Introducing Sp3ctr3wave: Zyxz – Delta Mornings
three witches gather
in Hyrule forest
to break the barriers between dimensions
with ocarina panic.
Vaporwave is the sound of our digital lives. It is all the muzak and menu screens and dial tones and glitches and soundcloud rips broadcast back to us like some kind of Platonic realm. The visual iconography of vaporwave is almost always a congruence of endless grids, senseless digital bricolage, and classical imagery. It is a simulacrum of the simulacrum, a microcosm of the portals to endless realms of high and low art, and all of our digital desires.
As with most/all things, particularly musical genres, vaporwave started off as a series of generic codifiers – glistening, warbling synths, shining like an empty mall food court, and usually some sort of abstract post-beat beat. The genre was born in the flames of Oneohtrix Point Never’s Eccojams, when Daniel Lopatin endless explored his sick fascination with early ’90s trash corporate ephemera. On one hand, it seems like the ultimate junk art, a repurposing of material which is totally and completely worthless, like remixing 7 billion AOL cd roms.
As vaporwave has held on, enjoying an unexpected longevity, outliving many extinct internet genres, vaporwave has accrued more layers and levels of associations. A kind of abstract, post-body internet Rl&B seems to fall on the ‘wave spectrum, like James Blake summoning angels in one of Dali’s disintegrating landscapes.
Ultimately, these internet musicks explore how we feel and relate to the technology in our lives. After all, we spend a lot of time in these glowing simulacra, and have for much of our lives. Pop culture and the so-called low art of disposable entertainment – video games, comic books, TV, paperback novels – becomes a kind of astral realm that surrounds our lives, like an act of active imagination, leading us into digital astral planes.
So, it beggars the question: What would it sound like the Witches of Zelda were to have some sort of ritual in the forests of Hyrule, ripping open the realm to all the multiverses beyond?
Delta Morning, by the incredibly talented London producer Zyxz starts there, and uses the 8-bit ritual as a launching pad to explore nearly every form of disassociative post-body music imaginable.
You begin to realize you’re in for something different with the spectral r&b of “Johanna Now”, an exceptional and stand-out track. Zyxz’s plaintiff vocals are like a silk violin against a landscape of popcorn clouds, thudding beats, dithering seafoam, and a lava lamp organ. It is a twitching, melting universe, always moving, never static, and yet Zyxz’s vocals are pure loss and lament. It is the sound of a lonely voicemail, of flicking through pictures of lost lovers on your phone. It is also one of the only artful uses of that undersampled 28 kbps sound we all know so well.
Zyxz profers Delta Morning of an emerging style he’s calling Sp3ctr3wave. From the press release:
The genre is a new style called sp3ct3rwave, it’s a brand-new combination of spectral-processing, punchy syn–percusson and chopped/screwed vocals with a uniquely Halloween/haunted-house/graveyard aesthetic. It’s like $PL▲$H ¢LUB 7, chris†††, Saint Pepsi and PrismCorp Virtual Enterprises and Grimes or ooOoO or ††† mixed with Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker or a slow version of ΔMi−1 = −αΣn=1NDi[n][Σj∈C[i]Fji[n − 1] +Fexti[n−1]]
couldn’t have said it better. As we said above, vaporwave is the starting point, but Zyxz reveals himself to be quite a proficient bass/grime architect. He summons rude, formless sub-bass on “Grim”, which he overlays with that digital snakefarmer MIDI piano sound vaporwave producers are so fond of, reminding me most strongly of Fatima Al Qadiri’s similar exploration of a virtual china on Asiatisch.
Zyxz also brings to mind the slow elevated levitating house club sound you’d hear on 100% silk, and he reveals himself to be quite an adept mutant house producer as well. His beats are consistently clear, powerful, and punchy throughout the record, with a high-level mastering sheen. The sub-bass never gets too ragged or out of control – there is a space for everything. Zyxz knows his machines, he’s mastered there mysteries.
You see, however you get there, it’s magick. It you learn to ride the delta rhythms of the universe on a NES Advantage (dated reference, i know, i don’t care), so be it. Zyxz is bringing these strange starry realms to life. I’m starting to picture chiptune/vaporwave/witch house raves in the forest at night. Game boy drum circles raging until dawn. Speech box seances.
One thing is clear: Zyxz is a top-shelf producer that needs to be heard. Here’s an artist with a vision, and the skills to pull it off – the most deadly combo. Over the course of Delta Morning, Zyxz seems to score a victory for digital culture. Here is a legitimate love for SID melodies, menu screens and pixelated adventure, along with, no doubt, out there psychotropic film, skinny-tie new wave, and every form of whatever the fuck we’re going to call bass music now.
Zyxz’s debut is on par with high profile releases like the rather interesting and ambitious debut from Autre Ne Veut, Transparency, which i’d still like to write about someday, somewhere, and could be just as successful. Not to mention other brilliant air sculptors like Arca or Dean Blunt. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d see Zyxz’s name (not that we’d know how to pronounce it) next to theirs.
So here’s to #sp3ctr3wave! Let’s make it happen!
For more digital magick, reviews, and muttering, follow @for3stpunk and drop by the FB page.
a note on Amazon links: every once in a while, we link to products available on Amazon. These are affiliate links, which give us a small percentage of sales. If yr planning on doing some purchasing, using our Amazon links allows us to spread our righteous unholy fire! Want to support Forestpunk but don’t want to buy stuff? You can donate through PayPal, as well. Every cent helps us create better coverage of all things darkly magickal, newage and speculative. Thanks for reading! j/fp