Some of the more interesting aspects of hypnagogic pop are the questions that the artists implicitly ask with their music. In many cases, these questions take the form of “what if” statements that ask what would happen if a particular musical fad or style was carried to its logical extreme and modernized. For example, the new single “Desert Driver” by Palm Highway Chase seems to be asking “What if the 80s film soundtracks of Vangelis, John Carpenter, and other like-minded composers were written for a film that only existed in the listener’s head?” Given the band’s history for penning soundtracks to imaginary Rocky films, the question isn’t too far off. Couple this with the Escape From New York-referencing artwork on the track’s SoundCloud page and things get interesting.
When listening to “Desert Driver,” I’m reminded of Olivia Tremor Control’s Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle; not in sound, but in intention. With this work, Palm Highway Chase take the “what if” notions that underlie their aesthetic and force the listener to participate in filling out the “unrealized film script” of their personal Escape From New York. Of course, their direct references to existent works highlight the oft-discussed role of memory in hypnagogic pop, which results in the end musical product being “new collective memories that incorporate parts of the old model but at the same time [shaped] into an entirely new creature.”
Palm Highway Chase’s debut record will be out sometime in the coming months via Spectrum Spools. Listen to “Desert Driver” below:
• Palm Highway Chase: http://www.palmhighwaychase.bandcamp.com
• Spectrum Spools: http://www.editionsmego.com/releases/spectrum-spools