satellite cult 56.56
live from Brooklyn, proto-vapor, desktop horrors
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will drench you in a computer slime that seeps into you through your pores and slowly eats away at your muscles and bones, replacing them with outdated hardware for the aesthetic. watch out. it’s gonna be sticky.
please be aware that the void dive section below contains flashing gifs. forgive the way Substack formats some embedded media from Bandcamp if you’re viewing this on the website.
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Grocery Store Sunset
reminiscent of vapor from the 2012-2016 era, a clear second wave defined by the emergence of late night lo-fi, mallsoft, and slushwave that coincided with the explosion of vaporwave aesthetics across digital pop culture, Tupperwave’s Grocery Store Sunset blends grocerywave, late night lo-fi, and broken transmission, rendering a concoction that evokes multiple layers of nostalgia. i’m not in love with the title of track six, but for an album this good, i’m willing to overlook it.
blending broken transmission with barber beats, ECOLOGIST空 (an alias, i believe, of PERMANENT//ZEIMP) plucks you from your own reality and places you gently on a city sidewalk late at night, compelling you to stop and watch the weather report on a television in the window of an electronics store. it’s not climatewave exactly, but it piques such a related and specific feeling that i’m going to call it that.
VOMITERIA VOL 1
my favorite kind of computer gaze is sludgey and sinister, incorporating elements of hardvapour and industrial drum and bass——the kind that sounds like what would happen if an IBM PC 340 tried to record a doom metal album. on VOMITERIA VOL 1, Defiled Circuit delivers.
this ambient hexd drum and bass by yam lynn, out on net label unlucky wind, brings a somewhat muted, depressive take on a specific sound i’ve covered a lot here recently——that epic, grandiose, ascending-to-the-heavens take on breakcore inspired by JRPGs. i say depressive, but maybe that’s not quite right. melancholic? bittersweet? whatever it is, it makes me yearn for a memory i never had in a place i’ve never been to. it makes me understand where Catherine Rain was coming from, but only a little.
LIVE FROM BROOKLYN 【␡ ʟɪᴠᴇ ᴍɪx】
enigmatic dj and satcult fave ␡ ␡ ␡ ␡ ␡ ␡ ␡ ␡ ␡ ␡ uploaded a nearly hour-long live mix from a set played in Brooklyn in 2022. i wasn’t there, but I should have been.
someone on r/vaporwave came across a YouTube channel belonging to the musician and artist Ian Kornfeld, who is based between Buenos Aires and Berlin. his work consists largely of 80s-inspired electronic music, sound collage, and post-internet visuals before the term post-internet came into popular use. he belonged to a Argentinian audio-visual collective called Pornois, which (according to Last.fm, at least) was active between 1998 and 2004. the earliest upload to his channel dates back to 2006, but the video description indicates that the video itself (or perhaps just the song) was released in 2004. that upload isn’t particularly vaporwavey, but certainly adjacent; it’s all neon and synth, though still very reminiscent of electro and indie juggernauts from the 2000’s——think somewhere between Ratatat and Chromeo, and the video has a similar indie sensibility to it.
but only a year later, we see a stark escalation in the style of uploads. “Pornois - Power of Lewis” was uploaded in 2007, but the video description indicates that it was made in 2001. and while it isn’t exactly vaporwave (a word that would not exist for approximately another decade), its visual elements, in combination with an audio track composed mostly of a heavily edited and distorted version of Huey Lewis’ “The Power of Love,” evoke nothing short of the same feelings.
his most recent upload is a glitchy trailer for a performance art piece, seemingly addressing the rise of far-right nationalism in Argentina and across the globe, from just two months ago, and the space between is full of vapor and post-internet goodness.
last seen online
if you haven’t heard, in Last Seen Online, a “psychological horror escape room” from qwook on itch.io (playable in browser), you pick up an old computer at garage sale and get drawn into its web of horrors as you snoop through the files.
i have yet to play to the end and can’t speak for the whole game, but the aesthetic alone has been enough to drive me forward (the puzzles are good, too.)
i’ll leave you today with Willie Nelson’s early 90s Taco Bell commercial, which feels both oddly of its time and of the net: