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by Irrealis

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Irrealis is a project built on thought; it is the praxis of driving basslines, dark synths, haunting guitars and critical philosophy.


released August 25, 2018

Language is the foundation of cooperation, and the realis/irrealis dichotomy focuses on state of being as either factual or not. We use language to create social worlds in which we can either bring people together or tear them apart; we can connect others to social capital to empower them or we can disconnect them from the resources they may desperately need. Irrealis is the mode of communicating where a certain situation, belief or action is not known to have happened; a speculation that a state of being is not yet fact or has not yet occurred. While all human cultures have the ability to communicate, not all individual communicators engage in meaning-making communication. If meaning making refers to the process of exploring what agents do not yet know, then meaning making refers to agents communicating about, exploring or negotiating what they as a collective take as provable fact (realis) and that which may exist but is not yet known (Irrealis). What is it that you want to bring into existence via communication, exploration or negotiation?

This project is about conversation as an active and ongoing unlearning of what you think you already know. It is about reifying new ideas, or bringing them into existence through dialogue. It is the rejection of behavior that forces others to use only your words, to play solely by your rules, or value only what you already have. Where colonization is the forced simplification of complex strategies and the destabilization of problem-solving networks, resilience is the reintroduction of problem-solving resources. It is the inclusion of previously dispossessed voice into conversational spaces; particularly those which are educational, academic and scientific, and those that involve health research, human and social capital development, and all manner of social, political and economic negotiation. This idea melds well with critical theory and critical discourse analysis, non-zero cooperation studies and complexity theory. The latter, in particular, because emergence of equality depends on equitable distribution of ideation and mediation tools; a foundational idea is that a system that affects a diverse group that is not built on a set of values that the entire group can agree on (one that all agents have given input into and established an interest in) will eventually fall apart. What perturbations should be explored, and who should be invited to participate? What systems does the collective want to dismantle?

Systems fall apart even faster where they are under increasing pressure, where they are faced with increasing entropy/decreasing congruence with their fitness landscapes. The only way to ensure the group's identity can survive is to create an arena where all ideas are considered, so systemic changes that follow can accommodate concerns from all involved—otherwise stressors push "I and Thou" to "Us and Them", and a major perturbation can tip the power differential all the way to "Us Versus Them". If ideas from diverse groups are the foundation, the system is less likely to be torn apart by competing sets of values. In short; stop telling people they don't get a say. Stop telling others that are different that they are wrong. Stop telling daughters to tolerate annoying boys. Stop expecting mothers to pay for wars with their sons’ and daughters’ lives. Stop using words to dis-member others. Stop tearing down the unspecified other. Stop forcing music into predictable patterns. Stop telling girls they can't play rock. Stop telling Indigenous artists they only get to play ancient instruments. Start interacting. Start learning. Start with science, then sing, then scream when necessary to preserve your identity. What algorithms can you code without knowing they exist?

A conversation brings perspectives into discourse>a choir brings voices together in harmony>a band brings percussion and leads into music>Irrealis brings music into critical discussions>criticality and dialogue bring us to stable patterns.

We do not yet know if resilience exists… We do not yet know if diverse values can unite us… We do not yet know if our discussions today will lead to deeper connections tomorrow... But we still talk, and we connect through music, we will sing, we will split the drumheads, we will break the technical reverb springs, we will blow fuses and we will drive the amps to feedback. Irrealis believes deep and meaningful communication is the only means to alleviate the tension arising from an increasingly connected and increasingly diverse group. Irrealis is a music project that forces listeners to think. Irrealis is Indigenous. Irrealis is anti-colonization. Irrealis is anti-facist/authoritarian. Irrealisis post-hardcore. Irrealis is xstraightedgex. Irrealis is emergence. Irrealis is driving synths, haunting guitars and the power to shift important conversations through music.

Cover Photo by Josie.

All music and media Copyright Christopher Horsethief 2018.


all rights reserved



Irrealis Spokane, Washington

Christopher Horsethief is a musician and professor, who's interests and activities have spanned punk, hardcore, metal, straightedge, Indigenous, ceremonial and electronic music. His paramount mission is simple; the idea is change, and the mode is music. ... more

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