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satellite cult 25.25
WTF, cyber church, old anime sites, fanlore
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will drag you back into the depths of a chatroom you abandoned in years of yore when you left a half-typed response before your mom kicked you off to make a phone call. it’s been haunting you all this time, waiting for the right moment to strike.
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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the album features moments of hammering aggression as well as bittersweet pensive breaks—it’s music for when you need to feel something, even if you aren’t sure what.
hexd and synthwavey, this EP by Paigey Pandemonium blends hyperpop, noise, vaporwave, industrial, and something reminiscent of screamo or crunkcore, resulting in an experience like walking through a hall of mirrors and strobe lights, only to find a sea of glittering plasma behind the door at the end.
⋆cyber church experience⋆
while listening to this curious EP by wisteria destroying machine (released on label LMNL), i couldn’t help but think of TempleOS, a cyber-religious experience in the form of an operating system whose developer, Terry A. Davis, said was created out of directives from God. while ⋆cyber church experience⋆ is likely not a genuine religious artifact, there is something similarly haunting—Davis composed over one-hundred hymns for his operating system, each note randomly selected by his God number generator.1
⋆cyber church experience⋆ leans more into vaporwave and techno; the resulting sound is reminiscent of scenes from fantasy JRPGs where characters approach temples or cathedrals and stare in reverence. some tracks take on a utopian virtual energy, some are ambient MIDI piano pieces, some utilize breakbeats and chopping. the whole thing is an experience.
speaking of haunting, there’s something about 8bit chiptune that feels dark, even when it’s bright or ambient—perhaps because i most associate it with dungeon crawlers when it’s not blended with punk in the style of Math the Band. but this album by Vardok is packed with nuance.
this EP by SammyBoi is a three track, three minute deconstruction of Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” it’s familiar and distant, with purposeful chopping and the type of push and pull you only get from good eccojams. the producer says in the Bandcamp description that they made it because “I'm afraid of being inconsistent (lying).” it’s actually really lovely.
midnight première brings some smooth barber beats, evoking a dark leather lounge accented with ice blue neon atop a luxury building in the middle of a metropolitan wasteland. everyone’s wearing black except for pops of electric pink or lime green. the patrons are all on some futuristic iteration of quaaludes. it’s a party outside the reach of human hands.
anime on the net
i’ve written before about how integral anime and manga were (and are) to the development of web culture, and before the rise of corporate social media, fan sites and homebrew forums made up huge portions of the net. plenty of those places are now lost to time and only accessible through the Wayback Machine, but some are still being hosted, all these years later.
Kashue’s Kingdom is a fan site dedicated to Record of Lodoss War and Legend of Crystania, both media franchises including novels, manga, anime, video games, and TTRPGs. the site was last updated in December of 2001, and was created in 1998.
in the earlier years of western anime fandom, English-language actors who voiced anime dubs often went either uncredited or partially credited, especially in the fan dub ecosystem.
the sub versus dub debate has historically positioned subs as the “correct” way to watch anime, a product of the late 90s and early 2000s when production companies like 4Kids and ADV Films became known for the poor quality of their dubs. but dubs have always had their proponents, and while now voice actors do receive proper credit, back then it was necessary for fans to keep track of who was doing what.
CrystalAcids.com hasn’t been updated since 2010 (though the most recent user comment is from 2012), and copyright information establishes that the site was active from at least 1998 onward. while it has sections for news and updates, the site’s main purpose was to create a database of English language anime dub voice actors and production staff.
in a similar vein, fan culture has been a dominant force online since the beginning, and i am endlessly fascinated by people who dedicate their time to maintaining close-knit fan communities on the web. honestly, good for them.
the Fanlore wiki is a treasure trove of all things fan culture, but something i especially appreciate is the window it provides into how the net used to look. the wiki is especially fun to navigate with the Wayback Machine open in another tab.
Fanlore is how i came across Whoosh!, a hybrid between a Xena: Warrior Princess fan site and an academic journal. it’s miraculously still online and was last updated in 2019, though it doesn’t seem like the update was significant. it was (and perhaps still is) home to the International Association of Xena Studies.
thank you for joining me. until next time.