How do I get out of being overwhelmed
Shackleton live at Robert Johnson - a journey into the parallel universe and acoustic overwhelming.
The constant repetition of the tone sequence immediately creates enormous tension. After a short time it becomes more and more present and seems to come closer and closer until it circles the heads of those present like a swarm of bees. Only to disappear into the background shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, something happens that little music can do. Because the air in the room is slowly changing too. It is much heavier than before, the sound has soaked up the carbon dioxide like a sponge and enriched it with new molecules. Let's call them Shackleton molecules.
Many minutes pass before you realize that there is still no beat to be heard. But even the last desperate looking people are now convinced: The unfulfilled expectation is not a means, but the supporting element of the music. So it doesn't take long for the sound in the ear canals of those present to change from a perplexed question mark to a determined exclamation point. Bodies start moving and synchronize with a beat. Even if it isn't actually there.
A deep rumble creeps under the vibraphone, almost devouring it. The music creates a flow that minimal music pioneers like Steve Reich tried to achieve as early as the 1960s by striving for the radical repetition of short motifs with simultaneous variation. Shackleton complements this principle with influences from West African drum music, which he always crosses with the Jamaican-British dub gene, without forgetting the West European techno culture. You still can't hear a beat. And yet everyone is on the move here.
Trance. But none of the kind you know from club nights. It's not a beat-out-melody-in-hands-up-and-again-beat-in-trance. No, it is rather a more real, I-am-currently-in-another-better-if-threatening-place trance.
"Death is not final, die before you die" repeats the voice of Vengeance Tenfold, which Shackleton brings up from the depths of his oeuvre via a mixer. The words act like a catapult that briefly throws you back into the world. However, that doesn't quite happen. Rather, one still has one foot in the hereafter, in the parallel musical universe, while the other was only briefly withdrawn to what is generally referred to as reality.
And so, in a moment of ecstasy, one suddenly becomes aware of one's own mortality.
The consciousness machine is more active than before, even if there is constant switching between unconscious and conscious action. It is a state of in-between, in which both the self and the music are. The presence of absence. Despite its absence, the beat is always present, because it moves in the spaces in between.
It's not for nothing that today's Berliner by choice comes from the environment of early dubstep, in which musical experimentation was still a basic principle. It was a time when the style was not yet a style, just a musical vision that stirred the dust on the dance floors of the clubs.
This is exactly what is happening in the club now. Irregular bass drum beats suddenly stir my stomach. Tribalistic percussions set in and are accompanied by piercing sub-basses that confuse my organ of equilibrium for a short time.
Shackleton seems to know that the latter is in the center of the inner ear. At least now he has people firmly in his psychological grip. Because the art of the British also lies in letting the listener participate creatively and actively in the music. But it doesn't take long before the last anchor of consciousness is torn out. As soon as the felt fifth drop sets in, in which driving tablas add another rhythmic level, what you have been waiting for all the time occurs: the acoustic overwhelming. At least now we only consist of meat, water and bones. Since the latter are hollow on the inside, our body becomes the perfect resonance body. And the air as the medium of this otherworldly music has changed its consistency again a little.
This text was first published on the blog ntropy.de.
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