I first met Disrupt while escaping from Phil Spector’s tower of ultimate death and destruction that hung over the abyss at the end of the universe.
I was in a cell with Neil Cassady, unsure about where I was and who Neil was. I had met Neil minutes before, a grinning face in the darkness. For some reason, I felt I could trust him. Something around his eyes, the set of his shoulders.
Now you’ve turned up, he said, we should get the hell out of here.
Where are we? I asked. And, what do you mean ‘now you’ve turned up’?
I’ve been waiting here for about forty years. I’ve been hanging out. I knew you’d turn up sometime.
You choose to be here?
Not really, he said. I was captured just like you. This lot hate us fans, we undermine their power, their grasp of the human mind. They think they are all powerful, then we come along and show them just how powerful they aren’t.
Are you talking about Donovan? I was listening, I had no idea what the words meant.
Donovan is a puppet, joined Spector because he hated Dylan. A case of ‘my enemies enemy is my friend’. Spector uses him because he knows he has some power. Calls him his general. General of what? I don’t know. This isn’t a war fought in the way you’d think. There’s no armies, just sides, groups fighting for influence in the minds of humanity. It’s been going on for more than a century in linear time, but it’s a battle that has spilled into all dimensions, all timelines, all places where the human imagination finds itself wandering.
That might sound like an explanation to you, I said, but I’m over here thinking you just put a load of words together in the right order while giving me no concrete information at all. I am in a stone cell with a mad man. This is not how I was thinking today would go. I was going to buy a book.
Some minds are more influential than others, said Neil. Some are pure fans. Some have the power to shape the direction of the collective consciousness. You are a fan. This is a prison. We will escape. That’s all you need to know. We have forever to get this all sorted. Neil stood up. Now, he said, we need to get out of here.
I looked around the room. There were no doors, no windows. The whole was a stone cube lit by some unlocatable luminescence. I have no idea on two things, I said. The first is everything you just said, the second is how you expect us to get out of here.
Neil held up a small vial containing a dark liquid. With this, he said.
Are you trying to be cryptic? I asked. Because you are being very cryptic. Annoyingly cryptic. I want to punch you in the face cryptic. I want to take that cigar and press it against your eyeball cryptic.
That’s the spirit, said Neil. Now, stand back. He poured some of the liquid from the vial onto the floor. At times like this, you’d expect the floor to fizz, or fade away, or melt, or some other action that shows that the floor is being broken through. In this case, the liquid hit the floor and the floor wasn’t there anymore. Neil and I fell. We hit another stone floor, this one more open, a bit breezier.
We were in a vast space held in a tube. The bridge spanned the diameter of the circular cavern, each end disappearing into great, dark archways. Looking up gave me as much vertigo as looking down. Bridges upon bridges spanned the diameter and had the effect of looking at the spokes of a wheel. The cell we had fallen from was a boulder hung by great chains, one in a row that stretched the span of the bridge. The air was suffused with a reddish glow that emanated from the walls.
Fancy, I said.
Typical bad guy shit, said Neil. He doesn’t need all this space. He lives in a small apartment at the top of all this nonsense. This is for show. No point having a secret lair at the end of the universe that isn’t mighty in some way. Thing is, getting designers and architects of any note out here is nightmare. Spector’s just a kid with a Lego set. He’s a size guy rather than a nuance guy. Give me a pipe cleaner and some tissue paper and I can put together something more scary and compelling than this place.
I was feeling vertigo, nausea and it felt like one of my nostrils was blocked. I appreciate your appraisal, I said, but shouldn’t we be getting out of here?
We need to get one of these other cells open first, said Neil. This blood could get us out, but no telling where we would end up. We need a music maker.
That vial has blood in it? I asked.
You’re concentrating on the wrong part of what I said, said Neil. He flicked some of the blood from the vial at the bottom of the nearest cell and a man fell out, dazed, ragged, playing a Gameboy.
Neil, what you go and do that for? said the man. I was about to beat my high score on Tetris.
Hi Disrupt, said Neal, his tone changing to something less knowing, more friendly. We need out.
See you, then, said Disrupt.
We need you to get us out, said Neil. You do know where you are?
Spector’s tower, said Disrupt. It’s no big deal. I’ve only been in there 3 days. He said I’d be out in a week. It was only a minor infraction.
You’re out early, said Neil.
How about you get out without bothering me? said Disrupt.
We’re nulled in here. You were only nulled in the cell. We need your expertise.
Sounds about right for you, Neil, said Disrupt. Not that I’m complaining. Not that I care much, either. I like to stay neutral, that way I mostly get left alone. It’s my own fault for making those tracks with Soom T. Spector really hates her. He started pulling apart the Gameboy, adding a few buttons here, a couple of wires there. Alright, where we going?
Basic jump, non-fiction Earth, central timeline, someplace we can grab a decent bite to eat. Twentieth century would be preferable.
I know just the place, said Disrupt. He started twiddling the extra bits on the Gameboy and Echobombing from his album The Bass Has Left The Building(2009) started playing. The air shimmered, the bridge swayed, the cells above rocked on their chains. The bass rattled my teeth. Neil grinned. From above, a sound like a tidal wave hitting a city boomed down on us.
Hurry it up, said Neil to Disrupt. He could null this whole chamber. You got defensive riddims in that tune?
Way ahead of you, said Disrupt, seating over the Gameboy.
The noise above us grew louder. Looking up, the bridges furthest away were enveloped in a tentacled dark that was moving towards us, blocking everything above from sight, moving like smoke in reverse, snaking around bridges, consuming all as it came closer.
Disrupt! shouted Neil.
Got it, said Disrupt.
The black smoke pushed at us, reached for us, came within inches, but some force repelled it. The tower grew faint, like a radio detuning from a channel, hissing into static. We floated in a bubble of noise. The tower disappeared. There was road under our feet. Buildings around us. Sunshine. Pedestrians. Cars honked their horns.
Not bad, said Neil, slapping Disrupt on the back.
Don’t do that, said Disrupt.
Don’t mind him, I said to Disrupt, you did good back there. Not that I know what the hell you did.
I just saved your life, said Disrupt.
Thanks, I said, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Disrupt has a new album 'The Recreation Room' is out on the 03.10.2019 on the Zonedog label.