Subtopia and Hyperneutrality
In early 2015, as for the greedy nekroblogophiliac (definitely not a word) vultures, as we have become, a full read of a superb but sadly non-breathing blog has become a nightly activity for us. Subtopia is penned by Bryan Finoki. Although there is no musical content in this abandoned library, the idea of a subtopia in music is just as enchanting as the military landscapes that shriek urban ennui in our ears. In Finoki’s own words Subtopia in its broadest sense is about
Architecture (or more generally) ‘space’ as it is designed or used as a tool for social control. It is where urban and military planning formally and informally collude. It is what manifests in something as specific as a particular war doctrine, a bunker design, or the strategy for surgically bombing a city but can also be as pervasive as an entire culture where militarism regularly intrudes in our daily lives through much less visible means: Army recruiters using MySpace, f.e., video game imaginaries of the Arab world; web based border surveillance portals that turn bored living room patriots into internet vigilantes.
And that’s where Finoki states his own mission: “Subtopia is my attempt at chronicling this spectrum of physical and virtual space that corresponds with war and political violence as it translates in the landscape.” This all leads to a term called Military Urbanism which Finoki does his best to decipher as he probes into neighborhoods such as Lebbeus Woods, Peripheral Milit_Urb 17, or Tent City Surveillatopia. The blog is dead but the locations are still land for the living. And living survives on food, shelter, mating, and — as a recreational activity, perhaps — making music. And let’s face it: How many of your favorite dub, techno, 2-step, or grime musicians come from Henley on the Thames or Beverly Hills? Call us misdirected daydreamers, but we have a strong feeling that by mastering all four corners of Subtopia, an original source of musical knowledge will hit our foreheads.
This first correlation comes from Emptyset’s brilliant eponymous in 2009. This is the album where every electronic particle declares a subtle independence and chaos kisses discipline in a liquid jar. Now we are…