‘Uncertain times’ is a phrase uttered from countless sources in recent months. Covid-19 has altered preexisting social fabrics prompting various commentators to announce we must prepare for a ‘new normal’; a future beyond existing ways of life; to prepare for an apocalyptic future. Given the mounting interrelated social, economic and environmental crises in recent years, the post-apocalyptic setting of films like A Day After Tomorrow
is perhaps edging closer to tomorrow.
Yet, for those outside wealthy nations or the established taxon of society within them (typically the white, heterosexual male), this future already has and continues to arrive and unpack its suitcase to varying extents. Colonialism, and the various other adversaries of subjugation under capitalist imperatives, are simply inseparable from many past and present abuses – and apocalyptic settings of tomorrow – one just has to look to the tragic killing of George Floyd in the United States to see these sorts of legacies in action. Accordingly, ‘apocalyptic’ conditions exist as both a space of haunting potential and a continual presence in the present. Living in constant fear with no end in sight is not new to all people.
Given these conditions are yet to arrive for the minority of elites – who have the most structural responsibility and power to better them for the many –, attempting novel ways of helping these groups apprehend the majority’s collective consciousness and lived realities can only be productive to addressing systemic abuses and potential future collapses of say, the global ecosystem. Whilst not offering the roadmap to solving these crises, nor proclaiming to – as their continual distancing from Pitchfork’s tag of ‘Conceptronica’ shows –, Amnesia Scanner offer their emotional response to this insistently bleak era that could perhaps provide this apprehension.
Far from tearless, their 2nd LP has gut-wrenchingly dejected moments corresponding with the sense of fatality and fury many feel today – like the slower-paced, black-metal ballad AS Flat
. Elsewhere, more chaotic energy is found on tracks like AS Too Late
and AS Acá
– featuring Peruvian artist Lalita’s incredible vocal performance – that showcase Amnesia Scanner at their absurd best. The closer – AS U Will Be Fine
– offers a reprieve from the chaos to provide a moment of hope in amongst the tragedy, with grunge track assuring the listeners: “You will be fine / If we can help you lose your mind”. As a sonic experience of an era where collapse is the prevailing narrative, it dutifully provides the beat.
I meet the duo online – as per Covid-19’s rewriting of the social sphere – to chat across our three respective time zones. Following an audio mishap, this would be our second conversation that offered an opportunity to delve a little deeper into some initial remarks surrounding their histories, practices and outlook on the music industry’s soft underbelly. Whilst there has been financial solidarity through Bandcamp purchases
and charity efforts
, artist’s reliance on live events has been spot-lit by coronavirus – although, those involved in professional music will tell you has been obvious for a long time. Except now, artist's hands are tied and interdependence rather than independence is waiting to be seized upon. Amongst treasure maps to Amnesia Scanner Easter eggs, Martti and Ville discuss this side of the music industry as well as the ins and outs of their outwardly cryptic, decade-plus association.