April 15th, 2020

The Non-existent Machine

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How does the crisis come? What is the moment? Who owns the disaster? And where does it lead?


There is no one moment when the things we saw become things that are seeing us back. There is no time coming when my own hands will turn to birds and begin fluttering about the pages of my face. There will never be a day when I wake with a single yelp and hop skipping from my bed to go do the two-step down to what paradise lurks on the first floor. I am not draped in the lights of epiphany. I know no answers, but the questions continue to evolve into ever more exotic questions every year.


I am the kind of half-assed loser who categorizes different vistas of bathroom tile as to their degree of ominous and/or disease quotient. I am the one who hyperventilates over video conferencing as the clicks begin to invade our connection. I wake on my firm sheetless mattress wrapped in a single fuzzy blanket to protect from the incessant attacks of mosquitoes whirring about the vicinity of my earholes in an otherwise empty room in rural Vietnam, where I now live, as in I rent a four-storey house with other foreigners and work in the rural city of Phu Ly, and generally speaking am haunted by the more unpleasant sexual encounters of my younger days while also ensconced in what hungry ghosts latch onto the already dwindling days gone by, hopes to come, and passion spent—and the body begun its long dysfunction unto death.


Enter the disease.


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March 19th, 2020


John Manson & Dan Madri


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“The preparations were not in vain.” How true. John & Dan, after taking us on a journey through the purity of Angels, the twisted inner life of Fillies, and the wonderful curative powers of Rage bring a song that should become the anthem of these trying times. Enjoy this timely addition to John & Dan’s Song-A-Day project.

March 12th, 2020

White Sepulchre Records

Animal Hospital’s Fatigue

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Animal Hospital‘s Kevin Micka makes beautiful music. His luscious soundscapes mesmerize as they dig deep in with loops that dig deep and wailing riffs that cut. Long ago, we were lucky enough to put out one of his albums, Good or Plenty, Streets + Avenues, and have been following his career since with a keen interest. His most recent album, Fatigue, due out April 24th by White Sepulchre Records, can be pre-ordered now either on vinyl or as a digital download on bandcamp. This most recent post-rock masterpiece is another gem on par with Memory—dark, transcendent, and a lush ambient listening experience. But don’t just take our word for it. Hear for yourself below!


February 9th, 2020

Is Still Cool S**t: at Google

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing
AD Jameson

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I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing">


Mutable author AD Jameson has turned his insights and discoveries regarding geek culture into a fabulous book, I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing (FSG, 2108), and in the above talk discusses the book’s themes and key ideas. Jameson has always been a great advocate of genre fiction, and his passion really shines in this talk. If you enjoy what you see here, give the book a look!

January 28th, 2020

This is not a Review...

… of Super Flat Times

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Full disclosure, there was a time when I tried to write exactly like Matthew Derby.


I first read Super Flat Times probably something like 15 years ago and at a time in my life when I was on the hunt for the gritty new thing in world of science fiction—the genre that gave the world Philip K Dick and William Gibson, Arthur C Clarke and Robert Heinlein—a genre I despised and adored in equal measure—that would come to dominate my life. And with Matthew Derby’s brilliant collection was part of that. Re-reading them for this essay, that initial electric feeling I had the first time around came rolling back. These stories are on fire!


My initial reaction was that these escapades into the unconscious—not unlike HP Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, but as experienced through the lens of a psychedelic Raymond Carver—present us with a a new kind of sight and a new type of access to world and world-building. Rather than presenting us with a world that is minutely crated, Derby creates a haze the reader is maneuvering through, and I suspect, a haze that Derby himself is inspecting with the same wonder and whimsical ignorance as his readers.


In part because he stories in Super Flat Times were inspired by conversations Derby had with his young child. As Derby himself puts it, they are “more about the kind of fictional world you can create with a kid who’s still trying to stitch the world together in their head—there are these gaps, and they often fill them in with totally amazing stuff you’d never imagine yourself.” And what comes of this collaboration are stories that consist of more an alien realism. They are glimpses into a world we cannot know, but can only guess at. Rather than giving us a key into the palace, Derby has offered only a keyhole into a world is one half dream and the other half too real.


At the time, I was working with children and doing a lot of storytelling activities myself, as well as being interested in surrealism and utilizing randomness and divination in writing—as PKD and John Cage used the I Ching for example—but, Super Flat Times is more than some gimmick text. The art and poetry of it are all Derby’s doing, and the tone—from the poetically realistic, “A bird approached at his feet, looking at him sideways, its head a worrisome cloud of nervous activity” (p140); to the downright surreal, “his rueful, multi-chambered face” (p45) or “…her face converging at odd, unpredictable angles, like complex origami” (p126); to the downright profound, “Should I say that I got in and drove off, smoking one cigarette after another, lining them up end on end until I was all of the way out of that life? Because what happened was that I stayed there, with those people, for another three and a half dreadful, thoroughly forgettable years in the way that we best know how to make ourselves feel welcome wherever we’d least like to be,” (p57).


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January 22nd, 2020


John Manson & Dan Madri


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As we continue to venture further into John and Dan’s unique songwriting style, after the lush pessimism of Angels and wild cynicism of Fillies, once again we are struck, in this spoken word piece, by this pared down gem. Enjoy!

January 16th, 2020

Saba Lou: Novum Ovum

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Saba Lou, daughter of the infamous King Khan, released an album not that long ago that caught the attention of us over at Mutable Sound. Garage rock at its finest with lyrics that are pure poetry. The music has a classic sound without being kitschy, and a voice that is equally comfortable crooning, growling, or sliding into a deadpan drawl. Occasionally, the song-writing sounds a little derivative of the 60’s garage rock from which she takes her inspiration—like on the chorus of Dirty Blonde—but at its best it transcends its psychedelic roots to straddle the worlds of Black Mountain with its epic sound and a more pared down singer-songwriter sound. Saba Lou likes to play with extremes in her songwriting in general. She has that kind of elastic voice that can play it either way, and this is also where she shines, sliding from sweetness to gritty and back. It is a captivating, even hypnotic back-and-forth, and expertly rendered on Novum Ovum. “Darling, you are the weather.” Novum Ovum is Saba Lou’s second album, and at 19, she’s primed to explode on the world stage.


January 6th, 2020

Interview with Mike Sauve

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[Mike Sauve’s fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s and elsewhere, and his novels The Wraith of Skrellman, The Apocalypse of Lloyd, and I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore are available from Montag Press. His latest work is the non-fiction book, Who Authored the John Titor Legend? He is currently working on several exciting projects. We here at Mutable thought we’d sit down for a little virtual chat and find out what we could about the crevices of his working mind.]


What I am struck with in your work is the macabre playfulness. Would you like to talk about the relationship between comedy and pain in your writing?


As I respond to your questions, it is Christmas morn, and I have messaged several friends asking, “Know of any local bukkakes I might partake in?” This is not going to go over at my in-laws breakfast table, but to me it unearths something very vital: the vertex of all that Christmas is meant to mean with not only the lurid nature of the bukkake, but the logical extrapolation that:


1) Bukkakes are known to exist.
2) Since bukkakes are known to exist there must be men ever on the prowl for one.


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