(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.

 

Basic Genre Introductions (Part one): Vaporwave

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Most of the time any serious music fan discussing their favorite genre, usually ends up looking like a crazy person. So here at recclective we’re going to give you the smooth sailing, easy to understand, breakdown of each genre. To accomplish this we’re going to be bringing in documentaries, albums, articles, and interviews to highlight each genre.

First up is vaporwave. Even though it seems to be a dying genre that’s being quickly overtaken by lofi hip hop, it’s still worth looking up. If you’ve ever heard this song then you’ve heard vaporwave. If that particular song isn’t your cup of tea then I’d recommend Vaporwave: A Brief History by Wolfenstein OS X, and Vaporwave: Genre Redifined by Mr. Amazing.

Vaporwave: A Brief history is more of a documentary goes over it’s beginnings, main genre troupes, aesthetics, and notable artists in the vaporwave community. While Vaporwave: A Brief History is more of a love letter to a genre Mr. Amazing had previously dismissed.

 

 

Wolfenstein OS X, and Mr. Amazing briefly touches on the origin of the name, and the original article posted Dummy Mag provides good insight into the artistic statements that vaporwave began with. If the message of Vaporwave  touched on by Wolfenstein OS X and Mr. Amazing interests you, then I’d highly recommend you read it.

So now you’ve listened to some artists, watched the documentary, and read the article–and now you want to start making your own style of vaporwave, or even just incorporate some of it’s aesthetics into your own music. Then I’d suggest watching Adam Neely’s breakdown of the music theory of vaporwave. Adam Neely, generally speaking, is an excellent source of music knowledge and watching any of his videos, makes music theory a lot easier to digest and understand.

 

So there you have it an introductory course to vaporwave.

 

Noisemad Succeeds to Impress

This post was written by The Scratch King you can follow him on twitter, instagram, and soundcloud.

 

It’s hard to make a good impression in a short amount of time, especially in the dog-eat-elephant world of underground music in 2019. That is, unless you’re Noisemad, fresh off the release of his new Deadcity EP. Three tracks in length, the project wastes no time submerging listeners in an ocean of polished production, aptly coupled with harsh, unrelenting lyrics. This is clearest on the intro track, “Meat Wagon,” which features a John Carpenter-esque key melody alongside a screamed refrain. It’s a powerful sonic package that’s hard to ignore. Noisemad doesn’t let up as the runtime continues, delivering equally razor-sharp lyrics through the second and third tracks, Red Light District and Wanted.

Coming in at about seven minutes, Deadcity EP is a quick but intense listen worth hearing.

Recc/10

Electronic Warbear: Disassociation

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https://electronicwarbear.bandcamp.com/album/disassociation

Even though most of synthwave focuses on the 80’s and the nostalgic recreation of the music of our childhoods–I wanna focus in on the 90’s for this review. Specifically the movies made by Gen X’ers about the nihilistic soul crushing mediocrity that is modern life. Movies like The Matrix, Office Space, Dark City, Fight Club, The Truman Show etc. whose protagonists do everything they can to escape modern life. To escape the loneliness of a life spent in a cubicle. And has Electronic Warbear has put it, “I make synthwave and synthpop. Soundtracking the movies I see in my brain.” No review would be appropriate without the allusion to films.

Electronic Warbear’s Disassociation begins with Enter the City, which starts with an incredibly upbeat tone. The synths, and drum track suggest the promises of a rewarding future. The kind you get when you watch a corporate training video on some corporate jargon that always fails to live up to any form of already lowered expectations. But Electronic Warbear doesn’t buy into the bullshit, he doesn’t buy into the false promises given to you by the slick production, and as the synths come crashing down as more and more of the false facade has been exposed.

His next track Islophobia reminds me of the quiet existentialism of Philip Glass’ score in The Truman Show. Although I couldn’t find any actual definition of the term, a quick google search showed that it was “A fear of being alone.” The arpeggios and chord progression as mentioned before provides an excellent juxtaposition with the last track Dissociation. While Disassociation promises you happiness, Islophobia nags at you–it lingers in your thoughts–you know something isn’t right, but what that is, you don’t know.

The Descent continues this off kilter feeling with a synth that seems to be seething in rage but transforms into being strangely a happy song. The track sounds almost too happy and then you notice that something seems to be a bit off, there seems to be a note off here and there from the original key. You’re seeing holes and inconsistencies where you shouldn’t. The heavy synth growls as the lies, and deceit gnaws away at your conscious until all that’s left is to wear a fake smile; all the while a rage is building up inside of you. It’s a song that makes you realize that the happiness you were promised isn’t achievable, like the common expression used in AA meetings, “Once you’re a pickle, you can never turn back into a cucumber.”

In Grind the rage builds, as immediately an incredibly dark and heavy synth starts at the beginning of the track. The percussion so sharp it sounds like the grinding of metal against metal. Then you hear a faint voice, which reminds me of the Mortal Kombat voiceovers you’d hear in the games. I can’t really make out what it’s saying, whether it’s “End it,” “Awake,” or whatever. But the voice carries with it an air of authority, like the boss who micromanages all of your actions at work, while all you can do is smile like the good corporate drone that you are. This track is by far the most angry, and dark of all the tracks on the album. And since all of the tracks have built up to this rage, it’s only fit that it must be resolved.

Malfunction starts with the cheery keyboard that feels like the end of a long shift at work, where all the mischievous plans begin to percolate in your mind of what you’re going to do that weekend. Then as soon as the percussion starts the track opens itself up to such a euphoric release. It feels not like the desperate escape from an entirely hopeless situation, but one that happens once a week for two days at a time. The synths swell up with joy, and the voice that held so much authority in the Grind only becomes more and more distorted as though it has lost it’s power to contain your individuality. The voice though distant seems frustrated that instead of doing the corporate sponsored events (running a 5k to cure some disease, doing yoga, running with your dog on the beach, doing whatever they do in some anti-depressant drug commercial) you assert your own individuality and become as the title says, a “Malfunction” in the corporate structure.

The voice in the beginning of Partyy is so distorted and seems so far away, that it feels like a distant memory. The snares and bass of the track gives the music a sharpened focus. With bass pummeling on, and the snare cutting through all the noise, the Partyy doesn’t really seem like a party. For example you know those happy relaxing parties where you hangout with friends, play drinking games, and Mario Kart. This track is definitely not one of those types of parties. This is one of those parties where you head out to a club by yourself trying to get blacked out drunk, hookup with some strange chick, or both. The chord progressions in Partyy swell up in emotion reaching great heights of happiness, to then lower back down to reality. Like somebody going bar hopping looking to get laid–where each new venue offers up a new promising possibility– but it only ends in getting rejected by a bunch of girls, saying the wrong things, and just making an ass of themselves.

Partyy above most of the tracks on Disassociation is the most deceptive because in the beginning you would be inclined to think this is a typical EDM song played in club; but Warbear is bit more clever than that, and he adds more of an emotional depth than what would be assumed. And with a lot of Electronic Warbear’s music this track really rewards the listener.

Till We Die continues the party type of sound. But this sound is a lot more angry, a lot more vicious, and nihilistic. The track opens up with some of the dirtiest synth possible, that just feels bitter. While Partyy seemed to at least offer a hope, Till We Die just wants to self destruct. The thudding bass sounds like the type of basses you’d find at clubs where everyone has to scream to communicate with each other, while the lead synthesizer and chorus seem to offer a haunting perspective of this new party. Instead of the hope of gratification we instead get desire of self destruction, as the snare accelerates in tempo hoping for a resolution; all for it to fall back to the same focused destruction. The track ends with the distorted sound of people talking, but they’re not talking to you, they’re talking to each other, and their voices are so distorted it’s not even possible to understand what they are saying. And nothing is more isolating than hearing other people talk and have fun and not being able to join in.

Disassociation, the next track in the album, seems to be like the hangover from the night before. The lead synths seem to pulsate like a bad headache from a night of heavy drinking. The arpeggiated synths show the same signs of that existentialism that was shown before in previous tracks. That whatever happiness that was achieved in the previous songs has all but disappeared as the realization dawns that–whatever you do–you can’t can’t escape your current predicament.

Finally with Crossing the album ends, with a melancholy note. As the rain sample plays in the intro. The lead synths drip with sadness, and it’s a sadness that seems more introspective as they quiet down, as only the rain samples and bass pluck on. When the synths return, they return with a question. Is it my predicament that’s fucked up, or is it me that’s fucked up? Which begs the question, where are we the listener crossing towards?

With this musical journey that Electronic Warbear’s Disassociation, I give Electronic Warbear a hearty recc.

 

The Less Dead: Off Chance

 

 

The Less Dead’s album Off chance has made me re-evaluate a lot of things. The one thing I can firmly say with near certainty is that angels aren’t going to be playing harps in heaven, they’ll be using synths.

This album is literally so comfy. It’s the type of album you play on a rainy day, cuddled up in bed, reading your favorite book. The whole time I was listening to it, I was thinking how great this album would be for a youtube studying channel. Now it could be that I’m biased seeing that it’s nearly time for me to go to bed. So I’ll ignore the comfiness and really dive into this album.

Most synthwave albums seem to have this preoccupation with sci-fi dystopias and their sound typically reflects that. The Less Dead’s album just brims with optimism. Take the first track it’s so fun, it contains so much enthusiasm. The synths are incredibly complex, and in each song, the synths maintain their complexity. What I mean by complexity isn’t a bunch of synths doing their own separate thing and putting them all together to create this cacophony of sound. Each synth harmonizes with the next while maintaining it’s own complexity.

The next song Entropy follows suit and maintains the same level of optimism, but also shows The Less Dead’s their next strength, which is that the percussion is a joy to listen to. It’s so refreshing to hear something other than a simple stock drumbeat and an occasional tom fill. Even in the 80’s, with corporate music dominating the scene, there wasn’t as nearly as monotonous uncreative drum beats that most synthwave artists use nowadays. With every clap, hi hat, mallet, cowbell, etc. (I probably got a few of the instruments wrong) The Less Dead breathes much needed life into synthwave.

Another about The Less Dead is that their darker sound really fascinates me. It’s not over the top, dripping with despair, or filled with this evil viciousness. It’s the kind of darkness that you see when you’re watching your favorite childhood movie and you see the scary scene that you used to be frightened at. As an adult you’re no longer scared of the scary scene because you know it’s going to turn out alright. Take for example one of my favorite tracks of the album, It Can’t Be Shut Off. It’s a track that hints at a greater threat–the synths growl, there’s an electronic beep throughout the song as though you are listening to a robotic heartbeat–but it’s never frightening. The same applies to It’s Out There. The track itself is creepy, but it’s the kind of creepy that you see during Halloween. Where you dress up as the thing that scares you, and as a result conquer your fears.

The album quickly returns to it’s optimistic, warm, and friendly tone. It even features an incredible guitar part on City Life. Love is probably the best example on the whole album of how warm The Less Dead’s songs can be. It takes you back to a more innocent kind of love. The kind of love where all other needs are met, and the only thing you want is that other person’s company.

Unlike most synthwave artists The Less Dead’s Off Chance is album that doesn’t fear the future. In fact the phobias, fears, and neuroses of the future are conquered in this album. Very much how like as a child you so incredibly terrified of the monsters lurking in the closet, and how that fear would overwhelm you–but now as an adult you look back fondly on childhood, and cherish the innocence you once had–and even the monsters that still could be in your closet.

This album is a definite recc for anybody who wants the sound equivalent of a warm cup of hot chocolate.

As_Is: Opening Act

 

As_Is’ Opening act starts off heavy with this quote, “Eventually this audio file will be forever lost in the digital universe.” Which is a pretty heavy statement on the nature of the internet and the music it brings.

I remember back in my college dorm being exposed to Dubstep, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. It sounded so novel and new; I couldn’t believe my ears. Then within a few months it just turned into a fad. The same thing happened with witch house, seapunk, vaporwave, and eventually lofi hip hop etc.

The music brings joy to those seeking novelties, but then is discarded as an old hat as long as it loses it’s novelty. Yet to those who sincerely enjoyed the music, who sincerely related to it, they’re left in the dust, subjected to mockery and called cringey for being non-ironically interested in a music genre.

All these thoughts rushed past me as soon as I heard As_Is’ musings on Just Feel Something. The opening statements shining a harsh light on the nature of music and the music listener. Then unapologetically opens with one of the best synth intros I’ve ever heard. The bass drops bringing in a rush of those memories on the first time I really sat down to listen to an EDM song. Yet, it’s not EDM, As_Is finds a way to use the usual tropes of electronic music to make their own unique distinct sound. All throughout the track the songs oscillate wildly from one electronic music genre to another. From sounding like dubstep to ending in an 8-bit sounding middle eastern song. Every turn, misdirection, and buildup becomes a joy to listen to; which I couldn’t help but smile at.

The Sucara is an incredibly fun song to listen. With the beginning intro starting with a sample of what sounds like a 50’s monster B movie. With it’s harsh dubstep sounds, synthetic screams, ominous synths, and frantic drumming, it truly commits to being a fun dubstep version of a B movie.

Initiation is the most experimental of the tracks. It’s pounding drum beats echo has the synths growl, only to disappear into a swirl of mystery. The world that’s created from this track becomes incredibly hostile and mysterious as what sounds like a synth chanting in the background, while a bell plays the faintest of melodies. It’s the most thematic, and creative of the songs on the track.

Finally the album ends Thinking in Space, and it’s here that As_Is’ experimentation shines through. The 8-bit synth charms it way back to this track, as the keyboards play a spacious all encompassing sound. This song is incredibly expansive and exceeds in creating a spacious atmosphere. An atmosphere that not only feels vast and endless, but one that seems so fun as well. As though the world of possibilities of electronic music is laid before our feet and all we have to do is have fun and go explore it–which is exactly what As_Is has accomplished.

This album, though only 4 songs long, is definitely worth a listen to. As a perfection summation and expansion on the concepts of electronic music. Any music fan who is into any sort of electronic music, should definitely check out.

Plus they’re from Florida so they’re already pretty good guys in my book

I give this album my recc.