SONG: Low Orbit Ion Cannon (a penitential Emperor X cover)


“Low Orbit Ion Cannon” (a penitential Emperor X cover) [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: This isn’t based on any research; it’s a cover of an Emperor X song recorded for missing the monthly deadline on an original song for May 2024.

ABSTRACT: This is a song about computers, and it delights me. I have no idea how I missed the Emperor X train for so long, and owe a debt of gratitude to tropdust on Tumblr for hipping me to his jive. Lo-fi singer, acoustic with digital blips, the occasional polyrhythm, has lyrics about “cobalt belts” and “utopian ethnostates.” Whatever genre I am, I think he is too. And he’s been doing this for more than a decade – wild! He is constantly touring, so has better chops than I do, I will admit freely.

This song is about Anonymous and software that crowdsourced denial-of-service attacks, bringing down websites by overwhelming them with too many greetings. Hello. Hello. Hello. You can google “LOIC” and find a lot more about how it worked (or works) and some of the specifics that must have inspired the song. The phonetic resemblance between “Hello, I see” and “LOIC” is a pretty great realization.

I recorded it in a very quick at dirty way, with a guitar that wasn’t being picked up properly by the mic (either a cable or spacing issue, most likely), and then lots of lo-fi layers. There’s actually a track in there that sounds like a guitar being fingerpicked but is actually a qin SoundFont. Someday, I think I’d like to learn to play qin – it’s a classical Chinese slide guitar, basically.

There’s a game being played between a slow chord progression and a dat-dat-dat-dat fast beat hiding under it, which is a game that first clicked for me while playing with a talented drummer who just improvised something with a lot of 16th notes under a mournful Police cover I was singing in a coffee house. The feeling is sort of one of plaintiveness covering a rising swell of panic, which is also how a DDOS attack works – websites want to be clicked on, they want to attract viewers, and yet too many all at once is a perfect way to bring them down. Hi. Here I am. THere arE TOO MANY OF YOU!

There’s also something very period-specific about burying your face in a girl’s sweater to get that wistful smell and coming up with a face full of atropine. That is, among other things, an antidote for nerve gas. Whatever she was doing, some nefarious state actors didn’t want her there.

The thing I wonder now is if the revolution is ongoing….


Anonymous claimed to catch us pinning our necks down
We uprooted the ancillary wiring downtown
So we could say hello, hello, hello, hello

We tracked the signal to noise
Controlling every electron
“Don’t turn the bolt in the door: The heating element’s left on”
“You’re nice to me
Who are you?”

And we fell asleep reading Crimethinc
And awoke in a crime scene
Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello
Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello

I put my face on the desk into the sweater she slept on
And though the fabric was soft, it was recently rained on
With her atropine

“How are you?”

We were guards and we loved it
And we scorned the republic
To come back from Nebraska
“Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?
Hello? Hello? Hello?
Where are you?
Where are you?
Where are you?”



Hello, hello, hello, hello
Hello, hello, hello, hello