4 min read

Telex From MIDI City - VHS EDITION

glitchy image of the PSKI_BIOS HYPERWAREZ firmware bootscre

Hi there and welcome to The K.N.R.U. (Komoy Noise Research Unit). Thanks for signing up! Although this is officially the first post, the website was looking a bit empty so I brought over a few random things I wrote last year to make it look more inviting. You can read them at knru.polin.ski, if you're curious.

I intended to launch this project sooner, but I mostly spent January 2024 grappling with the fact that it was already January 2024. Plus I got an unlikely invitation to take part in something unexpected that I cannot talk about yet, but which took up an inordinate amount of time. More on that in the future.

And now somehow it is the end of February, which means that it has been a year since I released Telex From MIDI City. In the lead up to that record, Kalle at Data Airlines suggested that in addition to the vinyl release, it might be fun if we did a version on VHS. And so through the cooooold Berlin winter of 2022-2023 I spent a lot of hours huddled in front of a toasty computer making a video version of the album.

I decided to make the VHS version a small tribute to the Commodore Amiga crack screens I was so fond of in my early teens. I can still remember borrowing a floppy disc from a friend at school with the Spaceballs State of the Art Amiga demo on it and just watching it on my computer over and over again. I'd never seen anything like it before. (It still holds up!). But I was even more enamoured by the more utilitarian crack screens, where the hackers were less bothered about showing off their coding animation chops, more concerned with bragging about their l337 h4ck3r 5k1llz, having opaque, asynchronous arguments with other hackers, or posting mysterious international phone numbers where you could leave them messages. Crack screens were a window into a world that I found desperately cool but didn't know how to reach. In this way they are very similar to how I think about MIDI City, the utopian, unreachable place my record is both a product of and soundtrack to.

There were only about 50 copies of the VHS made. (At the time of writing there appears to still be four left because, let's be honest, who actually has the means to play a VHS tape these days? I've not even managed to watch it yet.)

And that means that almost nobody in the entire world has actually seen what is on the tape. And so, to celebrate a year of Telex existing in the wild, here it is in its full no-res, 4:3 glory on YouTube. If you bought the VHS - I hope you don't mind me sharing. At least you got a whole year of early access.

More Noise From MIDI City

I have finally finished the long-planned companion e.p to Telex... Or is it a mini-album? I don't really know the difference. Either way, it is six tracks long, runs to about 31 minutes, and comes from (and is therefore also a soundtrack to) the same place. It is arriving in the early spring, once again via Data Airlines. It will be available on 12 inch vinyl, which is currently in production. (No VHS this time.) A proper announcement will be coming soon. I am currently working on a video for the lead track which is a kind of evolution of the curious transmissions captured in the Distant Friend, I Love You! music video. So expect another pixel-y operating system from the world of MIDI City. Although this time, actually, it is not quite so fake? The pretend O.S that I made... kind of actually works. If I had infinite time to sink into these glitchy projects of mine, I would like to turn it into some kind of interactive, experimental, not-quite-a-game/noise fiction/generative music environment. A place to fully investigate the world of MIDI City. Maybe one day I still will. We shall see.

The K.N.R.U

This newsletter/blog/open-ended project has been a long time coming, although it doesn't really have a well-defined goal other than keeping me focussed, and because I want to share things I am interested in or working on in the hope that they might be useful or interesting to others. But that's enough, right? Likely themes:

  • Algorithmic/generative music systems.
  • Trying to establish a clear distinction between these human-made, intentional algorithmic/generative music systems and this infuriating A.I. 'art'/tech-bro/death-of-the-internet moment we're all currently suffering through.
  • All music being a kind of communism.
  • There's still a lot of things I want to get into about Telex From MIDI City, the forthcoming companion release, and the world-building/lore that exists around all that material.
  • Just, y'know, the general existential crisis of being alive in 2024.

I've not figured out if I can make comments work on this blog yet, but if you have any opinions or hot takes about what might be good topics for The K.N.R.U. then I'd be happy to hear about them. I guess you can reply to this email (?) if you like. Or find me on Mastodon if that's your thing. Or Instagram. I'm on Cohost too but probably don't DM me there because I'll forget to check it. (Can you even DM on Cohost?) I no longer use my Twitter account because that place is BAD NEWS and being free of it FEELS GOOD.

See you next time.