The compact disc. It doesn’t wear out, even if you use it. Terrifying. It’s as though you’d never used it. So it’s as though you didn’t exist. If things don’t get old any more, then that’s because it’s you who are dead. When it reaches perfection, music technology becomes a dark room, musical delight becomes posthumous delight. In time, they will no doubt reintroduce acoustic interference and viruses, to provide an illusion of life and wear.
Jean Baudrillard, Cool Memories II, 1987-1990, trans. Chris Turner (Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press, 1996), 32-33
What I loved about Joy Division as a teenager was the fact that their despair sounded bodiless, completely untied from the burden of being alive inside of skin and fat and hair. This is a part of Joy Division’s great and enduring power, the fact that the physicality of their songs is not so much human as architectural: arenas, roads, wastelands. They take you right out of yourself, onto some immense spectral plane, hovering above the city. Whether it is the brick-thudding bass of ‘New Dawn Fades’ or the glassiness of ‘Heart and Soul’, the buzz and grain of early Warsaw bootlegs or the cold echo chamber of Closer, their sound leads determinedly outwards from the body. Escape. This is what I love about Joy Division still, though 13 years on from that first listen I am more aware of the fact that the evocation of limitless space in their sound is, on some levels, a lie. Death leads nowhere at all; it does not transcend, it closes off.
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This poem I wished to write was to have expressed exactly what I mean when I think the words *I love You*, but I cannot know exactly what I mean; it was to have been self-evidently true, but words cannot verify themselves. So this poem will remain unwritten.
“It was the first time..I wasn’t trying to be another ‘thing’ that I thought I’m supposed to be”—James Murphy. Ett sorgligt och patetiskt misslyckande (Prat Med: LCD Soundsystem)