Megalophobe offers drones for mourning on Music for Resistance Fantasies | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Music » Music Review

Megalophobe offers drones for mourning on Music for Resistance Fantasies


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Though it came out in mid-December, too late to make most “best of 2020” lists, Megalophobe’s Music for Resistance Fantasies (Nefarious Industries) deserves to be remembered as one of the most iconic and painfully lovely summations of the year. Megalophobe is the New York-based solo project of Benjamin Levitt, and he recorded the album to accompany a dance performance choreographed by Marion Storm for the 2019 Brooklyn Exponential Festival. But released on its own more than a year later—without the dancers’ bodies to watch, and with many more bodies buried—Music for Resistance Fantasies feels like an overwhelming, droning eulogy. Its pulsing seems to flow into and out of time and mind, as if amplifiers have been installed in your forebrain. Levitt manipulates accordion sounds and his own chanting through delay and other effects, sometimes adding guitar, keyboard, or field recordings, and he clearly owes a debt to Pauline Oliveros’s ideas of deep listening—his compositions don’t so much develop as ooze in glacial flows. The political message here, at least to my ears and heart, isn’t a martial call to arms or even a simple plea for persistence. Instead, the music creates an ambient, oceanic sensation of grief that penetrates and obliterates the entire self at once. After a year of so many lies and so many haranguing demands for false toughness, music that provides no refuge from sadness is a gift—and yes, a form of resistance too.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment