Radio Quarantine -Ngenelkelen – Atemporal (2020)

Atemporal – adjective – existing or considered without relation to time

Yes, that just about describes it. This is another pandemic/quarantine recording, released right before Christmas last year. It’s a different take on it than X Harlow’s Anchorite, but really the same vibe. Time felt kind of wonky in those early months of lockdown last year. It slowed down tremendously to match the frozen pace of those vast empty public spaces where one would have usually found thousands of people moving to and fro. Then it sped up and weeks and months sped by. It was summer, and then one day it was December. Time wasn’t behaving as usual. Ngenelkelen, from Chile, isn’t the coldest coldwave. It’s not even coldwave, really, but captures the weird, dehumanizing fugue state of quarantine. We are apart. We are outside of any sense of time that might be familiar.

When protests erupted worldwide last summer, it was ostensibly triggered by police brutality in America, and while the symbols of such were expressed in solidarity as far away as New Zealand, it seems to me it was about more. Being locked down definitely exposed every last detail of every last social ill, but what it exposed as well was our collective tension and fear. We were all transported to this alien, atemporal terrain. What would anyone expect would happen but a big bang. It’s actually due to happen again. There was a temporary pressure release after the elections and the ensuing white riots in Washington DC. I think the government is pressuring everyone to go back to how things were to alleviate more tension. The tension is there though and since what has been seen cannot be unseen, we are due for another big bang. That’s the feeling of the boot about to drop. It’s coming.

Atemporal is almost a pastoral treatise. It definitely captures the mood of the days and weeks shut inside. It’s distant though from acts like Crypto Order who better expresses the pervading onslaught of media and propaganda and government control. A sound mood for every emotion though, and this one definitely mirrors many of those long evenings, especially in early lockdown, where melancholy and loneliness took over. Loneliness is a curious beast that way. We often don’t feel it when we’re alone, simply because nobody has told us that we have to be alone like how things went down at this time last year. I’m feeling it a bit again now, but I think it’s pressured by the anticipation of things opening up again. You never need to pee so badly until you’re right outside the bathroom door, and that’s kind of how it is with this. I don’t even necessarily want to go back to the other way, but it’s coming so as a bandaid ripper I’m raring to go. Get it the fuck over with, you know?

I’m going to miss these long, meditative mornings before the rest of my world is up and moving. I’m going to miss even being able to sit listening to the coffee machine sputtering, and then settling in with that first cup and my first thoughts of the day. I’m going to miss the time being mine, however strange and distorted that time is.


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