“Roko’s basilisk is a thought experiment about the potential risks involved in developing artificial intelligence. The premise is that an all-powerful artificial intelligence from the future could retroactively punish those who did not help bring about its existence, including those who merely knew about the possible development of such a being. It resembles a futurist version of Pascal’s wager, in that it suggests people should weigh possible punishment versus reward and as a result accept particular singularitarian ideas or financially support their development. It is named after the member of the rationalist community LessWrong who first publicly described it, though he did not originate it or the underlying ideas.“
In layman’s term, Roko’s Basilisk asks: “what if a giant computer from the future travels back in time to punish its enemies, Terminator style?” It’s an odd concept for a post-rock track but, then again, Town Portal have never played exactly by the rules; ever since we stumbled upon the band a few years ago, we’ve reveled in their unique sound and penchant for breaking the barriers of what post-rock can do. Their new track, off of the upcoming and highly anticipated album, Of Violence, is no different, running the gamut between chill groove, kept moving by an unrelenting bass tone, and a Meshuggah-esque riff at the center, bleeding hot, molten impact. It belies the album’s cover art well, erupting like so much lava from a more dormant, earth-y structure, spewing its scorching aggression everywhere before the brass instruments and off-kilter guitars can take over and usher the track into its spectacular death throes.
The last part of the equation here is the masterful production work by one Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City), picking out every note, strum, and vibe from this track and presenting it to our ears with crystal clarity. The end result is yet another escapade into the farther reaches of post-rock from the masters of such experimentation, as “Roko’s Basilisk” pushes the lengths they’re willing to go to find good music even further than before. We’re proud to premiere this track in full right below and to let you know that Of Violence releases on April 5th of this year, via the wonderful Small Pond Records. Head on down below to the band’s Bandcamp page to pre-order it; the odds of you regretting it are non-existent.