Bataille Solaire
Jap [7-inch; Mind]

Asaël Robitaille moonlights as Bataille Solaire (or is it the other way around?) and is often lumped in with the vaporwave gang. If he’s truly a card-carrying member of the v-wave glitter posse, he shows why the genre deserves respect as much as it does fealty/jeers/over-analysis/a swift death/etc. with Jap, a goddamn-tasty limited-to-99 release on the Mind Records label (circa: Japan and $35 price tag w/ shipping AND YES, an obi strip). Furthermore, Robitaille seems to be pushing back against the supposed limitations of the artform, indulging in a great deal of kitschy come-ons yet employing them to ascend to a plain unattainable through concept alone. “Choose Your Character,” from its title on up, is a shrine built for Konami and Capcom that becomes a huge mind-gulp. You grab a controller and navigate through its wacky sprites and moody bosses, care of a glee-ass glowmop beat that serves as the equivalent of a clip-art image of 80s people skating to the Ghostbusters soundtrack on lazer night. Then, when you reach the end, instead of a lame credit-roll that makes you wonder why you bothered, you encounter a crystal-clear arpeggio sequence that flies in the face of every criticism of ‘the vaporwave’ I’ve ever heard. It’s stone-cold kickin’ and not afraid to take you home with it. It peacocks, you might say. I treasure this damn trak; I honestly hope you take the time to steep yourself in its juices, as I have. “Décoration Moléculaire,” the b-side, doesn’t requite the listener’s affection as openly as “Choose Your Character,” but its perfume is just as alluring and 80s-encompassing, giggling in the backroom with cheap martial-arts-movie soundtracks, Palm/Highway Chase, and keyboards better than a Casio but bad enough to embarrass the hell out of an expensive Korg in a nostalgia fight. I love being surprised and Jap, which by dint of its title and alluring double-silk-screen packaging was bound to raise eyebrows, delivers on both ends of the conceptual bargain. From front-to-back one of the most impressive audio artifacts of the year, from an upstart label on but its third release (first two: Umberto and, you guessed it, Femminielli Noir).

Links: Mind

Cerberus

Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

Most Read