“We may not fully realize we’re losing the contest of existing, because de-realization is how we’ve always rigged the game.”
On his second full-length album, Assembler, Yen Tech skewers cringe accelerationists and dystopian tech culture with a work of arch cyber-gothic storytelling, a heady blend of meta-sci-fi speculative fiction, bleeding-edge production and ASMR-inducing corporate spoken word. “I imagined Assembler as a type of self imposed simulation,” he says of the album. “It was a way of looking at how we may carry the issues and failures of the past with us into the future. The psychological baggage of history, the guilt of geotrauma, the addictive melange of technology all become dealt with in this stage of acceptance and recovery. I wrote the album with this in mind, a process to find the slimy pearl of who we are.”
‘Extinction Game’ envisions a post-singularity world, where technology has outpaced human evolution to such an extent that emotional and psychological progression can only be quantified by the multi-stack systems upon which their existence is predicated. “With Assembler I was exploring how the (future )human is starting from a point of extreme lag and confusion – a future where the individual is inherently neurotic, no longer able to rationalize at the same speed of the technological systems we’ve hitched ourselves to,” says Yen Tech. “I was interested in how our reliance on this system of speed and accidental progress could create a kind of voidal relationship to the ‘self’ – a vacuum-like psychological space – where tech evolution as equivalent to natural evolution increasingly shrinks the necessary liminal space where we form our sense of being, or of belonging to any natural system. In this sense we may not fully realize we’re losing the contest of existing, because de-realization is how we’ve always rigged the game.”
CGI artist Jingxin Wang brings four post-human avatars to life in order to illustrate this rupture of the ontological by the technological, each of which blur the lines between video game archetypes of ‘prey’ and ‘hunter’ in a confounding barrage of nihilist world-building. Yen Tech describes each stage as displaying the “post-human as belligerent simpleton, boasting and flexing for no one in these gross simulatory scenarios.” He continues: “It also works in an ironic way, our play on the kind of archetypal sci-fi protagonist often found in the genre, the violent patriarch flashing all his cool nihilistic tech and cyber-ness. This of course is the opposite of what really happens visually and lyrically, since the tracks narrator is vaguely insane and self-absorbed – weighed down physically and psychologically, clinging to this out-modded humanity. One of the lyrics is: “I’m strapped up with so much gear, I can barely move.” It’s delivered like a boast, but is really quite sad.”
For more information about Jingxin Wang and her work you can follow her on Instagram. You can find Yen Tech on Bandcamp and Instagram. Check out his recent Fact Mix, an extraordinary aural retelling of an alternative cultural history of the COVID-19 pandemic. Assembler is out now, on SVBKVLT. Additional material will be released on the artist’s new platform, sil0.app, over the coming weeks.