Saturday, October 1, 2016

FORMER_AIRLINE
“Our Fantasies for Science and Pornography”
C44 (Hylé Tapes)




Maybe it’s not so odd that former_airline, aka Masaki Kubo, has decided to equate science and pornography, two things that on the surface don’t seem to have much in common. There does seem to be a nexus point where the human response to the result of each subject intersects, and it’s actually not a terrible stretch to deduce the common denominator. If we look at one of the points of science – betterment of conditions of existence for humankind – we can conclude that forward thinkers have our best interests at heart for both survival and comfort, the utopian endpoint where balance is achieved between scientific discovery and levels of happiness. Progress begets beneficial improvement across the board, and reaping the benefits of science can only increase those chemicals in the human body that hit the pleasure centers of the brain. Pornography, or sexual activity of any kind, pretty much does the same thing, except instead of progress it’s really just about getting off.

That said, the music of former_airline doesn’t necessarily hover much around the common perception of pornography; rather, it takes a more analytical approach, for the most part, and resembles that of scientific exploration by way of experimental electronics fused with psych, drone, krautrock, shoegaze, and even pop. Although the quick gratification of early tracks like the MIDI waveform freak funk of “In the Error World” or the twitchy, giddy electro-pop of “Facing the Wall” might initially seem like pleasurable experiences for pleasure’s sake, a look under the hood reveals a precision in composition that’s less the strict embodiment of headlong enjoyment than it is a calculated construction for maximum gratification. That said, though, even the clinical kraut passages of “Gate” and the subdued meditation of “What the Ocean Said” contain enough propulsive endorphins to keep your attention transfixed.

Maybe the point is that former_airline is charting the movement of science and pornography toward some sort of asexual combination where procreation is stripped of sexuality, becoming more a robotic method of preserving the species. Or maybe the idea is to inject a little bit of fun into the serious process of improving life on this planet. Or, even further, maybe former_airline is simply trying to manufacture an extended climax through the scientific method, an attempt he’s certainly succeeded at with closer “Spinning Dreams with Angel Wings,” a glossy Neu!-indebted treat that stretches its high for over eight minutes. At any rate, regardless of the outcome, the gist is that it’s harmless to have a little fun in the face of serious endeavors, and Our Fantasies bears that out to its furthest extent.




--Ryan Masteller

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