People can disappear behind their creations. I used to – all day long, I’d run a story in my head, and act out the dialogue under my breath. Long walks shifted into expeditions to far away kingdoms and alternate dimensions; the playground transformed into an alien planet; my mom’s bed (never mine) was a prime stage for tropical lizard adventures. Whenever I retreated to these worlds, I no longer had to worry about myself getting in the way. I’d just leave the real me behind, and I could do anything.
Electronic music-makers like Thee Koukouvaya thrive on this invisibility. By removing their selves from their craft – and donning the mask of their baffling band name – the duo are free to build their imaginary metropolis of crystal and steel. And, what’s more, since there’s no human identity to guide or distract, the listener can explore that world unhindered.
“Drunk Machine” offers lots of possibilities – is it a bustling space station, with monitors clicking and whirring whilst you’re awaiting your next orders? Is it a dark alley way in Chicago in 2023, just outside of a building that you’re about to infiltrate with your remote-controlled spy camera? (Oblique video game reference. My specialty.) Your call. Whatever you imagine, the gently pulsing tune lends just enough texture to your escapade without demanding any prerequisite place or time. Mouse on Mars got really good at this kind of lively ambiguity; maybe Thee Koukouvaya could be writing their own soundtracks for dystopian futures or long lost civilizations if they keep at it.
But that’s such a weird name, you say. Yeah, well. I’m sure I gave myself a lot of weird names when I went exploring. Fantastic worlds demand fantastic monikers.