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The cyclical originates in the cosmic, in nature: days, nights, seasons, the waves and tides of the sea, monthly cycles, etc. The linear would come rather from social practice, therefore from human activity: the monotony of actions and of movements, imposed structures. (Lefebvre 2004, p.8)
Having re-purposing EDM as ‘experimental dance music’, I’m wondering how practices of rhythm abstraction modulate what Lefebvre describes as ‘linear rhythms’. These are structured institutionalised rhythms that one associates with work, transport schedules, school; how one organises time to meet deadlines, juggle commitments and other time-sensitive institutional pressures, with the social also being an institution. These rhythms run concurrently with ‘cyclical rhythms’ such as the setting and rising of the sun and the phases of the moon. Cyclical rhythms can expand out to cosmological proportions, can they also be perceived at the level of particles?
During this time of pandemic and while bracing for a Northern winter, I’ve been thinking to open a room in an online multiuser audio streaming platform; an EDM ‘club’ on SonoBus that is also open to sound clash and other kinds of interventions.
Naming the room ‘RUB’ is a joke of sorts, because it’s not physically possible to do so in such a space. RUB is a club with a no body policy — literally no bodies in the room — but you can take the club to your room and to your body. While this absent-presence might spark braindance-induced sonic fictions, it also emphasises sonic friction, given that physically gathering may be difficult during these times. As a room for deep bass explorations, beat psyence and riddim methodologies, RUB emphasises sound as a haptic sensation, as changes in air pressure vibrate the sensitive organs of our inner ear; sound pressure that scales up with volume.
Scheduling RUB on the night of the new moon, a ‘cyclical rhythm’ according to Lefebvre and the darkest night of the lunar phase cycle, situates a practice of abstracting rhythms within interacting rhythmic categories. Rather than selecting a regular day of the Gregorian calendar (eg the first Tuesday of each month as is fugitive frequency), RUB proposes to modulate the governance of patterns and habits that arise from them. It’s seemingly irregular placement (Wed 6 October, Thur 4 November, Sat 4 December in 2021) is akin to a ‘shifting one’ in music composition, where the stress or the accent of the beat moves (with repetition) over time. Will RUB synergise with or clash against other scheduled events? Will anyone listen? Would anyone intervene? Given that RUB will begin on the first new moon following the Autumn Equinox (22 Sept 2021), it seems fitting that it’s first season should run until the Spring Equinox (20 March 2022). I’m told timing is everything…