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HDLSS (pronounced Headless) is a “nocturnal pop” duo from Ridgewood, NY, consisting of Far and Wolfy. Selections from DUMB is the new mini-album the band is releasing in June—their 1st release since going on hiatus in 2012 and changing their name from Headless Horseman (formerly on Greedhead Entertainment).
The mini-album was recorded/produced by HDLSS and mastered by Yale Yng-Wong (Grizzly Bear, Chairlift) and Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts). As an introduction to the release, HDLSS presents the first single, “False Flag,” listen now via The FADER.
At its heart, “False Flag” is a song celebrating the hope that it is possible to inhabit relative truths and think independently in a fractured post-truth era. “The impetus for the song was to celebrate people who take risks and remain fiercely autonomous, like hackers and whistleblowers: true modern day superheroes”.
“False Flag” is written from the POV of someone taking steps towards becoming a whistleblower and raising false flags. On cultivating that perspective, Far says that, “Conspiracy theories and false flags are helpful to consider, because whether they are true isn’t necessarily important, but rather that they provoke questions and expand the narrative. I’ll say that some of these theories are pretty absurd, but often the truth is just as absurd.”
Embracing the multiplicity of truth and inhabiting as many POVs as possible is our best hope to increase empathy, as truth is an amalgam of perspectives. For Far, as a Muslim, this is a guiding principle to avoid feeling jaded, because witnessing the demonization of Muslims everyday gets tough. The same could be said for any minority or disenfranchised person, due to institutionalized racism and other forms of oppression. Any defeat of groupthink is worth celebrating. Appropriately, the chorus declares, “I haven’t lost my point of view/I haven’t lost my sense of truth.”
The artwork for the “False Flag” single satirizes groupthink ideology, as it depicts a model for a machine—The Subjectivity Aggregator— that can do the impossible: produce objective unified truths by collecting every possible POV and reconcile their differences using algorithms.
Wouldn’t it be great if a machine could just tell you once and for all if JFK’s fatal shot did indeed cause his head to move back and to the left, or if Sharia law is “creeping” into this country? But, of course, such easy answers don’t exist. Finding the truth takes work.
The B-side “Bystander Effect” inhabits an apathetic perspective, providing a flip side to the hope that “False Flag” depicts. Witnessing fake news, sponsored articles and alternative facts everyday, without the time or energy to sift through thousands of Wikileaks or FOIA the government for the facts, it’s easy to feel like an bystander who is complicit, numb—or indeed, dumb. The lyric, “I stay curled/trapped by screens”, describes a world where experiencing life via screens invites self obsession and alienation.
Far says, “As we become digital architects of reality, that carefully curate profiles, images and worlds very far from what is physically real, apathy blossoms as guilt wilts away. After a while, things stop knocking at your door that you don’t want to answer.”
“Bystander Effect” and “False Flag” present two opposing responses to the same dilemma, one that is present everyday: be complicit or be active. Which will you choose?
A) False Flag
B) Bystander Effect
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