Durango Drive, Las Vegas, 2022

It was cloudy in Las Vegas today. Unlike the blank winter grays of the Midwest and East Coast, these clouds are well-defined, painterly, and startlingly low. Here and there, sunlight escapes and soaks the mountaintops. Each time I step outside, I feel like I’m on a new planet, and I wonder if I will ever tire of the desert.

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. This is the monumental first sentence of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and it came to mind while I languished at the post office for an hour, waiting to pick up a key to my mailbox. Last night I crossed the halfway point of another Gibson novel, The Peripheral, and I’m not sure whether to proceed. Abandoning a book feels like a failing on my part, but doggedly finishing every book I begin, even if the rewards have diminished, might point to a deeper failing. That said, I’ve enjoyed big-game future-casting in The Peripheral, and Gibson writes like he knows something I don’t, but now the plot has eclipsed character and concept, and with 250 pages remaining, maybe I don’t need to know who did it.

A nearer vision of the future, via Ryan Oakley: “And, perhaps previewing of the shape of future wars, automated plagiarism detectors have been deployed against automated essay generators.” I’ve added his novel, Technicolor Ultra Mall, to my queue. And I might go for a long walk into the desert after reading this post from Craig Mod: “Basement solitude — isolated without serendipity, static, stagnant, stuck with your face in a screen, manipulated by the algorithms — is the death of the soul.”

But it’s the time of year to celebrate the sleazy synthesizer that appears around the 3:30 mark in Autechre’s “Cloudline”.

Autechre – cloudline

Exai | Warp, 2013 | Bandcamp
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