‘Martin!’ ….’Martin, Martin! Look out into the street tomorrow, for I shall come.’ Martin Avdeiteh, a cobbler who lived in a certain town in Leo Tolstoy‘s short story: Where Love Is, God is.
A black/white city. All quiet, static, befogged, moist, damped, or even imbecile where in a humid and pluvial morning someone has forgotten to close the windows and left for work. Think of this empty apartment. What would be the perception without someone to witness the apartment, the open window, the wet floors right under it, the damped wind, the swinging almanac on the wall, the hapless town and the savanna right outside of it, the dangling meadows and shrubs, the forests and the trees, the mild waves on the lake, the dew and water drops on the leaves, the pristine and occult spirits that only incarnate in secrecy? Or what could possibly be the perception of a post-apocalyptic city, all gray and demolished, the shattered houses, the annihilated people, or a billowing and corrugating sea at night, a dense and perplexed forest in the afternoon, and probably thousands other existences and incarnations without anyone to witness?
What is it in bygone-ingenuousness that is fascinating and we always fall in love with? In the era of emerging cyberculture or computer culture discovering diverse substances has become easier than ever. People have been absorbed in the madness of discovering new elements. Social Networks, blogs, internet memes, internet forums, internet arts, chat, peer to peer file sharing, games are aiding to embrace the vintage sentiment as well as bringing people together from different region and helping them in exploring new things more than ever. In the early 2010s, a meme had started taking over the internet that was vaporwave, a microgenre of electronic dance music. Even though i was quite familiar with the meme, I honestly had no idea what it was actually about until 2012.
I remember the time,when about 5 years ago i was first introduced to vaporwave, the music itself. It was an unpremeditated click on a YouTube video that everyone knows of. Macintosh Plus’s リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー. Even though i kind of liked what the track had offered at that time i don’t remember listening to any other vaporwave until about a year after that. It all started again when I downloaded the The Avalanches’s album Since I Left You . The disco-pop, dance album was only a reminder of what i had heard a year before. Not only that, Since I Left You was the reason i got to know about the term Plunderphonics. It literally refers to any music that is made by taking one or more existing audio recordings and altering them in some way to make a new composition, kind of similar to chopped and screwed technique. However, I took a retrial and listened to Saint Pepsi‘s Private Caller and I was jammed. I was in love with the nostalgia it brought. The purple sentiments, the beaches, the post-punk movement that had taken place in Japan and the United Kingdom in late 70’s to mid 80’s, the New Waves, the notion of an enchanted 70’s/80’s utopia or dystopia that exists in our mind. And when I started drowning more into the genre I was amazed by the variety that it offers as the genre features a fascination with the 80’s and 90’s smooth jazz, chillwave, elevator music, R&B, lounge music, and other styles of mood music. It was later when I started to realize that I was never there to witness any of the following that I just mentioned. Then how can this be nostalgia?
On July 16th, 2014 a YouTube channel called Electronic Gems uploaded a song by HOME name Resonance and it received an enormous amount of attention because of the 80’s “Synth” sentiment. Resonance is a synth piece as was a lot of popular music in the 70’s and 80’s and in 90’s that were commonly known as Synth-Pop. And what makes it prominent is the modulation of the synth. The haziness in the sound, a longer release to make one note collapse onto another to create a wetness. However, Resonance, too, brought out the similar intuition as any songs in the vaporwave category creating that same nostalgic feel. And the question striked again.. WHY THE NOSTALGIA? The Subculture, as Wikipedia puts, “a concept from the academic fields of sociology and cultural studies, is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles. Subcultures develop their own norms and values regarding cultural, political and sexual matters. Certain subcultures are immersed in the society more than others while keeping their specific characteristics intact, such is the case with hippies, goths and even bikers. Subcultures differ from countercultures.” that surrounds vaporwave is believed to be associated with an ironic take on Pop Culture engaging with pop entertainment, technology, and advertisement of previous decades to which we grew up with. Even though it kind of explains the nostalgia, the answer isn’t as satisfying as it should be. And this is where the riddle derives.
It has always been confusing for me to settle upon a boon. So if the king of ghosts would ever come and ask for three wishes I’d have bored him to death again and it’s a sure thing, but it was until some point of my life. Generally, the phase, ‘Not existing’, is substituted as ‘deceased, erased, mortified or something that never exists or existed or can’t exist, disembodied.’ But what if there’s more to it? And it exists to witness the beauty of something that can be witnessed even if we can’t be there as an existing being? Where was I in a 80’s purple town or when the post-punk movement had taken place? Is it something in our subconscious instinct that acquires information through out our everyday’s life then stacks them and represents them as the way we want to perceive them? I remember in 2008 when I first started producing music I would write some certain chords on some certain presets and then put them on a loop and listen to them because it would lead my thoughts to a 70’s/80’s/90’s Irish or Scottish bar that was probably, i think, roaming in my subconscious at that time.
I usually visit Bakkhali three or four times in a year only to rejoice the minimal and primordial gusto it offers. The idea of nothing but water has been quite mystical to my conscious stretch. I remember, one time I roamed around and ended up near a shrine at about 5:30 O’clock in the afternoon. The temple of Banbibi or Bandurga or Bandevi or Byaghradevi in between the mediocre forest of salt cedars/tamarisks. She is considered as the lady as well as the guardian spirit of the forests venerated by both the Hindu and the Muslim residents of the Sundarbans. People worship her in order to survive the tiger attacks. It is believed that the demon king, Dakkhin Rai , an arch-enemy of Banbibi actually appears in the disguise of a tiger and attacks human beings especially the honey-collectors and the woodcutters. Even though I have never, in my life, seen this shrine opened. Maybe because there are some certain times in a year when they worship her. But you can see chips of brick have been knotted in different places around the temple. A sign that she is still believed to be nurturing and protecting the forest and the inferiors. There is a place couple steps ahead of this shrine where some cedars orb and take the shape of a circle, kind of similar to crown shyness. I like to believe that in a profound and lonesome night the Banbabi comes to life to complete some ritual in that place and it can only be witnessed as a non-existing being. But at the same time i wouldn’t want that even if the king of ghosts come and ask for my wish. When I read Where Love Is, God is for the first time, I wanted the God to never show up. Its like the song you had once heard on the radio without knowing anything about it and never heard again since then. It will be in your mind, probably as a precious memory, towards eternity. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a song, or a ghost, or a god, or a nostalgia, as long as the mystery is presented; they will be valued. And in our solitude they will be discernible.