This instrumental companion to the San Francisco electronic musician’s 2019 Album Weather is unfailingly mood-stabilizing and office-friendly, like a desktop screensaver of an ocean.
“Morale, like anything, is just another problem to be solved,” begins a chewy chapter in Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley, a memoir about the author’s time spent working in the neo-capitalist Platonic cave of San Francisco’s Silicon Valley. Heavy with the weight of corporate hubris, unchecked male ambition, and free nut mix, Wiener’s writing is an otherwise zippy babe-in-the-(Muir)-woods account, partway between a tell-all and a long piece of gonzo journalism, describing the dawn of the start-up bubble. Aside from detailing the morally ugly and aesthetically corny consequences of the Valley’s quick rise to becoming a living diorama of late-stage gentrification, the thrill of the book lies in watching a mass cultural movement assume a near-spiritual reverence for work. This is work as eternal pursuit of validation, work as shorthand for identity, work as a means for self-actualization and self-escape—work as a (if not the) justification for being alive at all. “They talked about achieving flow,” writes Wiener of her superiors, who RipStik gently around the office while taking conference calls and making insulting amounts of money, “a sustained state of mental absorption and joyful focus, like a runner’s high.”