Maps and Locations: Jaladri

Hello Meteor


Dom Lepore

January 21, 2024

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Glistening new age jingles function as coordinates, guiding one’s travels to a warm homely location

Where do you like to travel? Do you venture abroad, exploring new and challenging locations? Or do you revisit places from the past, witnessing your outgrowth from those once-familiar sights? Whatever option motivates you, there’s a chance you’d need an itinerary to steer you en route. Hello Meteor, then, has musically mapped those directions that dictate that trip. The collection, Maps and Locations: Jaladri, contains instrumental new age jams decorated with a synthwave flair. Thematically, they convey the nature of the attractions and background operations dispersed across Jaladri, the fictional seaside town that Hello Meteor’s compilation curates like a tourist guide. It takes about 40 seconds for the tinny hand claps in the opener The Coastal Office Center to emerge, and provide an answer – an assuring one at that – Jaladri is at its sunniest and most welcoming for any visitor.

The computerised melodies in each song precisely reflect their namesake. Hello Meteor best displays the generating of directions in Map and Locations Service Terminals. This swooshing soundscape is littered with skitters emulating a GPS planning a route in real time. The echoed clatters are the kiosk’s gears turning, whereas the distant horns signal the traffic that may disrupt the journey. Every tick is another point plotted on the map that instructs you with where to go next. By extension, the album artwork resembles the unmarked grid paper of maps or mapping software – the heavy, orange dot is the final destination.

As Jaladri’s navigation systems coordinate you towards the journey’s end, your bearings are shrouded with both the known and unknown. The Vendmat is particularly stilted, carrying Baths-esque glitch hop stylings down to the sombre piano stabs and bubbly clicks. Its tonal trepidation exposes a possible underlying economic downturn for the town, prompting you to wonder where the soul has gone. However, Jolly Dry Laundromat shields those worries by diverting your attention back to the town’s enduring prosperity. It sounds like a pleasant stroll along the coast, as cascading synths flicker with new wave guitars woven into the background. Cozy Mart then adopts a swaying groove as you too walk through flashy aisles. The subdued mood matches your attentive scanning of the shopfronts, but there are few inhabitants to be seen, reigniting queries about why Jaladri has become a shell of its former self. In this sparser moment, Hello Meteor perhaps conjures the genuine worry of discovering a cosy, miniature town has lost its communal magic many moons ago. Be it the evaporation of local businesses or falling victim to gentrification, either instance is a terrifyingly true occurrence.

Service Access works as an outlet to gather information that will hopefully satiate these concerned curiosities. Its gleaming sparkles glitter like epiphanies about progressive policies and structural change within Jaladri. After a blanket of heavenly ambience, a barrage of drum kicks akin to Com Truise propel the song’s momentum, and the resolve to resume your expedition. The racket-y downtempo in Public Call Stations mimics the unreliability of those very machines. Metallic clangs ring like a coin slotted into a payphone, swirling through its insides until fluttery, uplifting pulses underpinning the jingle emerge – the sound of successfully reconvening with a friend, loved one, or family member over the line, while standing in solitude upon Jaladri’s vaguely familiar soil.

Again, Maps and Locations: Jaladri showcases to the listener – the determined traveller – the places to visit that comprise the land. It’s a portable GPS repurposed as music, but also a soundtrack for a genuinely experiential pilgrimage to Jaladri. Within the project’s runtime, the listener is left feeling like they’ve ventured to another land and back. Not only that, but it feels as though there’s a place like Jaladri in everyone’s lives. That one town – a home away from home – we have all visited, or have wished to return to by seeking somewhere similar, but nowhere beats this place for warm comfort. Jaladri emits this warmth and the chirpier moments arranged by Hello Meteor clearly display that notion. Traversing new ground might feel strange, as is the sensation of a memorable destination becoming unrecognisable, but trailing back to where – even on a first listen – it already feels like home is more than enough.