zaza’, the same way the Benjamins weren’t always Blueface-d…
So was yung bon iver tapped into the streets of ATL like chief keef was – were Guwop and OJ Da Juiceman just as instrumental in “for emma, forever ago” the same way they were with “Back From The Dead” and “Bang”? And yung bon iver was listening to T-Pain because everyone was listening to T-Pain and you can hear I'm N Luv (wit a stripper) all over it, w/ the garageband default instruments and plug-ins– but did he listen to the remix with Akon, R Kelly (the part where he says he wants to put his whole head in it – is R Kelly like our marquis de sade), Twista, Pimp C, Twista, Paul Wall, MJG & Too Short on it? (Note: layering all those vocal tracks with that little RAM must’ve made bouncing the files take 4ever) Now, it’s like Kanye said when he got the first grammy: “I guess we’ll never know”…
But it’s important because duwap kaine dropped this acoustic cover of perfect two by auburn and it’s only a matter of time before he goes bedroom pop superstar and mixes some post-beautiful thugger girls vibes w/ some bon iver meets keef vocal layering on some Hold My Liquor shit but the vibe is like clairo poured up a double cup ( i looked at her soundcloud likes in 2018 and botox lips – bladee & pharmacist – NOLANBEROLLIN [+ titanaboa + no xanax / longlivegus (prod. duwap kaine) in there too) but rn duwap singing “You can be the peanut butter to my jelly // You can be the butterflies I feel in my belly // You can be the captain and I can be your first mate //You can be the chills that I feel on our first date” is so fucking beautiful dawg like I Can’t Even But I Have To
On your back with the racks as the stacks of your load // In the back with the racks and the stacks are your load // In the back with the racks and you're unstacking your load
the point was about vibe-shifting though. after the album dropped on myspace, blogs picked it up – My Old Kentucky Blog being the first ~major~ one (according to Wikipedia) and the post is still up, the blog intact, where you can read a short paragraph about “bon iver” (quote: “According to Vernon, no one really needs silent H’s.”) – then it flowed: to brooklynvegan, p4k, stereogum, and so on… the vibe shifted in the way that media was dropped and a system picked it up and accelerated and heightened its memetic cycle – the same sort of thing that happened with mount eerie’s the glow pt. 2 and neutral milk hotel’s in the aeroplane over the sea thanks to mu/. what feels radical about the great VIBE SHIFT, 1–5 June 2021 is how in a time with algorithmically dominated feeds, in a post-Blog Era, a phenomenon emerged that was the result of a few individuals and entities working in sync, yet without coordination, that was so palpable that everyone seeing it could feel something… following the great VIBE SHIFT, 1–5 June 2021 were a number of imitative ‘Vibe Shift’s, notably the Vibe Shift substack aggregator which sought to attach itself to the clout/followings of more established substacks such as angelicism01 and yours truly in order to astroturf newer substack projects into that ‘realm’ as well as sharing email mailing lists, though the substacks that existed prior to the vibe shift aggregator were not part of this
There was a time when blogs – Tumblrs especially – functioned as the O.G. vibe shifts, in a different internet. Golf Wang Tumblr was essential as a media stream for odd future content in a pre-Instagram, early Twitter era, Frank Ocean dropped a coming-out letter that made headlines, eventually leaving Twitter but staying on Tumblr, and A$AP Mob was launched off of A$AP Yams heavily influential Real N**** Tumblr – in an interview w/ Complex, he talks about buying a scanner to upload photos from his magazine collection and you can have the words but you’ll never have the Feeling, or the Image of reading Complex in 2013 again
Tell me a little bit about when you first started the Tumblr. What were you trying to do?
I had another website at the time. All I did was just copy and paste shit from other content blogs that I fucked with. So I started the Tumblr to just put up all this miscellaneous shit that wouldn’t fit into my Wordpress blog at the time. And it slowly grew into something else. I noticed I was getting a bigger audience on the Tumblr, so that’s when I put all my energy into [Realniggatumblr]. I went out and purposely bought a scanner. Alright, motherfuckers like all these cool little pictures and shit like that? Images of rappers from the '90s? If that’s what they like, I’m going to keep posting that shit. It was a research study of what kids of the Internet age, what drives them to keep following a certain website. I took all their interests and put it all on one website for them to enjoy and keep looking at every day. And that’s when I started writing, and people started to like my shit. I didn’t feel I was a good writer, you know what I mean? My intention wasn’t to be a journalist, ever. You feel me? That shit was a hustle since day one. I just knew how to voice my opinion very well and get my point across in a similar comedic way so it doesn’t look like some dry-ass piece of writing.
A$AP Yams was a Vibe Artist, in the same way angelicism01 and Honor Levy and edolls and tom_tuna_always_and_forever and megsuperstarprincess and –cellectuals account and even glamdemon2004 are Vibe Artists – their Posts – across a number platforms respectively, pulls you in, and then you’re there for Everything Else… (How did i get here? I started writing “a note for readers re: copyright: this is a "podcast" because soundcloud sent me this (but decided not to:
Hi paul (from bible),
It looks like your track "THE RIVER" might contain or be a copy of "The River That Flows In You Also Flows In Me" by Croatian Amor, which is owned by owned by Posh Isolation in certain territories. As a result, your track has been removed from your profile for the time being. [...]
Thank you, The SoundCloud Copyright team
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (Parts 1 –4) – paul (from bible)
Hölderlin's Hymn "The Ister" – Martin Heidegger
But which version is this? There’s a Ferrara interview that I can’t place where he talks about how the distribution of porn films in those days would get fucked up because the projectionists would clip parts of the reel for their personal collections and then the reels would pass on city to city with increasingly missing pieces. Based on the vinegar syndrome blu-ray restoration for sale run-time and the xhamster runtime, the upload is almost all of the way there
Bifo Berardi. Breathing: Chaos and Poetry
because i remember how drake dropped the official music video on the OVO vimeo after chris brown dropped his remix and that the video on youtube is a fan upload — and it’s the same for ‘best i ever had’ off So Far Gone —> they dropped the video on a flash player on welivethis.com (like why???) and then fans uploaded to youtube —> and they premiered a clip of the video on ‘it’s on with alexa chung’ on MTV june 30, 2009 before dropping the video on July 1. the drake apperance there is Classic Drake Shit, he speaks on a torn ACL, the courting process of the various record labels trying to sign him, and how the best date is one where there’s great conversation —> there was a guardian article on how sexist the video was a week later and it was probably shot digitally but there’s a chance that it was on film and i wonder if we’ll ever get a 1080p or 4K version or if b/c kanye directed it Drake just wants to pretend it doesn’t exist, it never happened, and the multitude of low-res uploads and rips will be all there ever is… because Drake controls history now… (more on this later)