Hypnotic Anarchy, Side 2

Year: 1991
Original Format: cassette

His duty, when he was elected to represent Tralfamadore, was to carry a sealed message from “One Rim of the Universe to the Other.” The planners of the ceremonies were not so deluded as to believe that Salo’s projected route spanned the Universe. The image was poetic, as was Salo’s expedition. Salo would simply take the message and go as fast and as far as the technology of Tralfamadore could send him.

The message itself was unknown to Salo. It had been prepared by what Salo described to Rumfoord as, “A kind of university — only nobody goes to it. There aren’t any buildings, isn’t any faculty. Everybody’s in it and nobody’s in it. It’s like a cloud that everybody has given a little puff of mist to, and then the cloud does all the heavy thinking for everybody. I don’t mean there’s really a cloud. I just mean it’s something like that. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, Skip, there’s no sense in trying to explain it to you. All I can say is, there aren’t any meetings.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Continue reading “Hypnotic Anarchy, Side 2”

Hypnotic Anarchy, Side 1

Year: 1991
Original Format: cassette

Salo had an interesting history.

In the Earthling year 483,441 BC, he was chosen by popular telepathic enthusiasm as the most handsome, healthy, clean-minded specimen of his people. The occasion was the hundred-millionth anniversary of the government of his home planet in the Small Magellanic Cloud. The name of his home planet was Tralfamadore, which old Salo had once translated for Rumfoord as meaning both all of us and the number 541.

The length of a year on his home planet, according to his own calculations, was 3.6162 times the length of an Earthling year – so the celebration in which he participated was actually in honor of a government 361,620,000 Earthling years old. Salo once described this durable form of government to Rumfoord as hypnotic anarchy, but declined to explain its workings. “Either you understand at once what it is,” he told Rumfoord, “or there is no sense in trying to explain it to you, Skip.”

Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Continue reading “Hypnotic Anarchy, Side 1”

The Mystery of Consciousness, Side 1

Year: 1989
Original Format: cassette

This is the first proper mixtape I ever made, with a cover and liner notes and everything. The liner notes say 1989, but this was actually a revised version of a tape made a year or two earlier, a little after I transferred from UC Santa Cruz to Berkeley. I think it was the first time I experienced an emotion that could be characterized as “nostalgia,” and so the tape is full of songs I associate with my time in Santa Cruz, as well as field recordings from stony Thursday nights there.

The title comes from the original artwork, now lost, which was a clipping of some flier or newspaper article that I cannot now remember the provenance of. Being both grandiose and vague, it is a most suitable name for a mixtape. And though the sequencing is haphazard and the segues are less than tight, in some ways The Mystery of Consciousness is still my favorite.

Playlist after the jump.

Continue reading “The Mystery of Consciousness, Side 1”