Sonic Fictions

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by Riccardo Balli

1. (Clans Of The Alphane Moon, P. K. Dick, 1964 REMIX)

Before entering the supreme council room of the seven clans French colony, Gabriel Baines sent his man-made simulacrum ahead to see if by chance it might be attacked. The simulacrum – obviously equipped with a ghetto blaster – behaves like Baines, and dresses like Baines with oversize trousers, untied sneakers, and a baseball cap. He is a wizard in the Four Arts too. Baines has of course been outside Paris many times, but he felt safe – or rather relatively safe – only here, within the stout walls of this, the Hip-Hop city. Once he was even forced to visit that trendy, plastic town Nantes, the capital of the House clan, in search of escaped House members from the “melody on 4/4” work brigade. Considering they all look the same, well dressed in their cheeky expensive clothes, he had a great deal of problems in recognizing them. Anyhow, here today, at the twice-yearly council meeting representing all the clans, the House clan would of course have a spokesman and Baines as Hip-Hop representative would find himself seated with one of them. But more ominous would be the Gabber delegate: like every Hip-Hopper Baines is disgusted by the sight of those bald heads, their naive, stupid violence, which is not the result of any social oppression, but in fact just some transient fashion, completely business oriented. Baines still quailed at the anticipated confrontation with Howard Straw of the Gabber clan.

His simulacrum returned wheezing asthmatically dragging to the beats of vintage funky comin’ from the blaster. “Yo, all under control, no deadly gas, no electrical discharge, no poison in the water pitcher, no peepholes for laser rifles. Let’s enter together, the brothas will follow”. “No one approached you?” Baines asked cautiously. The simulacrum said, “No one is there yet. Except a House member with his cheesy smile. Baines, out of a lifetime of protective cunning, opened the door a crack for that which was essential: a momentary glimpse of the House member. The House man is flopped down on the couch in front of the reunion table dressed in a khaki shirt, and his typical moron expression qualifies him as a optimal representative of the empty hedonism typical of his clan.

Finally Baines makes up his mind and enters the council room followed by his simulacrum. Immediately the House member with dull accent addresses him, “Hi, this is Jacob Simion, the House clan representative. If I ain’t wrong, your look declares you an Hip-Hopper?” The question was followed by 12 seconds of silence revealing the Hip-Hop clan’s impatient nature towards hypocritical behaviour. Until, all of a sudden, the door opens and Annette Golding from the Dub/Ragga clan appears with her long dreadlocks covering her face. “I’ woman took delay, in the name of Jah, do apologise”, she murmurs softly. “No delay” utters Baines in an affectionate way, reviving once again the Hip-Hoppers Dubbers brotherhood; one that has existed since the very foundation of the seven clans. “I suppose Louis Manfreti will represent the Goa/Trance clan also this year” states Annette. “I kind of already hear his visions of primordial things resonating in this hall. Beasts from the earth and the sky, monsters that battle under the ground, intense lights, good will…..what can I say?” continues the Dubber, after having made sure Baines was paying attention to her talk. “My clan also firmly believes in peace and love, but as a claim for social rights that are denied to us, I just can’t seem to be able to follow the celestial epiphanies depicted by the Goa/Trance clan”. “That’s all bullshit, sister” said the Hip-Hopper peremptorily.

Meanwhile the Ambient/Minimal delegate comes in with a positive, sunny-natured expression distinguishing his clan. “Hi, everybody. This is Dino Watters and I’m a minimal. Hi, everybody. This is Dino Watters and I’m a minimal…” He proceeds to introduce himself according to his brain frame modeled on listening to sounds essentially based on repetition and predictability. “Please make yourself comfortable,” Annette coaxed pleasantly, indicating at a chair. “I’m from the Dub/Ragga clan”. “Oh, the Dub/Ragga clan has been kissed by the sun all this year. What a wonderfull land! Oh, the Dub/Ragga clan has been kissed by the sun all this year. What a wonderfull land!” Watters returns the politeness just showed to him. “Fuck, stop repeating yourself, we have no time. There’s an emergency,” Baines violently bursts in until Annette leans towards him and whispers, “Be patient Gabe, we need the clans’ cooperation. You just said it. We’re in a dangerous situation”. The Hip-Hopper doesn’t like the Minimals with their displayed optimism whatever the circumstances. He just can’t stand their obsessive repetition that turns into total predictability. Minimals talk clichés all the time, just like that answer Dino Watters gave to Annette.

Now, through the open door, walks a tall, middle-aged woman in a long grey coat. This was Ingred Hibbler, the Junglist. Counting silently to herself she passed around and around the table tapping each chair in turn. “I ran into Straw in the parking lot,” she said, and counted silently to herself. “Our Gabber, ugh, he’s an awfull person: he almost ran me over with his car. I had to…” She broke off. “Never mind. But it’s hard to rid yourself of his aura, once it infects you”. She shivered. Annette said to no one in particular, “This year if Manfreti is the Goa-Trance representative again he’ll probably come in through the window instead of by the door”. “What’s this meeting about?” Miss Hibbler, the Junglist, asked, and counted rapidly with her eyes shut and fingers banging. “One, two. One, two.” Annette said, “There’s a rumour. Electronic customs in Normandy registered an intrusion of a former researcher of the Rhythm Department. Professor Snorri Sturlason is his name. He’s strongly suspected of carrying quantities of an illicit audio-substance.” “But…Straw, the Gabber, would know. His clan is based in Normandy. Probably the original word had come from his affiliates….unless of course some Goa/Trance member has foreseen it in a vision.” “It’s probably a trick,” Baines said aloud. Everybody in the room gazed at him. “Those Gabbers” the Hip-Hopper explained, “they are always about cheating. This is their way of getting an advantage over the rest of us, paying us back”. “For what?” Miss Hibbler asked. “You know the Gabbers hate all of us, because they’re crude, barbaric roughnecks, unwashed storm-troopers who reach for their gun when they hear the word culture. It’s in their metabolism”. And yet that did not really state it completely. In fact, Straw’s aggressiveness is a consequence of constantly listening to gabba sound. His apparent extremism is just a trend marketed by the State Sound-System.

Annette said slowly, “Straw is a little unpolished, I admit. Even typically the reckless sort. But why would he report an intrusion from a former researcher of the Rhythm Department? You haven’t given any clear reason.” “But I know,” Baines said stubbornly, “that the Gabber and especially Howard Straw are against the other six clans. We should act to protect ourselves from” He ceased because the door had opened and Straw strode brusquely into the room. Completely shaved, big and brawny, he was grinning. The intrusion of this dealer of illicit audio did not bother him.

It now remained only for the Goa/Trance spokesman to arrive, and as usual, he might be an hour late. He would be wandering in a trance somewhere, lost in his clouded visions of archetypal reality, of cosmic proto-forces underlying the temporal universe, his perpetual view of the so called Urwelt. And, in fact, not far away from the council room was Omar Diamond, the Goa/Trance delegate to the bi-annual get-together in Paris. He is gazing at a landscape of the world, and sees beneath it and upon it the twin dragons, red and white, of death and life. The dragons locked in battle made the plain tremble, and overhead the sky split and a wizened decaying grey sun cast little if any comfort onto a world fast loosing its meager store of vitality. “Halt,” Omar said, raising his hand and addressing the dragons. Then he continues, “There’s no death. What you see, that which you call death, is only the stage of germination in which new life forms lies dormant awaiting the call to assume the next incarnation. The dragon of life cannot be slain. Even as his blood runs red in the meadow, new versions of him spring up from all sides. The seed buried in the earth rises again”. Then Omar opens his eyes and takes control of himself once again. “I must go to the six-storey stone building,” Omar said to himself. They are waiting – the council. Howard Straw, the barbarian. The hectic Miss Hibbler. Annette Golding, the blessed peace spirit. And Baines, the one who is compelled to think up ways of fighting for his people’s rights. Then there’s Dino Watters who always keeps on repeating his predictable positive visions. Standing at the base of the great six-storey building, Omar levitates. He bumps up against the window, scratches at the glass with his fingernail until at last one person within came to open it for him. “Mr. Manfreti isn’t coming?” Annette asked. “He cannot be reached this year,” Omar explains. “He has passed into another realm and simply sits; he must be force-fed through his nose”. “Ugh” Annette shudders. “Catatonia.” “Kill him,” Straw says harshly, “and be done with him. Those Goa/Trancers are worse than useless. Pathetic old hippies. Bleah”. Ignoring the Gabber, Omar takes his seat. “Bless this assembly. And let’s hear the news of life-giving properties rather than the activities of the dragon of harm”. He turns to Straw. “What is the information?”

“There is an intrusion of a unit coming from the mainland equipped with heretical audio-substances that are against the iron sub-vision of electronic music genres that constitute the very basis of the seven clans. My Gabba infiltrators refer to this event as the upcoming production of Fulcanelli records 023, which is announced to be a weapon of vinylic terrorism with boundless power such that it threatens the existence of each of our clans. As it has been told to me, it is a new sound set up by the nuclear fission of previously separate or even opposed genres in electronic dance music. It is a new sound breaking up the unbearable conservatism of people holding onto the traditional formula of the 4/4 beat, traditional electro and pure jungle. It is a new sound imposing the impure, combining many elements from those genres into something heterogenous and new…”. He breaks off, deliberately not finishing the sentence. He wants to see his colleagues squirm.

“We’ll have to defend ourselves,” Baines shouts. Miss Hibblers nods and so, with reluctance, does Annette. “Everything will work out for the best. We will destroy this sonic heresy. Do not panic!…..Everything will work out for the best. We will destroy this sonic heresy. Do not panic!…..Everything will work out for the best. We will destroy this sonic heresy. Do not panic!” states the Minimalist. “We in Paris,” Baines says, “will of course organize the defense. Straw, in terms of the sound-system, we expect a lot from you. Yours in fact is the most powerful P.A. in terms of watts. This one time we expect you to throw in your lot for the common good”. “The common good,” Straw mimicked. “You mean for our good”. “My God,” Annette says. “Do you always have to be so irresponsible Straw? Can’t you take note of the consequences for once?”

Omar starts to pray to himself, “Let the forces of life rise up and triumph on the plain of battle. Let the white dragon escape the red stain of seeming death”. And all at once, he remembers a sight he had seen on his trip here: by his foot a stream of water had turned into blood as he stepped over it. Now he knows what the sign meant. War and Death and perhaps the destruction of the seven clans and their seven cities.

Jacob Simion, of the House clan, whispers with a trembling voice, and carrying no trace whatsoever of the happiness expressed just few minutes before says, “We’re doomed!” and then hides in his khaki shirt. Everyone glares at him.

2. (Le Mystère Des Cathédrales, Fulcanelli, 1964 REMIX)

The bass drum is dying softly. Dawn’s first light scatters away any trace of the schizophonia that had been going on relentlessly for so many hours, and also spreads a veiled warmth over the sky of Hendaye. This is a small frontier town in the Basque country framed by the green ocean, the swift and shining Bidassoa lake, and grassy hills. One’s first impression on seeing this rough and rugged landscape is rather painful and almost hostile. On the horizon over the sea, the natural austerity of the wild scene is scarcely relieved by the headland of the Pyrenees showing ochre in the crude light thrusting into the dark greyish-green mirror-calm waters of the gulf. A country road starting from the station skirting the railway line leads to a parish church situated in the middle of the village. Bare walls and a massive squat rectangular tower stand in a square a few steps above ground level and are bordered by leafy trees. It is an ordinary, dull building, which has been renovated and is of no particular interest. However, near the south trancept there is a humble stone cross, as simple as it is strange, hiding amidst the greenery of the square.

This is the site chosen by the Invisible Resistance for its own umpteenth Hermetic rave. It is a mix of absolutely heterogeneous sounds in open infringement of genre absolutism, which constitutes the seven clans French colony. Tension was high during the night. In fact, at the last party thrown by dj Scaphandre and his affiliates that took place at Dammartin Obelisk in the Champagne-Ardenne region, the Junglist clan turned into repression services against this guerrilla force. On one hand, because the Obelisk is erected on a mound in the Crécy forest 134 metres high, it has been extremely easy for the Junglists to locate the audio-philosophical dwelling. The Junglists gathered in massive force with gas and biological weapons in order to sedate the sonic heresy. On the other hand, because the Obelisk is erected at the centre of three roads thus giving it an appearance of a six point star, it offers a multitude of escape routes for the Fulcanelli records militants. But at the Hendaye Cyclic Cross everything went off for the best. Throughout the night, as uncompromising harsh-electronics played on the nervous system, a mob gathered for subversive hedonism. To strike and then disappear – VISIBILITY IS A TRAP – in pure Invisible Resistance style.

And it is precisely at dawn’s first light that Professor Snorri Sturlason reaches the Hendaye Audio-Philosophical dwelling. “Hi” he says as he addresses very directly the first Fulcanelli records affiliate he meets. “My name is Prof. Snorri Sturlason, and I’m here to meet dj Scaphandre”. Kind of pissed off and suspicious, one of the militants replies him, “I don’t know anything about this meeting with our leader. Certainly as thin as you are you don’t look like any Junglist sonic inquisitor!” “I’ve been in touch with dj Scaphandre since I started research about break-beat science and pink noise at the Rhythm Department. During all these years, we’ve been in touch through encrypted messages on the net. Now, apparentely, the time has come to meet up personally”. “Look, I shall repeat once again, we don’t know what you’re talking about…” insists the rebel. “But I must see Scaphandre. Just tell me where I can find him. You can strip-search me, but I’ve got nothing except this pen-drive with illicit audio that is to be pressed on vinyl,” utters the professor. “My dear freak, we’re just extremely busy sorting yesterday night’s deflux, so there’s no time to waste on your scratchadelic fantasies”. The prof. replied, “Then let me come with you. When the time is right I’ll approach Scaphandre”.

“Jump into the van because we’re leaving,” said the other Fulcanelli records member in a teasing tone, who had kept silent until then. Not without trouble, prof. Sturlason manages to get into the funny vehicle, which was built from a multitude of second(if not third!)-hand BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and SAAB mechanical pieces. As the engine starts, the two sonic terrorists move forward to the driving seats, leaving Snorri alone in the back. “Hey, at least tell me, where are we going?” mumbles the professor. “To the Invisible Resistance H.Q., the Lisieux’s Salamander Manor,” was the brusque answer. Then the hatch separating the driving seats was closed energetically. The trip lasted 3 or 4 hours during which time, Sturlason wrapped in his cloak, catches up on some sleep. Then all of a sudden the van stops, and a few seconds later the metallic hatch is opened wide. Summer’s clear light is stamped on Sturlason’s face. “C’mon professor, you have nearly made it,” arrogantly echoed several Fulcanelli records affiliates who stretched out their arms to help him out. Vaguely befuddled from being asleep, Sturlason almost stumbles while getting out. Then he finds himself in the remote village of Normandy Lisieux.

Trying to catch up with the two Fulcanelli records militants, Sturlason finds himself in Rue aux Fevres where at # 9 an enormous Salamander is carved in gray marble. Salamander means “sal-a-la-mandre” or “Salt of the Stables”. With his training in lab work, Snorri knows about Sal Armoniac, and, by extension the pun, Sal Harmoniac. In a word, it is the Salt of the stables of Ammon in Egypt: a white pungent and most sharp vinegar used in the purification of the crystal fated to do the definitive CUT. But there isn’t time for Sturlason to loose with abstract cogitations, as the affiliates are speeding along through a winding path of corridors, long halls, patio and parlour rooms. There are no human beings except the obsessive toc-toc of the steps of those who preceded him. During what turns out to be a real chase, prof. Sturlason’s attention is caught by a multitude of hieroglyphics and allegorical symbols scattered in the most improbable locations: on the door’s pediment, a depiction of a man on a horse riding over a bunch of corpses eaten by birds; on its tympanum, some smiths beating on an invisible anvil; on the bracket, a winged dragon with a curly tail; on the middle pilaster, a monkey intent on eating fruits from a young apple tree; on the external pilaster, a grimacing Baphomet wearing a blazing horned and crowned mask; on the internal one, a naked Hercules holding up a huge solar Baphomet. Everywhere on the steps and above these decorations is the motto: LABOR IMPROBUS OMNIA VINCIT. When the incessant toc toc ceased, Sturlason reached his destination. His two rough and tough Virgils wait for him at the entrance of a large hall. Getting close to them, the professor starts to feel a deep reverence. “Thank you!” he answers, and slowly enters the room.

Inside there is nothing but two wooden thrones. On one of them is seated the infamous dj Scaphandre, who is in his thirties, with green eyes and a clean shaven face. “You’re welcome Snorri. It is a pleasure to meet you after all these years in this most cryptic forum of polyrhythmic engineering”. “It is my pleasure indeed,” promptly replies the Professor in a formal tone while taking a seat on the other spacious chair. “So my infiltrators in Paris just informed me that following a special supreme council meeting, you can now consider yourself hunted by all in the seven colonial enclaves: Junglist, Dub/Ragga, Ambient/Minimal, House, Gabber, Hip-Hop and Goa-Trance. My compliments professor,” utters Scaphandre sarcastic. “I’m not surprised about it,” says Sturlason while taking out of his pocket the pen-drive contaning the illegal audio. “And it’s all because of this!” “What’s that?” the Invisible Resistance leader instinctively asks. Sturlason replies, “This contains illicit mixadelic substances and is the result of my 20 years research at the Rhythm Department. I’ve already secretely pressed 22 12”s through acquiantances derived from my former professional role during those years. And now I’m going to complete the series by putting onto vinyl this last master.” “So you came to us!” cuts short Scaphandre. “Exactly. This is 12” # 23. It is necessary to launch the definitive attack on the Society of Psychic Relaxation,” utters Snorri spiritedly. Scaphandre states, “It seems events are coming together. We too, as Fulcanelli records, are preparing the release of our latest production: Fulcanelli 023, to quote the reference catalogue.” “Well, let Fulcanelli 23 be done with the audio I’ve prepared,” agitated the Professor. “When you’re witnessing such tangible proofs of a superior plan it can be dangerous to ever obstruct them! Let Fulcanelli 23 be completed by prof. Snorri Sturlason,” declares dj Scaphandre officially. The professor was deeply moved and replied, “I shall confess that before contacting you I sensed our destinies were bound.”

“Let it be clear that you’ll have to follow each phase of vinyl preparation,” announces the leader. “Vinylic technologies are forbidden within the Society of Psychic Relaxation. I couldn’t ask for anything more than to be initiated by them – being initiated into the Great Work,” Sturlason proudly said. “As Zoroaster stated about the Great Work: Scire, Potere, Audere, Tacere. With constant practice on the turntables, the novice will climb the pitch + 10 leading to KNOWLEDGE. Ultra-kinetik breaks combined with distorted frequencies will secure him POWER. Having obtained that, he will still have the need for white, pink and brown noise in order to DARE. About the location of audio-bombardment he’ll always evermore KEEP SILENT.” Showing to Sturlason a precious pottery item the size of a canvas which depicts two shields in a garden, the Fulcanelli records boss says, “But let me use some allegorical rappresentations. Look closely at this Iris flower. It is the symbol of the Great Work’s first phase: the transfer/calcination (black phase). Then there’s this Fleur de Lys representing the second phase: lacquer preparation/leaching (white phase). Finally, the rosa canina representing the third phase: pressing/volatile fixation (red phase).”

“I see! But where are the technologies necessary to perform these three phases? In this building maybe?” asks a curious Snorri. “Absolutely not! It would be tremendously naive to leave them all in a single place. With a blitz from the psycho-police all our power could get confiscated. The necessary esoteric machineries are scattered in different audio-philosophical dwellings. The transfer, for example, is in the hermetic chimney of the Terre Neuve castle. The galvanic pools are at the Vertbois Fountain in Paris. Finally, the pressing plant is situated in the Athanor-philosophic furnace of the Absolu house in Le Mans.” Already knowing the answer, Sturlason asks, “So for each procedure we’ll have to reach each of these sites?” “Of course!” Scaphandre solemnly replies.

“Tell me more about the pressing plant, about the Athanor philosophical furnace,” questions the professor. Scaphandre explains, “When our vinylic compost or rebis begins to be steeped in our permanent stamper, then all the dye vinylic compost becomes melted pitch, and is all blackened like coal. And at this point our compost is called black pitch, burnt salt, molted lead, and impure latten. Then, a black noisy cloud is seen floating sweetly and gently through the middle part of the stamper, and rises above the stamper. And at the bottom of the latter is the matter, melted like pitch, which remains totally dissolved. The humidity is shown coloured like quick-silver, black and stinking. Formerly it was dry, white, sweet-smelling and ardent, but then freed from sulphur in the first operation, and later purified by this second operation. And when this mass is thus blackened, it is said to be dead and deprived of its form…..this is the sonic putrefaction, when the harsh frequencies are about to be enhanced in the vinylic rebis.” Scaphandre pauses, but then continues. “For the vinyl pressing you’re going to need the following: the hermetic Sapphire for the lathe’s needle; the machine that’s going to do the cutting in the phase 1 – transfer; the nickel-wet silver for the electrolysis reactions of phase 2 – leaching; finally the already mentioned vinylic compost or rebis as volatile support on which to press – phase 3. This is standard vinyl pressing procedure,” ends dj Scaphandre in a heretical tone. “Then after some suspense, it will then be achieved!”

“For Fulcanelli 023, we’re going to use two other special ingredients: debris from Chartres cathedral’s stained glass windows and a secret one I can’t talk about right now. These two further elements will render the record the definitive dub-plate”. “I see!” answers Sturlason. He then asks, “And for sure Fulcanelli records owns these hermetic technologies?” “Considering our continuos vinyl pressing activities we surely own the standard ones, that being the philosophical sapphire, the nickel-wet silver, and the dry vinylic compost. We’ll have to get the two special ingredients though,” utters the determined leader of the Invisible Resistance. “And how are we going to do this?” asks a vaguely alarmed Sturlason. “Through direct action. No time to waste. Tonight we’ll make it by throwing stones against the Chartres cathedral’s stained glass windows to try to get as much red and blue debris as possible.” Getting more and more resolute, dj. Snorri nods, as he’s now part of Fulcanelli records too. “Go to sleep man. You’re tired. We’re going to need your help tonight. I’ve got a room prepared here for you next door. Go. We’ll wake you up when the time is right,” commands Scaphandre. “Thanks a billion, I’m exhausted indeed,” says the professor as he heads to the bedroom. But before leaving Sturlason asks, “What about the other special ingredient?” Iced, the boss of Fulcanelli records responds, “As I told you, you’re going to know it when the time is right, so have a good sleep!” Within 10 minutes, Sturlason is already asleep. 6 hours later an Invisible Resistance militant wakes him up. “C’mon prof., it’s time to go. dj Scaphandre is waiting for you in the van”. In a rush, Snorri jumps into the mad recycled vehicle.

Inside, not a word is spoken as tense and contracted faces sense danger. The trip to Chartres in the Goa/Trance clan’s land lasts about 2 hours. The Fulcanelli records fellowship consists of 7 men, including dj Scaphandre and Sturlason. All armed with stones, they run to the Cathedral. PAAAAAMMMMMM. The first stained glass window pours down in a rain of red and blue debris. Immediately, an extremely shrill alarm starts to ring, and within a few seconds the Goa-Trance psycho-police open fire. Panicked, Sturlason draws back. In the confusion, he recognizes Scaphandre moving forward careless of any danger focused only on trying to collect as much debris as possible. An orgy of bullets hit his body, and Sturlason can’t even dare to look at the scene. Once back, Sturlason jumps into the van waiting in terror for the return of his comrades. Then the enginer roars, and they leave at maximum speed finding their way around the gun shots. Dj Scaphandre, boss of Fulcanelli records, is dead. His corpse lay in the back of the van. His fists are clenched and bleeding holding red and blue debris from Chartres stained glass windows. His men, including the professor, praise him: “He died in battle as he always wanted to. He died as a hero! Long live dj Scaphandre!” Then they manage, not without problems, to open the contracted hands of the corpse to remove 5 big glass splinters stained in Scaphandre’s blood which spread red and blue light inside the vehicle. “Once at the Salamander Manor of Lisieux, we shall proceed with his last will and testament,” gravely said one of the militants. “And what’s that going to be, if I can ask?” said the professor. “Dj Scaphandre’s will and testament has always been to melt with sound, to become noise, broken-up beats, distorted frequencies and once in this sonic state to launch the definitive attack against the Society of Psychic Relaxation,” answers the initiate. Then abandoning the crypticness of his tone, he adds, “Dj Scaphandre’s body is going to be cremated. His ashes are the last ingredient necessary for the production of Fulcanelli 023 12”” concludes the militant of the Invisible Resistance.

3. (Les Demeures Philosophales, Fulcanelli, 1930 REMIX)

At morning’s first light prof. Sturlason leaves Lisieux. Exhausted by a hectic and endless night culminating in the extremely elaborate cremation of dj Scaphandre’s corpse, Sturlason takes the opportunity to recover by sleeping next to the driver’s seat in the Fulcanelli record’s van, which is driving in the direction of Terre-Neuve. Wrapped in his cloak, he feels the pressure of the suede bag containing splinters from Chartres stained glass windows and dj Scaphandre’s ashes. Surely this is an unconscious somatic response to the responsibility weighing on Sturlason right now. This time the trip also leaves no memory in his mind: the van windows are fully darkened precluding any sightseeing, and only 4 hours of deafening and continuos roaring of the old motor engine. Then, suddenly, their arrival. Sturlason’s three Invisible Resistance companions invite him to get out of the van. Sturlason finds himself in front of a bizzare building, a kind of sharecropping farm turned into a castle. In fact, it is the the Terre-Neuve castle. Quickly Sturlason gets to the main entrance by following silently the 3 Fulcanelli records djs. An incredible variety of antiques enrich the castle: golden panels in the Louis XIV style, aged curtains, Flanders silk fabrics, Louis XIV furniture, engravings, glazed earthenware, Florentine bronzes and Chinese porcelain. Eventually our fellowship gets to the main hall, where, awesome and monumental, the hermetic hearth rules. Sturlason is immediately stricken by the disharmony and gratuitous superficial luxury. He can’t help but notice a general meagerness of architectural structures such as the excessive graveness of a nook supported by too thin pillars, and many other inadequacies badly hidden by decorations, flutings and other “efforts” of arabesque grandeur.

Sturlason was brusquely woken up from his meditative torpor by the words “Hurry up!” “Pass over the master, prof,” incite the militants. Instinctively, Snorri hands them the pen drive to be plugged into a 64 bit digital-analog converter operating the lathe. While a dj cleans the precious sapphire needle, another prepares the lacquer by pouring compost uniformly onto it. Then the leaching, which is like a plough that leaves furrow on the ground. The sapphire needle puts down analog data on the grooves stereophonically, thus inserting on the internal side the left channel, and on the external one the right channel. Less than half an hour later the transfer is done. Quickly Sturlason and the Fulcanelli records activists jump in the van with the calcinated lacquer and drive in the direction to the Vertbois fountain in Paris. On his way to the capital of the seven colonies situated in the domain of the hip-hop clan, Snorri examines millimiter by millimeter the Fulcanelli 23 matrix. It is difficult for him to believe that the result of years of phonotronic research at the Rhythm Department lies now in those lacquer grooves. Recovering consciousness from this vinylic ecstasy, Sturlason replaces the van’s driver so that for the first time he’s able to look outside the window to see a barren landscape deprived of any vegetation. Perhaps it is even vegetation that has been genetically modified by the Synthesis Department. He realized he didn’t miss much during their previous trips. Then suddenly the first suburbia appears. They must be near Paris.

Crossing the bypass, they gets off at Rue Saint-Martin. In less than 15 minutes, they’re facing a small structure made up of a shallow, rectangular niche flanked by two Doric pilasters with vermiculated embossments which support an architraveted cornice. The Vertbois fountain, built in 1633 by the Benedectine monks of Saint-Martin-Des-Champs, stands out in all its splendor attracting the determined stare of the Invisible Resistance fellowship. The 4 of them jump out of the van carrying the calcinated lacquer. They start the galvanic washing, also called leaching: the matrix is de-greased and silvered, then soaked in the Vertbois fountain, where, due to electrolysis the nickel-wet silver solidifies on the surface creating an alkahest layering on which a reversed groove (the Ouroboros Snake) is printed. By switching the Snake’s head and tail, the positive master, the precious “stamper”, is done. Starring at the “vinylic matter” in the darkness of the van, Sturlason feels deeply moved: its intricate sonic fictions, its phono-particles mutant textures, and its scratchadelic solo are about to find expression. It’s as if he could feel the sonic perturbation by the air getting more and more heavy.

Accompanied by these obsessive thoughts, the professor arrives at Le Mans, the site of the Great Work’s last stage. The House of the Absolu is a common building just like thousands of others in the north of this French colony. But this conventional external facade hides a secret: the Athanor or Philosophical Furnace is located in the basement. The body of the Athanor has no particular design, and it is constructed just like ordinary furnaces. But in the middle of the furnace is an upright hollow tower which connects with the fire place by one or more avenues. This tower has a lid which exactly closes over the upper opening. When the Athanor is to be used, as much vinylic rebis is put in the watery fire place as is judged necessary (generally 333 grams), and the tower is filled to the top. The tower is then closed exactly with the lid. Because the stamper does not have free contact with air, it liquifies the harsh frequencies depositing them in the Ouroborous Snake grooves. Finally, the pressing time (white phase) has arrived! The Invisible Resistance djs heat the Athanor while Sturlason prepares the rebis, which is the dough of vinyl pulp. Scaphandre’s ashes and the Chartres windows fragments are put in the Philosophical furnace. The last procedure is automatic: inside the Athanor the rebis is shaped according to the two stampers (each one for a side of the vinyl record). For a certain amount of time the philosophical furnace is closed so that the heat and pressure break apart the vinylic pulp until part of it pours out of the stamper. Then the Athanor is re-opened, the vinyl is taken out, and the external dribble is eliminated. Fulcanelli 023 is done.

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