Reflections / Lost Memories / Liquid Fantasy / Illegal Antenna
While there’s relative anonymity with the current crop of (some-retired) vaporwave musicians — mostly talking about New Dreams Ltd. (Macintosh Plus, 情報デスクVIRTUAL, Sacred Tapestry, etc.) and INTERNET CLUB (Datavis, ECCO UNLIMITED, ░▒▓新しいデラックスライフ▓▒░, etc.) — some of the originators of the sound (setting aside old man Daniel Lopatin’s Chuck Person/Sunset Corp project) remain entirely anonymous. For example, no one quite knows who’s behind Computer Dreams, an entity that also goes by Midnight Television and who had several releases in 2011, only to seemingly vanish from the internet (all links leading to any “official” page/account are long dead).
But before Computer Dreams existed an even more anonymous artist named 骨架的, who picked up where Chuck Person left/looped off back in 2010 with two full-length releases, Skeleton and Holograms. But is Computer Dreams maybe the same person as 骨架的? Are Computer Dreams and 骨架的 possibly friends? Or do they really have no idea who each other are? In the context of vaporwave and its aims to anonymously appropriate anonymous music (or to at least make pop feel in part more anonymous), it doesn’t really matter. And, to be honest, I don’t really feel like seeking out the answer via label Beer On The Rug or anyone else. But what’s particularly exciting is that, after over a year of silence, 骨架的 is suddenly back and releasing a shit-ton of music.
The first, Reflections, came in September, featuring a mix of chopped, screwed, and looped boardroom eccojams, shitty R&B/jazz/soft/soundtrack pop, and (in)disposable nostalgia tunes, plus a nearly eight-minute track, “Long Ride,” that I wish could play on forever. And already this month, 骨架的 has released three more full-length albums: Lost Memories (10/9), Liquid Fantasy (10/24), and Illegal Antenna (10/25), all of them recorded in 2011 and all of them available for whatever price you want.
I’ve made my way through each album straight through, and I recommend you do the same if you have the time/energy/interest/ears. But it’s a lot of material to tackle, so I’ve picked out my favorite track from each release to ease you in if you need it:
From Lost Memories:
From Liquid Fantasy:
From Illegal Antenna:
Anyone sick of vaporwave yet? Too bad. We expect plenty more releases from 骨架的 soon.
• 骨架的: http://soundcpu.bandcamp.com
Aim Low & Les Beyond
What is more thrilling than a high-speed boat chase? Answer: Rob Feulner creating a video for this collaboration between Montreal’s Aim Low & Les Beyond, featuring a high-speed boat chase (crosscut with some ducks). Seriously goosebump-raising greatness going on with these nine minutes; every single shot of this video is not only interesting and cool to look at, but also downright gripping. It’s the colors, the textures, how the natural composition of the shots in the source VHS videos are so vibrantly (and, to a degree, violently) accented with Feulner’s wax paper-layering style. But the music, yeah, the music is what’s got me clawing the arms of my easy chair like a nervous kitty here — rip-roaring guitars that swell and swell and swell as the action rises and the plot thickens, creeping with intimidating inertia, getting all up in the listener’s/watcher’s business while also psyching out the psyche in more subtle, subconscious ways at the same time.
Feulner’s They Live We Sleep Cassettes imprint is notorious for having rad releases thrown out in ridiculously short runs (like the measly 25 copies he printed of Acheron’s excellent debut tape last year). This Aim Low & Les Beyond tape carries a run of 32, so depending how quickly you can gather up your jaw once you’re through the video, you might want to get on this sucker quick.
“Oceans and Seas”
What do you get when you have a Teenage Sweater, a Blouse, and Wet Hair? I think it’s something like the Allison character in The Breakfast Club. You know, the weird one balancing out the five-way representation of 80s high school student bodies across the United States. Kind of strange. Kind of dreamy. Kind of drum machine.
Listen to “Oceans and Seas” below, and buy Teenage Sweater’s OK EP from These Are My Friends Records. It’s the kind of thing that belongs on cassette.
Giuseppe Ielasi / Enrico Malatesta
It’s overwhelming. Electroacoustic/acousmatic/gaussian/binaural/phantom organ/air conditioner pioneers Entr’acte have just simultaneously tossed out so many new releases that it’s difficult to know where to start. The only means to resolve this complex decision is to turn to my Metro horoscope, which tells me that I should consider listening to more Giuseppe Ielasi. It’s such a useful, UK-wide public-transport-based newspaper sometimes.
In this release, Ielasi is taking a well-earned break from battering flimsy sheets of innocent metal and is joined by percussionist Enrico Malatesta. True to the Entr’acte tradition, there aint a chord in the house — this joint is a back-to-roots, purist take on electroacoustic composition. Motors randomly generate scintillating noises as Malatesa finds amazing new ways to play cymbals. Rudimenti is out now on vacuum-packed CD, so follow your destiny and buy it.
WE ALL IN THE MATRIX [mixtape]
Holy shit. Wednesday. Hi. Fuck, can we just skip you? How about taking a half day? But damn, I made a commitment to blow smoke after work with some pals and then hit up Grams in the nursing home. Fresh the new WE ALL IN THE MATRIX mixtape from DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE (Alex Gray)? Yes, I can hang on that. As usual, the tracks, featuring “imagerevisions” of DJ Roc, 2 Chainz, Soulja Boy, etc., are real laxx while the digital age slithers throughout delicate melodies. And it’s almost an entire whisper. The whole mixtape. It’s as if he tryna treat this release with the fragility of a Wednesday. Keeping it real on the level. Ensuring it’s moving forward without harsh disruption or anticipation. It’s just here, y’all. Like a present afterthought. Something momentary and existent, but not as fleeting or shunned. It’s desired. And may just be desired every Wednesday for the rest of your life. Maybe.
• DJ/PURPLE/IMAGE: http://chanceimages.bandcamp.com
“Invasion,” from unhappybirthday’s new Crash Symbols tape, Sirup, sounds an awful lot like Future Islands covering some part of the Mega Man X soundtrack. And then I found out that unhappybirthday was actually from some little city in Germany, which explained why most of the song titles on the album were indiscernible to my US eyes. The whole tape is touched with that kind of downtuned 80s tiredness that was surely shaped in the basements of bored teenagers messing around with synthesizers and playing video games. Kind of sounds like when I lived in Iowa.
Listen to the whole tape below, buy it from Crash Symbols, and dust off the old Super Nintendo. You won’t regret any of it.
• Crash Symbols: http://crashsymbols.bandcamp.com