Elay Arson: Borrowed Memories

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https://elayarson.bandcamp.com/album/borrowed-memories

So first let me tell you this, you think you’d know a song, especially one made by Led Zeppelin. If anybody were to tell me they’d prefer a cover of a Led Zeppelin song to the original, first I would ask if they we’re okay. Maybe they’re off their meds, maybe they got tinnitus, maybe they’re on a week long PCP bender. Then if they persisted, I would just tell them that they have no taste and would no longer associate with them.

Well either I’m crazy, or Elay Arson is just that good.

Borrowed Memories starts with a kicker, an incredible rendition of Led Zeppelin’s immigrant song. From the heart pounding synths, heavy guitar, to the amazing vocal performance of Becca Starr that manages to add so much sneer and viciousness to an already great song.

So already this album had me in high hopes, and did not disappoint.

My first love was of movies, then video games, and then books. Each of those do something that’s incredibly difficult to do in music. Which is to breathe life into a new world. Create something we had never seen before.

From Hotline L.A. the scene of a futuristic dystopia mired in crime, mass riots, and maybe the overthrow of some robotic overlords. The drums thud on as riot police march down the street. The synth soars high as our protagonist narrowly escapes being captured by an android. The guitars swirl around as we capture of city of great technological achievement, yet failing to satisfy the basic needs of the human condition.

To Gods Amongst Men featuring Dred (one of my favorite synthwave artists). The track seems mired in hopelessness as the guitars trudge along, yet those synths retain that glimpse of hope. That little spark that has not yet died. Then the track accelerates picking up in tempo and lead guitars soaring above the track–delivering that fire that the little spark once promised.

This track is definitely for those workouts when you think you can’t do anymore and you just push on through one more rep. (Btw synthwave as a genre is probably the best for workouts.)

Finally Final Midnight Ride is that track that breathes in a new world. There’s something esoteric and magical about it’s sound yet at the same time incredibly technological and synthetic. Like the meeting of two opposing worlds that of the mysterious, and that of the logical. The guitar solos shred throughout this track as though these two worlds cannot coexist–that one must prevail. This song bursts through the seems with struggle as each opposing sounds fight for dominance, and at the end is the droning noise of synthesizer.

In a genre of hacks, copycats, and those who just want to race to the bottom. Elay Arson creates a breath of fresh air. A sound that creates a new world, and in that new world contains insight into our own world.

With everybody plugged into the matrix that is the internet–and all that entails–the invasion of privacy, the overreach of government agencies and social media. Every day we feel the increasing paranoia that new technological advancement brings us. The future is now. The question is will we rule technology, or will technology rule us?

With this I give Elay Arson: Borrowed Memories a recc.

Phosfiend: Guilty Machines

 

 

Thank God there’s still originality in rap. Since it’s formation it’s always been highly contentious. Soul Train host Don Cornelius didn’t even regard it as a respectable form of art.

These days, it can be difficult to argue against that point. With thotcore and mumblecore dominating the scene, hiphop can seem to be leading the race to the bottom of the barrel, but that’s really an unfair and frankly ignorant stance to take.

Right off the bat, Phosfiend’s voice stands out as excellent. At first it seems like the type of voice that would fit perfectly in a metal band, so to hear that voice dedicated to rapping is a welcome juxtaposition. His unique vocal style give his songs an almost operatic tone.

The music varies wildly from a moog synthesizer, to heavy or reverbed out guitars, to bizarre sounding sitars. Everything is experimental, yet familiar.

The best way to describe his music that it is the 00’s sound. Not the mainstream sound that we remember, but the sound that we will nostalgically recall.

For example, everybody says that synthwave is the recreation of 80’s music. It’s not. It’s the nostalgic recreation of the ideal 80’s music, of those B movies that always promised a terrible, scary monster, accompanied by that infamous arpeggiated synth, but just delivered a guy in a rubber suit and overused stock music.

Phosfiend does that with the 00’s music; reconstructs the ideal, not the actual. For example, those rock-sounding vocals and the heavy guitars in Mad God seem like they could fit with any nu metal band of the 00’s–except that they wouldn’t. Nu metal offered a fusion of hip hop and heavy metal, but ultimately ended in a cringe-fest. Phosfiend– very much like synthwave–nostalgically recreates and delivers on the promises of the that scene, giving his listeners something they can’t help but feel they’ve been waiting for.

From the emo guitar in 2 Woke 2 Cope, to the lyrics of Guilty Machines discussing theology, every song is a fulfillment of what was 00’s aggressive music promised but never delivered.

When I think of that time I’ll always remember playing MK4 with friends late at night and listening to Papa Roach. Mad God (my favorite track on the album) seems to amalgamate these various sounds and invokes those feelings of nostalgia in a way that a lot of pop music can’t. It’s a sound that only somebody who lived and breathed in this century’s first decade can understand. It’s not something a studio hit-maker can produce on a whim. An excellent album worth checking out. I give it my recc