Counter-cultural music and Acultural sound

Void Sigil is a philosophical and aesthetic examination of society which is and will remain, by its very nature, apolitical, apatheistic, and unconcerned with arbitrary cultural distinctions within the framework of western civilization. Rather, this exploration of aesthetic territory is an individualistic one, focused only on structures of time, texture, and form which address the listener both on an intrinsic biological level and a subjective mental level while seeking to bypass the experience guided by shared emotional and informational systems that has categorized music thus far through human history. The 'void sigil' itself represents this fluid duality of subjective meaning created or conveyed outside of a shared cultural or informational context; a placeholder for a symbol which represents the transcendence of symbolism itself.

Music has always been a potent factor within counter-cultural movements and revolutions, peaceful or violent. Almost every form of popular music which has arisen in western civilization in the last century has been rooted in some sort of social, political, or cultural upheaval. But even the most transgressive and culturally corrosive musical forms simply utilize the same shared symbolic language as whichever system they try to attack, and this ultimately renders their efforts meaningless. A look at that same tangled lineage of twentieth-century western music shows it to be littered with examples of the musical extensions of various countercultures which foundered not by being culturally rebuffed or defeated but by being culturally classified, neutered, and subsumed. Likewise, any restructuring of a societal institution or a society at large which is instigated from within an established system can only rearrange the components of that same system without truly building anything new or even truly destroying anything old. A shared symbol is always defined by its own ability to be identified and quantified by its users, and any symbol which can be quantified can be bought, sold, disfigured, perverted, or sequestered away, and while it may be impossible to kill, that immortality has no value.

To codify what I include in my definition of the word 'culture' itself, I use culture to refer to the overarching customs and habits of belief and value that characterize a particular society, and, on a larger level, the philosophical system which engenders these transmissions of information. This represents the second stage of information transmission (or, on a more biological level, information contagion) between animals; the first, shared by all organisms, is the transmission of binary information on a genetic level, inherited automatically by each successive generation. The second stage of information transfer, culture has been, like genetic transfer, developed as a mechanism to ensure the survival and continuity of the species. Information was transferred through the medium of speech (in many cases incorporated into music) and, eventually, written language in much of the world, and was expanded in both cases to incorporate an increasingly complex range of symbolism and abstract concepts. This communication was still, partially through natural means and largely through the enforcement of those empowered by the structures of the cultural system, filtered through the perspective of a specific cultural set of values and ideology. Finally, we have begun to cross the threshold into a third stage, an open dimension where the physical survival of the human species is an automatic function comparable to breathing or blinking; biology is malleable and innate genetic traits no longer control the concepts of self and individuality; virtually any and all information is accessible by anyone who seeks it out; shared morality and ideology are replaced by individualized philosophical perspectives and an increased sense of self-defined community and responsibility; and culture, by the definition offered above, becomes almost completely meaningless, at best harmlessly vestigial and at worst a destructive force which cultivates only complacency and works against the equal self-actualization and realization of the entirety of the species.

Again, all revolutions which have thus far sought to fully change religious, political, economic, or any other societal systems have always done so from within the overarching cultural system, and this was out of simple necessity in the second stage of information. While one culture could be overthrown or destroyed by an external force, attacking one's own culture (even for the purposes of rebuilding it from a stratigraphical level beneath that of the perceived intrinsic problems which a given revolution might wish to address) would be suicidal when that shared cultural system was the only means of acquiring and disseminating information and thus survival. Humanity remained simply too inherently weak to relinquish its shared systems, and each individual forged by those systems could only operate within the philosophical, emotional, and aesthetic boundaries which they delineated. Now, however, as we anticipate the post-cultural era, those philosophies, emotions, and aesthetics may be developed outside of their former boundaries, and as we seek to create a musical and sonic palette in the space beyond culture, the opportunities are endless. The very definition of the music thus far generated by humanity is largely defined by the use of culturally established systems and symbolism, and those small parts of the sonic spectrum claimed by these systems must be identified if they are to be avoided. Melody and harmony, both defined by the exclusion of tones beyond a culturally-specified scale, become suspect. Rhythm is reduced to the simple 1/1 pulse of the universe or is expressed in a repeated segment of chaos; a microcosm of the fractal nature of the universe itself, in which structure is built from chaos which is built from structure, ad infinitum. Time and timbre become fluid. Lyrics and even language itself can only be useful if stripped of all meaning. Unlike music, this is sound defined by subjective, not objective, context; compositions created to be listened to and not simply heard.