Letters from Somnolescent

 

November 20, 2021

Hiraeth

caby

Hi! Bet you forgot this blog even existed. I personally haven’t posted on here in a long, long time. But I had a bit of a rant about a word, and I think it deserves a spot on the blog.

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July 29, 2021

Nostalgia vs. Wistfulness vs. A Productive View of the Past

mariteaux

I’m not really a nostalgic person. I don’t tend to look back at the things I’ve been through or the experiences I’ve had very positively. I’m a much happier person than I used to be. I have better friends now. I have the skills to take on what I want to now, or I’m rapidly developing them. I’ve taken my first stabs at proper digital art recently. I don’t have much reason to be properly nostalgic.

Of course, when you’re dealing in the kinds of things Somnolescent does–hand-built websites, vintage computers, analog aesthetics, 90’s period pieces–there comes with it the assumption that this is all based on nostalgia, or more often “false” nostalgia. It’s not hard to find 14-year-olds who fixate on cassettes, fixate on VHS tapes, or in its most artificial form, are in love with the “vaporwave” thing. Of course, they weren’t around to see those things when they were in vogue, and overall, it can be a bit of a joke.

False nostalgia is misguided, but I don’t think misplaced. Here’s a bit of a meditation on where nostalgia ends, wistfulness begins, why the young folks get swept up in it, and the more practical side of bringing the past with you.

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June 30, 2021

Spring 2021 — A Change of Pace

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Yeah, been a bit, hasn’t it? I was pretty good for over a year about doing these on a monthly basis, but so far this year, I’ve skipped the first three months! What madness! I can’t handle such out of left field changes to my schedule, Cammy…

Too bad, because now, they’ve gone seasonal. Click along, I’ll explain why, and then we, well, recap! Got three months to go through and about 3,000 words and Lord knows how many pictures. It’s a work-in-progress, yeah?


June 24, 2021

The Absurd Netherworld of Internet Archive Tape Transfers

mariteaux

A sampling of the Internet Archive's batch of cassette transfers

For a period of time after Sound of Dentage’s release, I was pretty keen on digging through archive.org’s Cassette Audio section to see what strange, forgotten things I can find. It’s ostensibly only non-copyrighted audio, but that’s a crock of shit. The flood of content makes policing it with anything other than automated bots a non-starter. And even then, I think the Internet Archive is too busy with me wgetting Somnolescent’s old sites to run them.

In any event, I found something rather fascinating, and the kind of collection that no one but me would be interested in: over 1,300 amateur-recorded cassette tapes, transferred and stored in lossless. We’re not simply talking releases (though there’s tons in there). We’re not just talking demos (though they’re in there too–everyone from Dave Grohl to Coheed and Cambria to Juicy J). In a lot of cases, we’re talking mixtapes. Often recorded off the radio mixtapes! (And nature sounds. That’s what 90s kids did for their ASMR.)

Now, invariably, a lot of this is probably just noise and ambient stuff, same sorta thing that has always flooded the avant-garde experimental underground scene, same stuff the netlabels put out now, and the same stuff I’m not really interested in. However, the hand-dubbed tapes? Are where, well, strangeness lies. I’ve picked out three amateur ones for us to go through, recorded from various sources by regular people on cheap equipment. Download links are provided for each.

Tags: 70s, music, technology,

June 10, 2021

How Do the Somnolians Organize Their Desktops?

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We at Somnolescent love old desktops. Not the fresh, factory Windows installs all the retrocomputing channels show off, but lived-in little portraits of someone else’s workspace from long, long ago. Whether it be DeviantART submissions showing off someone’s new, custom wallpaper or classic speedpaints with desktops and MSN Messenger windows incidentally in the background, we love seeing them and we post them in our Discords all the time.

The gradual move back to our chunky old PCs got us thinking about our own desktops and how they stack up to the workspaces of old, and honestly, to each other’s. As such, have a compilation of screenshots and a whole bunch of rambles about how we get around our machines and how we keep things organized (or not). Click the images for full-sized, lossless screenshots if you wanna peek at all our icons.

Tags: anime, art, technology,

May 31, 2021

Zip Drives!

mon

It’s time for a pretty short blog post from me, mon! Made from an outline that I’ve had sitting around since almost a YEAR ago.

It’s well-known that I own a good bit of old Apple computers at this point. But along with the large-ish collection that I own, I also own a small collection of peripherals and accessories. I think the most notable out of these would be my two Zip Drives…


April 8, 2021

Somnolescent Radio: Spring 2021

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A return to those magical posts about what we’re all listening to? It must be spring! Devon suggested bringing it back, and given how another person means an even wider array of genres to choose from (plus more of a chance for anyone with a bad case of shyness to sit one out–no judge, it happens), it only made sense. Excuse me while I remember how these are formatted…


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