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‘An overwhelming diet of stimulation. Maximalist sonics reflect/mimic the barrage of media, attention hijack. A cathartic balm with which to come down from the onslaught. To break out of the compulsion loop. Erosion of Attention and Critical Thought. The inability to write or hear a melody.

As more potent stimulus is experienced with greater frequency, the elicited response grows duller. Satisfactory engagement requires stronger, stranger and crueller stimulus. Entropy cascades, form becomes occluded. Dragon chasing. The Earth will implode under the weight of our data. The internet currently boasts the mass of a strawberry.

Wire-heading as a Possible Contributor to Civilisational Decline.
Wire-heading as a Possible Contributor to the Death of Art?
Wire-heading as a form of music making…
DAW addiction, resampling syndrome.

Micro-genres and reissues. A glut of influences, fleeting obsessions; option paralysis fomented. Procedural and algorithmic composition to break the stalemate. The imposition of order becomes freeing. Seeding pareidolia? Freedom through procedure. The altar wine of counterpoint and the modafinil of machine learning. Or a new digital spirituality achieved through enhanced aleatory. Silicon zealotry and the pursuit of the divine online.’

C.A.N.V.A.S. welcomes the return of Xao to our catalogue for our thirteenth release. ‘Wirehead’ follows the trajectory that Xao, a Leeds-born, Berlin-based composer, producer and sound-designer, has been following for several years, developing a club-engaged composition practice which is equally stimulating and tranquillising, neurotic and narcotic. A regular C.A.N.V.A.S. collaborator since its inception, Xao has performed at C.A.N.V.A.S. events in London and Berlin since 2014, and contributed ‘Quintal’, the opening track to Cipher (2019), our debut compilation, bringing the release to life in full mechanic garden-blossom.

Having contributed extensively to the Astral Black catalogue with his debut EP ‘Alloys’ (2017) and LP ‘Eternal Care Unit’ (2019) alongside several singles across various compilations, ‘Wirehead’ finds Xao pulling different strands of sonic tactics from past experiments in all directions simultaneously. It follows the transmutation of his grime and trap-influenced early productions towards something otherworldly and futuristic–a word that hardly ever warrants its use, but this case seems required. This isn’t some vague future, this is the future embedded in our present, in the mundane chaos of post-2020 everyday reality.

Wirehead alludes to the process of self administered brain stimulation in order to hack one's own reward circuits. A process so addictive as to leave a subject with open sores on the finger used to trigger the current. A virtual analog of wireheading has already been shown to spontaneously emerge in some AI systems. Wireheading here presents as a framework for unlimited acceleration and compulsion- as a catalyst for entropy and contortion. As in the album’s artwork by Somnath Bhatt, an aureole of abstracted information engages in a perpetual dance of collapse and renewal.
    Release Date: 13 Dec 22 Cat No: CANVAS013