Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
‘Is music still music when it is played by computer?’, the perenially troublesome question plays out beside ominous whirring on origin. Ripped from what sounds like a comedically stuffy insight into electronic music from decades ago, Valet Girls pushes the sometimes hazy relationship between computing and art front and centre on the opening track. Muffled melodies play out in strange glitched waves as the news clip plays, giving the listener a short time to reflect on just how far music and technology’s relationship has come in a short time. With AI becoming more prevalent as a means of challenging the boundary between art and algorithm, it is a symbiosis that is constantly transforming.
walking the right trope offers a classic vaporwave experience. As the breathy vocals and bass begin, distortion crunches and the melody wavers through the sultry humidity of the sample. Fuzzy images of a couples’ deep embrace phase shifting in and out against a back drop of black and gold spring to mind, feelings of lust and physical desire used to curry favour with consumers in an aged advertisement. The vocals move from a dulcet melodiousness to whispered tones effortlessly. The muddy noise that emits from behind the sample bubbles up every now and again, voices can be heard at points chattering inaudibly. Ghostly sounds like this and the distortion that hums throughout conveys a crowded and chaotic feeling, like old primetime TV. But the song itself beckons us to slow down, sway from one side to the other, lose ourselves in a hypnotic embrace.
Gurgling guitars splash about in shallow reverberating water, bending and warping as they play through a lazy rhythm. There’s a definite shift in mood from the last track, with the instilling of a Lady Gaga sample there is a much more modern aura that sweeps in fairly quickly. The vocals droop at a low pitch, and begin to judder and warp as we make our way through the track. The synth notes become more resonant, piercing through Gaga’s vocal melody. bedroom-colored glasses revolves around the same line, a lover professing to have a monster in their bed. We break away from this momentarily for fairly grotesque lines about someone having their heart and brain eaten. The synth behind is fairly summery, the two parts contrasting fairly ominously.
Watery synths cascade toward the listener, still muffled but a little crisper than the sounds that have come before. Huge bassy geysers begin to shoot up out of the ground beneath, causing the track to rumble. A deep voice wades its way through the distortion, crooning close to the slowly descending chord sequence. underground pop civilisation is aqueous, everything floating in effervescent water, euphoric pads alongside drenched lead instruments wheeling about in a hazy space.
Things simmer down considerably for classicwave forever. Guitar notes and soft keys schmooze together in a sunset melody. A slowly chattering lofi rhythm begins to walk alongside echoed and slightly juddering vocals. They career about a somewhat ghostly expanse before the cathartic hook hits, ‘I still really love you’ repeated in a contemplative and passionate manner. It is a glittering conclusion to a release of varied styles and moods.
…Is This It? starts out mulling over the subject of electronic music and synthesised sound to then showcase a varied selection of moods made possible by digital manipulation. Using a range of different samples, Valet Girls creates a short sharp taste of a few different styles. Each hypnotises the listener, whether through a nostalgic tinge of distortion or ethereal, almost-shoegaze layering of sound.