BD1982: Initiation Insight
Sublime new album from BD1982 on Tokyo-located Diskotopia. A label operated alongside A Taut Line with Am Rhein. One of dense, intellectual themes explored and intensified by dexterous, electronic extremes. By Ryan Walker.
“Nature has set no term to the perfection of human faculties. The perfectability of man is truly infinite” – Condorcet, The Progress of the Human Mind, 1794.
Or something like that.
There is no rule book held in the hands of mankind but a constant idea that our deformities as a nation, as a species, can be erased and defeated. With one smile, one hopes for the slate to be wiped clean. The smarter we grow, the thinner we spread ourselves. The more gadgets we develop, another god complex crops up in the place, a gaping hole attempted to be filled staring us in the face.
Progress addresses the absences and abscesses of the globe. A way to distract ourselves from how utterly impossible a feat it is to falsely conceal the horrors and atrocities of the modern world under some acute spell of innocence. Indolence and insolence again, staring us in the eyes and laughing directly in them.
From hermetic philosophy to human evolution, the ever-nomadic sonic sprawls and experimental, electronic odysseys that captivate the immense moods, erratic energies, and sensory weirdness/wildernesses, somewhere between going to sleep, and waking up, between man and machine, darkness and light, fauna and flora, good and evil, fear and enough adrenalised ferocity to defeat it, to weaponise and use fear, Diskotopia founder BD1982 (Brian Durr) releases Initiation Insight.
The bitter, barbed wire bastard that I am, with little but the screen and its directions to brief ethers as all I can talk to, and communicate through, silenced by a fast blast and strike of lightning to the frontal lobes, this is an album that aims to – by providing what transpires over its ten tracks, a living, breathing, piecing together of the pieces – prove me wrong.
And does just that by producing something as beautiful and as compelling as this innovative battle, this epic crossover between Trent Reznor and Trevor Horn working on a Tangerine Dream album, between Dennis Bovell and Luke Vibert, between Japan and Jesu, between Disasterpeace and Squarepusher, between Jon Hassell and Arthur Russell, between Nick Drake signed to Ninja Tune and New Order collaborating with William Orbit.
2011’s seminal Distance Visions was one album that garnered inclusion in Bandcamp’s Best Electronic Music, Juno Daily’s Best New Albums, and coverage in The Wire, Resident Advisor, and Louder Than War.
2022’s equally seminal Initiation Insight directly follows a similar path but is free to roam and allowed to stray from where Distance Visions left off. And with some encouragement, hoping it hits another interesting vein along the way. Recorded immediately after that album, but with a subtle nudge, a greater trove of concepts and thought processes were able to be acknowledged and realised. Musically taking our hand and guiding us through at least five of the seven principles or laws, according to what is outlined in the mystic textbook imaginatively referenced throughout, the Kyabolion (vibration, polarity, rhythm, cause, and effect).
In spite of the audible mosaic that dominates all of BD1982’s work, an overarching thematic thud pulsates along the ley lines, regularly leaping and lurching over the album, an authoritative vocal figure that commands emotion to override genre, the inner truth, and how it turns us and where to, as the primary incentive to laugh in the face of generic technicalities as an immoral overstatement when coming to work rich with details, often hidden but glow, that glisten, upon repeated listens.
And in spite of all that bullshit you’ve just been bothered/forced yourself to read – it’s a spellbinding piece of work that gives form to disorder, always forward-thinking, always future-facing. A film score for the dawn. Reels of tape and rooms of unused footage found abandoned in a box along with a copy of The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Green Box) by Duchamp, and The Complete Cinematic Works by Debord. Another file in this hypothetical cabinet containing a dusty copy of The Indefinite Boundary by Guy Lyon Playfair and also The Anunnaki Connection by Heather Lynn. Both assisted BD1982 in introducing some colorful tangents to sonics what the Kybalion did for structure and words: to ground things, to offer a feeling of immediacy, like a gentle whisper on the back of the neck, like a fierce itch on your arm.
Here, the worlds merge. The words mingle and almost disappear totally, but also float upwards before finally being set on fire. Antithetical forces attract and meet in the middle before fizzing into near-nothingness. All styles, their split seams, and missing scenes sutured back together to provide the ultimate sequence of experiences. Opening credits state Jerry Goldsmith. End credits state Boards of Canada.
The case in point being immersive album opener Calibration Alive. Great ancient ships rooted in locations long abolished because a facetious species simply couldn’t be bothered with the maintenance of the fucking place, a colony of bastards allowing possible utopia and the perfect sky above it to be smeared by their feces and ultimately tarnished for eternity.
It’s a strong, almost but not fully, instrumental opener. One of those simple vessels sailing on crystal rivers. The pangs of pans and Massive Attack soundtracking the hypnotic bustle of a city sticking to the surface of the skin of those who inhabit its surging whirlpool.
A channeling of challenging dramas. A vast, near-limitless commixture of cultures and colours, compelling creeds, and extremes of beliefs, nuances and networks of meaning. Molten trip-hop rhythms and whispered vocals heard just above the layer of traffic at 6am in outer space. The jarring, charred remains of instruments burned to a crisp, but from the pit of cinders, new action grows outwards. Instruments set alight by Scott Walker. Instruments revitalised by Bjork, by Brian Wilson or Eno rebuilding a Ministry of Sound at the edge of the world. Figures, phantoms, who somehow summon up their unique spirits, their individual cruxes, resurrected successfully to the surface.
‘I think sonic bookmarks that have been left in my brain over years of constant listening/studying of so much music are finally coming to the front of what I try to make myself – hopefully in a different and respectful way” – BD1982
It’s an album constantly expanding the more you walk through its diverse labyrinths. A bustling jungle of broken instruments and contused grooves. A robust workout of beating the body hung up from meathooks to produce the dizzying cadence of pivoting percussion and avant-garde performances. Always pointing in the same direction but leading to different results when, finally, the feet find that an edge has been reached.
Sonics like something thrown into the grinder, a wall of mauled guitars mutate manically on Chapter Zero. Tumbling bundles of drum rolls rupture an otherwise pristine piece of sky and let through a blast of white light on Cutting Teeth.
Sound-system savvy mechanics that borderline on alchemical know-how and tribal-informed industrial art-rock madness swell and surge forward One Mind or Power. The former evoking Bernard Sumner’s negative space guitar cobwebs weaving themselves around a planet with Jeff Mills supercharging its core or Kevin Shields as the guest guitarist for a recent Tricky album; and the latter creating a dazzling blanket, an oozing ozone of New Age melodies, trippy and trickling like dense atmospheric tricks and euphoric ambiances that actively encourage us to jump through puddles, to plummet blissfully into new territories and timelines. A trip of wonderful, warbling orbs with precious metals chiming at their core.
Following this, the cacophonous eruption of noise spilling from the pot of Open The Sky as though its obscene architects are playing with its layout by dragging out its streets and skyscrapers to impose upon the city a new set of shapes, new silhouettes, welcomes Oblivion.
A beautiful calm after the storm, a concoction of post-folk and handmade krautrock contraptions laughing to themselves to inspire nothing short of a moment of contemplative beauty bathed in blue hues and streaks of shimmering pink-silver. The doomed, slow-mo house piano and haunted waltz in reverse of Dungeon Rose, creating a similar air of gothic grandiosity and spiritual mystique; a share passed among members of Cabaret Voltaire and members of Coil. Members of a more depraved, mannequin colony comprised of Depeche Mode with holograms blasted onto the blank, man-sized canvases, or overthinking member (s) of Durutti Column.
”I’ve been trying to keep a dream log as much as possible since late 2019. Obviously not that easy to really remember the details/themes but a few stood out really vividly for me and ended up defining tracks like Bliss and Worlds We Know” – BD1982
Bliss amps up the acid electronic innovations. A song about ‘about the push/pull and pain/pleasure relationships’. A dub version of itself decorated with spirits rather than instruments. With materials rather than melodies. Textures and timbres parade up and down the spine of the night. Tired bicycles parked up along the harbour of some unknown industrial zone. A haunting vortex of humming chants, in monastery, museum, or mausoleum, hovers above the head growing in size the more the spaces in the song are filled. Wires running through a field or vines running along the cerebellum of some weird, flesh machine shoots spasmodic shocks of pleasure into the bones until the eyes flicker before eventually turning to smoky glass spheres. An unpredictable path of drum patterns and liquefied traffic light lullabies. The ribcage of a keyboard and computer on display for all the world to see weathered and worn to chips.
Worlds We Know consumes all and concludes. Too big a noise to ignore, to avoid. ‘The idea of genetically passing down shared knowledge and the massive evolutionary jump that could happen because of it’. A claim contained in under six minutes, whilst managing to captivate the notion of intellectual button-pushing and baton-passing and the act of getting over natural destruction by putting the kettle on inside the stride of an entire generation that is still in its pyjamas is equally impressive and cool. An unfurling of fibers and filaments of kaleidoscopic magic, the cosmic and kinetic, the magnetic and the cinematic combined.
Initiation Insight proves that boxes don’t have to be ticked because boxes of our own can be drawn. Diskotopia’s 11th year is commemorated with a deep mark. A ten-song deep mark to be precise.
Ryan Walker is a writer from Bolton. He lives in Manchester. His online archive for Louder Than War can be found here.