Urbanomic (Robin Mackay)


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Deserves his own thread. Plague Pod at the moment is very enjoyable, but there's a lot more going on. He's got good range going on.

There's a whiff of controversy cos of the acceleration / nick land connection obvs.

He taught Kode9 cubase!

This lecture he gave is a good intro to the backstory of urbanomic and broad philosophy (I ended up listening to the whole thing)


The last 1.5 hours of this https://soundcloud.com/urbanomic/the-spinal-land also very interesting, on spinal catastrophism


Who loves ya, baby?
I recently read something of his on "geotrauma" that was intriguing,

A Brief History of Geotrauma

The theory of trauma was a crypto-geological hybrid from the very start. Darwin and the geologists had already established that the entire surface of the earth and everything that crawls upon it is a living fossil record, a memory bank rigorously laid down over unimaginable aeons and sealed against introspection; churned and reprocessed through its own material, but a horrifying read when the encryption is broken, its tales would unfold in parallel with Freud?s, like two intertwining themes of humiliation.


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That pop dialectic work sounded interesting - from the Pop Philosophy lecture. The idea that the pop music's self-consciousness about being fake is its driving force. One for your Hall of Mirrors thread, version.

And the things about cultural productions of modernity being intimately wedded to it's medium. Converges on McLuhan's "the medium is the message".

I will be looking into this blog.


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dint even notice that bit tbh - i was into what he was saying about how hes always trying to make things, like he did zines and stuff and him and reza tried to make the lego box. funny when he said he went off his PhD cos nick land was his supervisor lol.

his convo with lee gamble is interesting as well


i like the jungle he likes, one of the things about plague pod has been that the music has been generally really excellent, like he's into that darkside and scruffy ragga jungle, remarc, razors edge and others, that i really like. all the tunes he plays are good tbh, although some of the noise is a bit, well, noise


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Earlier on, when I was doing my A Levels, I?d had something of an epiphanic experience when I read Simon Reynolds?s book on ?shoegaze? bands, Blissed Out. That had been one of the first theoretical books that had really got me excited because I thought, wow, you can take all of these (what seemed to me at the time) exotic French philosophers smoking their pipes in Paris, you can take their sophisticated jargon and use it to talk about the kind of music I?m listening to?you can talk about My Bloody Valentine using Derrida, or whatever. The name for the zine that I published around ?95-?96 at Warwick, ***collapse, a distant forerunner to the journal published by Urbanomic, actually came from a chapter in that book, on the band Loop. Just the chapter title for me was emblematic of this pioneering spirit of applying maximally portentous philosophical language to pop culture, something that would totally be a part of the spirit of CCRU later on. Not only was the chapter entitles ?Black Mysticism of Transcendental Collapse?, it was about one of my favourite bands too! People ask me about the name Collapse and think it?s some kind of reference to quantum theory but no, that?s the real reason behind it!


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Towards the end of this interview is good, where he's talking about the CCRU vision of cybernetics of somewhat haphazardly throwing bits of things together, very roughly, so all the sound pieces with theory over the top.

It made me think of luka, barty and Co going off on some drill and trying to textualise the meaning.

And what he's saying about how certain sounds become other sounds in jungle, drum patterns being so close together they become new tones, timestretching and so on.


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"Most importantly there is the use of timestretching endemic to jungle, and the idea that timestretching is a fundamental diagonalization of the double articulation of acoustic time itself as expressed in the waveform, whereby, given a recording on a physical medium, you usually can?t speed up its playback without making the pitch higher. In violating this principle by using digital sampling, it?s almost as if timestretching breaks time itself. That?s the affect of timestretching, that?s how it feels when you listen to it, but also there?s a deeper kind of truth to it."


we murder to dissect
Lots of good stuff put out by Urbanomic, and Collapse journal had some banging issues back in the day.

Urbanomic gets some heat for being "the publisher of the fascist Nick Land", but the Land they have actually published is mainly Fanged Noumena (which is all sorts of things, but not particularly affected by the racist conspiracy theory Land goes in for nowadays) and the odd interview. They're hardly Arktos Press ferchrissakes.

I remember Robin's speech at the Mark Fisher memorial ceremony as especially moving. You can read it, along with others, here: https://www.urbanomic.com/document/mark-fisher-memorial/