♫♪  HKE - “No Sleep”

cred: towerofglass.

What a transformation we have seen HKE undergo throughout these years. It’s no stretch to say that the London-based artist has been at the nexus of vaporwave’s surge in growth and break into somewhat mainstream notice. The mastermind of all-things-vapor label Dream Catalogue (and now former owner), his connection with the genre has been complicated to say the least, culminating in a peaceful break with the label and disappearance from public. Despite being part of the veritable vaporwave supergroup 2814, little was heard of HKE.

If there was one thing we could not doubt, it’s that the music workaholic would return with new sounds (eventually). And has he ever. In HKE’s return to the consecrated ground of Dream Catalogue, he lays Charming Devil. Not only is it quite unlike anything that has come from HKE (which is saying much for an artist with 27+ aliases), but it quite possibly may be Dream Catalogue’s most stark release of the post-era HKE era (perhaps beyond). As a whole, it’s utterly off-beat, dysfunctional, and damningly dark to the core.

But there’s more to the release, born in “No Sleep” in particular. Gone are the walls or facades of vaporwave, which tongue-in-cheek anonymity and Japanese characters imbue. HKE has long left that behind but with “No Sleep”, there’s a remarkable intimacy that goes even deeper. It’s an enduring ache, rawness of a mind adled by generous glimpses of LED glow and peaking, purplish sun light. The border of delirium is quite close but instead (and like no other), HKE channels it into a lucidity that resonates quite close when your natural state is a passive pulling of the hair backwards to refresh yourself at 3 am.

HKE’s new album Charming Devil is now out with Dream Catalogue. Stream “No Sleep” below, hopefully with a degree of momentary insomnia to aid:

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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