REMEMBER THE AMBER LIGHT
May 13, 2011 12:31 AM   Subscribe

This recording (mp3 excerpt) is an "unauthorized experiment" that was made in the year 2058 C.D.S. (Carbon Dating System), a "blue verbal data feed" sent backwards in time to "retro A.D." by Decker, T. L. (pdf transcript) (via @GreatDismal)

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posted by juv3nal (36 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Weird and cool and totally inexplicable. Thanks for this.

But if I was going to gank any link from Gibson's Twitter stream to post to metafilter it would be the ultimate WTF-nofuckingway-ness of the "Envoy" (fake?) promo video.
posted by dersins at 12:46 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


This sounds amazing. I MUST find a copy of this so I can hear and have the whole thing!!! Know of any leads?

By the way, this is very reminiscent of John Titor (Previously).
posted by theartandsound at 12:48 AM on May 13, 2011


Nobody from contemporary America save Thomas Pynchon could manipulate language so adeptly. What happened to our school system between then and now??
posted by Mooseli at 12:49 AM on May 13, 2011


That envoy promo is genuinely disturbing.
posted by fullerine at 1:23 AM on May 13, 2011


Like so many of these things, it's a lovely idea, but (IMO) poorly implemented.

1) The voice acting is terrible in parts, mainly delivered in the guise of "actor making a recording", not "pioneer talking to people unknown". It just doesn't sound right.

2) The language is too changed, too manipulated, too unrecognisable. 2058 is 41 years from now. 41 years ago was 1970. Yes, there were different concepts, different cultural cues and different technologies with their own vocabularies, but there were too many words here that were just "hey man, that sounds cool and sounds like the future!"

3) The interference and feedback was all obviously on the track, rather than of the track - there was no actual deterioration, interference or garbling of the recording, just sound effects added in post-production.
posted by benzo8 at 1:29 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Nobody from contemporary America save Thomas Pynchon could manipulate language so adeptly. What happened to our school system between then and now??

These phase cancellations are tearing apart the noise floor. This isn't blue, yet. Can you hear that bias fringing? He's working with confetti and chaff, it's noise... ghosts in the pink and gray. That emotional breakdown halfway through shows his frustration with the calibration issues he knows he's facing, he can't surmount those with the gain he's running on that amateur armature. His source feed is corrupted, you can practically taste the bandshift. It's preverbal and he knows the aliasing is preventing cyclical lock on the carrier.
posted by loquacious at 1:33 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


That envoy promo is genuinely disturbing.

Don't say that. I'm sure you'll be OK, like that time in DC back in 2007. I love you.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:44 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cool post, juv3nal! Gonna listen to this tomorrow.

"The language is too changed, too manipulated, too unrecognisable."

Yes, but maybe he's on the other side of the singularity. Everything would be unrecognizable.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:23 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everything would be unrecognizable.

and yet it's on a frigging record. :P

You people do know this isn't from the future, right?
posted by usagizero at 2:32 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has a 12 Monkeys-ish feel to it. Love this kind of stuff.
posted by snwod at 2:39 AM on May 13, 2011


According to the eBay listing, the source disc was "8 1/2 inches in diameter, made of a very thin, rigid plastic material (with no label or center hole), and an optimal playing speed of approximately 20 revolutions per minute." The record on sale is a reproduction of that disc made for "modern" 1969 home phonographs.

And... eh, what the hey. So far it's better than that guy who found a new Beatles album. Good for a few minutes fun at least.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:39 AM on May 13, 2011


Interestingly, I also received an email from 2058 this morning. Much of the email was unreadable, but I managed to put some fragments together

greetings .... future ... 2058 and we must warn ... terrible consequences if nothing is done ... the website known as metafilter. It is imperative ... the moderator known as cortex ... something alien ... must be stopped ... may be too late ... find him, kill him, burn the body ... we are counting on you.

so there's that.
posted by seanyboy at 3:32 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uh … this has got to be John Brent of How to Speak Hip fame. No?
posted by gubo at 4:15 AM on May 13, 2011


It's not from 2058 AD, its from 258 CDS. The tape gives no clear referent for AD-CDS date systems, although the postscript suggests:
Preliminary estimates place the time and location of its origin as approximately 100 to 125 years from the present, recorded somewhere in the area of northern New Jersey.
Presumably that's starting from around 1970, which puts the date at around 2070-2105.
posted by scalefree at 4:42 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, but maybe he's on the other side of the singularity. Everything would be unrecognizable.

The other side of "the singularity" by definition doesn't care enough about you to try to send you a message. Do you try to create tiny simulated chemical trails to communicate with the ants on the sidewalk?
posted by aught at 5:07 AM on May 13, 2011


Nice Bing Crosby impression.
posted by gjc at 5:09 AM on May 13, 2011


All this sounds a bit like Timescape by Gregory Benford.
posted by mikelieman at 5:38 AM on May 13, 2011


Do you try to create tiny simulated chemical trails to communicate with the ants on the sidewalk?

Um... No. Not anymore that apparently word of my research has been leaked...
posted by mikelieman at 5:39 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, I also received an email from 2058 this morning....
2058 and we must warn ... terrible consequences if nothing is done ...


My neighbor's dog must be getting those same emails, because he won't shut up about them. I try to change the subject when he stops me on my way to work, but that's all he's into, it seems, just being foreboding.

It was easier before he got the internet, it was just calls to stop various Hanna-Barbera characters because they wronged him somehow, or sometimes a thing or two about what he heard on the Art Bell show. Now it's all doom and gloom and calls to save the future.

Sheeesh. Dogs, amirite?
posted by chambers at 5:54 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


IT IS WITHIN THE PEACEFUL INTEREST OF THE ORBITAL FLEET THAT WE SUBMIT

THIS MISSIVE: AS A CHARTER CONSTITUENT OF THE PROTECTORATE, UNDER

APPLICABLE TREATIES, CONSIGNMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE IS DULY AUTHORIZED.


THERE SHOULD BE NO CONCERN IN OUR REQUEST TO YOUR JUNCTURE WITHIN

RELATIVITY -- IN ORDER TO COMMENCE THIS BUSINESS WE SOLICIT YOUR

ASSISTANCE TO ENABLE US TRANSFER INTO YOUR ACCOUNT A QUANTITY OF RESERVES

WHICH BOTH OUR INTELLECTUAL CAPACITIES SHOULD FIND SUFFICIENTLY MUTUAL.

posted by Smart Dalek at 6:39 AM on May 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


fullerine: "That envoy promo is genuinely disturbing"

I just shared this on FB, where the preponderance of my connections may be expected to not realize the spoofiness of the video.
posted by mwhybark at 6:56 AM on May 13, 2011


Time for this.
posted by specialbrew at 7:25 AM on May 13, 2011


Might be more clever if Trent Reznor hadn't already done an entire album and extensive ARG based on the concept of people from the future pushing data into the past in order to affect their (future) present.
posted by hippybear at 7:31 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, Trent Reznor did it first? Call off the cotillion, Martha!
posted by basicchannel at 9:49 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just figured out what this reminds me of. In a very bad movie (so bad it was given the MST3K treatment) titled "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" starring Raul Julia (basic plot: Casablanca meets the Matrix), there's a scene at the end where the main character performs some sort of programming "hack" of the VR environment he's trapped in by uttering a sequence of equations & nonsense strung together, that sounded a lot like something you might put together if you'd only heard people talk about programming computers but never actually done any yourself or seen it done up close. This is a lot like that.
posted by scalefree at 10:03 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Might be more clever if Trent Reznor hadn't already done an entire album and extensive ARG based on the concept of people from the future pushing data into the past in order to affect their (future) present.

"already"?
I think we can safely say it isn't from the future, but is there doubt being cast that this isn't from 1969?
posted by juv3nal at 11:40 AM on May 13, 2011


People in the present stole Reznor's idea and traveled back in time. Duh.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:32 PM on May 13, 2011


It's like a lullaby ...
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:21 PM on May 13, 2011


This is not a dream... not a dream. We are using your brain's electrical system as a receiver. We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference. You are receiving this broadcast as a dream. We are transmitting from the year one, nine, nine, nine. You are receiving this broadcast in order to alter the events you are seeing. Our technology has not developed a transmitter strong enough to reach your conscious state of awareness, but this is not a dream. You are seeing what is actually occurring for the purpose of causality violation.
posted by webmutant at 1:22 PM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


It reminds me of this
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Webmutant, thank you. I love those bits of that very... odd movie.
(I admit, the devil as Mountain Dew was pretty cool)
posted by doctornemo at 3:19 PM on May 13, 2011


"The other side of "the singularity" by definition doesn't care enough about you to try to send you a message. Do you try to create tiny simulated chemical trails to communicate with the ants on the sidewalk?"

Sometimes accidentally, if I drop crumbs on the ground. And yeah, it's obviously a novelty recording from the sixties, but its fun to imagine for a second that it might be real. The ants aren't capable of inferring the existence of a wider world from those crumbs, but we can.

Anyway, Decker tells us his motivation for sending the recording. He never received his History Two infusion (apparently some kind of mental download), and thus doesn't share his era's common perception of the past. He's tried to learn more since then, but has only a fragmentary and probably romanticized idea of the past, which isn't very satisfying. So he wants to learn, and that longing became a desire to connect with the unknown, and thus the spontaneous act of making this recording. I guess he's hoping we'll send him some sort of message through time, which will add to his knowledge of the past.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:23 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is fascinating. The little song about the sound of the old 'slidewalks' is oddly moving. Would love to know who was involved with putting this together (and what the rest of it sounds like). Some sort of failed (?) art prank partaking equally of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Burroughs/Gysin, A Clockwork Orange, Borges (Tlön) and Trout Mask Replica...?

Intriguing also that the gent behind You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown seems to have had a hand in it.
posted by El Brendano at 4:57 PM on May 13, 2011


The freakiest part for me is in the transcript when he mentions that some people born around 1953 are still alive in his time, "But they are so full of plastic that it's next to impossible to get anykind of print out from them." Then he gets the call from his girl and changes the subject.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:22 PM on May 13, 2011


So performance art hasn't improved by 258 C.D.S.?
posted by ?! at 4:47 AM on May 14, 2011


The world that beat poets conquered.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:56 AM on May 16, 2011


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