Discover more from Satellite Cult
satellite cult 2.2
internet music, sextrance, geocities, void dive
welcome back to satellite cult. i’m so glad you’re here. please allow the following examples of enclosure enrichment to captivate your senses and clarify your mind. each cult dispatch is a temporary cleanse intended for those living under capitalism. i wish i could rescue you. in the absence of certain salvation, the cult would like to offer the following web excavation for your pleasure.
please be aware that the void dive section below contains flashing gifs.
if you like what you find here, consider subscribing to satellite cult. thank you.
when it comes to internet music, there’s a degree of authenticity not replicated in genres and scenes where the success of a musician relies on their ability to sell themselves. pseudonymous accounts with anime PFPs certainly still cater to a particular audience and aesthetic, but when these nameless, faceless artists release music, they release it not to commercial listeners, but to small communities contained in Discord servers, forums, subreddits, and image boards. these are the spaces where new movements begin small before disseminating outward, eventually permeating the mainstream.
breakcore microgenres are everywhere right now, as Y2K revivalists mine drum and bass, hard techno, nightcore, jungle, video game scores, trance, vaporwave, cloud rap, industrial, hexd, and Vocaloids for the aspects best suited to deliver on romanticizing the most nostalgic and pleasing parts of their childhoods. the ever controversial sewerslvt first released music as a 16-year-old under the sadboy sheldon moniker in 2017, and 2019 brought us both tomoe_theundy1ng’s Rare RCB hexD.mp3,the bit-crushed and sped-up remix of Reptilian Club Boys, and breakbeat releases from the Y2K-inspired Perfect Chao. Even before that, Iglooghost released Chinese Nü Yr back in 2015, and more mainstream experimental and alternative acts like Death Grips and The Garden, who undoubtedly affected at least some of these musicians from different ends, were first formed in 2010 and 2011, respectively. these influences contributed to sounds like hyperpop and digicore in one context, but in another they produced a myriad of underground electronic movements native to the web.
and with that, if you’re not already acquainted, i’m pleased to introduce you to sextrance.
sextrance is perhaps best described as an offshoot of hexd that leans more into drum and bass, jungle, breakcore, and hyperpop than it does cloud rap, emo rap, or trap. the aesthetic is cyberspace, anime girls, the original Playstation, Poo-chi by Tiger Electronics, this Hit Clips commercial. some flavors are a little more old Hot Topic than others, and a significant number of DJs and musicians involved in the scene are queer, specifically trans. figures associated with sextrance aren’t entirely unknown—this track by s0cky has 98k streams on Soundcloud, for example—but many of these artists’ releases predate the word. punching sextrance into Google Trends reveals that there isn’t even enough existing data to track its frequency in searches. the earliest uses available on the surface web (from what i can tell, at least) come in the form of Soundcloud and Bandcamp tags related to DJs and musicians associated with Landline Collective, a diy electronic label that released its first compilation on Bandcamp in 2020.
but sextrance wouldn’t appear in the tags of their releases on the platform until November of 2021, a year ago, with imago(2) by purity://filter:
this track was also uploaded to Soundcloud a year ago by 5ubaruu, one of the oldest references to sextrance i can find there.
imago, purity://filter’s dark, shimmering, melodic predecessor to imago(2), is the oldest release i found tagged sextrance on any platform, uploaded to Bandcamp in 2020.
developing from a landscape of breakcore offshoots, it seems that sextrance became more formalized online, with several diy labels and collectives cropping up in a community not limited by geography.
in January of 2021, Armada Springs released a compilation featuring musicians already familiar to the scene, but sextrance the genre isn’t named in the tags; instead the compilation leans into surge, a related genre and arguably a progression of tread, more closely associated with experimental hip-hop.
Armada Springs has continued to release work by the likes of dj saratonin and others, most recently publishing music by purity://filter.
but in June 2022, another label, GZ999, released a sextrance manifesto. SEXTAPE VOL 1 collects 33 sextrance tracks, many from DJs and musicians associated with Landline Collective and Armada Springs.
from the compilation’s description:
“THE FIRST RELEASE FROM GZ999, A SHOWCASE OF THE FABLED ‘SEXTRANCE’ MUSIC SCENE, COMPILED FROM FRAGMENTS OF THE TARNISHED SEXTRANCE DISCORD SERVER. ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS COMP WILL BE BURIED IN AN UNDISCLOSED PHILADELPHIA CEMETERY. THANK YOU!”
as of right now, the scene still seems well situated underground, but that could change. Discord servers are private, but subreddits aren’t, even when they only have 26 members. plenty of these DJs do numbers when it comes to Soundcloud streams. if everything lines up just right, sextrance could blow up and cross over like vaporwave did ten years ago, an internet-born genre and movement that impacted the direction of art and culture in ways no one anticipated.
the death of GeoCities came with it the death of over a decade of internet history, but thanks to tools like The Wayback Machine and the work of internet archivists at places like ReoCities, many GeoCities pages are still viewable, documenting a pivotal moment in web culture.
cindy ann’s trans website, last update unknown, publication date unknown
kaneda’s anime haven, last update unknown, published 1997
syracuse gay and lesbian catholics and friends, last update unknown, published 1996
here’s some art you might not have seen unless it landed in your inbox.
thank you for joining me. until next time.