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vN, I’m Dreaming of a White Noise Christmas, Memotone

Read: Madeline Ashby – vN
Ashby’s debut novel is the best examination of and dramatisation of artificial intelligence that I’ve read in a long time. Amy is a vN – an android, living with her vN mother and human (step)father. Like the Von Neumann machines they’re named for, vNs are self-replicating machines, developed with full-blown personalities by a Christian cult convinced the rapture is approaching and the non-saved will need all the help they can get. This is just one of the slyly humourous elements in this very smart, thought-provoking novel. It’s got enough cute references to AIs in film and fiction to keep the trainspotters happy, and enough thoughts about the nature of consciousness and the future of society to keep the hard SF fans very pleased indeed. Those contemplative sequences sit within a narrative that actually rolls along at breakneck pace from nearly the beginning: at a school function, Amy’s grandmother shows up and begins attacking the attendants. Amy doesn’t hesitate in coming to their defense: she eats her grandmother alive. And for the rest of the book, she struggles with her now-internalised progenitor’s broken ethics while discovering, with us, more and more about how her world works.

Watch: 65daysostatic – I’m Dreaming of a White Noise Christmas
Every time. I do this every time. I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll do a lolly bag, love to!” and then I realise I never watch anything. I wish I did, but the last movie I saw was the last one lollybagged and I hardly ever get to watch TV. So it’s a cheat again – it’s a music selection, but I love love this video. 65daysofstatic make an incendiary brand of instrumental music: postrock guitar rage meets breakcore and techno, glitchy studio production meets slamming live performance, and they’re bringing their live show to Oz for the first time in January.
They were also infamous for their mashups in the early years, and this masterfully combines Christina Aguilera with their own riffs and drill’n’bass beats, further mashed in the video with footage from the movie Trading Places to create something strangely moving.

You can download a higher quality video from

Listen: Memotone
I think William Yates aka Memotone might just be my artist of the year. A beatsmith of great talent, he’s also a fine pianist, and strings, woodwind and even occasional vocals appear in his arrangements along with intimately-recorded audio concrète. It’s fantastic to hear clattery r’n’b-influenced beats, post-dubstep rhythms and bass perfectly occupying the same space as sparse, sensitive classical arrangements and leftfield pop.
Try the closing track from his recent Hands EP:


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