Discover more from Satellite Cult
satellite cult 19.19
eccos of the past, long live forums, tumblr history, ttrpgs for trans rights
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will help you navigate the great, endless expanse of gridspace. how do you orient yourself when everything in front of you, behind you, to your left and right on all horizons is one never-changing grid? you leave shiny, 3D spheres in your wake like breadcrumbs and hope the cybermites don’t eat them.
please be aware that the void dive section below contains flashing gifs. if you’re viewing this on the website, forgive the way Substack formats some Bandcamp embeds.
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in case you missed it: Eccos of the Past
back in 2020, Wales-based vaporwave label My Pet Flamingo partnered with the filmmakers behind Nobody Here: The Story of Vaporwave1 to release a compilation album by the same name, taking listeners through the genre’s history. they hit plenty of big moments, but left out plenty, too, leaving me not dissatisfied, but a little unimpressed. fast-forward: the documentary team and My Pet Flamingo have once again teamed up, releasing Nobody Here: Eccos of the Past, a compilation album where legends like Nmesh, Dan Mason ダン·メイソン, Luxury Elite, and 猫 シ Corp re-plunder classic vaporwave tracks.
if you’ve been kicking around the scene for the last decade, or even if you just have fond, casual memories of Arizona-green-tea-bust-of-Helios-grid-and-palm-tree edits from Tumblr, the album is a must-listen.
the nostalgia cycle is pushing vaporwave back in front of people’s eyes, on their screens, in their ears. i’m so excited.
released on net label business casual, this fresh, bumping future funk album by Buffalo, NY-based producer Alea Bluff plunders from a variety of sources and pulls out all the nu-disco stops. it’s so, so danceable, sharply produced, and made me pause Drag Race to listen all the way through. i can’t think of a higher compliment.
Polish producer Da-Vista serves up some synthwavey, vaportrap adjacent, late-night lofi on this six track EP. undefined flashbacks feels calm and cool in a lonely way, like when you remember something, and you realize no one else can experience your memory except for you. sure, you can tell someone about it, but that exact moment when the recollection hits belongs to you and you alone, no matter how much you might want someone else there to steady you.
an album by G O R E, released on label Doki Doki Beats, 下向きスパイラル delivers cool, jazzy barber beats with a few surprises, like on ディープダークファンタジー.
it’s definitely less common to find albums tagged as climatewave or weathersoft—most often they fall under the umbrellas of signalwave or late-night lofi. but Rainy Day by Supah Genesis, released on FOTOSHOPPE CO., self-identifies as both.
the album has its own narrative: you’re in elementary school, it’s raining outside, you go about your day, you go home. you even get popcorn and hot chocolate at the end.
the forums are alive
forums sometimes feel like a relic of the past, but i think they still have a place on the net. social experiences dedicated to hyper-specific interests and communities, largely without the pressures of building a personal brand or fitting into some aesthetic, serve important reprieves from corporate-owned social platforms.
i haven’t vetted all of these thoroughly, so enter at your own risk. here are some classic web style forums that still live on today:
it’s self explanatory: a forum for people who love dinosaur toys. they even have an annual dinosaur diorama contest. rad.
Bunspace is a forum for pet rabbit enthusiasts. they have a stuffed bunny mascot named Jaques Noir, who evidently travels from forum member to forum member. did i mention? posters identify themselves by the names of their pet rabbits.
i’m pretty cynical when it comes to hippie culture, but just in case you’re feeling your inner flower child or whatever, you can hang out with fellow hippies on the The Hip Forums. maybe just stay away from the Rainbow Family and Conspiracy Theory threads.
speaking of forums, i found these thanks to a seven-year-old thread on Something Awful.
if you like satellite cult, chances are that you, like me, have been on Tumblr since at least 2010. our beloved hellsite’s history is radically different from other social media juggernauts of the last decade. unlike Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, Tumblr was (and still is) customizable, and the platform’s format has fostered a specific culture more akin to forums or image boards than any other corporate-owned social property.
as early as 2020, Vox was writing that the Tumblr 2014 aesthetic had come back en vogue, but the trend really hit its peak last year with the return of hipster aesthetics (i promise: no one ever called it indie sleaze). but the Tumblr resurgence didn’t actually capture much about Tumblr; back in the day, the website was embroiled in a war between hipster blogs and fandom blogs, though most users fell somewhere in the categories of both or neither. the point is that Tumblr aesthetic revivalists don’t actually represent the experiences of Tumblr users, and it’s a shame. Tumblr is home to some of the strangest, most fascinating moments in web culture over the last decade, from DashCon to the bone thief to Mischapocalypse 2k13.
plenty of you are likely already familiar with STRANGE ÆONS, who covers web culture and history, often focusing on topics related to Tumblr. her latest video brought me back to the Tumblr of my high school and college years, and it’s worth a watch for those of you who were deep, deep in it.
TTRPGs said trans rights!
Rue (ilananight) is hosting a fundraising bundle on itch.io featuring 505 TTRPGs to raise money for two different organizations providing much needed support to trans people in the state of Florida, where some of the most harmful anti-trans legislation in the United States has been introduced. you can buy the bundle for just five dollars, but if you want, you have the option to give more. it includes digital versions of games like Thirsty Sword Lesbians and Visgoths vs. Mallgoths, both of which i own physical copies of, courtesy of Twenty Sided Store in Brooklyn.
thank you for joining me. until next time.