Deepchord was originally a partnership of Rod Modell and Mike Schommer, but later became a solo project of Rod Modell. The sounds at work are predominantly those associated with dub-techno: dubby beats, crisp static, synthetic analogue grooves, and deep chords. Recently, records such as Liumin in 2010 saw the artist expanding its palette to source field recordings as it was hailed as an atmospheric piece of sonic art. This mix has 2 hours of the artist’s music plus some of his best remixes such as Sebastian San’s Darker shades, in my opinion his remixes are very underrated! Only available as stream below.
Even though what you did was wrong, you’re still a good kid, and that guy was a prick. Sometimes that matters more.
In Mr Robot, the critically acclaimed new tv show created by Sam Esmail, we meet Elliot Alderson, a mixture of Dexter Morgan, and hacking vigilante at night, who also speaks to his dead daddy, and Tyler Durden in Fight Club, as he has a split personality. Rarely, have I watched something and thought it was addressing accurately current social, moral and health issues such as Mr Robot. Depression, social anxiety, work stress, corporations, capitalism, hacking culture, loneliness, OCD, this show has it all. With a righteous tone, it would be an understatement to call it clever. And not a tad pretentious. Just the right tone in my opinion. The tone of helpless people, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 1 %, us…vs them.
Them are the villains, in the story and in the real world : the corporations. It’s no wonder why Tyrell Wellick, the psychopath nemesis character opposite Elliott is named Tyrell. Tyrell corporation ? In Blade runner. A coincidence, I think not. It’s just one of the many Easter eggs found in this show…
Mr Robot directs strong criticism toward corporation and the world of suits. I found that often, the show attempts to address these subjects :
- Greed (Corporations are like Sarlac (the living mouth in the desert in Return of the Jedi) : their greed for the green is endless and will go through any lengths ; Evil corp has a sociopath mentality that echoes that of American psycho
- Paranoia (One of the greatest leverage our employers have toward us is the threat to fire us : characters in the show live in constant fear of losing their jobs and climbing up the corporate ladder, furthermore, the CEO’s exploit that vulnerability in their employees, fully aware of their own personal financial cupidity)
- Oppression of small people / workers (We learn that Elliott’s father, played by Christian Slater, was killed due to toxic waste. Those companies use people as pawns : they are nothing more to them than usable and disposable commodities, but they also don’t hold on grudges : it’s bad for business so we learn! Anything can and will be solved with money for them, echoing the sentiment delved in the documentary The corporation, that these entities are sociopaths)
- Reality vs dream world (The world of hacking embodies the dream world, the world of freedom, what Edward Snowden has called the Golden age of the Internet, before social media became the guardian state police for the states because it was spinning out of control. Hackers are outcasts, drug addicts but those drugs they take are just merely different than those used by the corporate drones (alcohol, cigarettes, coke)
- Violence vs peace : Evil corp uses threats, murders and any violent deeds in order to threaten or impose their will. Often, the gentle characters embodies us – the powerless citizen – although that trend has become far less present and rather the opposite in season II.
Mental illness 2.0
Another pool of subjects in which Mr Robot delves deeply is mental illness and I personally related heavily on the show as I have had 2 major depressions, social anxiety, and the latest : avoidant personality disorder. Even though Sam Esmail, the creator of the show hasn’t said anything about Elliott having such disorder, I strongly suspect this could be added to his paranoïa and split personality. Often, people who are plagued by this disorder tend to be very meticulous but also quite reclusive, by choice. They choose to remain aside of society’s bourgeoisie, often struggling to maintain relationships with the opposite sex and display awkwardness with others : family, co-workers, friends, bosses.
‘’Things are awkward between us. I’m ok with things being awkward between us’’. Caption here!
Elliot Alderson also struggles with clinical depression and extreme bouts of loneliness. He wishes he could grasp a taste of happiness, but for some reason, he cannot. That’s why he sees the world as an outcast but his outlook is also, mostly, spot on most of the times : he reads people and deciphers them through hacking but with a stunning and uncanny accuracy. The scene where he analyses his shrink, Krista, is quite simply an outstanding outburst of awareness : could Elliot act as a mirror of what’s wrong with society ? A mirror that acts like a boomerang toward us as he tell us his story, or, our story.
Sam Esmail has acknowledged several major influences on the show, such as American Psycho, Taxi Driver, and The Matrix. In particular, Esmail credited Fight Club as the inspiration for a main character who suffers from dissociative identity disorder creating a new manifestation of his deceased father in the form of a hacker, as well as for the anti-consumerist and anti-establishment spirit of its characters. Commentators have also noted the parallel in its plot on the erasing of consumer debt records to the film. In an interview, Esmail explains how playing the song that David Fincher used to underscore the climax of Fight Club (“Where Is My Mind?”) when Elliot initiates the hack in episode nine is intended as a message to the audience that he is aware of the inspiration they took from the film. The narration by the protagonist was influenced by Taxi Driver, and other influences mentioned included Risky Business in its music score, Blade Runner for the character development, and the television series Breaking Bad for the story arc.
Media & voyeurism culture (everyone watches everyone)
In short, there is absolutely 0% filler stuff in Mr Robot. Every scene, every line, every character is relevant to future episodes / future seasons. I have a feeling that when all is said and done after the planned 4 or 5 season run, this will go down in history as one of the greatest stories ever told on TV. Mr Robot captures the existential crisis of the millennial generation. The world that has been passed off to us is morally decayed and wrong on many levels. How is it that we are more connected and yet further apart than ever before?
And the soundtrack by Mac Quayle, drifting between electro and ambient is top notch, just two more reasons to watch this incredible, essential and more than ever relevant show!
‘’Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give him a bank and he can rob the world’’…TW.
Silent season are well known for their excellent podcasts. Here is my contribution to the series : Campfire stories 17 (Earthscapes) a journey from Earth to Space that clocks in above 2hours. With The Orb, Vangelis, The KLF, Mick Chillage, Ishq Qhsi, Electro harmonix (Tetsu Inoue & Jonah Sharp), Dreamfish aka Pete Namlook and Mixmaster Morris, Stormloop, Biosphere & Scanner : Follow that link.
~ About The Story ~
“You wake in the deep woods of Québec, Canada. Alone in the cold north. You think you may have seen something lurking in the shadows. Or is your mind playing tricks on you? Your journey begins in ambient territory. From earth, to sea, to the deep clouds and then, to space. Each section, earth to space, is heralded by spoken words. Lifted into space, you then drift there for an endless amount of time, with nothing but headphones and ambient drones for company. Low frequencies included. Your Earthscapes journey has begun.” – Funky Jeff (Québec City, Canada)
~ Chapters ~
0.1 Vangelis : La mer recommencée (L’Apocalypse Des Animaux – 1973)
0.2 Scanner : Untitled (Mass observation – 1994)
0.3 FFWD : Lucky Saddle (FFWD – 1994)
0.4 K.L.F. : Six black cold hours, Louisiana going to coffee (Chill out – 1990)
0.5 Autumn Of Communion : Rhea (Autumn Of Communion 3 – 2013)
0.6 Electro harmonix : Morphing clouds ( Electro Harmonix – 1994)
0.7 ISHQ : Sunrise on the hill ( The Invisible Landscape – 2014)
0.8 µ-Ziq : Ethereal Murmurings ( Bluff Limbo – 1994)
0.9 Shades Of Orion – Shades Of Orion 2 (Shades Of Orion 2- 1995)
10. Boards of Canada : Sundown (Tomorrow’s harvest – 2014)
11. Thomson-Nightingale – Cloud Formations ( Various – Atmospheric – Elements/Weather – 1986)
12. Dreamfish : Underwater ( Dreamfish – 1993)
13. X-102 : The rings of Saturn ( Discovers The Rings Of Saturn – 1992)
14. Spaceci : High flight (Various Artists 1 – 2013)
15. The Orb – Back side of the moon(Adventures beyond the ultraworld- 1991)
16. Biosphere : Startoucher (Patashnik – 1994)
17. Biosphere : MIR ( Patashnik – 1994)
18. Radio Scotvoid : Special K (Mick Chillage’s Black Hole Mix) [Rewired Volume One: [Remixes By Mick Chillage – 2013]
19. Mick Chillage : Approaching Antares (FAXology – 2011)
20. Stormloop : Space station ( Snowbound – 2011)
21. Autumn Of Communion : Telos ( Autumn Of Communion 3 – 2013)
~ Notes ~
Campfire Stories is a mix series by friends of Silent Season. The focus of the series is on storytelling through deeper electronic music. Artists weave together narratives using the emotional characteristics of ambient and techno music.
Thanks to all the artists and labels whose sounds help tell the story.
Thank you for listening.