‘Face first in the entangled’ is Infant’s illustration of the “organic internet” between different lifeforms built by mushrooms. These mycological structures see wild fungi coordinating and operating in a decentralized yet organized fashion, leading to dramatic ‘social changes’ without the need for leaders. The music follows a similar path, with Detroit-based Patrick Miller working over a year-and-a-half to forge a mimic of such systems, eschewing lead elements in favor of co-mingling patches of sound.
The role of composer is reframed here, Infant regressing to a more passive position as listener within the chain that led to the dense and untamed beauty of ‘face first in the entangled’. The process turned crude granular synth freeware into showering spores, vocal improvisations into near-unrecognisable murmurs, and field recordings and drum programmes into a distant pulse. The sonic elements at play swim around one and other and freely-associate, forming “micro-dramas” as the artist puts it, with each element playing a different, mutating part. The networked tangle of sounds adheres to its own inner-logic, pricking the sonic field, turning composted samples into a blooming forest floor littered with unexpected moments of shimmering denouement.
The work was inspired by writers like Ursula K. Le Guin or Anna Tsing, both of whom sought to reject traditional hero narratives. The latter’s “The Mushroom at the end of the World” describes the foraging of prized matsutake mushrooms on forest floors worldwide, untamable by humans, and reliant on its symbiotic relationship with tree roots. The symbiosis of sounds Infant captures on ‘face first in the entangled’ reflects such organic structures, where the world is forged by an unknowable network of biological processes, rather than any one being.