Triple Gatefold – Single Vinyl 10” / Download
Release Date: 11th November
Astro-Darien is a 26-minute sonic fiction about the break-up of Britain narrated by synthetic Scottish voices and framed as an eponymous video game. It is the 2nd vinyl release on Hyperdub’s sub-label Flatlines and its dark green 10” comes packaged in a triple gatefold sleeve, with artwork by Kode9’s long time collaborators Lawrence Lek & Optigram. Whereas the first release on the label, Mark Fisher and Justin Barton’s ‘On Vanishing Land’, wove an audio essay around a walk along the South East Coast of England, Astro-Darien takes off from a road trip along the North Coast of Scotland.
From a Caledonian heart of darkness to a supernova Scotia? The documentary fiction spirals between the role of the catastrophic Darien Scheme in the late 17th century in the founding of the UK, when Scotland failed to colonise part of present-day Panama, and the contemporary disintegration of the union.
In a somewhat wild extrapolation of the race to become the Scotland’s first vertical satellite launch station currently playing out between Sutherland Space Port and the Shetland Space Centre, independence is speculatively framed as an exercise of escapology, a jailbreak and exodus to an orbital space habitat, with all the risks and dangers that entails.
The loose plot follows a game designer from a fictional games company called "Trancestar North" who, in attempting to lift the dark spell cast by Darien, models a counter-future by ingestingcosmism, the history of racial capitalism and the demise of Empire into T-Divine, the geopolitics simulator of the game engine. She follows the Brexit algorithm as it runs to its logical conclusion.
Initially conceived as an audio essay for diffusion on François Bayle’s 50 speaker Acousmonium for INA-GRM in Paris in March 2020, but subsequently postponed by the pandemic, Astro-Darien first surfaced as a 3-screen a/v installation on the dance floor of Corsica Studios in June 2021. In October 2021 it finally reached the acousmonium in Paris. In July 2022, an instrumental, rhythmic version entitled Escapology was released on Hyperdub. A live A/V set relating to the
Astro-Darien game universe will debut at Unsound Festival in October 2022.
Like having a pair of arms embrace you while you're blanketed and shivering in a dark corner of an abandoned cottage in the woods. Shadow Paradise in particular was the only thing keeping me from breaking down entirely at one point. Beautiful release. SAW-LEI-VE