Discover more from Satellite Cult
satellite cult 37.37
urgod4eva, office hits, fandom cults
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will melt the ground beneath you and absorb you into a soft, cool cocoon where you will undergo the great transformation. when you emerge after years of complex holometabolism, you’ll finally be the 3D Playstation character model that always thrived in your heart. congratulations on ascending.
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.
bringing some much needed freshness to future funk, this album by Shima333, out on net label Coffin Dance Records, incorporates hexd, nightcore, slushwave, breakcore and eccojams into an 80s synth-inspired, disco-plundering rave. at times icy, at others a neon glow, it’s unexpected from start to finish. on Twitter, Shima333 said this about the album title: “Go ahead, e-mail your virtual wife, your digital goddess. You live on this computer anyway. Who knows... She might reply back.” it’s worth a shot.
on this ambient, pensive breakcore, drum and bass, and jungle hybrid by availax, out on Poland-based net label SVPACYBERIA, there are distinct moments of bright, calm serenity, like a reflecting pool in a technofantasy JRPG, alongside the pulsing, relentless life or death melancholy of a sword and cyber battle against an enemy you know you cannot defeat.
if you’re a regular here, you might remember that i have a soft spot for officewave, a vaporwave aesthetic as genre that focuses on the mundane in and outs of working in an office, with a specific bend towards the 80s and 90s—think beige computers and copy machines, off-white walls, women in shoulder-padded blazers and men in thick ties, all housed in buildings that look like this. this album by Emotari delivers officewave in a classic vapor package, all plunderphonics, echo, reverb, repetition, and chopping, with a few surprises along the way. if you like the album and you’re interested in supporting the music, the producer is hosting a listening party through Bandcamp on August 4th.
while barber beats veer in the direction of industrial, darkwave, and goth, it’s typically not the dominant sound. and yet, on this two track single by Belgium-based Obscure Dana (who is indeed obscure—the only other reference i could find to them was a post on Russian social media network VK by a post-punk/dark synth radio page), the echos of vaporwave are certainly audible underneath, and ideologically: the title of the first track translates to commodity fetish from French.
ALL AT ONCE
The Phantom’s Revenge returns after two years, releasing a 39-track album that blends broken transmission future funk, classic vapor, and French house. this impressive feat of plunderphonics is bright and danceable with splices of haunting static.
there’s debate about the difference between broken transmission and signalwave--some people are frustrated with the further fracturing of the vaporwave microgenre into even smaller and more specific microgenres, while others simply can’t see anything distinctive enough to separate the two. broken transmission came first, and when signalwave cropped up it was largely dismissed by the old heads as an unnecessary invention. i understand why—the bones of each style are the same, short plundered clips from broadcast media, distorted and recontextualized.
i’m not sure if i think the two are different enough to warrant separate categorizations, but i do think i see a subtle difference. broken transmission has a loneliness about it, or at least a solitude. signalwave, on the other hand, feels brighter, more nostalgic, like being wrapped in a blanket on the couch, surrounded by loved ones, talking to pass the time during a commercial break, or on a road trip with the radio blasting.
SUPERCOMPACT by EAST ACCESS has an energy about it—the album isn’t droning or despondent like some broken transmission, and leans more into the comfort of signalwave, a subtle difference, but one that makes the album.
i’ve long been fascinated by cults that develop largely online in fandom spaces. some like the story of the Final Fantasy VII house are well known classics of online lore, and others, like the Sarah Saga, are largely considered hoaxes, but still capture attention nearly two decades later. and figures like Andrew Blake, known online as Thanfiction, are ever frightening in their reach and persistence.
in most of these cults, adherents believe that fictional characters, mostly from anime, JRPGs, and other properties that have found fanbases online all exist in parallel universes, and that real life people who feel deep connections to these characters can break through dimensional barriers and become soulbonded to them. it’s similar to the concept of fictionkin (sometimes even called otakukin), which you may remember sweeping LiveJoural and Tumblr from the late 2000s to the mid-2010s.
my approach to these topics isn’t with judgement (this isn’t Kiwi Farms, after all), but fascination and concern. a victim of Thanfiction, KumquatWriter, has kept a blog where she details her experiences, and also posts about it on her Tumblr from time to time, offering insight into how things like this happen. the people who develop these beliefs seem to during tumultuous and difficult periods in young adulthood or adolescence, and they eventually manage to leave. there’s something sad and ultimately relatable about it—escapism is a fundamental part of fiction’s appeal, and the spiritual and religious beliefs formed at the fringes of online fan communities are in some ways its ultimate representation.
As Long As Possible
As Long as Possible (2015) is an artwork by Juha van Ingen, created in collaboration with Janne Särkelä and Jani Lindqvist. the piece is often referred to as the longest GIF in the world, with so many frames that it will not loop back to the beginning until 3017. oddly enough, you can’t view it online—it’s only available to see at The Finnish National Gallery.
thank you for joining me. until next time.