Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hyperborean

The Sun Dogs were two well-built Brits or Scands in torn cashmere, and their gear consisted only of an electric cello, plugged into a compressed-air auxetophone amplifier that looked like a threatening tuba, and a Frying Pan amplified to the point of distortion. As soon as the room started to vibrate, and as a dark, ominous drone started to coil around the walls, it became palpably clear that this music directly linked one's eardrum to one's intestines and that it was, beyond good or bad, to be digested rather than listened to. It also had at times, under the murk, the repetitive, trance-like quality of Eskimo chant. This indeed was not without its effect upon intoxicated listeners, who swayed back and forth with the ebb and flow of the gravelly sound waves. The Sun Dogs' best song was called Hyperborean, and if Gabriel understood it correctly, it was a cryptic paean to snowcaine.

— from Aurorarama, Jean-Christophe Valtat.

It's kind of fun to be reading something with this setting when it's still so bitter cold outside. "April may be the cruellest month, but in North Wasteland, February was a tough bitch in her own right." The language is exuberant. I get the feeling he's trying to be more a China MiƩville, but he's coming off like a Susanna Clarke. I don't mean for the comparison to be entirely discreditable, but there is a sense of being carried away by the language without there always being the substance to ground it. But that's OK; I like being carried away.
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