Dark electronic musician Perturbator imagines a posthuman world reigned by sadistic machines | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Dark electronic musician Perturbator imagines a posthuman world reigned by sadistic machines 

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click to enlarge Perturbator


David Fitt

Paris based, second-generation electronic musician James Kent has a background in black metal (check out his other project, L’Enfant de la Forêt, for a more primeval dark-fantasy ambience), but his synthwave projects evoke a much colder and more subtle form of uneasiness. His releases as Perturbator are steeped in a neo-cyberpunk aesthetic that gradually gets under one’s skin with a sense of oncoming doom befitting a dark sci-fi film. His fifth full-length, New Model (Blood Music), is a loose concept album inspired by Roko’s basilisk—a concept proposed on a “rationalist” Internet forum in 2010 that posited the idea of a theoretical future, godlike AI that would torture everyone who didn’t help bring it into being (it might be doing so even now, in fact). New Model sells this with some of the malice of Ministry and the alienness of Goblin—a sort of inexorable machine-march swagger, and a grand-sweeping sense of dystopian architecture. This is posthuman music at its most engaging, and at times it’s seductive in that sense—if a boot is going to be stomping on the human face forever, some faces are going to develop a foot fetish.   v

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