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Acetone 4

2020 Year In Review: Acetone 4


No, this isn’t the headline from a recent Weekly World News cover story but instead a legit National Geographic headline posted online two days ago. The mysterious radio signal in question was detected by an organization called Breakthrough Listen, a project with $100 million in funding that’s taken on the task of monitoring over a million stars for radio or laser transmissions. The signal appears to originate from Proxima Centauri which is the star nearest to our very own sun and that happens to have two planets in its own orbit, one of which, known as Planet B, resembles Earth with its rocky surfaces, temperate environment, and extensive network of Wawa franchises (ok, I made that last part up). This transmission has been labelled BLC-1.

The band: Acetone 4. The band’s music: A bit mysterious, more than a bit mesmeric. The band’s identity: Even more mysterious. The music of Acetone 4 sounds like it’s been beamed to this planet from across the universe, and it’s my working hypothesis that this is in fact precisely the case. In other words, BLC-1 equals Acetone 4. A transmission from the satellite heart. A sad, sexy satellite heart. Acetone 4 have released two songs thus far alongside a couple photos posted on Instagram and Bandcamp: one ghostly, blown-out Polaroid of the band in humanoid form (see above) and one other spectral image. And that’s it. Otherwise there’s no names attached and no other information or explanation of any kind provided. So yes, this is obviously the work of extraterrestrials attempting to utilize our primitive social media to reach out to the cosmos. 

The first song to be shot out into the ether by Acetone 4 is called “Linden Hill.” This is a name of the neighborhood in Queens where the Proxima Centaurians clearly plan to set up their first base of operation. The track opens with the sound of an interstellar beacon sending out a scratchy, repeated distress signal. A few seconds later they wisely add a guitar melody to help keep the humans’ attention and next there’s some droney, pulsating synth and a thumping beat accompanied by a female voice simulator unit that appears to be singing in English, but the words are mostly indecipherable. All the while you can hear the Proxima Centaurians in the background working on emergency spacecraft repairs with little bleeps and bloops echoing into the vastness of space. This transmission was received on 17 August of this year and its proceeds benefit the Sex Workers Outreach Program of Brooklyn in solidarity with misunderstood and demonized "Others" across all dimensions.

The second and most recent transmission was received on 5 September 2020. The Proxima Centaurians are clearly beginning to get a better grasp of our modes of communication and psychological points of entry. The track "PSR" (mysterious acronyms!) kicks in straight away with a slinky beat that’s likely to prick up the ears of most homo sapiens and to lead many of them to look up some Internet porn. Then there's some garbled alien communication not unlike the sounds of truckers on their CB radios to our human ears. Enter the female voice simulator unit again saying something along the lines of “Trying to pull together / reflect in a dream” followed by “call / response / no answer” which aptly summarizes our collective failure to establish contact. From here the voice unit repeats a sort of stressed-out mantra declaring “insomnia / no dreams” and it’s obvious the Proxima Centaurians are getting to better understand this planet and our current precarious situation. Whether this will all result in them wanting to help us out, or to get the hell out of Dodge, remains to be seen.


Here’s hoping that Acetone 4 reestablishes contact in 2021. It may be our only hope. (Jason Lee)


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