[6x] is the best buy of any 2013 release to date. After spending a couple of evenings exploring the wormholes and crannies of the DVDs and listening to the music on the accompanying data disc, I feel as if I’ve only opened the outer doors. Is this set really only $12? Apparently so ~ and what a bargain.
0011011001111000 is no ordinary artist, as we established when approaching his last release, ⌨. Try Googling the title ~ there’s no key with that symbol! It’s clear that the artist prefers to do things in an unconventional way. Such is the nature of the new release as well. [6x] is like a snuff film, a haunted house, and an elaborate novel (Night Film or House of Leaves) all rolled up in one. The “mature audiences” label is appropriate due to the occasional violent or pornographic image, but for the most part the warning reflects the disturbing nature of the juxtapositions: cartoons, vintage advertisements, quaint photographs and otherwise benign snippets are blended with the sinister. The rating mirrors that of the film The Conjuring, which earned its “R” not with sex or gore, but by being “extremely scary”. In other words, this is the real thing.
Unlocking the mysteries of the DVD hearkens back to the early days of video, when one was never sure if the dead ends and loops were intentional. Sometimes the screen responds to specific keys, while other times it remains still. Pressing random keys can lead to random results (but good luck remembering what you pressed). The second disc can only be unlocked by using a code from the first ~ reminiscent of Myst. Room after room awaits. Multiple short-looped videos are present, especially on the first disc, where changing channels is like surfing through a coven’s cable network. The most effective of these loop without stopping, so one is never sure where they end. (Ironically, each disc contains a section that says, “The End”, without ending!) While these images seem to have no rhyme or reason, they begin to make sense as one becomes immersed. But then one imagines typing pages of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, and starts to think of pressing the exit button. That is, if one can find it. Uh-oh.
As an aural being, I am particularly drawn to the radio dial on the second disc, which leads one from station to station. In like fashion, the accompanying data disc contains over 200 tracks, ranging from a few seconds to nearly half an hour in length. It’s hard to listen to so many short tracks in a row, so for music, one is directed to the final six files, featured on Bandcamp and at the bottom of this page. As before, a warning is attached, as these tracks can shake off their hauntological restraints in a split second, erupting without warning into woofer-shredding extremes. Buried frequencies, static folds, sampled voices, cold winds and electronic feedback create a warp in perception; one feels the spirit world rushing in. Once the laptop is closed, the television is off and the discs have been returned to their cases, one wonders if the forces unleashed by [6x] are still in the house. It’s a deliciously unsettling feeling, even if one finds the curtains moving on their own accord. (Richard Allen)