Junto Project 0532: Other Means [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

In 1997, members of a religious cult called Heaven’s Gate believed that the passing of the Hale-Bopp comet would be followed by a spaceship. Convinced that the spaceship would take “true believers” aboard to the Afterlife, several members bought an expensive telescope to gain a better view of the comet. Within days, they requested a refund; when asked why they returned the telescope, they complained that the item was defective because it didn’t show the spaceship in the comet’s wake. Shortly thereafter, all 39 members of the cult killed themselves.

Cognitive dissonance is a term coined by psychologist Leon Festinger to describe the state when a person’s beliefs and behavior contradict one another. It manifests itself in various ways, from what we eat to how we vote. The COVID-19 pandemic was a breeding ground for cognitive dissonance; political and cultural biases invaded factual discourse, impeding our capacity to solve a global condition whose reverberations persist to this day.

Suss Müsik sought to explore the vexatious nature of dissonance using DIY-glitch technologies and manipulated vocalizations. Sounds emitted from handmade devices were recorded to tape and “performed” using a hacked cassette Sony Walkman. The most interesting bits were sampled into loops and run through a grain synth engine. The vocal effect (which features a sample of psychologist Dr. Dan P. McAdams) recalls that of sound art pioneer Alvin Lucier, whose seminal piece I Am Sitting In A Room suggests a new form of musicality: spoken words verbalized and abstracted, the non-tonic becoming tonic and back again.

The piece is titled Festinger and was recorded live to 8-track.

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