Quick administrative matter before we delve into things: here at NEWMUSICMACHINE headquarters (literally, ‘one fourth of a head’) we get tingling sensations in our feelers that warn us that people don’t really understand what’s happening in these pieces that we sometimes spend upwards of a month and dozens of hours slaving over to write for you (or, more likely, get fucked up one night and just write a bunch of paragraphs, but that’s just between you and me and the esteemed editor of this publication.) The delicate balance of emotion, intellect, nuance, reference, and a dash of postmodernism we’re preparing for you seems entirely lost. The bon mots, the hidden Bon Iver song lyrics. So allow me to steer you in a ‘right direction’, one of many potential right directions, since there is no user’s manual for any given NMM piece, no easy entry point into this Joycean wasteland of subtle allusions set before you. Allow this to be the GameFAQs walkthrough to a new kind of immersive interactive experience, the likes of which your so-called “Kinects” and “Dreamcasts” seem like mere playtoys of infants weaning off the bulging teat of boredom. I’ll momentarily be your chatty cabby on this Crazy Taxi through the hyperkinetic musical ADD consciousness of America.
The first thing to know is that the optimal NEWMUSICMACHINE experience requires two tabs to be opened in your browser. Wait, the first thing to know is that NEWMUSICMACHINE is intended to be a playlist of new music, combined with some words that may or may not have any surface relation to the songs contained in said playlist. Wait, the first thing to know is that every NEWMUSICMACHINE requires you to forget everything you thought you knew and learn new life skills, new modes of being. But I digress: why two tabs? Well, the first tab is for you to start up the site’s built-in YouTube player that automatically creates a playlist of the 7-12 songs that have been selected for you to listen to. Just leave that tab alone and let it play. The songs are meant to flow together and juxtapose with each other in sometimes harmonious, sometimes jarringly unexpected or amusing ways! You stupid ungrateful pos. You probably don’t even listen to the music, ugh. That’s like at least 1/2 of the point of this entire thing bro. Whatever. Let’s put this behind us.
What I really came here to warn you about is that not everyone immediately has the frame of reference necessary to understand the rumbling machinations and constant undercurrent of murkily-perceived misogyny/misandry happening below the surface of a typical NMM post. It comes down to what I often tell friends and what I often take care to state in job interviews: “If you’ve never been on a 48-hour ‘bath salts’ binge, you’ll never truly understand me.” Never heard of bath salts, or is it a poorly defined “youth drug” spelling doom and apocalypse in your balding brain? If you’re looking for something sensible such as an informative link on Wikipedia or Erowid about the bath salts craze, I think you’ll be sorely disappointed. Allow me to point you to a few alarming articles I’ve been subjected to in the ‘news’ ‘journalism’ this week: Will ‘Bath Salts’ Usher In The Zombie Apocalypse? OMG :( Miami ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ Puts Bath Salts Ban In Congressional Spotlight. OMG :( ‘Zombie’ cannibal attack exposes why ‘bath salts’ are dangerous. OMG ;( Wait, I heard about the zombie cannibal ‘I want to take his face…. off’ (+ Nic Cage doing inspired ‘face off’ sign language) thing, but someone gutted out their own intestines and flung them at police officers? WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD. ARE WE ALL BECOMING THE WALKING DEAD. WHICH WALKING DEAD CHARACTER ARE YOU? Take our quiz it doesn’t matter they’re all annoying.
The world is freaking out about this new ‘bath salts’ insanity. Let me tell you, I’m an old timer in internet years, and just five years ago I assure you everyone was freaking out about the new ‘salvia’ trend – teens on the shockingly legal! salvia plant entering other worlds where spirit elves would cheerfully fuck up their shit and non-Euclidian geometry would collapse on their poor teen heads and their hormones would cause them to flip tables and smash things and fling around Loki like a rag doll and scream PUNY GODS and decry all reason and be teenagers and Miley Cyrus 666 goathorns 4ever. We go through cycles of drug hysteria consistently every half a decade, like sheep, fed by a news cycle that’s invested in keeping us in constant low-level anxiety over the bad things our kids are doing and the empty bacchanalia of this new generation of always connected, social networking, morally bankrupt, wikipediaing and snopes fact-checking sexting teens. There’s almost always very little substance in this hysteria: just an echo to the Reagan era drug hysteria that seems to edify everyone. Listen: no drug in existence will compel ordinary law-abiding moral citizens to strip naked and eat someone’s face off. Period. I don’t care what you’ve learned about the danger of the bath salts epidemic. Most likely the guy was off his rocker to begin with, and maybe his particular cocktail of drugs spiked his COMPLETELY GODDAMN INSANE MIND and made it interact in ways that sent him over the edge. Surprise, that can happen with marijuana too, which by all accounts is the fluffy stuffed animal of soft drugs. Real talk, though: I’m sick of these teens disrespecting bath salts, abusing them carelessly without doing any kind of substantive research, just treating them like a party drug. You should treat it as a weekend trip to a foreign land. You should honor the bath salts experience as a deeply spiritual, entheogenic journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. Bite the stupid face off of your weak pathetic ego that keeps you hopelessly chained to this material existence, heathens. Do bath salts. Do a bath salt. Get platonic hugs from well-meaning octopi. Put on a new outfit and radiate outwardly – physically, literally – and birth into being thousands of entire universes which populate and blink out and die in picoseconds. Ruminate on what an octopus can teach you about your dumb life. But for heavens’ saké, exercise DUE DILIGENCE first.
(As a parenthetical aside, if Azealia Banks’ “Jumanji” isn’t your new go-to Friday night drinking song, I just feel sorry for you.)
I don’t have much else to say. I had a whole thing planned on the proper way to read NEWMUSICMACHINE but I mostly forgot all of it out of my sheer anger towards your complacence as active reader and participant in this experiment. I will leave you with a few random topics which will serve as a clearinghouse for future NMM writings, suggested helpfully by faithful (?) NMM readers @snakesforhair and @stringbot:
collapsible portable nautilus shell escape pods