Review: nula.cc – Midnight Sun

I’m compelled by the way this work is framed. These are not records or albums, but “filecasts”: transmissions of compiled information, updating the recipient on any developments since the broadcasts prior, summarising the current state of play. Each cast is a selection of audio tracks, images and texts, much of which is gathered from the world outside (field recordings of the ocean, train journeys, Cambodian jungles, a quiet house) or other cultural documents (Hollywood films, literature). They are progress reports, although the target of our progression is not clear. There is a steady accumulation of meaning and context, forever gathering from the dialogue between materials and through the growth of the nula.cc archive as a whole, building evidence that will, eventually, result in the revelation of…something? When one assembles all of the scraps of communication – between every mouth, ear, pen, eye, natural force, inanimate object – does an ultimate meaning begin to emerge? What does the picture look like when the jigsaw is complete?

There’s something wonderful about coming into this archive as it is assembling, rather than tuning in from the beginning. Like the note-strewn desk of a detective, the chronology is all wrong – I can skip between early experiences and latter musings, aware that there is a linear growth occurring as nula.cc adds to the archive, yet disobedient in my navigation of it. For example, 57970 Midnight Sun is based on two casts that I haven’t yet heard (56390 A Beacon and 55821 Light On Water), with old material compacted like sediment beneath the layer of new audio. Noise crumples like foil across a series of tilting drones, somewhat resembling lunar light in its eerie, loitering illumination of the dark. The filecast comes accompanied by an extract from Aleksandr Sokurov’s documentary Повинность / Confession, taken from the commander’s diary, who nurtures a sensation of imminent disaster as his boat sidles into the oceanic void, waiting for the light of the beacon to verify his direction of travel. And thus, those two previous casts (A Beacon, Light On Water) become characters of nula.cc’s common universe, like disparate memories colliding within dreams, or moments of foreshadowing coming to be. All the while, I can’t help but search for significance in this emergence of the old within the new, led not just by the intrigue of the material itself, but also by nula.cc’s compulsive desire to document it.

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