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Dave Jenkins

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Billain: Top 10 Cyberpunk Moments

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Billain: Top 10 Cyberpunk Moments

Billain’s up to his dark tricks again. This week he’s launched a brand new track from the forthcoming Methlab EP: the data-spiked, jarring, side-swiping Metal Jaws.

Released May 20 on Methlab 2 via Bad Taste Recordings, Metal Jaws pays homage to the aesthetics of cyberpunk and has been illustrated by an equally unnerving video.

Created by Berlin-based film maker and musician Zan Lyons – who previously worked with Billain on the Akira mash-up for Billain’s remix of KOAN Sound & Asa’s Tetsuo’s Redemption – it too is a celebration of the science fiction’s darker future prophecies. See how many classic scenes you can spot in the edit… (video contains flashing images)

Pretty full-on, right?

Last spotted on UKF foretelling the future at the end of 2015, he’s back with his top 10 cyberpunk moments. To really understand why Billain is fascinated by the dystopian noir genre pioneered by authors such as William Gibson and Rudy Rucker and movies such as Bladerunner and Ghosts In The Shell, here’s an excerpt from a blog post he wrote last year. Loaded with critical commentary on social media and our submissive attitude towards online communication and control, the whole article is worth a read….

“We are entering the future as predicted – in cyberpunk terms – technological, dirty, class divided, survival, individualism, neo-darwinism, survival of the fittest, un-brainwashed minds that need to live in camouflage to avoid discrimination, an unwilling bipolar positive and poly standard negatives. Humans have uploaded their brains onto social clouds… as a first successful mass survey ever to take place in history of this complex existence to the extent of a question such as: what formula does it take for those clouds to be independent from humans (yes I’m speaking of AI) if a machine were to read all of my data from my first internet entry of likes dislike and word database, would it make a perfect ghost of me based on my open public so called “braincast.”? We are all paranoid, yet we haven’t noticed how good we are at hiding this from others and from ourselves. The technological singularity IS happening, but not in a way we imagined, like most of other things we are bad at predicting. But those chips are smaller then ever, aren’t they?

“Punk” took root in local scenes that tended to reject association with the mainstream. An associated punk subculture emerged, expressing youthful rebellion. “Cybernetics” is a transdisciplinary approach for exploring regulatory systems , their structures,  constraints, and possibilities. In the 21st century, the term is often used in a rather loose way to imply “control of any system using technology;” this has blunted its meaning to such an extent that many  writers avoid using it.

Welcome to the era of cyberpunk folks.”

Billain’s Top 10 Cyberpunk Moments

Johnny Mnemonic: Hit me scene (1995)

I think the most interesting scene in the film is when they transfer of files to Johnny’s skull. From wearing a device that looks very similar to today’s Oculus Rift headset to the music in the background that actually resembles modern the drum and bass foundations. Then you add anime appearing as part of the data, clips such as The Running Man, some Yakusas and the modern fears such as data trading in a corrupt corporate future and you’ve got yourself a scene as a pinnacle of cyberpunk.

Death Machine: Elevator scene (1994)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8EP1pLXi9o

A very interesting moment: all the problems melt in one single elevator. An employee from a sneaky corporation with a failed experiment that is chasing them taking advantage of a small civil resistance that’s trying to bring it down. Both sides find themselves in this ironic human-made AI attack, which is a profound glitch to a scene with very nice camera angles. Although the acting was bad, some of the scenery from the film was actually damn good, especially the collage of good light and technological hallways. 

Total Recall : Two weeks scene (1990)

There is just something about animatronics that I like so much that I cannot ever agree to truly accept the world of CGI (although Total Recall was also one of the first major movies to include CGI) The person behind this movie’s analog special effects, puppety and makeup was Rob Bottin, the man who invented all the aliens and gore in the movie The Thing from John Carpenter. Rob is a master of transforming without CGI. This is a groundbreaking cyberscene.

An honourable mention: 15 puppeteers operated Quato:

http://i.imgur.com/CAN79lD.png

Bottin made the Quato so real at the time they had some people asked the crew if this was a real semiborn Siamese twin! Total Recall is semi-cyberpunk due to its introduction of aliens, but still you have many of the cyberpunk aesthetics in place: a corporate and grungy future city, rebels and human altering such as erasing memories rebels as usual. Plus Mars is a planet that can be colonized with just using 30 percent of current world weapon funds in no time. Props to the symphonic scoring also. 

Robocop: Birth and reveal scene (1987)

The death scene followed by a 15 seconds of dark, followed by three minutes of first person view callibrations was just groundbreaking for 1987. It creates so many curiosities: is Murphy feeling anything? Does he remember anything? Is he present at all? This scene is so cyberpunk, it covers a multitude of observations, policemen running to check the addition to their unit. OCP on the site, detailed explanation. It was very hard to avoid the “20 seconds to comply” and much more. The level of gore is also cyberpunk.

Robocop 2: Goodbye scene (1990)

OCP Biotech experiments: A preserved brain, a drug addict infused into a mechanical body with a “come to daddy” facial display (but actually seven years before the Aphex Twin video). Human interaction mounted on latest OCP ultimate machinery, armed but not brainwashed: a guy snaps out of it and starts killing everyone and the goodbye moment really does bring this technological anger to a pure peak of cyberpunk.

Pitch Black: Ghost Me scene (2000)

This is a semi-cyberpunk scene but what makes it perfect is the level of badassery over a low budget over few very particular scenes such as:

“Ghost me motherfucker that’s what I would do to you,” says Riddick to William. The sound of the shotgun, the dark atmosphere, the lights, the story of mercenaries chasing a Furian which happened to be worlds notorious assasin, crash-stranded on a planet with strangers, and flesheating inhabitants.

To hear this badass quote in practice, Teebee has one unreleased track from 2002 with this quote. It can be found as a last track on the Live At Unit A 2002 Shout out to Torgeir: Release this!

Blade Runner: Multiple scenes (1982)

Cyberpunk often references the rooftop scene but I think I would personally pinpoint either the scene with Rick standing on the terrace with a glass of whiskey surrounded by massive skyscraper pillars of population concerned about replicants and levitated by Vangelis. Or the scene down on the street on a good corner with noodles, being picked by police. I guess the most neon scene is when the replicant is being shot by a series of glass, getting up and running for her life while surrounded by dolls as an analogy.

Ghost In The Shell: The Chase Scene (1995)

Everybody knows that nothing can compete with GITS. It’s impossible to pick just one scene but let’s pick the chase scene…. High velocity bullets, thermoptic camouflage, market place through Batou eyes…. To finish with a chase of a “ghost hacked” through narrow streets and perfect dark cyberpad, in an amazing fight. So many questions remain!

Hardware: Apartment scene (1990)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWQD-SXHIcw

“You wont be able to see santa claus coming”

The head of a cyborg reactivates, rebuilds itself and goes on a violent rampage in a space marine’s girlfriend’s apartment. “Mark 13 is self-repairing capable of recharging its storage batteries with just about any powergrid including the sun.” Visionary postwar wasteland, AI, and grunge sci-fi gore…. Total cyberpunk

Fifth Element: Chinese Restaurant scene (1997)

On the lighter side of cyberpunk aesthetics and imagery: a flying Chinese restaurant complete with a lovely scale of the city after Bruce’s lunch.

Honourable Mention: Elysium (2013)

Pretty much everything about this film is cyberpunk!

Methlab 2 is out May 20 featuring Billain, Rawtekk, Current Value, Optiv & CZA, Disprove, Signal & Audeka, Kursa & Faek, Machine Code and more. Pre-order now.

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