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Recent Tech-Noir

Two of my favorite artists on Bandcamp are Makeup and Vanity Set and Pilotpriest. Both were recently involved with tech-noir films.

Pilotpriest scored, directed, and wrote Come True under the alias Anthony Scott Burns. This is the first feature length film of his that I’ve seen. His previous short works include a Tron sequel and, with Ash Thorp, Lost Boy. Both are excellent. Come True follows a teenage runaway who joins a sleep study at a local university in order to have a place to sleep, and proceeds to awaken some sort of demonic universal id. It is full of neon and moody lighting and retro tech and hex dumps and I loved it. I think of it as a sort of Strange Days by way of Stranger Things. There’s not much dialogue, but I thought the lead actress did a great job of selling the character’s path from confusion to discomfort to terror.

Makeup and Vanity Set, using the nom de guerre Matthew Putsi, scored the third season of The Girlfriend Experience. The show follows a neuroscientist hooker who uses her sex work experience to help build a manipulative artificial intelligence. It is quite weird, but I enjoyed the aesthetics of the show. Reviewers seem to criticize it for feeling very cold and sterile and antiseptic, but I think that fits with the theme of sex-divorced-from-emotion. I enjoy my tech-noir, and this is that. It felt somewhat Gibsonian. I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn at the end of the show that Huburtus Bigend was orchestrating things. The score, as expected, is excellent.

The only previous film score work I’ve seen from MAVS (excluding the three seconds he had in Godzilla vs Kong) is Hit TV, which also satisfies.

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Haight Street Preacher

Neither Jesus nor his lamps find welcome among the junkies on Haight.

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Giri/Haji is a stylish, slow burning neor-noir crime drama set in Tokyo and London.

The story concerns a police detective, his yakuza brother, and their series of poor life choices. Everything about it is very well done. The show is described as “cancelled”, but the first season is a complete story and, as excellent as it is, I think continuing with the characters in a second season would only lessen the experience of the first.

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Isolation Report, Day 2020.07.29

One hundred and thirty nine days of Operation Fuck Off I’m a Hermit Now. Bacon and chocolate supplies restocked.

All systems nominal.

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Holly Herndon composes music with machine learning.

I learned of her thanks to Bruce Sterling‘s mention in his 2020 State of the World, wherein he defines her music one of the few current examples of “genuine technical novelty”.

She used machine learning to train a program (referring to it as “AI” seems popular but I’ll refrain) that could reproduce human voices, and then used that software as a vocalist for PROTO. Neat.

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