Discover more from Satellite Cult
satellite cult 20.20
deluxury, dan mason, caramelldansen, pond squid
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will thrust you outside on a cold rainy night so you can watch the streetlights glow in the puddles. hundreds of bright windows stare down at you from the skyscrapers. for a moment, it’s easy to forget you’re alone.
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.
i write and research satellite cult each week because i love it, and it’s important to me that it remains free to read and subscribe. but if you want to give altar offerings for the time and labor i invest, you can support me on Ko-fi.
if you enjoy what you find here, like, share, and consider subscribing to satellite cult.
Even if you don't, I still care
Full of synth-inspired jungle and breakbeats, Even if you don’t, I still care by USAGII is minty fresh and melancholy all at once, evoking the feeling of driving alone at night under the bright city lights, your car darting over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn as a subtle and nameless anxiety ebbs and flows inside of you.
in the album description, USAGII writes that sales from the album go to support her partner’s top surgery, and you can name your own price starting at one dollar. i won’t tell you what to do, but i’ll leave it at this: if you support a trans person this week, you’ll make your cult leader very happy.
真夜中classroom hits us with some unreleased tracks on this album, and it’s hard to believe these songs weren’t intended to go together. 隠し宮殿 is all slushy late-night lo-fi, but not in the typical way. late night lo-fi usually conjures the feeling of staying up too late at home while watching infomercials or sitcom reruns. in this case, it’s lo-fi out in the world. it’s a night out, surrounded on the sidewalk, alone amid the buzz and hum of friends and strangers. you’re disassociating, and you can’t stop. you don’t know why and you’re terrified you never will.
CD’s latest, Deluxury, draws inspiration from retro beauty and cosmetics advertising. there’s something rather soft around the edges when it comes to the aesthetics of the late 80s and early 90s; i can’t help but picture hairstyles where the ends are curved in instead of flipped out or left straight. it’s quiet, suburban fashion instead of haute couture, and this softness carried over everywhere else, like pastel sweaters and light wash jeans, even children’s toys like this Fisher Price Puffalump who still lives somewhere in my parent’s house.1
as on other releases, CD is reviving classic eccojams, which i love and miss seeing in more contemporary vaporwave. track 10, “VHS Supermix,” is fifteen minutes of experimental plundering, moving from sample to sample, like simultaneously flipping through radio and tv stations circa 1990.
how to get back something you accidentally deleted on iPhone/ mistake dropped files
released on Typhoon Records Japan, audiostoker and mulchprize deliver a six-song EP featuring slushy hexd remixes of iconic pop-punk songs. there’s also a Foo Fighters track in there for some reason. the result is liminal, dreamlike, distorted.
on mulchprize’s second appearance here, this time with solarkite, (or as the Bandcamp page puts it, solarkite&mulchprize＝SOLARMULCHK¡TEPR¡ZE) furby death features sixteen tracks, all shorter than a minute and thirty seconds, and all called “furby death.” it’s chaotic, experimental hexd, packed with sparkly happy hardcore notes and the pulses of 2000s audio—at least one track plunders from “Pocket Full of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield, and there are plenty of other references to uncover.
since the passage of time is inevitable, it’s more and more common to see vaporwave, a decade-old genre at this point, shed the aesthetics of the 80s and 90s, which were en vogue at its inception, for the aesthetics of the 2000s and even 2010s thanks to the nostalgia cycle. Ghostmemory’s Frutiger-Mart is an excellent example of how this progression is manifesting.
a Frutiger Aero mallsoft album, it’s not exactly meant to evoke a mall, but rather a grocery store. there isn’t exactly a formal name for grocery store aesthetic vaporwave—maybe grocerywave or aislewave is fitting—but it’s certainly a long established aesthetic among vaporwave fans, adjacent to department store aesthetic releases (that doesn’t really have a name either, but sometimes i call it Kmartwave). but the emphasis on Frutiger Aero aesthetic shows where the genre is heading: still based in nostalgia, still based in criticisms of what capitalism has done to us. ultimately, still vaporwave. just with a different angle.
in case you missed it: Compilation Singles
vaporwave fave Dan Mason ダン·メイソン has released a collection of singles from compilation albums. check it out.
this week, i came across a clip from an 80s documentary in which legendary synth musician Suzanne Ciani composes dreamy music and audio for a pinball machine.
ooo ooo ooowahooowah oh oh
the last few years have seen a revival of nightcore remixes, even to the point where The New York Times covered it back in December. nightcore certainly predates the mid-2000’s to mid-2010s anime kids who clung to it, but with nightcore revival has come a renewed interest in Caramelldansen, which at one point was so popular it had its own mobile game (i thought the game was lost media, but it’s actually been archived here). my social feeds have been bombarded with it lately, and i remembered this video essay about the authorship of the song its unexpectedly tumultuous history.
pond squid is a browser game made in Pico by Noh on itch.io. it looks like a normal fishing game on the surface, but once you catch something, you have the option of reeling it in or fighting it. i recommend you fight it.
thank you for joining me. until next time.
yes, its name was Puffy