"More oily tension from Paul Bonnet and Nathan Roche, this time a CD prepped for their tour of the UK and eastern Europe in early 2019. ‘Slow Cancellation’ gives a fairly accurate sound-picture of the CIA Debutante live experience, serving up sluggish pools of greyscale electronics and viscous synth blubber, prodded by corroded beats and warped Dictaphone gargle.
There are, strictly speaking, just two tracks, each with a run-time of just over half an hour. But the duo’s loose, exploratory approach gives the tracks an episodic feel, the shift of their prickly ooze taking on the enigmatic grace of a slow-moving weather system. Making sense of what’s going on is less fun than riding the oleaginous swirl, although the pair’s fondness for abrupt edits and jarring interventions keeping things rough and tough enough to prevent too much fugue-state lounging.
As usual, Bonnet and Roche bake trenchant political critique into the scarred abstraction of their sound design. The title’s a lift from Mark Fisher and Franco ‘Bifo’ Beradi, for crying out loud (“the slow cancellation of the future”, to be precise). Nevertheless, tracing Fisher and Beradi’s thesis across this hour of slurred, monstrous gawp and swamp-ridden noise ain’t obvious. Are those enigmatic, murk-ridden vortices an evocation of fug-ridden dreams, their incessant, non-linear motion a form of psychic paralysis, the riddling motions of a mind swallowed by the shifting sands of memory and nostalgia?
Maybe. But the optimist in me would like to see things differently (especially in a four-double-espresso and half-a-box-of-PG-Tips day like today). What if these torpid wriggles are, in fact, exploratory shock troops, seeping out in all directions like a root system (rhizome or mycelium, your choice), burrowing through the grot of the present to salvage new, as-yet unknown futures from the debris? Who knows? After all, this stuff is open-ended enough for us to take what we like from it, really. But we can hope, right?"