Soft Machine is a surreal wander through the mystical sonic forest. A vision curated and designed by Chicago native Justin Aulis Long. A Cyclopian point of view while gazing through a wide lensed scope, which exists in the liminal spaces where light meets dark and angelic forces bath in the sludge and stardust of unfiltered eroticism.
Eye of the Minotaur – collage 001 is a collection of artists working in varying musical practices that are channeling the solitude of mutantness, strolling through the familiar yet unfamiliar halls of the uncanny, refusing ordinary structures of the mundane, grasping the cold humor of cynicism, basking in the dichotomy of cosmos and chaos, and invoking the energies of Eris and Eros.
Setting the ground is Ciarra Black, a Berlin based New Yorker who makes no apologies for her bare knuckled soundscapes. DuPont Street is a ritualistic unification of discordant entities that summons visions of Pazuzu (lord of the demons) and Inanna (goddess of love) fornicating beneath The Tree of Life. Razor edged synthesizers slice through the atmosphere with the precision of an avenging angel’s flaming sword, while a psychedelic drum code activates ritual movement of the body.
As the needle passes beyond the next threshold it is met by a towering totem, bristling with the illuminated light of the sonic astral plane. Erected from the foundational matter that birthed the Detroit electro punk sound, Eyes Up continues to add to the narrative that is drenched in deranged electronics intuitively mangled in a post punk tradition. Dystopian percussive rhythms generate an unorthodox domain where muffled utterances present an aural Rorschach test. Could this be the riddle of the Sphinx, or an ancient spectral being that possesses secret knowledge? Only its creator, Stallone the Reducer, holds the key.
Fixed at the axis of the journey, Perfect Headache Forever, a mystic operating within the DIY spaces of Chicago, levitates on a transcendental mass that is equally melancholic and optimistic. Her voice hosts a strength equal to a pantheon of titans. Armed with a magical electronic musical box, she weaves narratives that are prophetic. Itself Ecstatic is a voyage through a misty soundscape that begins at one point, but ends in a distant other, in accordance with a system of divination.
Gazing into the murky waters of the oracle’s cauldron, Circling Vultures, (a collaborative effort by Justin Aulis Long and Kenneth Zawacki) channel and evoke the spirits of Antonin Artaud and Geroges Bataille. The poet’s voice, engaged in an act of mutilation and self cannibalization, howls while projecting visions of sacred conspiracies, sensations of vertigo while peaking over the edge of the abyss, and the looming weight acquired from the solitude of the Minotaur alone, sitting silently at the center of the labyrinth. Accompanying the mystical bard’s verbal declaration is a triggered mechanized synth that roars with the vitality of Cold War era Wave music, which is then juxtaposed against applications of loose keyboard playing. The artist’s hand is revealed against the calculated actions of machines.
Bringing the document to its finale, Libby Del Barrio, a multi disciplinary artist based in San Antonio, performs a closing ritual in a manner that only she knows. Setting fire to the Elysium Fields while personified as Moze Pray, Del Barrio rejects plastic narratives that aim to pacify. No Tears, is an unapologetic account of life’s feedback loop around the Wheel of Fortune. Sacrificial actions through ceremonial performance reveals a gateway founded on truth and torment. Moze Pray’s ability to combine musical production, poetic vocalization and ritualistic body performance is charged by chaos and amalgamates into a product of pure expression that defies the rose colored filters aiming to conceal harsh realities.