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s.al – on the way out (tape series: A)

blame it on Paul Thompson October 28, 2014

I’m 22 and terrible at moving because I can never find boxes or fax numbers or rent money. Packing up and heading west (or West) is a coming-of-age template if you’re 40 or 17 or rich, but it’s mostly just a headache on loop. And maybe the logistical nightmares obscure the spiritual journey parts, but I don’t know and am too worried about my student loans to care.

s.al is better at this than I am. In “on the way out (tape series: A)”, the Wisconsin transplant goes full expat on his home, his security, his post-2000 camera equipment. The twelve-minute short is a stylistic tour de force, all VHS static and video game start screens and half-stoned framing. To the point: speaking aesthetically, “on the way out” is pretty stunning as a directorial debut.

But there’s something more fundamental at play. We put on socks and slide through empty rooms. We walk up endless staircases in ill-fitting Nikes. “on the way out” is never clumsy or broad, but the message is clear–these people are displaced, but that’s okay.

Backed by instrumentals of his own creation and featuring a litany of like- minded semi-Angelenos, “on the way out” is the truest formative tale, because it doesn’t worry about aphorisms or Big Truths or whether the utilities are included or if we should stop running three samplers and the Sega Genesis concurrently.

still able to run
to things, from things

we are always
some place

leveraging and being informed
by regions

hard to find the material
that makes up the bridges

in between

“on the way out”
ladles this substance

s.al’s loops breathe on it
and make it opaque, discernible

Falling in and out of sync with people
Poorly thought out and basically just gut
Being pulled through peoples lives and homes and backyards
As performers
Sometimes ornaments

There were the 2 cars
Then there was the 1 car and the 4 of us
Then there was the 3 of us where we didn’t belong
Then there was the 4 of us victorious
Then there was the 3 of us lamented
Then there was too many
There still is too many
We’re leaving again

A hot flopbed with bodies leaning everywhere. Bodies that belong to people who are rappers mostly, producers, artists. Hellfyreclub is here, Seshollowaterboyz is here, Penobscot is here, Thraxxhouse is here. What hours are kept here? All of them, in shifts.

Keep up with s.al on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp.