“It only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.” (Noam Chomsky, as cited by Kangding Ray)
A second preview video for the new Kangding Ray album, Solens Arc, are now available. His last album, OR, and the Pruitt Igoe preceding the album left a lasting impression. Much of our current alienation from ourselves and our fellow citizens, the destabilization of our trust in authorities and conceived ideals was captured in a terrifyingly beautiful work.
Hearing the preview tracks Amber Decay and History of Obscurity (accompanied by videos made by the artist), promise that Solens Arc will have a comparable intensity and possess the same artistic relevance I saw in OR. Judging from Amber Decay and the accompanying Chomsky quote, one theme will be the question of the validity of authority. Differently, History of Obscurity draws upon more universal, one could say wholesome composition styles. Reminiscent of Klaus Schulze, this references the common (and in my opinion valid) counterpoint often provided as a response where the trust in authority is irreparably damaged.
If technological progress, changes of lifestyle, and revelations of power abuse and irresponsible or malevolent authorities pose questions, often the answer is to form a grassroots “counter culture”, or redefine social cohesion and rejuvenate forms of personal and community interactions from principles that go beyond the status quo. Channeling our deep uneasiness has been the prominent theme of Kangding Ray’s work of late, but addressing forward perspectives from here is a new direction. References to the reformation of German identity in the Krautrock movement or artist and progressive communities seeking alternative forms of co-existence, co-creation, and co-production come to mind. Here, musical references to the universal seem a natural, coherent motion to execute.
These two themes – disillusion from conceived structures of authority and the search for viable alternatives – appears as a logical (though not obvious) progression from the brooding, occasionally overt, feeling of malaise so accurately channeled on OR. Given the case that Solens Arc, as a full length album, will deliver as coherently as OR did, we might again come to witness the expression of contemporary concerns in the form of masterfully crafted techno music.
Solens Arc is scheduled for release on Raster-Noton (r-n154) for February 24th this year, with a limited edition available directly from the label. Solens Arc might provide another chance for the seasoned German avant-garde techno label not to go down a self referential spiral of a machine music aesthetic they very much created, but to give space to an artistic statement, expressing current social and political concerns in a form that news coverage and words cannot.