You’ve been driving on this road for hours. Some of these signs look familiar. Haven’t you driven by that gas station before? No clue where to go next, you refer to your map, a whirlwind of directions that loop back on themselves, making no sense — and yet exactly as much sense as the situation calls for. And what’s this music that keeps phasing in and out of the car radio? Fleeting. Soothing. Sinister? TERRA ATLANTIS delivers a calming musical experience, but it never lets you get quite comfortable enough to fully relax. While this game soundtrack may be masquerading as utopian, something ominous lurks just beneath that static. Be wary.
Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, Listen To This Music, Dodge
We here at Utopia District recently had the absolute thrill of interviewing the game composer duo of Sonny Rey and Matt Naylor, collectively known as The Soundlings. The duo has contributed music to a number of projects, most notably ESPN’s Monday Night Football and the HBO series Lovecraft Country. But their newest project, Knockout City, is something…a bit different. An online multiplayer dodgeball experience, Knockout City is a frantic, colorful world filled with zany characters, fun-as-heck gameplay, and an extraordinary array of music. Let’s dive in and see how Sonny and Matt crafted the music of the world of Knockout City.
Utopia District: There are certain sounds one might expect from a traditional sports game. Genres, general vibes. But Knockout City is far from a traditional sports game. In what ways did you want to lean into those sonic tropes? And in which ways did you see an opportunity to distance yourselves from them?
Sonny Rey: When we were presented with making the music for Knockout City, we definitely didn’t think of it as a traditional sports game. Our goal was to enhance the artistically vibrant world of KO city. Sonically, the one thing that might link this to music for sports games is the ridiculously high energy! Other than that, nothing about this process was traditional. The whole world of KO City is just so wacky and different in terms of its style, that it allowed us to really break free from those sonic tropes you are so used to and mash and cross genre lines we usually wouldn’t.
UD: How challenging was it to craft all these different distinct voices for the radio stations? To what degrees did you want them to feel different from one another, while still accounting for them showing up within the same game experience? Was that constraining in some ways? Freeing?
Matt Naylor: I’d say definitely freeing. One of the most enjoyable parts about writing this music was starting a new band. It kept it fresh throughout the entire project and kept us on our toes! Because we were tasked with creating different bands, it expanded the musical palette of the soundtrack. We wanted every band to have their “thing.” So, while The Hologramatix have Doo-Wop vocals chopped and blended into an electro hybrid track, Johnny and The Breakers has a 1960’s Surf Rock core. The one thing that stayed constant through the bands was the use of brass and horns. That was something we knew we wanted to run throughout all of the music.
UD: What was the process for crafting these bands? How’d you arrive at each one? Did you start with the music and shape the identities of the bands around the sounds, or did you start with the sound and shape the identities around what felt correct at the time?
SR & MN: We actually started with the identities. We would sit and talk for hours about who the band was and what kind of instrumentation we would use to define them. There was a small experimentation process while producing but we’d always come back to the same question: “Would this band use this sound?” If the answer was no, we’d change it up!
UD: You’ve crafted music for sports-related projects previously, most notably ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Did you take anything away from that you were able to utilize when it came time to Knockout City? Further still, anything noteworthy from previous projects that were of particular help here?
MN: We learn something new with every project. Something in particular that helped us create this music was all the amazing musicians we’d met from previous projects. We brought in a dream team of talented players that made our tracks come to life in a special way. As we keep working on bigger projects, there’s a lot more at stake and we’ve learned how to deal with that pressure. In one of our first meetings with the team at Velan Studios they asked us to deliver an “award-winning soundtrack” to which we said, “No problem!”
UD: What challenges did crafting music for an online experience pose? Traditionally, music doesn’t play as integral a role in the online multiplayer experience. In which ways did you strive to ensure the music was still something that could draw players in? And what efforts went into ensuring the presence of the music during gameplay without itself serving as a distraction?
SR: Making the music as fun as the gameplay was one of our main goals! The game is so fast-paced and frantic, we needed to match that energy level. We were working closely with Matt Pirog (Audio Lead at Velan) and he wanted to use music as a dynamic part of the game experience. He wanted players to have an advantage when listening to the musical cues during a match. So when a player gets knocked out there’s a big brass fall. Or when it’s game point, the music bumps up a half step, adding to the intensity. The fact that Matt incorporated the music into all of the sound effects really helps to tie it all together.
UD: To piggyback off that energy level we were talking about, in what ways did you try to embody that beyond incorporating the score into the sound effects? Did it show up in melodies? Instrument choice?
SR: I would say we tried to embody that energy in every aspect of the music. The tempo. The elaborate brass arrangements. The hard-hitting drums. It is a combination of all of these parts that make up the high-energy sound. The retro-futuristic world definitely influenced the approach we took to the sound. Combining things like big band brass with modern electro beats gave it a unique sound and energy.
UD: Looking at the game, it’d be easy to find it challenging to get the correct tone. Were they any sounds you were experimenting with and ultimately discarded?
MN: If we’re being honest, we nailed it from the start! Even our original demos made it into the game. There were revisions and things that the team at Velan wanted to hear more of, but we were always on the same page with the overall vibe and aesthetic of Knockout City. It’s one of those things where it was a match made in dodgeball heaven.
UD: I always like to close out my first-time interviews with the same question, but what brought you to the industry? How’d you find yourself scoring games? Was it a natural progression from other mediums? Always been fans of games?
SR: Matt and I can say the same for ourselves: Music was all it was ever going to be for us. Games were also a huge part of both of our lives growing up and even to this day! Scoring games has always been a goal for us and is honestly a dream come true.
MN: When we were presented with this opportunity, we didn’t hold anything back. We knew Knockout City was going to be a hit and fell in love with the world right from the start. This is just the beginning for The Soundlings, so expect more sound things!
And there we go! A pulling back of the proverbial curtain. A glimpse at the crazy amount of work that Sonny and Matt put into the vibrant and varied world of Knockout City! If you enjoyed the interview, please check out the duo! And the music!
Online COMMUNITIES SHIFTED BY A GLOBAL PANDEMIC: A LOOK AT ART MOVEMENT RESILIENCY & ADAPTABILITY THROUGH THE LENS OF VAPORWAVE
When the curtains closed on ElectroniCON & ElectroniCON 2, there was a promise of something more, something greater. Where was the scene headed? What was next on the docket? We as a community had made such extraordinary strides in so short a period of time, the next months and years were cause for excitement. Anticipation. And then the world ground to a halt. An entire planet in lockdown, with nowhere to go.
Some industries were able to weather the pandemic rather well, such as online retailers like Amazon. Others – like the movie industry – had a lot of problems to contend with, and very few solutions. How do you justify spending so much money to make films when your fledgling streaming platforms don’t stand a chance of recouping the loss? Some, like Warner, bit the bullet and chose to release their films through HBO Max. But this wasn’t a solution, merely an answer. This problem didn’t stop with cinema, though. How would the music industry, through which most artists make their living through touring, cope? While there was no shortage of creative solutions — major bands like Muse or Between the Buried and Me chose to take this time overhauling classic albums, providing brilliant new mixes- one of the fastest responses and most logical solutions came from…vaporwave. Online concerts sprang up rather quickly, and a movement that formed almost entirely on the internet had to return once more to that which gave life to it. So what were the takeaways from these last nightmarish months? What did we learn? What’s next?
PART 1: Return To Sender
In a way, vaporwave being forced from the real world back onto the internet was a homecoming. Starting in small groups on forums or Facebook, the vaporwave community, while very much niche, is tight-knit and passionate. Coming off of the crescendo provided by the aforementioned ElectroniCON’s, these myriad friendships that started digitally before pivoting to the real world were unceremoniously shoved back into a virtual space.
It would have been perfectly understandable for many labels or artists, or even fans to just throw their hands up in defeat, and hope that the community could weather the pandemic, coming out unscathed. But many in the scene had the incredible idea of just taking what we could from the in-person events and adapting them to the internet. What if we could still gather and come together as a community across the globe to see our favorite artists perform? What would that look like? Well, we didn’t have to wait long to find out.
Barely a month after the lockdown orders began for many in North America (around February 2020) we saw Syncup.World in collaboration with SPF420. Featuring Cash Wednesday (a Skylar Spence project), March 28th would mark the real opening of floodgates for the months ahead. Just two days later, Pacific Plaza Records would seamlessly pivot the Virtual Memory series to an online presentation with the sixth entry, alongside All Hell Breaks Loops. The good news is the series recently celebrated its twenty-fifth entry on May 30th! So this shift to online has been a success, to put it mildly. Here’s to twenty-five more!
While it took a little bit of time for the community to really get used to the idea of “attending live shows” on Twitch or YouTube, the relatively short period of downtime for vaporwave meant that things picked right back up again. As May 2020 rolled around, the community was present with an absolute deluge of events to choose from. First up was the 7th Anniversary Show for Business Casual on May 1st. Featuring sets from nanoshrine and Diskette Park among others, such a monumental event was quite the way to kick off the summer festivities. Shows in the month of May weren’t anywhere near finished either, as the end of the month brought the weekend spanning Pure Life Festival as well as Vaporspace Online, which raised $5,000 for charity.
And these events carried on for months and months, all the way up to now. Since the lockdown, it’s been nigh impossible to go more than a month without an incredible event. To just cherry pick a few, we had We Love DMT <3, a show of support for Vito, one of the most dedicated and important members of the community (featuring the likes of 猫 シ Corp., Dan Mason, and Bodyline) in July of 2020. Or how about Vapor95 Live 5.0 in February of 2021, which featured names like Lola Disco and desert sand feels warm at night. While many of the shows were smaller in scope, with only a handful of artists, some events swung for the fences with massive lineups that spanned multiple days. Like Late Night Lights, the lofi event (which Utopia District hosted and was heavily involved with alongside Gorgeous Lights) featuring luxury elite, telepath, and Hantasi to name just a few.
Why was this transition so seemingly easy for vaporwave? There are a number of reasons. Saying the scene started online is only a surface level analysis. There was also the opportunity to learn and grow. And grow we did; as the number of online shows expanded, so too did the quality. Many artists were provided the opportunity to take their real-world applications in the music scene, and convert them into an online space. Skeleton Lipstick for example had previously thrown the Terminally Chill vaporwave dance parties in Philadelphia. This prior experience with live events carries with it a certain know-how for magnetizing a community towards an event. That remains a useful skill when things pivot to an online community, as people still need to know where to go, right?
One big thing that certainly helps is the “hobbyist” nature of the community. Many of the musicians or visual artists (though of course not all) don’t involve themselves in vaporwave as a career, it’s more often a secondary (or tertiary) form of income, and generally more of a hobby. This was beneficial because not only did it mean many members of the scene were able to approach many different facets of putting on a show themselves, but there was also less red tape to contend with. With fewer hands in the cookie jar, the process of getting a show off and running could sometimes be as simple as asking.
But another major strength of our community is passion. Most folks involved in vaporwave do so from a place of love. There’s an indescribably passionate fan base built into this community, one built (shocking though it may be for an online group) on positive reinforcement and love. By the nature of vaporwave coming from a place of love, many of the shows were free. Which bears mention, as both showrunners and artists foregoing a fee for the sake of the community is…extraordinary. These events being passion projects meant the musicians and visual artists, and behind-the-scenes folks generally did everything for free, because if they didn’t, who would?
This passion covered every facet of the concert experience. These online shows were filling in for the opportunity to actually be at a show, so that created many conundrums that might not be immediately thought of. For instance, how do you make a stand in for a live venue? If you’re not really going somewhere, that doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere. This is where some fantastic solutions show up. The long-gestating game Second Life plays a key role in helping those who want to have as close to a real concert experience as they can. You can take your in-game avatars to a club or two and enjoy the show in this venue, dancing to your heart’s content, talking to people, and everything in between. Sure, it’s a facsimile, but it’s a very creative one, and it offers some heightened sense of camaraderie. Why not head to Betamax, the brilliant vaporwave venue helmed by SNWCRSH (a friend of the site!). Or Ramb.ly! (Created by FoxBarrington)
Part 3: What’s In It For Me?
This passion and desire to put on these shows is all well and good, but what’s the point of it been? What did it do? The answer’s not all that dissimilar actually. Passion yet again rears its head, coming to the forefront. This tight knit community had come to appreciate and desire more of these events, but with the lockdown we had to find new ways to come together.
So at its most basic, continuing to put these events on allowed the community to continue expanding. More artists hopped on and performed, including some artists that might otherwise not have had the opportunity to do so: DATAGIRL, Skule Toyama, Donor Lens, TUPPERWAVE, bl00dwave, Seabaud, or Ducat to name but a few. With this global genre it can be hard to travel the globe for a show. Plus the presence of these vaporwave shows in the live streaming community get more eyes on them than otherwise might be the case. Those who might normally have skipped past or had no interest in seeing a vaporwave show in person, might tune into a broadcast and find that they were previously unaware of how much they loved the scene. That’s all it takes. One fortuitously timed moment, and you have another passionate newcomer feeling their way through this sprawling, ever-evolving scene. Besides, we’ve established this community is a driven one, and it’s even easier to simply click on a link to enjoy a show than fly or drive somewhere.
Plus the DIY nature of much of vaporwave means the barrier of entry tends to be lower. It’s more tied to your work drive and how motivated or interested you are in making something happen. And the online shows amidst that lockdown lowered those restrictions even more, as you no longer had to worry about going to a location, carrying gear, and every worry and hassle that go with traditional touring.
These online shows further still helped bring attention to areas that might often be overlooked or merely underappreciated. Thanks to the likes of PocariSweat, Skeleton Lipstick, Pacific Plaza Records, and more, themed afterparties joined the fray, allowing these glorious get togethers to linger even longer in everyone’s hearts and minds.
The opportunity to revisit shows is another underappreciated benefit. When you go to a live concert, you feel the electric atmosphere, drink in the sights and sounds, and when the show is over, those emotions, while they may linger, will eventually dissipate into nothing. Archives of live shows that include the chat transcripts, allow the moment in time these shows represent to be captured forever, with the same level of electricity and excitement as the moment they were happening. The same reactions, the same fidelity, the same electricity. Sure, you can sift through YouTube and find single songs here and there — captured poorly on someone’s phone, as normally the only recordings of high quality are professional ones, which of course cost money. This is yet another facet of vaporwave that is provided for free. The lack of obstacles between consuming and enjoying vaporwave are arguably the smallest they’ve ever been right now, ironically amidst a massively restrictive pandemic.
This ability to revisit shows also draws attention to one of the great unsung heroes of the live show: the visual artists. Visual artists provide exquisitely executed marriages twixt picture and sound, but for live shows, it’s more often than not a one-off. If the music it was crafted to pair with isn’t there, it may be an interesting collection of images, but you wouldn’t just sit down and watch them in silence. The archived shows remove that problem from the equation, allowing both repeat viewings of visual sets, as well an increased appreciation for them. It takes what might normally be a thankless job (or at least less appreciated than is deserved) and draws much-deserved attention back to it. So let’s draw a quick little bit of attention to some of the visual artists whose work caught our eyes during these festivals: VideodromeTV, Sleep Pattern, BootyWizard, Billy Galaxy, Pixel8ter, ///\/, and oh so many more!
Now, not only are these experiences free, they’re available in the same high quality as the live debut of the show. You can relive them in a way that you can’t with other shows. A live concert — unless the band specifically arranges for it — won’t be recorded to the same quality as a pro one. Just random phone camera clips scattered across YouTube. The massive wave of online shows allows concert viewing with regularity and quality rarely, if ever, seen — especially for free.
And then of course, at a very basic level, these events are great examples of “portfolio pieces.” The performers, the visual artists, the showrunners, all areas required to make one of these shows happen are pretty impressive things to be able to say you’ve pulled off. Is it so hard to believe that creating a live event could lead to greater opportunities both within and without?
The obvious question to ask next would be “what’s the next step?” Where do we go now, amidst a world at long last returning to normalcy?
The answer here and now is Worldwide.wav, happening right now, June 11th and 12th, a culmination of all the lessons we learned from the past year-plus of putting on and attending live shows. A truly global concert event, covering every timezone on the planet and running for an extraordinary 36 hours. We here at Utopia District are hosting a block in collaboration with My Pet Flamingo, representing one of six legs of this trans-global vaporwave celebration.
But what about beyond that? What’s the next next step? Well, given how the world is progressing, it seems only natural we return to live shows, no? The real question will be whether we pick up right where we left off, or if things will be more cautious at first. Or is the solution something else entirely? We as a community have made such tremendous strides these past months, it seems only fair we keep moving forward. What dimensions has vaporwave yet to breach? Are these upcoming destinations even in sight? When will we even know? Vaporwave is nothing if not open to experimentation, so it’s likely safe to assume that, no matter what comes next, its loving community will be along for the ride.
A sprawling, meditative excursion to Tallon IV, the famed planet Samus Aran explores in Metroid: Prime. With music that brilliantly mixes the familiarity of one of Nintendo’s greatest series with that of a relaxing ambient album, Prime is a hypnotic aural excursion across an alien landscape. Alternating between twinkling, relaxing pieces, and frantic driving polyrhythms, the release is a must for anyone fond of the Metroid series. While it offers a compelling mix of the new and the familiar, as the wait for Metroid Prime 4 grows ever longer, this release couldn’t be more welcome.
Is The Greatest Vaporwave Project of All Time Secretly a Rock Band?
Rebirth in Reprise
There are certain defining traits we can look to when trying to qualify the sound of vaporwave. Samples, appropriation of recognizable brands, great loops, pastel-based color palettes, hard to come by physical releases, and a Bandcamp presence are just a few of vaporwave’s core components. What if we told you there was a rock band that had all of these?
The Dear Hunter – not to be confused with Deerhunter— are a rock band originally from Providence, Rhode Island – now based out of Port Angeles, Washington — renowned for their ambitious album concepts, as well as the ability to seemingly mix genres at will to great success. Founded by former The Receiving End of Sirens vocalist/guitarist, Casey Crescenzo, the group has churned out an incredible array of inspired music, creating some of the best tunes, well, ever. The most well-known of their projects is The Acts, a five-album story spanning the life of a young man as he repeatedly makes poor decisions. There is also The Color Spectrum, an “album” consisting of 9 separate EP’s each covering a color on the visible spectrum, as well as black and white, with the intent of pairing a specific sound to a specific color.
That’s all well and good, they’re a very talented band. So what? What’s all this got to do with vaporwave? Well, it just so happens that the band adheres to many of the same principles as those artists that create vaporwave. Let’s dive in.
One of most commonly cited tenets of vaporwave is that of sampling. While it may play less of a role these days than it did in the movement’s infancy, it’s still very much a part of the scene. And this happens to be a practice The Dear Hunter adheres to. Honestly, we could come up with hundreds of examples, but we’ll just cherry-pick a couple. Let’s start with a track off of the closing album in their Acts story, Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional. The closing track of the album, “A Beginning” is both a narrative and musical crescendo. A somber, retrospective on every track that led to this point in the story, the song concludes with a beautiful piano melody that runs from the 5:26 mark to the track’s conclusion. But what if we told you this piano piece was STOLEN. That’s right, you can find the very same piano piece on a completely different song by a completely diff…well, by a band. The melody can be heard in the song “Vital Vessels Vindicate” by a rock band called The Dear Hunter.
Starting at 5:43, you will hear the same piano track. Coincidence? Unlikely. And that’s to say nothing of some melodies that show up on Act V that are slightly changed from where they might be in their original form. A song titled “The March” on Act V has an eerily familiar vocal piece to it. Starting at 2:32 you hear the lyrics:
Was that there’s far too many ways to die
Far too many ways to die
Now those lyrics on their own could describe any number of songs, but if you compare it next to the sample of the source material, it sounds like it might be completely lifted from a track that existed prior to Act V. It’s eerily similar to a segment of the song “The Old Haunt,” (starting at the 1:01 mark) which as it turns out it sampled from the same band that made “Vital Vessel Vindicate.” That’s right, that track also comes from The Dear Hunter. Clearly, this band has a particular group they like to lift samples from.
Loops are another mainstay of the vaporwave movement. Look no further than some of the earliest pieces, like “Nobody Here” to get a feel for it. And that’s a feature of vapor music that, much like sampling, may not be as essential as it once was, but it’s still very much a part of things. For a perfect example of this let’s look at the track “A Night on the Town” off of The Dear Hunter’s Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise. The track opens with a blaring, in-your-face guitar riff. But here’s the thing, once the riff concludes, they play it again. I mean, do we even need to say anymore?
This one’s a little trickier and took some exhaustive investigative journalism on our part. There are certain brands intimately associated both with vaporwave music, as well as its general aesthetic. Brands such as Arizona Iced Tea, or the example we’ll be talking about now: Fiji Water. The iconic square packaging is the defining trait of the brand, but you know what the next most important thing about it is? Water. And there are multiple references to water strewn throughout the band’s discography. Let’s look at the album art for the Blue EP off of their Color Spectrum project.
Sure looks an awful lot like water to us. Just like what you can find inside of a coveted bottle of Fiji. What’s more, for anyone familiar with the geography of Fiji, it’s an island. And the above picture appears to be of a coastal region. A coastal region that might itself be an island.
But not so fast, we’re not done with that artwork. If you notice there are also quite a few shades of blue present in that artwork, some of them even look pastel. And as we know, pastel blues and pinks play a huge role in the vaporwave aesthetic. And wouldn’t you know it, they’ve also used pastel pinks before. Recently, a vinyl box set of all of The Acts was released, which included newly redesigned artwork for the first three albums. And on the album art for Act I: The Lake South, The River North, if you look hard enough you can find some pastel pink. We’ve taken the liberty of blowing up the image for you and circling the suspect area, don’t thank us.
Now, of course, not every vaporwave artist is required, nor are they necessarily expected to have a Bandcamp page. But having one doesn’t hurt. And wouldn’t you know it, The Dear Hunter has a Bandcamp page. Sure seems suspicious to us if they’re not a vaporwave group.
We think it’s safe to say we’ve provided ample reasons why you could make the argument that the greatest vaporwave act of all time is actually, secretly, The Dear Hunter. If you can’t arrive at the same conclusion that we have after this much irrefutable evidence, it’s out of our hands, but we hope you arrive at the same conclusion that we have.
Happy April 1st to all of our dear readers here at Utopia District! What’d you think? Did you fall for this for even a second? No?
Well, if you’re interested in digging a little deeper into what The Dear Hunter is really about, we’ll include some helpful links below. They’re a pretty incredible band -this writer’s favorite music group of all time in fact- and they deserve as much attention as they can get!
探求: sleep&dream and エミュレータ albums coming to No Problema Tapes
Coming off of a mammoth drop a couple weeks back that saw No Problema Tapes release two tapes apiece from both S O A R E R and 陶酔エンジン (Euphoria Engine), things take on more of a — dare we say — dreamlike quality this week. We get not one, but two dreamtone tapes: a re-release seeing a physical drop, and the other brand new.
First up, we have UK producer 探求: sleep&dream seeing a reissue of their album 空想 (Fantasy). It originally released on No Problema’s digital platform in July of 2020, but it will be making its physical debut this time around. The 40-minute ambient release will see a run of 50 tapes, with the expected amount of incredible creativity we’ve come to expect from No Problema releases.
The other release comes from エミュレータ (Emulator), who will be making their debut with this No Problema Release, 反復的な睡眠パターン (Repetitive Sleep Patterns). A 60-minute excursion consisting of six tracks all clocking in at exactly ten minutes, the release is sure to offer something for ambient fans. As with the 探求: sleep&dream release, the tapes will be limited to 50 copies.
Are you excited to check out these releases? Use the links down below to get ready for these releases when the albums drop on March 19th!
It’s late at night. There’s not a car on the road, and all you have to keep you company is the radio. But why can’t you get a signal? Surely there must be something coming in clearly, right? And that’s when it happens. A confounding piano melody bursts forth from the static, calming the mind and allaying the growing concern that you’d be hopping between radio stations all night. But before you can get comfortable you lose signal again. Back to frantically flipping between stations. This plan works again, with a calming tune coming in loud and clear, but now once the signal fades, the radio goes silent, never to be heard from again. And we’re left wondering just what to do with ourselves.
No Problema Tapes Announces Next Group of Releases
Coming hot off the heels of the staggeringly gorgeous Abandoned 実体 box set, No Problema Tapes has announced a new group of tapes to be released on March 5th. The new batch of tapes will see two new physical releases apiece for label regular S O A R E R as well as label newcomer 陶酔エンジン (Euphoria Engine).
The first release is a second run of S O A R E R‘s Without End, a slushwave album heavily influenced by the sound of 2814. Without End was their first sample-free project and their first physical to appear on No Problema Tapes. The album had an original run of tapes last October, and this new batch will be limited to 60 copies.
The other release from S O A R E R will be Silent Whispers, a brand new release consisting of over an hour of new music. This album is described as a dreampunk release heavily informed by the confluence of big cities and the sense of isolation that can come with that. And just like with the reissue of Without End, Silent Whispers will be limited to just 60 copies.
As for the 陶酔エンジン releases, the first one up is a reissue of their first No Problema physical, 未知への憧れ (Looking For The Unknown), which previously released in October of 2020. The release is a compilation of tracks produced between 2017 and 2020 and clocks in at a titanic 87 minutes. Though no run size was listed, it’s probably safe to expect it to be comparable to the S O A R E R releases.
And then 陶酔エンジン’s other release is a brand new album, 星の精 (Star Spirits). If the name were indication enough, Star Spirits leans heavily into the territory of space ambient and hopes to take listeners on a cosmic journey that clocks in at almost exactly an hour.
Are you excited about any of these releases? If you can’t wait to get your hands on them, make sure you have the links handy on March 5th when the albums drop!
The debut of a collaboration between eventual infinity and Fake Fever, Unbottle // Fangs offers a great glimpse of what’s to come between these two artists. This release showcases the first two songs in what is being described as a “series of pop forward tracks.” And given the results thus far, things are certainly starting strong. The first track, “Unbottle”, has a wonderfully summery air to it with some truly luscious synth tones that sound ready to play on a Grand Theft Auto V radio station. The second track, “Fangs”, plays around in the same sandbox, but nets different results. The arpeggiating melodies buried under the vocals carry a sinister slant to them, and the track has more of a malevolent vibe that does an exceptional job of showing how to craft something entirely different out of similar pieces.
Chock full of tasty rhythms, this intense, woefully short-lived EP from Sport3000 is downright infectious. Despite weighing in at five total tracks, Ultraviolet nonetheless showcases an impressive array of rhythms, with no less than a dozen memorable melodic moments. But the real star is percussion. The opening track, “Demons,” starts with a killer drum fill that sets the tone the whole way through, and the tracks never relinquish their hold on you. The forward momentum of the drums and synths across the entire EP also makes a great case for listening to this album while driving. Rarely is there something more perfectly suited to such an occasion.