August 12, 2004

Hyper C update - The Age of Babalu


For previous signal, look here and here here

Hyperdub’s softwar agents have been roaming street markets in south London hunting for cds rumoured to contain audio recordings of the infamous, if almost completely forgotten, Hyper C audio syndicate. It’s a strange irony/coincidence that they should be forgotten considering the unmitigated virulence of their communiqués, the sheer infectious of their encrypted rhythmic pronouncements. Recordings so far have turned up in bashment street stalls in Brixton market, next to the open fronted Chinese supermarket with the fluorescent fish nestled in beds of ice and swarms of flies. Another mixtape was purchased from a music stall on East street market, just off the Walworth Road which connect Elephant & Castle to Camberwell. But the most intriguing find so far wasn’t bought off a seller of music but instead from a shop in Brixton market called the Natural Fragrance Company, a vendor of a myriad of pungent aromas (candles or aerosol) commonly used in the syncretic practices of African and Latin American women, and thought to bring fertility, money, and cast out the evil spirits.


‘The Age of Babalu’ was scrawled on the front cover of the cd, with a spiral diagram annotated in Spanish on the back. . .

The text clearly alludes to the Yoruba god of epidemics, Babalu. Babalu is honored in the Santerian festival of Babaluaiye. This orisha is known to punish the results or diseases of overindulgence and excess, demanding moderation and humility in all things. Babalu, allegedly, is the wrath of the earth and will punish those that disrespect it. He is associated with both with inoculation and immunization, providing the means to cure disease or cause it. His color is royal purple, and he is identified with people who have broken or missing limbs, derelicts, beggars, and with those who have been abandoned and forgotten by society.


Babalu was said to punish people with smallpox, leprosy and other viral afflictions, but was also said to bring premonitions of epidermal and abdominal maladies. Some believed that disease could be provoked by naming an enemy while placing an article of clothing on Babalu’s altar, but this was unverified and regarded as evil disinformation by many experts as the aim of the cult who worshiped the demon aimed to prevent the spread of smallpox. It has always been thought that it was dangerous to say his name, so much so that Nigerian colonial authorities banned worship of the god in 1917. Babalu , it has also been noted, is the demonic personification of that audio virus Ishmael Reed termed jes grew in his classic of rhythmic epidemiology, Mumbo Jumbo.

Anyway, back to the cd. . . it was, at least according to the Softwar agent who uncovered it, completely blank. This particular agent, who we will not name for just now, has a patchy track record – she has been known to keep her best findings for her own archive, and has, on more that one occasion, been caught selling priceless Hyper C 7 inch vinyl on E-bay. Anyway the silence on the cd could be misleading. Hyper C, it has been noted, has a history of infrasonic (sub 20Hz) recordings which can only be reproduced on a sound system with the capability of responding to such very low frequency oscillations.

Some internet research into the acoustic epidemiology of Croatian academic Ernst Peiter Demic suggests that Hyper C’s relation to the Babalu orisha is complex. While much of the discourse in the West surrounding Babablu uses it to understand the relationship between the African diaspora to the HIV pandemic, Hyper C have referred to their own microbial transactions as the HYB virus. Prof. Demic has, in his as yet untranslated text, “Exorcise the Demons: a Study in Sonic Mneumonics” developed a theory of ‘rhythmic engrams’ to understand the infection and transmission protocols of audio viruses and sonic symbiosis associated with sects such as Hyper C. Demic locates our aquatic ancestry vibrating as a nanolevel trauma folded into the body, quantum ticks which manifest themselves in times of saline deficiency as a stomach convulsion compelled dance. Demic’s analysis of contemporary undercurrents of hyperrhythm activism, and the array of ingestives associated with them, is that dangerous attempts are being made to nurture these nanobugs, unravelling the vertical, terrestrial architecture of the body via an epileptic tidal wave of rhythmic contagion. . .

Posted by steve hyperdub at August 12, 2004 12:03 PM




'Is' the second image Babalu? ('Is' here, of course, to be taken strictly in the Clintonian sense)
Any idea about the relation of Babalu to Bubbamu (of the Black Atlantean Aquassassins)?
And Babylon?

Posted by: ccru shanghai at August 12, 2004 12:48 PM



yes. . .our source suggests that it is an image of Babulu. . .many images we've come across feature some bloke on crutches, obviously struct down by some plague, with a lizard type creature lurking in the background

hmm. . .got a hunch that to understand Bubbamu, you have to process Babalu and Yemanja together. . .

Posted by: steve_hyperdub at August 12, 2004 01:04 PM




A very interesting post ... Is Babalu the African twin of Pazuzu (the droning noise of Pazuzu is frequently mistaken for desert winds [sedam, ro’af, romad] or the silence before locust-swarm cataclysm ... think it has some powerful viro-sonic elements)?

Is anyone here interested in writing a piece on Pazuzu?

Posted by: Reza at August 12, 2004 05:56 PM



'strictly in the Clintonian sense' lol

Posted by: mark at August 12, 2004 10:49 PM



If Yemanja likes 'perfume, mirrors, combs, and watermelon', what does Babalu like?

Also do you know how old Hyper-C is? When was it established?

do you have another source on Pazuzu other than the exorcist

Posted by: nick at August 13, 2004 01:23 AM



that last post was from me

Posted by: anna at August 13, 2004 01:24 AM



Nick, do you mean a hyperstitional / fictional source? (Pazuzu in popular culture:

I’ve a long essay on Pazuzu (written as a part of an article on the Mesopotamian archeology) ... if you are interested, I can cut it into small pieces, appropriate for this blog.

What about you ... what do you think about Pazuzu?

Posted by: Reza at August 13, 2004 01:09 PM



Hmmmm, Babalu... one of those names too loaded with apparent references and signifiers to trust... but here's my 2cents of speculation: wonder if there's a link here to Babalon, a key deity / spirit in Thelema?

Growth comes through being prepared to expose weakness to others, with the increasing awareness of the need to relinquish self-control at appropriate times, allowing yourself to be hurt rather than always having to be seen to be 'in control' of the situation. Therefore Babalon is equivalent to the power or ability to relinquish the ego - to transcend our self-forged fetters and embrace that which is 'more than we are'.

Article on invoking Bablon here

Posted by: paul "bone thugz and armoury" meme at August 15, 2004 04:29 PM



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