Hyperpulp: … is an audio aesthetic I think I missed out on. I especially like the bit about “acts of audio-abduction or sonic viracy, in which existing mass cultural associations are radically deterritorialized and minoritized; the certainties of spectacular culture are de-faced, contaminated with traces of rogue semiotic virus.”
Hyperpulp is a mode of hyperdub, but defined by a particular relation to mass culture; it is a cybernetic monster that feeds on pop culture and trans- [or de-] forms it into a blobby, seething multiplicity.
Hyperpulp culture finds its model not in the club scene, with its cult of the DJ, but the Jamaica n soundclash, with its ruff and rugged indifference to smooth mixing, and the pivotal role it accords to the MC. Oxide and Neutrino – the DJ and MC team – re-effectuate this abstract machine. For those schooled in a white European post-romantic tradition, MCing sounds like something supplementary to the ‘primary text’ of the music itself. But in hyperpulp, there is of course no primary text, only an intense multiplexed libidinal experience, which includes and is intensified by the MC’s chatting on the mic. The MC’s melting of dominant english into the lyrical flow of patois sloganeering functions as an excitation-heightener for those who want to get hyper. …
Where pop tends to interpellate the lone consumer, the solitary spectator, hyperpulp dissloves private subjectivity in the oceanic bassdrome of collective delirium. In overground capitalist popular culture, maturity is signalled by the move from impersonal collective pulp-out into privatized, facialized emotion. …
Hyperpulp trades in sonic fiction, and as such feeds upon pulp modes effectuated in other media, especially Horror and SF video. Video samples, once so conspicuous in jungle and speed garage, have been noticably absent in the re-musicalised, soul-dominated phase of garage.
Over the years, there has been a remarkable consistency in the sonic textures of the various reactive, boracratic genres Style London has tried to foist on the rest of us. From rare groove through to acid jazz, from ‘intelligent’ drum and bass through to soulful garage, the same sonic traits are always evident : there’s a preference for melody over rhythm, for ‘real’ instrumentation over the synthetic and the samploid, for personalised emotion over dehumanised abstraction. Naturally, these are reinforced by snooty social codes based on snobbery and exclusivity, which are diseminated by the scene’s lapdogs in the depressingly hedonistic dance music media and in the style press – all of whom are dissed, hilariously, by Neutrino on Up Middle Finger.
The so-called garage wars are nothing new, and in fact date back at least as far as the emergence of jungle. Jungle, don’t forget, was so named as an insult. Devotees of the original US garage sound – that finessed-to-the-point-of-body-numbing-tedium ‘lush’ production identified most closely with that high priest of sonic bureaucrats, David Morales – decried the use of breakbeats, essentially for exactly the same reasons that Style London’s current hipoisie are cussing Oxide and Neutrino – lack of purity.
Purity is no more real in music than in ethnicity, and no more desirable. It is only ever a retrospective simulation, something hallucinated after the fact by a group of control freaks resentfully anxious about its fading status. Inevitably, purity has no positive features of its own, but is defined negatively, by what it excludes. What purocrats hate about hyperpulp is its ruffness, its refusal to close down into a well-formed aesthetic object. But this is precisely what is exciting about hyperpulp – its dubtractive removal of all that we thought we knew about identity, genre, about where sonicultures had come from and where they are going. Subtract identity, contaminate ‘purity’, and potential is produced. Now that Soul and Style are losing their grip on garage, something new can be heard emerging. Hyperpulp has come back to corrupt its illegitimate offspring. Celebrate its return.