Discover more from Satellite Cult
satellite cult 6.6
transitional aesthetics, surf clubs, void dive
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will prick your inflated heart and leave you gasping for warm chlorine air as it releases the unwanted particles it carried, propelling a rush of unreality to soak through your brain.
please be aware that the void dive section below contains flashing gifs.
if you enjoy what you find here, like, share, and consider subscribing to satellite cult.
i spent most of last week’s dispatch locked onto trends and aesthetic cycles, and i think the reason i find the phenomenons so interesting is because of what they tell us about people historically—their tastes, their values, the times and places in which they existed. it’s the same reason i spend so much time watching tv commercial compilations from decades past—if big corporations believe particular methods, imagery, and ideas will sell a product to the general public, what could that say about the state of culture then? what could it say about what people cared about, what people thought, how far we have progressed or slipped?
specifically fascinating to me are eras of transitional aesthetics and the art and media we can tap to observe culture change in real time. lately, i’ve been thinking about an album released on vaporwave label B O G U S // COLLECTIVE, run by TVVIN_PINEZ_M4LL.
it would be incorrect to say that i’ve never heard anything like _sink’s Shitpost Futurist—it employs production techniques associated with vapor subgenres, pulls audio from nostalgia, sending wave after wave of lowercase anachronism crashing into your soul. it’s certainly more lo-fi, leans into glitchwave and micronoise, noise music’s gentler, more delicate child. the sounds of the 80s, and barely the 90s, are present here, and while i certainly find an argument for a criticism of capitalism in this album, it’s of a very different type than is typical of music under the vaporwave umbrella.
the sounds to me feel more reminiscent of a particular transitional era in video games, the time between the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, the Playstation and the Playstation 2, the Saturn and the Dreamcast. it brings to mind those compilations of cozy video game music found on YouTube, like this Playstation 1 collection and this Nintendo 64 collection; game scores of this era were often ambient synth tunes or breakbeat inspired, and while both systems saw predecessors going into the 2000s, it’s my recollection that plenty of households clung to the older consoles, with families trying to squeeze as much as they could out of what they had before shelling out cash for a new one. this means these 90s game soundtracks became displaced in time—hallmarks of the early 2000s for the lower middle-class zillenial sect.
consider the popularity of chao as imagery in contemporary net-based art and music culture, specifically in offshoots of breakcore music referencing Y2K aesthetics1—the little creatures were introduced in Sonic Adventure on the Sega Dreamcast, which, despite being a 6th generation console, was released several years before its contemporaries: the GameCube, the Playstation 2, and the Xbox. as in, it represented a transitional moment, a bridge between aesthetics and technology in gaming.
on Bandcamp, Shitpost Futurist is tagged, among other genres, post-vaporwave, a more commonly seen categorization over the past few years. i’ve written about post-vaporwave briefly before, and in this case i think the term is fitting, as the album utilizes vaporwave techniques and values, but applies its analysis to a different set of cultural data.
the tags also describe the album as post-internet, which in the context of art is not necessarily a reference to an aesthetic era beyond the web, but rather, it describes a movement of art that references the present and historic aesthetics of the web, existing in a long tradition of web-based art scenes dating back to web1. it overlaps with the concept of the New Aesthetic, which describes the increasing presence of digital visual language IRL and the blending of the two spaces.
here’s some other music that self-categorizes in the post-internet tradition:
hysteria format v.1.
released last week, producer C!erra My$st’s manic breakcore album Hysteria Format V.1. is violently emotional—most references to emo breakcore refer either to the intersection of emo rap and breakcore or, occasionally, to lo-fi skramz acts like your arms are my cocoon. but if real emotive breakcore exists in the vein of emotive hardcore, this album is it.
another B O G U S // COLLECTIVE release, the title of Mabisyo’s recent album was eye-catching enough to pique my curiosity.2
an unusually warm, ever so slightly bit crushed take on barber beats, as its name suggests, Hentai Jazz leans into cozy saxophones, smooth bass, and easy listening.
the title of ソニック・ガーデンズ・オブ・ラヴ by P U D E R P O L L I translates approximately to sonic gardens of love. there’s some interesting chopping on the tracks, and the whole thing has a distantly sensual feeling to it, but simultaneously evokes wonder throughout, like the moment a person on a long journey, haggard and fatigued, emerges from a dark forest, only to find a beautiful valley sparkling in the sun, their destination singing to them from its edge.
back in the day, surf clubs were where internet artists went to hang. virtual gathering places (group blogs, mostly) for artists interested in web culture and aesthetics, i don’t often hear them mentioned in conversations about art history or internet history despite working in a field centered on the intersection of art and online culture. the phrase surf club originated probably with Nasty Nets, which called itself an internet surfing club—the idea was for users to post web artifacts they found. in some ways, it’s a community-based, crowd sourced version of what i do here every week.
on Nasty Nets, which was up from 2006 to 2012, this included text, gifs, jpgs, screenshots of weird banner ads, early Youtube videos, and anything either remarkably odd or remarkably mundane found browsing online. Rhizome keeps an archive of Nasty Nets (don’t click the Nasty Nets icon at the top right—the domain now belongs to a porn spam page hosted on Wordpress), and if you want, you can experience the full history of the site in all its glory, except for some dead links.
the Re-vision.com url above is dead, but some links, like this video, are still alive:
thank you for joining me. until next time.
plenty of people have pointed out that what is commonly called Y2K aesthetic now isn’t really Y2K, which was characterized by its slick cyber futurism, but i’ll say it here—sometimes when people say Y2K they mean Frutiger Aero, sometimes McBling, sometimes mall goth or even emo.
did i just out myself as a degen? who’s to say?