At first listen, experimental tape imprints Opal Tapes and 1080p seem to be in aesthetic opposition: the former favors industrial sludge, while the latter is partial to torrents of gloss-drenched digitalia. But it turns out that the labels have a mutual interest in distortion and undermining house and techno’s common tropes. Italian producer Yari Malaspina sits somewhere between the Canadian (1080p) and British (Opal Tapes) projects. His debut EP as OOBE explored haunted, gritty techno on Opal Tapes in 2013, and his return on 1080p next week, Digitalsea, explores a similarly estranged relationship to club music through more synthetic means. Hearing the cassette album in full, which you can do via the player above, illuminates its subtleties. Between squelchy cuts like the Actress-indebted “Purplehaze” and the dilapidated almost-arpeggios on “166.166.166” lie moments of touching ambiance.
Portland artists Magic Fades and Soul Ipsum have come together for a new album Zirconia Reign on the mighty 1080p label (which we’ve featured on Electronic Beats before). Occupying the sweet spot between coke-chilled R&B, post-rave fallout and and the uncanny signifiers of vaporwave, this is zero-friction music for the digital generation 2.0—and we’re really into it. We’ve landed the exclusive video premiere of “Lacroix”, taken from the album. Created by the New Zealand visual artist Sorawit Songsataya, it’s a hypnotic piece of digital abstraction. Be the first to watch it, above.
Zirconia Reign is released April 8th on 1080p.
Don’t be fooled by the corporate lustre of their titles, it’s all part of Mind Dynamics‘ desire to subvert the hi-tech, faster-better-stronger mindset of twenty-first century living. Foregoing the clean lines and HD-quality modern software has bestowed, The Brooklyn duo Daniel Freshwater and Brian Whateverer create decayed, feric-scarred techno. While their cover art and titles certainly the same obsession with branding and capitalist semiotics as vaporwave artists, the duo approach their music with far less ambiguity as to whose side they’re really on, and it ain’t the side of corporate muzak-making. Recorded live, these scrambled signals possess a twisted vitality—the rhythmic snap of “Juice Cleanse 2” feels like a Night Slugs cut buried beneath a dense crust of flotsam—which clatters and dissipates as if caught between long-lost AM bandwidths. This is music at its most deliberately abstruse, mussed up, and, somehow, vital. True to their concept, Precision Instruments is available on cassette from tomorrow via Vancouver’s 1080p label, but we’ve got the exclusive premiere today.
Mind Dynamics’ Precision Instruments is out on pro-dubbed cassette with free digital download on December 3rd.