Natural Shine and Rapture: Sensational


In his song “Fine Wine,” from the Sensational meets Kouhei self-titled album, Sensational repeats “Doing it all the time. I got that taste like fine wine.” I think that this is a perfect description of this obscure artist’s addictive verbal flow. For one to truly appreciate the genius of Sensational, one must devote oneself to a steady diet of his work, but be warned, Sensational seeps into one’s pores and may cause a pleasant or disconcerting feeling of inebriation. You may lose balance.

It is not unusual to see depictions of religious television evangelists lose bodily control and begin speaking in tongues. In this state of obscene vocal possession, strange sounds pour out of the speaker’s mouth apparently being transmitted and controlled by supernatural forces from beyond. And, in Slavoj Zizek’s “The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (dir. Sophia Fiennes),” one can see his analysis of “The Exorcist” where he analyzes the terrifying dimension of the voice. “Voice is not an organic part of the human body. It is coming from somewhere in between your body” he says. When one listens to the flow of Sensational, one can hear something akin to possession, a voice emanating words from without, a voice off-balance, a pure voice. That is to say, it is as if Sensational, when flowing, taps into a rarely accessed dimension of the human voice, an altered state of vocal consciousness, in communication with an almost monstrous linguistic force.

I would argue that it is not necessarily the content of his rhymes that are engaging, but the way in which he flows them, his, as he mentions, “natural shine.” Interestingly, in Stanley Kubrick’s film “The Shining,” we find that one who ‘shines’ is one who is in contact with a different (and, terrifying) dimension of reality. That is, the boy of the film, Danny, experiences ‘shining’ in two ways. The first, a voice, the voice of as he says, his imaginary friend Tony who lives in his mouth. Secondly, he is in contact with this ‘shining,’ by a kind of paralysis of Being. His body is taken control of, he drools, sweats, shakes and even hallucinates. I think that Sensational’s repeated use of “natural shine” is akin to what young Danny in “The Shining” experiences, that is, a kind of possession of the voice, a teleportation of consciousness, a teleportation to a strange dimension of language. Moreover, one quickly notices the way Sensational produces his own voice on his albums. We find him distorted through reverb, delay or through his use of headphones as microphones.

To someone who has never tried wine, the taste may be startling, confusing and bitter. For the one who is a conneisseur, there is the acute awareness of the wine’s body, it’s smell, the way it sits in the mouth, the way it dissolves in the mouth, its aftertaste. I think it is wise to keep this in mind when approaching Sensational: once ingested, his “natural shine,” while perhaps uncomfortable at first, takes root and spreads as eyes become glazed and objects slowly melt away…one enters rapture.

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