Painted Girl - Familiar Trees of the North West
Familiar Trees of the North West
May 22, 2022
Out of the apocalyptic mist of the end of the decade, Vektroid steps.
Floral Shoppe (an album created under one of the artist’s many pseudonyms Macintosh Plus) was released around this time 8 years ago. The effect of it undoubtedly nudged the Richter scale of mainstream culture ever so slightly, and absolutely obliterated the ground underneath those who were plugged into the musical movement that was beginning to take shape at the time.
Its unforgettable style of sampling and chopping, the pristine presentation of sound, the almost infinite reprisals, the comfortable longing of a consumerist dogma Vektroid is able to portray is simultaneously haunting, comedic, smooth and pleasurable.
Its arguable that Floral Shoppe had the most powerful effect on shaping the Vaporwave movement as a whole, out of all the ‘classic’ albums often cited. It feels as though the feelings and explorations that inhabit the album, and its most widely heard song seemed to help shape what a general audience thought the movement attempted to illustrate. It also helped to create the visual aesthetic that many outsiders to the musical genre have come to identify as the nucleus of what they understand to be Vaporwave.
In the year of its release, the Occupy Wall Street movement began, Osama Bin Laden was killed by insurgent US forces, the Apple Watch was 4 years away from being invented; the world was a different place.
We now live in the age of Donald Trump’s America, of Greta Thunberg and of complete and total cyber connectivity. So its only right that we are treated to new Macintosh Plus material just before the ride we are all unconsensually strapped into shoots off at full speed into a new decade.
The aptly named Sick & Panic fires up gradually, but by no means slowly. Sporadic movements and excretions at the beginning give way to scraping electronic movements that sound like an omniscient spy cam calibrating its visual output. This sonic paranoia crashes into mellow pads and a perfectly moody harmonica solo, but that too succumbs to the digital tide. An energetic performance from the outset.
Urgent voices lead us into an explicitly heavy and rhythmic section unlike Floral Shoppe or really any other Vektroid material for that matter. Heavily laden synthesised sound screams like brakes on a racing car, voices chatter incoherently, their intonations suddenly becoming a crescendo that leads into more heavy percussion. Great glowing pools of sound open up only to be slammed shut by violent percussive noise. But the sense of rhythm bestowed in certain sections is attention-grabbing throughout.
Every section of the 12 minutes fires metallic dust in every direction that is sometimes caught in the limelight momentarily, glitched noise scratching against the immaculate sound.
Each outburst is a blind corner in a neon funhouse with no real entrance or exit, we hear perfectly tuned midi instruments or guitars over an omnipresent tannoy whilst navigating sharp, lime green twists and turns. There’s no doubt that Vektroid has grabbed hold of the source material and warped and broken it a lot more than on the first outing under the moniker. The heavy, at points muddy basslines Vektroid subjects the listener to are made up of synthesised viscera. They sound like mucus pushed up against a circuit board. Like the organic mess of the ‘real’ has become the vestigial element, needing to feed on the digital world.
The phrase ‘Go outside bitch’ is repeated and contorted multiple times. An absolute divergent message than what much of the genre Macintosh Plus helped to mould often conveys. An obsession with isolation and detachment is not present here. Instead an extremely harsh sound and structure reigns supreme, with this somewhat social, communal message barked at the listener through ever changing voices. The beautiful, interjectory style of composition is present, however. That ability the artist has to force a sound into the fray and have it hold its own against a barrage of sound, despite the brain’s tendency to gravitate towards rhythmic uniformity.
New horizons for the artistic project started by the incredibly talented Vektroid. A style thats more abrasive than before, but that smacks of the same brilliance charting a bold new direction. The release states that the track is a ‘first mix’, and part of an album that seems to be entitled Rise From Your Grave. No doubt fans, both old and new, will be clambering to hear what comes next, and will be delighted at the prospect of more material in the coming year.
Purchase the vinyl and other Vektroid material here: https://vektroid.bandcamp.com/