Collection of Dead Souls: CAPITALISM IS PUNISHMENT FOR BIRTH

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https://collectionsofdeadsouls.bandcamp.com/album/capitalism-is-punishment-for-birth

Otto Rank, a psychoanalyst, wrote a book called The Trauma of Birth basically because of the intense violent, and sudden separation of our Mother; the lingering effects of birth is one of the underlying reasons for our anxieties, neurosis, and defects. If we take Collection of Dead Soul’s album’s name “CAPITALISM IS PUNISHMENT FOR BIRTH,” it suggests a larger more universal experience, and whose sonic landscape paints a darker image of our current times than most albums I’ve listened to for awhile.

So now I’ve dug myself into a hole and now I have to explain how an electronic ambient album relates to both being born, and the socio-political issues we face during our times– so allow me to elaborate. Collection of Dead Soul’s bio states, “Experimental soundscapes made while homeless and traveling across America. Made on an iPad in an effort to keep ahold of my sanity.” So with that bio, and my own personal experiences; it’s hard not to see the pain of a someone going through economic struggles. If you want an honest, insightful look into what it was like in the 21st century–of what it meant to hold up certain ideals and only to see them dashed before your very eyes–this would be the album to listen to.

COMING FOR YOU if we were going by psychoanalytic terms would be the period in the womb. The best way to describe the soundscape of this track, is to imagine holding a seashell to your ear, but instead of hearing your pulse or blood vessels pumping, you hear electronic noises. The electronic hum of the TV promising you one thing, and then reality giving you another. Every now and then you hear glitches, distortion, glimpses into the real world that it is not like what the TV tells you it is. Yet at the same time it’s strangely comforting. Even when technology advances and we’re given access to the internet–to the free flow of information–we all tend to seek out things that comfort us.

The next song, following this psychoanalytic approach would be the actual birth. THE CHILD has an atonal synth landscape, and starting out the beat is less a drum than an electronic glitch that seems to be muffled when covered by some organic ooze. An occasional drum beat takes over the track, but it’s short lived, like the stamping out of any trace of humanity by something far less than human. It’s this synthesis of electronic and organic elements that really sets up the creepiness of this track; with it’s sterile feel,  and frantic drumming. Yet the trauma isn’t so much any synth, drumbeat, or sound from the track–as it is the combination of all these elements that create a traumatic environment. The trauma being this electronic world we live in.

 

This scene in The Matrix does a really good job of illustrating the thematic elements of what I mean by this track. Cypher knows that everything he desires is an illusion. It’s a system of control–yet he still wants to be apart of it. Likewise when we realize the false promises given to us by media, or find out that the things we held dear turned out to be false–what do we do? We go right back to it. Listen to music that makes us good, watch movies that make us feel good, go on internet forums that validate our own opinions etc. It’s all the same we go straight back into that electronic womb.

So the situation sounds kind of dire right? Well Collection of Dead Soul’s isn’t done just yet. One of the most frightening and intimidating tracks on CAPITALISM IS PUNISHMENT FOR BIRTH is THE CHILD’S DREAMS. The track starts off with a sinister electronic ambience that’s almost overwhelming, like an electronic black mass. Then you hear the electronic drum beats, beating almost like you’re part of some tribal ritual.

Carl Jung wrote extensively on the interpretation of dreams and religious symbolism. Jung saw the collective unconscious as a helper, to help someone overcome some struggle in their lives, that humanity collectively as a whole had experienced. Here in THE CHILD’S DREAMS , there is only the electronic unconscious. This consciousness is no helper. It’s an atomizer of individuals. Where all your conscious thoughts are typed into a URL, which are used for companies to sell you something you don’t need. It’s a cycle of consumerism; in which a corporation creates a desire within someone using media, make that person desire it so much that they sell their identity to become an anonymous individual for corporation X, pay them only enough to survive, and then give them the opiate drip of media which causes them in turn to desire to consume. It’s a cycle that never ends. God isn’t dead, he’s just been digitized. Instead of religious traditions, we have consumerist traditions. Instead of baptism we have psychiatry, instead of a rite of passage we have your first car, instead of visions we have Joe Rogan’s DMT, instead of life we have work, and instead of death we have debt.

Yet this album isn’t without hope. THE STRUGGLE OF SURVIVAL can be seen as a happy track. It’s the rebellion against this environment we find ourselves in; the synths are so sharp but yet you can’t feel an intense feeling of catharsis. It’s abrasive yet at the same time, uplifting. Like when you win in a fight and you limp away with a bloody nose. THE STRUGGLE OF SURVIVAL is by no means a victory march, but it is the closest we can get to a victory, and any victory no matter how small is a victory nevertheless. Yet with each class of the cymbal, you can only take so many blows, until finally you succumb. The once abrasive rebellious synths descend into a quiet background noise, as the electronic distortion over takes the track, then we surrender in defeat.

The next track can only be truly seen as heartbreaking. DREAMS DESTROYED is more reflective than the prior tracks. This track could be seen as adulthood, and it’s only in adulthood can we see with clear eyes that what we once believed to be obtainable–to be unobtainable. The synths in this track reminds me of the mobiles above a child’s crib, that plays lullabies, and rocket ships circle around causing the baby to fall into a trance and then sleep. Yet as everything else in this album, it’s shrill abrasive, yet it’s sincere. As though the human element wasn’t a factor in this electronic world we live in. As the uplifting, sincere, synths play this uplifting melody in the track it’s only decimated by the distorted ambient noises. Like a baby being smothered to death in it’s crib. It’s with this that we really see–that with all of our desires being pre-programmed into us–that they’re impossible to obtain. We all cherished those dreams as much as we cherished a child, and yet it’s taken from us. And as any parent who lost a child can tell you, nothing hurts more than the loss of your own child.

THE BROKEN YEARS can be seen as this album’s version of “the golden years.” Where people in their old age reminiscence about their youth, and all the joy and happiness they had. Yet as the name entails it’s not so much golden as it is broken. The track is the happiest, and most accessible of all tracks on CAPITALISM IS PUNISHMENT FOR BIRTH. It’s almost like a dance song, but it just sounds broken. Like an EDM producer playing a set where all the music is correct, but the equipment is all wrong, the machines are sparking up, and are catching on fire. It’s as though the golden years in this album aren’t a source of happiness, but that of regret. Of things that could have been but never were. Yes there was happiness in the moment way back then, but at the present that happiness is gone–all that remains is regret. And that regret changes the way you perceive that happiness you had in the past, and you see the happiness for what it was–broken. For we’re not cogs in a machine, we’re human beings. And as human beings we weren’t meant to be in this digitized world, yet here we are.

Collection of Dead Soul’s CAPITALISM IS PUNISHMENT FOR BIRTH  is a very emotional album. One that I’d suggest anybody listen to. It’s abrasiveness, harshness, and even expressions of the human will is the perfect album to showcase the 21st Century man’s plight. Where the things he consumes starves him, so he consumes more of the things that cause him to starve.

For it’s incredible sound and unique perspective I give this album my recc.

Truploguz: namjerno underground

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https://truploguzbreakcore.bandcamp.com/album/namjerno-underground

My Mama didn’t raise no bitch. So when Truploguz emailed me saying that, “I have some greasy sounds for you if you are brave enough to listen,” I just had to listen to it. And God damn this album is not for the faint of heart, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Like Henry Rollins said in a standup routine–back when he was doing that for some reason–that as a young man he wanted to break shit and fuck, and now as an older man he still wants to break shit and fuck. It’s that kind of testosterone pumping through your veins attitude that seeps through every single track in Namjerno Underground. It’s so violent, the drums so distorted, the sampled voices scream “Fuck,” and the synths sound like they’re either broken or are so razor sharp that they’d puncture your eardrum.

The first track is the best possible introduction to the rest of the album. It’s such a great intro that it’s like how in Dark Souls everybody praises how well the game teaches you to survive in it’s opening tutorial level. This song gives you the keys to understanding the album. DRINKING ACID is the track that shows Truploguz’s ability to craft his beats: The vocal samples are just some guy swearing, the trap hi hats are better than most trap beats, the weird samples that sound like a dog yelping create such a creepy atmosphere, and then the whole track gets taken over by this fast heavy distorted drums that completely decimates everything around it. Then he ends it with some pop sample that’s so reverbed out that it becomes distorted.

That first track is so key to the aesthetic of the whole album. That one, the beats are going to be expertly made. Every single drum beat humanely imaginable is used, with how layered and complex each separate beat is, it creates almost an orchestra of electronic drum beats. Two each sample is a giant FUCK YOU. What I mean by that is each sample either heightens the violence of the track, or it just says “fuck you” let’s play some weird pop music. Which is so refreshing to hear a musician just be rebellious. Not the Bozo the clown act of getting face tattoos, dying your hair weird colors, and sucking at life. But the commitment to set up expectations, and turn on a dime. No song better illustrates this than JUST STOP IT (LET GO YOUR EGO) that has an almost child like glee with the synths plucking this happy song, and then the drum beat sounds so distorted and the rest of the track just buzzes with distortion to the point where it sounds like it’s broken. Then you hear random hip hop samples from an actual song, thrown in there, it doesn’t really fit at all, but given the context of the rest of the album–it’s thrown in there because why not? Fuck you.

Breakcore is and of itself is a pretty abrasive genre. But while most tend to represent a glitchy mishmash of music like a CD that’s broken. Each track on namjerno underground feels like a confrontation. Like how the British were blown away by the Sex Pistols first television appearance–that a group of artists were on TV not to be adored, looking tough, or trying to get the ladies–but were on TV to say “Fuck you.” It was mind blowing. Whereas the Sex Pistols represented working class rage, this is the type of rage that only a meth addict or crack addict would have. Take FOCUS ON THE DANCEFLOOR it’s so frenzied, fast, and vicious that if this were played at a club–people wouldn’t dance to it–they’d burn the whole club down and then have a mosh pit on its ashes.

This album gives Breakcore so much balls, and rebelliousness that I can’t help but love it. Just don’t listen to this album on drugs, or drugs that make you productive, because I’m sober and I wanna break shit after listening to this album. But if you decide to do drugs do the ones that don’t make you productive.

With it’s punk attitude, abrasive sound, and expertly made beats I give this album my full recc.

To Pay or not to Pay? A Realist’s guide to Soundcloud

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So a really quick question; say that you have a tinder, and somehow you get over 1000 matches–yet none of them respond to your messages–are you successful in getting laid? No. If you use Tinder just to get validation that you’re pretty, then you were successful in your goal, but most people use Tinder to get laid. Likewise the same principle can apply to Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify etc.

So why not spend money on promotion or fake plays? Why not make yourself appear popular? And my retort to that is; did you start making music to appear to be a musician? Or did you make music to be a musician?

“Well nobody listens to my music! So I gotta get promotion somehow!” Which is a very valid response, and common problem that most people face. So I’ll breakdown what works and what doesn’t work. Because I’m in the same boat as you. I’m not a success story, but I’ve failed enough to know what doesn’t work.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING

Never do. Firstly it costs wayyyyy too much. Secondly who clicks on ads on facebook? Serious question, have you, any of your friends, or people who might be interested in your music ever clicked on a facebook add? No. The same applies to twitter, reddit, etc. The only people who may click on an add are boomers. And guess what? Boomers aren’t going to be really interested in anything that’s not Hotel California. So unless you’re making some good ole Dad rock, you’re not going to see a real return in investment. So DO NOT pay for social media advertising.

BLOGS

This post is ironic, since I run a music review blog, and I’m telling you that blogs are a waste of time. Yet I gotta be real with you. I’ve been featured so far on 6 blogs, most of them are podunk websites, but I haven’t seen any real plays come from any of those blogs. Here it maybe different since I do try to actually to write up a decent review of an album–and people have told me that this site has made them want to check out new artists–but the proof is in the pudding. If you don’t see an increase in plays, it’s generally because that’s how music blogs are. Yet people clamor all over each other on twitter and everywhere else, and EVEN PAY MONEY just to get featured on a blog. Don’t waste your money on blogs, especially sites like Submithub. I write this blog as a side project, and it’s not that hard to do. So if someone believes that they NEED YOUR MONEY to review your music, then they’re just garbage people.

REDDIT

Unless you somehow have gotten a foothold in a certain type of subreddit, you’re not going to have much luck getting your music listened to on Reddit. I’ve seen plenty of extremely talented artists shill their music on Reddit just to be down-voted into oblivion. Why? Because of other musicians who just posted their music 5 minutes ago, who want to be the top song in the past 24 hours. If there is a more counter-productive system of shilling music, then I don’t know what is.

The second reason is because Redditors tend not to listen to something that’s not already popular. Because of how Reddit operates, it relies on appealing to authority–to appealing to the masses–through their upvote system. Think about it, if you see something with 5000 upvotes you’re immediately going to think it’s quality, regardless of whether it is or not. Just like if someone says, “statistics show”, or “scientists say.” I’m not going to check that shit out. I’ll usually take their word for it. Everybody does it, don’t try to be a contrarian and say that you don’t. So unless you’re doing a cover of an already popular song, making meme music, or doing something weird or quirky–you’re not going to get that many plays relying on Reddit.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Unless you got relatives in the music business, you’re not going to get many plays from your friends or family. Why? Think about it, what makes social media such a depressing place? Because people post all their success, and it causes people to feel depressed about themselves. You can have the most solid group of friends to ever exist. You can have, let’s say, 500 friends who are rooting for you–who share your music every chance they get. Let’s say that they have 10 really good friends who will check out everything they do. That’s only 5k plays at most. But the fact of the matter is, most people don’t have that loyal of friends. Plus let’s say you are killing it, how is that going to make people feel? It’s going to make them jealous, or it’s going to bum them out that they aren’t living their lives up to it’s fullest potential. So unless it’s memeable, funny, or lighthearted most people aren’t going to be checking your music out.

ONLINE RADIO SHOWS

I drive an old car, so I don’t have an aux cable. So I usually listen to whatever is on the radio. So when this song, Despacito came out, I enjoyed it. Now did I know that it was Justin Bieber singing it? No. Not once. Because anytime I heard anything that wasn’t music, I changed the station. It was only after one of my coworkers told me, that I realized that I was enjoying a Justin Bieber song. I only listen to Mainstream radio because my car is old; why would anybody listen to radio, when there is Spotify, Soundcloud, Pandora, etc.? Unless you got the most charismatic, funny, personable DJ on planet earth most people aren’t going to listen to Online Radio shows. And even if they do, how sure are you that they’ll remember your name? Or have a reliable link to your music? Just questions I ask…

SPAMMING

Just don’t. If you approach me, with no context, and start telling me to listen to your music; I won’t. Why? It’s like going up to somebody who is lifting weights–then midway through their set–you take their weights and start asking them to check you out. Why would I listen to your music, when you didn’t even listen to mine? I’ve literally gotten hundreds of people who’ve spammed their music to me, without any context, and I’ve ignored each one. If you are somebody who spams music without listening to the other person’s music or trying to start a dialogue with another musician, then you’re just a douchebag. So let’s go back to the gym analogy: say someone is lifting weights has bad form and you offer them advice, they get stuck on the bench press and you offer to spot them, or you even asked them to spot you. It’s a much better experience. Why? Because it’s two people working towards a similar goal. Likewise when interacting with people online to promote your music, it should be to help each other, not to shamelessly self-promote yourself.

PROFESSIONAL VIDEOS/PHOTOSHOOTS

This one is controversial, but I have my reasons for it. As an amateur musician you are in the underground, whether you like it or not. Paying money for a music video, or a photoshoot, is like putting the cart before the horse. Most people who are willing to shoot music videos for money are professional enough to know how to make something “look polished” but not creative enough to make it into art. The simple reason is, if they were able to make really great music videos then they wouldn’t be filming you. Sorry, but it’s true.

Paying for photoshoots on the other hand is just retarded. Why? Because if you have a soundcloud you probably have a camera. “But I want my music to seem professional!” Are you a professional? Are you getting paid? If not, then you’re not a professional. You’re an amateur, and until you start making that bread then you better not waste money on somebody to do a photoshoot with you.

But if you really want to make a music video, or really want to do a photoshoot, then NETWORK! Do you know how many photographers there are that are dying to build up their portfolio? Do you know how many film school graduates would love the chance to make a music video? Yeah, it requires you to make friends. But trust me, working with other people to a common goal is always better, than paying someone to do it for you. Plus not only are you promoting your music, but they’re promoting their directing ability on a music video, how well they can edit, how adept they are at photoshop, how well they can do lighting, their visual style etc. It’s a win-win. Plus who hasn’t fantasized about being Stanley Kubrick? Shit is just too enjoyable to pass up.

Final thoughts

So really all it boils down to is networking or more specifically working towards a common goal. If you and a bunch of other group of people are passionate about art, then you won’t need to pay each other. Plus it’s more fun, and if you don’t find the hustle fun, then make music for yourself. There’s a reason why the starving artist stereotype is a thing, but with this advice hopefully you can save money instead of wasting it on pipe dreams. Plus who knows? Maybe one hustle will turn into a passion, you never know…

Hard Men Working Hard: HMWH 2018 GOTY Edition

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https://hardmenworkinghard.bandcamp.com/album/hmwh-2018-goty-edition

Australians. There are two things I have to get off my chest before I properly review this album, and that is what I know about Australians. On the internet they are notorious for being shitposters–not just notorious shitposters–but world renown shitposters. Like how Italy is world renown for its art and history, or how England is world renown for its bad food, or America is world renown for being American.

The other is a personal side note. Anybody in the Navy who was ever in the Pacific Fleet LOVES Australia and Australians. In fact it was a monumental tragedy when the Carl Vinson (CVN 70), instead of going to Australia, had to go deal with the whole North Korean situation. When asking any American sailor, why they love Australia so much–besides the koalas, kangaroos, and all that shit–it was the Australian sense of humor that made them love going there for a port visit.

So it’s no surprise that when listening to this album you get pure comedic gold. The track I thought was the funniest HMWH Christmas Parody Song #0001. It was so funny and hit so close to home that I burst out laughing, and that never happens when I’m listening to music. The girl droning on about meaningless girl talk, followed by screams was just pitch perfect. Comedy that is honest is always the best kind of comedy. The song is so relatable to any guy in any relationship. Because even if you do find that big titty goth girl, you’re eventually going to do girl shit, the goth girl thing is just a bait and switch. You think you’ll be listening to avant-garde albums and doing artsy shit together, but at the end of the day you’re always going to end up at Target or a Farmer’s Market watching her shop.

Although this is a comedic album, there is excellent musicianship. I mean, anybody who can sing, and record a really great Thriller parody is already heads and shoulders above everyone else. If you don’t believe me then just listen to Drill-Her. It sounds phenomenal, and it even improves, at points, the original. The whole album is filled with beautiful piano pieces, like in Party For Me, the piano just sounds so lush and played so well that you wouldn’t have ever have guessed that you were listening to a comedy album. Then in Party For Me (Homo Mix) you hear such amazing lyricism that’s catchy, romantic, and sung so well. Then there’s the lyricism for Mundane Rap that is so vicious and funny, that it even makes Mr. Metokur seem tame. It’s not just the actual lyrics that are done well, but the flow as well. Makin’ Hay is literally spitting fire, and is so cheerful and fun that it’s just pure pop goodness.

So obviously these are really intelligent, competent, and talented people. Comedians tend to be at the far right end of the bell curve. For example Steve Martin was a professor, Bill Cosby had the highest IQ tested at his university, and all the members of Monty Python were in Elite English universities. Yet it’s common knowledge about the sad clown, that comedians even though they make people laugh are really troubled souls, which I’m not going to say Hard Men Working Hard are. The sad clown is sad because he’s never taken seriously. So what I’m saying is, is this album should be taken seriously as a great piece of music. That even though this is album is filled with comedy that it needs to be judged on how well it sounds, just as much as how much it makes you laugh.

For some reason with music people tend to gravitate towards songs that are either really melancholy, empowering, sweet, or romantic. But you don’t hear people listening to comedy music which is bizarre. Look at any type of artistic medium and you’ll see people watching, reading, or talking about things that make them laugh. If there’s no comedy in a book, or a movie it’s always looked down upon. Whereas if there is comedy in music it’s always kind of dismissed. Which I kind of find to be really stupid. If somebody manages to be funny, they’re generally going to be smarter–as mentioned above–and thus probably more talented in any given field regardless of what it is. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a comedy album sounds as well as it does.

HMWH 2018 GOTY Edition is so well made, and sounds so good; that I would encourage anybody who doesn’t listen to comedy albums to listen to this. There is so much technical ability on display on each track that I can’t really comment on what particular parts sound good on this album as much as I do on others because everything sounds great. The way that they use samples, the glitchiness, the synths, the beats, the groove, the production, the singing, the rapping, the lyrics etc. Midway through the album I had to quit writing notes on what sounded good, because everything sounded fantastic.

You come to this album for the laughs, and then you stay for the music. Which is really the greatest thing that can be said about a comedy album. This isn’t Weird Al Yankovic. This is humor with an edge, and the music to back it up.

For making me laugh, and making me listen to great music. I give this album my recc.

M.K. Khan: Generation Runaway

There is a dual nature to synthwave, as it’s known by two names: Retrowave and Synthwave. One is a music genre that uses synths, while the other tries to earnestly recreate the past. M.K. Khan in his album, Generation Runaway is neck deep in the past. Not just by making music that is stuck in a particular decade–the 80’s–but making an album the reflects our youth. Of a time long gone, where the bullies in highschool are the villains, the girl you have a crush on is the heroine, and where the future seems so endless and bright that you got to wear shades.

Synthwave like a lot of music without vocals, usually fits well allusions to film. This album particularly captures that type of structure to the point you can see the movie that’s being played in your ears. Beach Drive could serve as a monologue about a guy from the Midwest moving to a Californian beach town as the congas play a lighthearted intro. Jasmine could be the part in the movie where the main character bumps into a girl at school–they drop their books–he looks up at her, and falls in love while the synths flutter around as though there are butterflies in your stomach. In Raptors, the organs convey a sinister vibe, while the lead synths add an additional layer of cool. Playing like the introduction to the Highschool bully gang with their matching leather jackets, slick cars, and hot girlfriends. While Wild Nights in Montego Bay plays out like a teenage existential crisis–the lead synths pierces through the sound, and the guitar roars– when the plot twist is realized that Jasmine is actually the girlfriend of the douchey leader of the Raptors.

So given the album title:Generation Runaway, it’s a title that describes every generation, as every generation runs away from the generation before it–to separate themselves from their parents. Yet at the same time we’re talking about music that sounds like it’s from an 80’s teen movie in 2019. But it still captures that spirit of youthfulness, regardless of what decade it sounds like it is from. How is that?

Humid City in particular captures a kind of romance that is hard to gain in adulthood. The synths sound so distant, and yet so close. The drums play out in a reverbed out way that makes it seem like you are descending, deep, into another person’s soul. The synths pluck at your heart strings, and the track feels so romantic. Maybe because without vocals–or even if there were vocals–it’s a track that recalls a deeper emotional connection than swiping right, going to the club, communicating through text, etc. you get the picture. In adulthood we yearn for those authentic connections because we’ve learned what is fake and insincere; due the fact that in our adolescence we believed everything was sincere. So when we nostalgically recall our youths and the 80’s; we recall those synth heavy soundtracks (though they weren’t that good) and those teenage romances (though they weren’t that deep). So when I say that this album captures youthfulness it captures what we wished our youth was like. Very much how like retrowave was what we wished the 80’s sounded like.

Due to the fact that most adults seek out sincerity, nothing is, or was more sincere than our past selves. In this track you can hear the challenges in the somber tone of Tiger in the Mist, with it’s dramatic piano and swelling synths. Then when you hear the next song Remember the Summer it feels like a training montage, where we start with the slow build up with each additional melody added to the song, as though we are finally conquering that Tiger in the Mist. It’s all so universally relatable, at any point in our lives we can look back, and see ourselves overcoming the odds. We don’t have to be teenage ninjas, werewolves, or have superpowers; we don’t need it because we didn’t have any perspective of how big the problems were back then. A stressful exam was like the end of the world to us, but now in hindsight doesn’t seem that big of a deal at all. Yet we still retain that emotional residue, that sincerity–that conviction–that what we were going through was an intense struggle.

So with the last two tracks it’s no surprise that it contains some of the most joyful and introspective sounds yet featured on the album. See You Later has some of the most joyful chord progressions I’ve ever heard, and to top it off it has an amazing guitar solo. It’s the kind of feeling you get when you finally graduate and throw up your graduation cap into the air. That complete and total catharsis, and excitement on beginning the next stage of your life. Then Epilogue starts to play, and that’s when M.K. Khan really shows his talent for making great albums. The drum beat doesn’t recall the 80’s–it recalls the 90’s–and the sampling of birds chirping gives it a much more grounded feel than the rest of the album. The synths, though not as exuberantly enthusiastic as before, it has a more introspective happiness. The happiness that comes from maturity, and the recollection of your past self–where the saying, “You can look back at it and laugh,” comes into play. To fast forwarding the sound, M.K. Khan wraps up retrowave, and the feelings felt when listening to retrowave in a nice bow and gives us the epilogue that we so desperately need when listening to a genre based on the past.

For the feels, and to the soundtrack of the greatest 80’s we wish was made. I give M.K. Khan’s Generation Runaway my full recc.

(Insert name here)wave: Review

It all started with New wave, which makes sense, it’s a “New wave” of artists that are making NEW sounds, and experimenting with NEW genres. So it makes sense that the term would eventually come into existence. Then “No Wave” comes along, which was a tongue n’ cheek response to New wave. Flash forward a bit, and then Vaporwave comes a long. How can something be a wave and a vapor? Then you read up on it, and oh you find out that “It’s about some Marxist critique against capitalism.”

Alright then so where does Zeldawave fit into this narrative? Well I have my own personal theory on this, but basically everything that can be made lo-fi, reverbed out, and sound like hypnagogic pop is a wave now. So here I am to review it.

ZELDAWAVE

 

Are we even able to be nostalgic about Ocarina of time? They literally just released a game for the 3DS a few years back. Plus does the original track really need trap music over it, or for it to be lo-fi? The music video is nice, but after a few views of this type of aesthetic, it no longer has it’s retains it’s novelty. Plus the video itself is over 20 minutes long and doesn’t really craft a coherent emotional story like other “waves” do, and as a result is lot less substantive than other videos. It breathes life into a few songs, and gives it a new spin, which I do appreciate. But at the same time if you look up on soundcloud any Ocarina of Time song, you’ll find 3,000 remixes. At the end of the day this is just a Ocarina of Time soundtrack remix with VHS glitches from footage from the game. So it’s not breaking any new ground. I give this one a 2/5 Hey, Listens.

J B P W A V E

 

This type of wave is only for those lobsters who have climbed up the top of the socio-hierarchy, cleaned their rooms, and washed their balls. I can unpeel this onion but it’s going to be a pain, and I’ll end up crying.

This “wave” is so bizarre since the music video contains two anime women, some lo-fi hip hop, and Jordan Peterson monologues. This video is less about music, and more about a descent into madness. Jordan Peterson’s monologues taken out of context–or even in context–can at times be a bit of word salad that devolves into gibberish. But having this music over it, just makes me lose my mind. Like seriously what the fuck did the person have in mind when sampling Jordan Peterson? I don’t know what he’s talking about! The samples seem to be chosen at random, they have no theme or anything. Just imagine taking anybody speaking, randomly sample large parts of their speeches, and then put a lo-fi beat over it. Which makes it impossible to listen to what he’s saying, and completely detracts from the MUSIC–which is crazy I know, that a music video should contain music rather than random samplings of a Professor speaking cleaning your room, socio-hierarchies, and lobsters over music for 45 minutes. I give this “wave” 1 lobster out of 5.

COWBOY BEBOP

Technically not a wave, and not as popular as its constituents this one actually makes a bit of sense. Since lo-fi hip hop uses so many jazz influences and Cowboy Bebop contains some of the best jazz music ever in Anime, it would be fitting that someone would make a wave of this. Jazz itself really works well with hip hop, where the complexity of jazz gets reigned in, and put into a simpler and more digestible form than it would have otherwise been. The visual aesthetics of Cowboy Bebop gives it an edge over it’s competition. That and the fact it was played on Adult Swim all the time, which always had on this chill type of music, really gives it an advantage in the nostalgia department. I give this “wave” 4/5 cigarettes.

SYNTHWAVE/RETROWAVE

 

Obviously I had to include this one in there. Considering I’ve reviewed countless synthwave albums, and this is a “wave” that makes sense, since it’s a “wave” of musicians who use synths, and have an 80’s aesthetic towards everything they do. If there is any genre that deserve legitimacy in having “wave” in it’s name it’s this one. Plus who doesn’t like the 80’s? I give this one 5/5 cars driving on virtual grids towards a virtual sunset.

SIMPSONWAVE

 

The most popular of the “waves” this one really became loved at one moment and hated the next. The formula is simple, find some already popular vaporwave/electronic/retrowave music cut up some Simpon’s clips. And bam. You got a youtube video. The problem with this, is that when it’s well done, it’s really well done. This track above is surprisingly emotional, and is rich in aesthetics, more so than any recent Simpsons episodes. Not to beat a dead horse, with the Simpsons circling down the drain, it makes me recall those fond memories of watching Simpson’s episodes in the 90’s. The reason it became stale is that like anything popular, imitators come along, do poorly constructed versions of it. To the point where the original music, and the original music videos lose their mojo. When done well Simpsonwave can be enjoyable (as seen above), but when done poorly, makes you hate life. I give this bipolar “wave” a 3 d’ohs out of 5

FASHWAVE

Nope.

Well that’s all the waves that I found this morning on youtube. It’s all marketing and whatever. Like how in the early 2000’s there were AMV’s playing Linkin Park, it’s the exact same thing, except with vaporwave, lo-fi hip hop and whatever. It’s all gibberish, because in the end it doesn’t even matter.

 

Also 10/5 for Chester Bennington RIP press F to pay respects.

 

Wraithwalker: Hellscape 2X19

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https://wraithwalker.bandcamp.com/album/hellscape-2×19

Nothing is better than your first time. That first time you take that hit, that first time when you get drunk, that first time when you first get laid; nothing is better than your first time. Then you try to get the same feeling that you had the first time–euphoric recall is what’s it called–and then you realize…nothing is better than your first time. Until it happens. When all the stars align and you’re at the right place at the right time. Where that high is just as good as your first high, that buzz is just as good as your first buzz, and you finally hookup with that 9/10 girl that everybody oogles at.

Wraithwalker’s Hellscape 2X19 is the synthwave for the connoisseur, and the novice. The addict looking for a new vein and the person who just wants to try something new. If you want to know about synthwave this album is probably the best place to start.

The reason I say is pretty simple, kind of like how Bubba in Forest Gump went on a 10 minute dialogue about the varieties of shrimp there were. The same can be said of this album and the variety of synths used: there are bell synths, oriental plucking synths, choir synths, synths that sound like they’re in some weird science experiment, synths that are fat and pulsate, synths that are thin and pierce, synths that arpeggio, synths that bleep, etc. you get the idea. There’s such a variety of different sounds and textures that Wraithwalker uses that brings synthwave to an almost orchestral level.

So due to the variety of synths used each song pulsates, and mutates into a different sound. The best way to describe a single track, and in particular the song structure of each track, is to compare it to The Simpsons. Not the modern garbage Simpsons but the classic 90’s Simpsons. In those classic episodes the humor was so organic, and the plot would be, say based on Homer eating protein bars to get into shape to earn the respect of Bart, and then it would end up with him climbing a Mountain. Never once when watching the episode you notice how the plot changed from one point to another. The same can apply to Wraithwalker’s Hellscape 2X19. Listening to the beginning of one song, and then the ending of the same song, you feel like you’re listening to an entirely song–except that you’re not. Wraithwalker does such a fantastic job introducing new elements into his songs, which in turn slightly alter the sound, and then gradually changes into something completely different; that you can’t help but admire Wraithwalker’s technical ability.

Like how the song structure is this shifting, pulsating, morphing sound; so too can it be applied to the album. The album itself if it were to be compared to anything is like a great open world video game. Let’s take Fallout: New Vegas, my personal favorite open world game. So in a Fallout game there are certain things you know aren’t going to be in it. You’re not going to slay the dragon to save the princess. You’re not going to kill Hitler. You’re not ever going to ride a skateboard. Etc. But within the world of Fallout: New Vegas you can solve a murder mystery, join a Roman Legionary, flight aliens, stop a secret society of cannibals, etc. Likewise each song in Wraithwalker’s Hellscape 2X19 contains it’s own episodic sound. It’s set in the Open world of all of Synthwave music and each song explores the best possibilities of that world, while rejecting the worst aspect of it, such as the stale stock drumming with occasional tom fills, using only 3 synths per song, uninspired song structure etc. You get the idea.

Wraithwalker really has their ear close to the ground, you can almost hear all of synthwave condensed into this album, and with their refined taste you get a “Best of” compilation album, that highlights the very best the genre has to offer. It’s the album that people who have listened to synthwave for awhile can listen to and say, “Oh, I remember this music is great, that’s why I liked this genre of music.” It’s synthwave perfected.

So for anybody who wants to get into synthwave, or someone who is tired of mediocre artists clotting up the scene, then please check out Wraithwalker’s Hellscape 2X19. I give this album my recc.

Cherry Pickers: The State of Music Blogs

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Music bloggers are first and foremost journalists; journalists by definition follow the lead. They want to be the ones who say that they were the first to find the big next thing. Except they really don’t know how to. They say in the soundcloud/bandcamp communities that when you get big, you won’t have to reach out to journalists, they’ll be coming to you. Which is kind of nonsense when you think about it. Are bloggers such insecure people that they can only write about music once it’s been pre-approved by some arbitrary amount of fans? Even if they turn out to be nobodies, at least you showed some of your readers some new talent, that you liked.

Yet no motive exists in a vacuum. “No Man is an Island,” every music magazine, journal, website, and blog has its bias which affects artist and reader alike. Sadly, that bias extends in every part of the music journalism sphere. Take for example Pitchfork, or Bandcamp. When they’re not jumping on the bandwagon, they try to find the most obscure sound, in the most obscure location, with the person with the most obscure identification (whether it be race/nationality/gender/sexual orientation/etc.) as though that accounts for good taste.

I get it, artists are a weird bunch. We all come in all different shapes and sizes. Yet what the music blogging community does isn’t so much being an advocate for these groups, far from it. They use these artists as a proxy; that instead of actually developing taste, or being confident in their own opinions. The parade the obscure; in hope that they get enough brownie points within their own little cliques.

Another problem is the millennial group-think mentality that’s infiltrated through journalism. While Gen X was Bart Simpson; Millenials are Lisa Simpson. They are the “Teacher is always right,” kind of people. While Bart was fighting against the system, Lisa upholds the system. Millennials, in general, don’t do the DIY thing like Gen X did. If and when they do, it’s usually to build a large enough portfolio to join an already pre-established organization that was already made by a DIY Gen X’er. Because at heart these journalists are the goody-goodies who got good grades at school, went to college, had a wacky “experimentation phase,” got a job in the field they wanted to, and now review artists that have established a large enough fan base. Or they just ride on the coattails of their baby boomer parents, and get established through nepotism–regardless it’s still the same.

Yet people want to get their music reviews from these people? Fuck that. I went to college only to get a job I can’t stand. How many others are like me? Are you working at your dream job? Are you living the dream? Probably not.

So when I read an article from these people–who are supposed to be reviewing music–go on about politics, it makes me gag. The Last Psychiatrist had an excellent article about politics and music. If you haven’t had the chance. Read it. Come back. Then read the rest of this article. But on to my point, the Lisa Simpsons of music bloggers relentlessly write on and on and on about politics to the point where music is just politics through other means. But does that really help the artist? What if Jimbobjoe could really love this underground Cambodian Hip Hop trio, but instead he’s getting a lecture on colonialism, and a reference to Hip Hop every now and then. Also let’s say the opposite, let’s say that Sarah hates with a passion hip hop music, but is really concerned about the LGBTQ+ community, and a new act came out that really shines a light on LGBTQ+ issues; is she going to start liking the music just because they have the same politics has her? Not likely.

Finally let’s get to the scam artists. The people, who are the biggest pieces of shit. Who demand money for a review, or who post constantly on twitter about being featured only to write a feature on a musician once or twice a week. These people as mentioned before, are the portfolio builders, scam artists. You gamble with your money, only to get no more additional views, additional fans, or anything. While they ride off with your money.

Here it’s different. We review and catalog actual underground artists who are truly hidden gems, and we have a catalog of musicians trying to make it. There is no politics, we don’t have any false pretensions, and we aren’t scam artists. We do what we say, and say what we do. If you don’t believe us, well read our reviews, listen to the music, and tell us that we’re the same as other music bloggers. I know that by the end, you’ll see we’re the real deal.

 

Cyparissus: faun

 

Have you ever gone out to a movie with friends, and one of your asshole friends says, “Yeah it was good…but the book was so much better!” Usually they say that just to gain brownie points among his/her friends to show how “They’re the intellectual of the group.” It’s annoying yeah, but it does contain some valid points.

The reason the book is always better than the movie, is because the book allows for your own imagination to play out the story. You breathe life into each page you read, you create the world the characters inhabit, and the author merely provides the plot.

I say all of this in review of this album, because Cyparissus’ faun does the exact same thing but with music. Cyparissus creates a sonic playground for your mind to wonder and play in. It’s an album to sit down after a long day of work, and to work on that novel you’ve always dreamed on writing. You can’t just listen to one song, like how you can’t have Harry Potter just be about a kid with a thunderbolt scar on his forehead. This is an album that creates a world and atmosphere and that you must sit down and listen to all the way through.

deer’s face in front of portal, to the wind is the poison of the grass really sets the stage and the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a desolate and lonely sound. It’s a cloudy, windy, cold, rainy day, and you’re soaked to the skin. The pulsating pads and piercing ambient noises makes you feel like you’re the only person on earth.

The whole album really feels like the soundtrack to some Scandinavian film that has never been made. Ingmar Bergman’s films as far as I can recall, never really had a soundtrack (or if his did they usually were instruments that were played on scene, I can’t remember). But if his films did have a soundtrack it would be this album.

By the time the album reaches tick your mind begins to play tricks on you. There’s a condition called, musical ear syndrome. Where essentially you hear music in places where there isn’t any music, for example you hear the A/C and you start hearing an orchestra. I first thought I was imagining things, and then I jrealized that this track has such subtle sounds that on repeat listen, you can hear the subtle changes in pitches and tones. It takes a really delicate hand to be able to craft something so nuanced, and subtle. That and the overall semi lo-fi experience of the track creates a unique sound that I haven’t heard done that well in awhile.

bloodtype introduces such a change in tone, that instead of a wall of sound it feels more like a waterfall of sound. It stands out not for the fact it’s loud–quite the contrary–it’s actually not that loud at all, it’s that the rest of the album is just so quiet. A juxtaposition like that always highlights that which preceded it. In this case the quietness of the album before really highlights the introspection, and the introspection that as a result created that imaginary playground for you to play in.

Next up we have the longest, and shortest tracks. gelid which means icy cold, and colorplate. Both of these tracks take on a lot more sinister of a quality. Where before the album sounded isolated, introspective, and lonely; this part of the album feels like an invasion of that loneliness. As though you were alone for a very long time and finally allowed someone into your life, only for them to fuck you over and betray you. Which begs the question to a creative person: is it worth allowing other people into your the world you’ve created? Which is a question which kind of gets addressed in the last two songs.

The last two songs song dytikos and hold you like a sepulchre answers these questions. dytikos begins with a drum, the type of drum that’s in any movie signifying the call to action. It maintains the sinister quality of the prior tracks, and with it’s call to action doesn’t bode well, and we get hints of what kind of action that is required with this track in hold you like a selpulchre; selpulchre being, “a small room or monument, cut in rock or built of stone, in which a dead person is laid or buried.” And with it’s sad melancholy sound ends in a mysterious note. The album ends with that type of ending that in a movie, would make people pour over each frame trying to figure out the “true ending” and to not be left on a cliffhanger. And to the question of, whether it’s worth allowing other people into our own world we’ve created, it’s something that you’ll have to figure out for yourself. For we couldn’t ask ourselves these types of questions if Cyparissus didn’t invite us into their world, but at the same time, the album leaves us hanging wanting for more.

For an album, an imaginative playground, and overall world to inhabit. I give this album my recc

 

 

SLIMEYSKUMBAGGZ: SKUMBAGG CIGRAP pt. 1

 

 

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing a music review. Mainly because I have no idea how these guys

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made one of the best rap EPs I’ve ever heard on soundcloud. I’m not joking either.

I had my suspicions of them they are from England, and as an American, we are very hesitant to English Hip Hop. Two their tags on their EP is as follows: trumpets, drumkits, and “ur mums tits.” Three it could be an elaborate ruse, that they’re just trolls looking for ways to fuck with nobody music bloggers. And finally they don’t even look like they’ve graduated high school (or whatever the English equivalent of high school is.)

I don’t mean to insult them in anyway, because I want to set the stage by how impressed I am by them. I’ve met grown ass men, guys who have families, who have been struggling their whole lives to make rap music, and NONE of them sound remotely as good as these two guys from England. It’s so bizarre and strange that it’s like how in Amadeus Mozart is just this immature manchild, who just wants to make fart jokes all day long, and comparing that to the Salieris of real life I’ve met is truly a bizarre experience. Don’t take this that I’m saying SLIMEYSKUMBAGGZ are unintelligent far from it, what I’m saying is that these guys who don’t even take themselves all too seriously are slaying grown ass men who’ve been at the game for a whole lot longer.

The whole album has the best that hip hop, in it’s golden age (the 90’s), on the best coast (East Coast) has to offer, and they’re literally spitting fire. The best way to compare their rapping prowess is a comparison to Robin Williams (which is bizarre but it’s what works). Robin Williams had such a speedy delivery in his stand up that you’d be laughing at one joke, and then he’d deliver five more jokes on top of that, so that you’d have no time to breathe. They’re so technical, and their rhymes are so brilliantly crafted, that by the time you are appreciating one bar they’ve dropped 5 more that are just as brilliant.

The production from how hard the kicks sound, the subtle little trumpets, the keyboards, everything is just so well produced and mixed. It’s really incredible, and with everybody going for the whole lofi hip hop feel, to listen to kick drum that actually KICKS is such a joy to hear.

I had to look up SKWID to see his earlier works, to see if it was them that was actually rapping, and he wasn’t just sampling other rappers (even though if that was the case the production is still top notch.) I found his earlier music and even his earliest song you can tell that there is the formation some serious talent.

 

In SKUMBAGG CIGRAP pt. 1 you really see the progression of an artist, and the album itself is so fun, I don’t know anybody who likes hip hop that wouldn’t like this album. It’s like watching a Tarantino movie. Tarantino is a big movie nerd, and he makes movies that just take all the good parts from every movie genre, and gives it his own unique flair. SLIMEYSKUMBAGGZ do the exact same thing, but with hip hop. It’s a celebration of Hip Hop and it’s a must listen. The fact that it hasn’t received that much attention is astonishing to me. This one of the best, if not the best soundcloud rap album I’ve heard yet. If you don’t believe me look up other hip hop artists on soundcloud and tell me whether they can hold a candle to this album.

I not only give this album a recc. I give this album an MVP award. I give it hall of fame. Stop reading. Listen and judge for yourself. I could be crazy. I don’t know. But this album is fucking fire.