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satellite cult 49.49
vektroid, astrophysics, ancient memes
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will transport you into a Neil Cicierega animation hosted on Albino Blacksheep. yeah, Albino Blacksheep is still online. wild.
please be aware that the void dive section below contains flashing gifs. forgive the way Substack formats some embedded media from Bandcamp.
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want more music recs? here’s my Bandcamp collection.
Vektroid is perhaps one of the best known and most important figures in the landscape of post-internet music, and while casual vaporwave listeners still recognize her primarily from the groundbreaking and genre-defining 2009 Macintosh Plus album FLORAL SHOPPE, her work is much more expansive and, drilling into the current decade, has become increasingly experimental, building upon broken transmission and incorporating glitch and noise. on cRASH 1, she comes to ride wave after wave of perfect technical chaos and accuracy in this atonal musique concrete masterpiece.
astrid star's insect.christmas 1
this industrial post-vaporwave EP by insect.christmas is sludgy, crunchy, and hexd, drawing from eccojams and utopian virtual as much as from drum and bass. it’s dark, but not overbearingly so, with subtle lines of optimism present throughout.
out on Michigan-based net label Shatterfoil Industries, this signalwave album by T e l e + 1 tackles the ultra-specific aesthetics of 80s sports broadcasting, producing warm, crackling synths and while still maintaining a pulsing energy.
̩͙*+. ̊☽ 𝖓𝖎𝖌𝖍𝖙𝖒𝖆𝖗𝖊 ☾ ̊.+*·̩͙
this three track EP by Yakumo rides the line between sextrance and hard trance, building the genuine sensation of sprinting through a nightmarish landscape as a demonic figure from the depths of your subconsciousness tails you in close pursuit.
Fantasy Is Necessary
this atmospheric drum and bass from LA-based producer Blessu is dripping with psychedelic laincore vibes despite it only being a two track single.
according to ASTROPHYSICS, ghost is “a ballad for fallen angels.” featuring all the hallmarks of depressive breakcore, its distorted and otherworldly vocals, dipped in layer after layer of autotune and buried beneath the clarity of a synth, feels reminiscent of the indie music popular during my high school years and post-punk all at once.
back in August, Gary Brolsma, better known online as the Numa Numa Guy, posted an update to his ubiquitous lip-sync (originally uploaded to New Grounds in 2004) that began blowing up on TikTok this past week.
the comments across the board are gold: “just when we needed him, he returned,” “we got new Numa Numa and new Beatles before we got universal healthcare/GTA 6/new Elder Scrolls,” “240p numa numa hit different.” i still think about Numa Numa pretty regularly,1 and this got me considering other ancient memes and their lasting impact on culture.
in 1976, Richard Dawkins first described memes in The Selfish Gene, though he meant something very different than we do when we talk about internet phenomenon. a question has plagued the chronically online for years: what is the first meme? some people suggest it’s 1995’s dancing baby, minus “Hooked on a Feeling,” which was added when the animation appeared on Ally McBeal later in the decade. others say that emoticons were actually the first memes, though many digital historians dispute those claims, as they feel that emoticons do not meet meme criteria. some have suggested that the first modern internet meme (a personal favorite of mine) is “all your base are belong to us,” referring to an inaccurate English translation of the 1989 arcade game Zero Wing.
all your base are belong to us
the “all your base” translation specifically appeared in the opening cutscene of the game’s 1991 European port for the Sega Mega Drive. some sources suggest that in 1999 and 2000, the meme began making its rounds in video game forums, but by 2001 a version featuring a gabber track found its way to Something Awful. AYBABTU became a defining artifact of a particular era of the web, a time when the internet began transforming from a niche space to a definitive component of each and every person’s life. and unlike today, where true memes are insular and hyper-specific, and the traditional representations of memes have largely been replaced by trends, the staying power of a meme lasted for years. and this meme has traversed time, communities, and spaces, reaching ultimate cultural saturation without ever feeling irrelevant or obsolete. as recently as 2019, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted this:
there is conversation to be had about whether or not it’s cringe af for a politician of all people to meme on serious matters of state, especially with a meme as ancient as AYBABTU. but i think this instance serves more as a reminder that the internet and its culture has forever altered the course of history. as millennials,2 the first generation to truly and fully be immersed in the culture of the web, grow older, we should expect to see the internet bleed more and more into spaces where it previously would have been unthinkable to see.
in the second episode of Bleach, Orihime briefly spins green onions like a baton while describing her grocery haul, prompting Ichigo to ask, “What the hell is she trying to make?”
the green onion spin (which otherwise became known as leek spin) was ripped the episode, looped, and set to "Ievan Polkka" by the Finnish group Loituma, by a LiveJournal user named g_r_e_e_n in 2006. soon, if an anime girl existed, she was doing a leek spin. there used to be a website, leekspin.com, accessible now through the Wayback Machine. it is, of course, a parody of the NSFW shock site Meat Spin, which was commonly loaded on many of the public facing computers at my college as a joke.
you probably never wanted to see these again. sorry not sorry! in 2006, Evan Harrington posted an image to the Mushroom Kingdom forums3 depicting a rainbow wheel background and his grinning dog in the middle. this became an early and influential bottom text meme4 called Advice Dog, featuring a dog who gives bad advice. the meme spread from Mushroom Kingdom to YTMND, and then to the rest of the internet.
Advice Dog inspired similar characters: Philosoraptor, Socially Awkward Penguin, Hipster Kitty. Eventually, the format moved away from animals and towards people giving us the likes of Scumbag Steve, Bad Luck Brian, and Ermahgerd. Advice Animals had a long life online, only falling out of fashion when the internet became so saturated with them that most of us never wanted to see one again. part of the prolific nature of these memes came from sites like Meme Generator and Imgflip, which provided templates where users only needed to insert their text—they were infinitely reproducible.
wanna see more art? explore my Void Plaza gallery.
thank you for joining me. until next time.
i just turned 30 and am therefore a millennial (for journalistic disclosure)
one of the oldest and most well known Mario fan forums online—before writing this, i didn’t realize it was still live
also called image macro memes or Impact font memes; some people consider ALL memes in this format Advice Animals, but i disagree