Information is like a bank, our job is to rob the bank
F.M. discovers that different sonic frequencies induce different patterns of behaviour in listeners, first in his own studio but later in the local “H-Burger” restaurant where the passive muzak appears to be wiping people’s emotions.
It doesn’t get any more arty or punk than the singularly named Muscha’s Decoder from 1984. This West German film blends themes from George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, 1984, and the writings of counterculture icon William S. Burroughs in a proto-cyberpunk milkshake laced with aggressively anticorporate messaging. Not for the faint of heart, this piece’s more repulsive moments may compel some viewers to discard it all together.
Industrial musician FM Einheit (Hunting the Zodiac 2003) plays a version of himself in Decoder, the disaffected audio artist FM. Disgusted by his peers’ willingness to participate in mainstream culture in the form of getting jobs at corporate/fascist burger chain, H Burger, he gets the idea of psychologically manipulating people whilst pondering the intentions of the fast food restaurant’s use of Muzak. Once he figures out a method to subvert the calming tendencies of the music, he starts leaving tape recorders that play his carefully concocted sonic disruptions at H Burger, McDonald’s, and Burger King locations throughout Hamburg. The resulting unrest and violent illness is captured on security footage, and so FM is noticed by the corporate illuminati comprised of H Burger’s upper management, Muzak manufacturers, and other menacing stuffed shirts.
Eventually, FM’s activities lead to rioting in the streets as his squadron of noise pirates attempts to disrupt the societal status quo.