Review: Raung Jagat Synthetic – Synthetic Vocabulary (Prakarsa, Mar 29)

As terrifying as the prospect is, Synthetic Vocabulary may provide a glimpse into the bleak future that lurks beyond the stubborn development of increasingly sapient artificial intelligence. I’m not talking about the technological singularity itself, but rather the point a few centuries beyond that, when the dwindling human race are now used as forced labor, entertainment, and every other fucked-up way we abuse animals now while the bourgeois androids and disembodied operating systems sit atop sleek chrome thrones. Having evolved beyond the need for any sort of audible verbal communication, archaic “text-to-speech” programs are now mean-spirited novelties, used to spam unintelligible gibberish at their flesh-and-blood servants who lost all language long ago. But this auditory abuse ends up having an unintended effect. As abstract vocalist Rully Shabara is quoted as saying on the release page, language is “also capable as a medium of much more complex multi layered message such as expression and non-verbal intents [sic]”; what sounds like innocuous nonsense to the machines holds emotion and catharsis that only our brains can unlock. Alliterative semiotic deconstructions like “Max, Lisa” evoke the unutterables of lightning-fast thought processes and inner musings, almost entirely wordless pieces such as “Thena” resonate with a peculiar poignance, and the title track may just be the revolutionary anthem of the future—is there anything more powerfully human that plastic and fucking?

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