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Photo by Pablo Más

Live in Truth and Rave

May 14, 2019
Text by Astrid Gnosis
Photo by Pablo Más

Astrid Gnosis, London-based producer and one of many exciting acts at the Hyperreality festival, shares her view on hardcore, society and chaos as an ally of creation.

We live in a state of urgency; our attention is pulled in all directions simultaneously. We are so used to it we just cannot stay still. Stillness of the mind is something rarely practiced or talked about in Western culture. Commonly, it culturally involves a distraction, but actually arriving to a state of mind where you can listen to your true instincts is a skill that needs practice. 
This is why I like hardcore, it either pulls you in or throws you off entirely, there’s no middle ground. It engages me physically and mentally, it’s fast, it’s hard, it takes me to my limits of euphoria and exhaustion, and I feel alive. 
I see music as a rhizome-like image of thought, not only of the composer but of the environment in which it is created. hardcore guides me through a stream of consciousness that connects me to my instincts as a woman, and compels me to act upon them, rather than reacting from them. For me, the most attractive side of hardcore is, that it is not melancholic and self-pitying, it stands up to claim space, it is all about thriving, not merely surviving. 
The power of music to draw imaginary landscapes can create new realities never yet theorised that can be explored and understood through the experience of sound. This magnetic relationship between sound and people is what makes music so indicative of the society that produces it. Like it or not, admitted or not, music in this sense is political.

My music is a culture hack, nobody is backing me financially, no one supported my music for years and although it is under the glorious umbrella of hardcore, it’s not quite there either. I produce, mix and perform all my music, with little to no help on my video works and even less help with diffusion. I give all the credit to the people that have been listening to my Soundcloud for the past 9 years. I see my limitations as blessings though, working alone is arduous and painful sometimes, as well as lonely, but it goes along conceptually with my take on humanity in western culture as an individualistic cliquey capitalist sludge. 
My vision of the future is inspired by London. Though it may come across as fatalist and misanthropic at times, my work must be read between the lines. There’s a comedic side to the tragedies of the human condition, and I mostly make fun of myself and my own weaknesses against the unattainable wealth that is displayed in a city like this where, money is GOD. 
Money equals life, it determines your survival and grants opportunities for thriving. The amount of money in my case doesn’t matter because I’m still creating and finding ways to do without, like the majority of people making ends meet. I stand for creative integrity, no amount of gimmicks are comparable to a work that is done in honesty and I think music lacks that today.
As I watch the world collapse, I advocate for chaos. Destruction is an ally of creation, and both are necessary for life to flourish. To fear chaos is to fear change. In this way I see hardcore as an homage to the Dionysian festivals, it encourages a certain tragic disposition towards life where we are confronted with the reality of being alive today. Far from the fake demi-gods of social media, far from yet more numbing drugs and far from any form of sugar coating reality, we are confronted by the truth that being alive is painful, and that once embraced we can stop being disappointed and bravely pursue our true potential.

My relationship with family and death from an early age has shaped the way I view life and value loyalty and honesty in human connections. Religious dogma, like celebrity culture, simply skews our perception of the truth. This may sound redundant but for those who live in bubbles, I believe the only way through is true effort and suffering, which leads to growth, creativity and an affirmation of life. Many people think life is just about being happy, which leads to disappointment and superfluous interactions. These same people will discard anything that makes them engaged with the truth yet subscribe to a charitable trend to feel better about themselves and this way feel redeemed of their privilege. I meet a lot of young people lost in their will to do greatness and the lack of outlets. Being born and giving birth is painful. Mediocrity should never be a goal, even if it can be exchanged for currency in our fucked up world. No one can go through anything for you, but to walk with one another through darkness, is essential to find divine light. 
This is why I am devoted to creating work that talks about the catastrophes of my generation, we have enough distractions and sweeteners in our culture. My aim is to create work that talks about the strife and efforts of my generation to see change, to be the change. 
Electronic music had become a bit too highbrow and intellectual, that’s no secret. I think the growing interest in hardcore today is tied to the need of a stronger sonic liquor, something that resonates with the world around us in all its tragic dimensions. I see hardcore as a musical antagonist that creates a new order within imaginary boundaries. It is a cultural compulsion to physicalize the cognitive dissonance in our society. People who self-harm, do so to physicalize their mental state of pain, I think listening to hardcore, dancing to hardcore is a little bit like being killed. La petit mort. You can only cum if you let go. 
Today our culture signifies a society of repetition, one in which nothing new will happen anymore. Think about it. The speed at which we are bombarded with nonsense leaves people confused. Our DESIRE is overstimulated. The system prioritises wants over true needs. Our media hides reality at all costs and the reality shows that the oversaturated market of ideals we still hold, is unsustainable and mostly unattainable for the great majority of the population. My friends from Paris have seen firsthand the truth that chaos brings out. The establishment is not interested in off-grid ideas. True subversion is subversion of power and its symbols, like the artist Petr Pavlensky burning a French bank. Was that maybe part of the butterfly effect that sparked the Gilets Jaunes shortly after in Paris?

This is why the system does not support, or actually trying to crush anything attempted off-grid without support from the established order. This rhizomatic structure of power extends to all parts of society. Order fears chaos, because it signifies change. We see this with public services being privatised and creative spaces being shut down. Capitalism is against innovation unless it furthers its order. You can look no further than the recent censoring of drill music in London this spring, with artists Skengdo and AM sentenced to jail for performing their music. People like Julian Assange are the true heroes of our society, who show us with evidence the degree to which we are NOT free. In totalitarianism, it is easy to identify who is in control and who coerces our rights, while under the growing authoritarianism, we live under the assumption of freedom and freedom of choice. Freedom for who? Freedom to do what? This is a direct result of the absurdities, lies through manipulative advertising, misinformation, toxicity in our products, pollution, Otherness, artificial light from screens constantly blaring at us with a septic sludge. 
In a way I like to think of hardcore as a playful over-identification with power, through the subjective medium of sound. Its structure has one constant, the steady rhythm of progress, establishing the new with every beat. On the other hand, it signifies order within a chaotic structure. These are in a way the guidelines to which I adhere when making music. I create a structure and its subversion. Hardcore to me represents a return to pure instinct, and you are compelled to act because it invades your every pore, it’s like fire cleansing and resetting your energy to create the future. hardcore screams back to all the noise blared at us from the world. We go from highbrow to no brow.  
I would like to say here for avoidance of doubt, Astrid Gnosis is my real name. In many spiritual practices, Gnosis refers to a divine spark found within a mind-like-water state. Through my work I chase that moment of clarity and light.
Find your Gnosis, live in truth and rave, rave against the dying of the light.

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Foto von Marie Haefner

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PW-Magazine is a bilingual online magazine for contemporary culture run by Luca Büchler and Lewon Heublein. 

PW-Magazine is supported by the Federal Chancellery of Austria and Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.