Thursday 22 August 2019


A few months ago, the Venezuelan musician and riotous performer Arca posted an Instagram story in which they were gesturing both furiously and seductively at their computer screen. As they moved, a jittering but ethereal sound moved with them, opening and closing in time with their body.

This is how I stumbled upon CITYTRONIX, the artist tagged in Arca’s post and the creator of the Max/MSP instrument they were triggering with their hands. I know little of this CITYTRONIX other than that they have associations with the WARE collective out of Bristol in the UK. Nevertheless, they have a substantial body of work online whether in the form of their intricate, abrasive and beautiful electronic music, or the visual/text pieces they post on Instagram. 

The complex layers of interesting details, found noises and sound design that form CITYTRONIX’s music make it both distinctive, yet hard to describe. Ultimately, in listening to and writing about their music, I feel as though there is something out of my grasp. If I can say anything about their latest mixtape, IRAMA FOYER, however, it would simply be that it seems to fulfill a promise that a lot of electronic music has been trying to make over the past few years. There is so much art that bills itself as “hyperrealist” or “deconstructionist” in the way that it takes pop tropes, digests them, and vomits them up in some sort of glossy, tech-maximalist explosion. My question, however, is whether in this accelerationism, much of this music actually just reifies the capitalist, tech-supported hierarchies that it claims to investigate. In CITYTRONIX’s work, I feel the radical potential of electronic music sincerely realized. I hear something that navigates what it means to exist in a world in which so much of our cultural memory and experience is sentimentally tied to things that are in many senses problematic. I hear something that asks not just what it means to exist in the space between our physical bodies and the internet, but what it means for so many bodies to be feeling and existing at the same time. Whether I can articulate how the exhilarating twelve minutes of IRAMA FOYER exactly do this is beyond me at the moment. I do believe that CITYTRONIX’s music does its best to open up a space of potential in between all of these overwhelming concerns and yet, at the same time, seems perfectly willing to collapse itself, as it must do over and over again. 

Contributed by K. M. 

No comments:

Post a Comment