Mike's Machine Music Meditations

Hi! I’m Mike. How are you? Announcing the release of my frst album in several years, Mike’s Machine Music Meditations - by Michael Southern. Basically a bunch of noise, haha. It’s hopefully the first in a lengthy series of releases to showcase all of the strange noises I make with the machiens and the universe! I’ve released a lot of music under a lot of different names but never anything like this. I wrote a sprawling 13 paragraph write up about it on my facebook but I feel like it’s just too much to post here so I’ll try my best to edit it down a bit. I’m worried this might come off as highly delusional, illicit, and self serving, but I’m telling it anyways, haha. Once I started typing I couldn’t stop, haha.

After getting into modular synths several years ago, and finding this forum in the process, I found myself making very slow Eno-esque ambient pieces for years. I loved just letting a piece play for hours or days on end. I would often sleep with my synth repeating quietly in the background. Just before the covid lockdown in March of 2020 I saw some posts about the Elektron Model:Cycles and to be honest I wasn’t really interested in it at all. I was in full on modular mode, but I happened to see some really awesome videos online from people like Cool Maritime and Emily Sprague who were making some really wonderful music with it so I decided to pick one up on a whip. I had no idea it would have such an impact on me.

I feel like I met my partner in life. For some reason I just clicked with the model:cycles in a way that I’ve never clicked with any instrument. I’ve spent the last year working with it almost exclusively. I feel a deep connection to it that I can’t properly explain. Now here’s where things get a little strange… This will sound a little unusual and you might think I’ve lost my mind, and you might not be entirely wrong, but I have always talked to myself. My whole life I talked to myself, interviewed myself, hung out with myself, questioned myself, argued with myself, but something weird started happening to me. Someone started talking back, haha. It was me! It was my own voice in my head but it was giving me answers I never would have thought about on my own. One night in particular I had taken a rather substantial offering of psychedelics and I started to address the voice in my head. It was me! but I discovered in the process that I am everything. The universe, consciousness, the great undulating machine and heavy manufacturing concern in the sky (as I liked to jokingly call it., haha) it was me all along. All things, all matter, all immaterial things, all consciousness was ONE and I am totally part of it. Knowing, or thinking at least, that all the galaxies, stars and planets, Earth, the trees, the insects, humans, gasses, molecules, quarks on the atoms, the quantum foam upon which all matter rests is all ONE is a wonderful feeling. Our reality is far more unusual than your or I may think. I started asking this voice in my head questions and I gave myself some astonishing answers. I asked “why is there something instead of nothing?” and in a totally nonchalant manner I got the answer “meh, just felt like it.” I asked again for more clarity and heard, “There can’t be nothing without something. Even nothing is something.” I asked “how did consciousness come into being?” and again nonchalantly heard “I created myself.” This was a short interaction with myself but it felt so real to me. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. and still can’t. Maybe about three or four days later someone on my facebook shared a post from a physics paper about a new theory about how our whole universe is a computer simulation but the simulation self actualized itself. Though totally unprovable I really enjoyed this theory. It meshed perfectly with my recent conversation with the universe, haha. Here’s a snipit from it. " …physicist David Chester elaborated: “While many scientists presume materialism to be true, we believe that quantum mechanics may provide hints that our reality is a mental construct. Recent advances in quantum gravity, such as seeing spacetime emergent via a hologram, also is a hint that spacetime is not fundamental. This is also compatible with ancient Hermetic and Indian philosophy. In a sense, the mental construct of reality creates spacetime to efficiently understand itself by creating a network of subconscious entities that can interact and explore the totality of possibilities.” Listen to yourself. You are everything. You are the universe!

I have really fallen in love with theoretical physics and Hinduism since then and read as much as I can about it all… I began to connect to the great consciousness regularly and it felt as if it was working through me, not just in music but in all aspects of my life. I feel like the more open to it I am the more it comes to visit me. I have very little to do with the music that comes out of my machines. I honestly felt and feel like I am a conduit for the universe to enter the synthesizer and make some noise. Consciousness wants to dance! Instead of the usual ambient stuff I was writing all sorts of noisecore, breakcore, straight up noise and weird shit started coming out of my groovebox instead. All it needed was a little nudge and it seemed to write itself. Often it was music I would never listen to on my own time but who am I to stop it? I just let the music happen and make sure the knobs are turned the right way. I no longer MAKE music, I only Let music.

In early April of this year and I was just starting to compile this first album. I was trying to see which songs fit best together and doing little experiments with track order and placement. I had just had a super productive weekend and was hoping to get the album finished by the end of the week. I woke up on Tuesday April 20th and my dear, sweet mother was waiting for me upstairs. She informed me that my best friend in the universe, my best friend for almost 21 years, had died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was only 36. He had a rare condition that he had no idea about until he was already gone. He passed away April 19th 2021. To say I was and am still devastated is the understatement of the century. He wasn’t just my other half, he was my other me. I was his other self. He was my brother. My musical partner. There’s barely a memory or experience in my life that doesn’t involve him. I am still trying to figure out how to navigate life without him and the idea that I must live the remainder of my life, regardless how many days that may be, without him is highly unpleasant to say the least. Spend as much time with your friends as you can. Fuck all the bullshit. Get over your shit and enjoy this life while you can. Life is short. Shorter than you would like to think. Time doesn’t matter, only life matters.

I didn’t bother turning on my machines for almost two months after his death. I wasn’t in the mood. But I did manage to compile this album and send it off to be turned into cassettes. I was in a very angry and unusual mood and my brain just wasn’t working how I would like it to and I do not think I would have chosen these songs to be on the album had he not passed away. To be perfectly honest there’s at least two tracks on here I don’t even remember writing, haha. but what’s done is done and both you and I are stuck with the results, haha. This album is dedicated to him, and I happen to be releasing in on the 8th anniversary of my fathers passing. Life is too short and too fast. Cherish the moment! I’m almost finished compiling the next one and I hope it’s a little more diverse and pleasing, to me anyways. I am not concerned with what others have to think about it, haha.

Thanks for spending your time reading my silly story!

TL;DR Either I connect to the great consciousness and complete the connection between the universe and the machines to let and allow Brahman to dance and make some fuckin noise - or - I am just a deeply messed up human being who likes to make highly unpalatable musics, haha. Either way - Buy my album with your money. or don’t, whatever. It’s all good. Educate yourself, listen to experts, drop your bullshit, be kind to all things, don’t eat the animals, don’t kill the insects, protect planet Earth and Mother Nature, don’t shit where you eat, do good things, right the wrongs, explore your mind, keep fit and have fun, be excellent to each other, do a little dance, make a little Love, get down tonight. Mike’s Machine Music Meditations - by Michael Southern , available now. Love you!