Data Garden is one of my favorite new(er) labels. Expertly curated with a pretty damn slick and unified design sensibility, these guys know their shit. All their albums are for sale digitally and via plantable cards. This is what I had to say last year about those plantable cards: “you plant the album art.”
Anyway, the Data Garden release schedule seems to be ramping up as of late, and I’m here now to premiere a track from beatmaker Spaceship Aloha’s Universe Mahalo: Volume #1. You may know Spaceship Aloha as Christopher Sean Powell of Man Man and Need New Body (unless you hate music), but Universe Mahalo still feels a bit from left-field considering those credentials. Apparently, Powell was inspired by Hawaiian radio and decided to channel it through his MPC sampler, a conceit that works out nicely for him. Are there no bounds to the samplers’ music-making prowess? If anything, Universe Mahalo (Volume #1, will there be a #2?) is a testament to the power of the MPC. Or “maybe it’s the Island Magic.”
“Galaxy” is the track we’re looking at specifically, so take a minute to bask in its warm and comforting vibe. It’s definitely reminiscent of the recent well of “beat tapes” we’ve been seeing — instrumental, cloudy, bedroom-beats spanning 20-some minutes on a cassette or a Bandcamp page. Plus, it’s all sunshine, full of beautiful tape hiss and old-timey compression — if this thing wasn’t at least mastered on analog equipment, then it has made a sucker out of me. But I would happily be a sucker, because I love when tracks like this make distinctions between analog and digital and plantable a bit irrelevant. It’s all about that vibe, the design, the little things making your subconscious tingle. When all that is hitting at once, you could be making a blast beat ode to Hawaiian music, and there would still be something to smile about.