Monday, 3 February 2014

First post of the NEW Zushakon Review - DyE(Taki 183)

Hello no one.

I've decided to resurrect this blog for personal purposes and I don't give a fuck if anyone actually reads it, I'm gonna write it because I feel like it.  Lately I've been dealing with tons of anxiety and have been unemployed since November and as a result have discovered lots of music I've enjoyed and continue to enjoy and I'd like to share some of it with whoever (or no one) reads these posts.  Enjoy, or don't, I don't care.

I'm not gonna lie, I've smoked a bunch of pot in the last 3 months, and popped a bunch of (prescription) pills, and when I'm in "chill" mode, nothing quite does it for me lately more than French chillwave act DyE.  DyE is producer and performer Juan de Guillebon's musical outlet for the last couple of years and so far has only produced one "major" work - the album/mixtape Taki 183.  You can find most of his tracks online (if not all of them) legitimately free to download.

Taki 183 is initially a disheveled and incongruous mass of buzzy dark electronica mixed with some really smooth and haunting chillwave material.  Upon repeat listens though, one begins to anticipate the change in dynamic that each song presents and begin to appreciate them in the format they're presented in.

The album starter "Nike" is an odd collection of what almost sound like windows 95 era computer noises mixed with the same dark buzzy base that permeates the album.  The sudden explosion of several melodies of the aforementioned noises at the 30 second mark will no doubt confound and turn off many listeners the first time through, but the distorted and complex rhythms eventually start to make sense and present what eventually becomes a catchy and bouncy series of electronic riffs that make more and more sense with every listen.

"Fantasy" is the song that you'll know, if any, from this album, due to the masterfully animated and produced music video by Jeremie Perin which went viral a couple years ago.  The haunting high level melody and the almost breathless vocals WILL get stuck in your head and you WILL put this song on repeat (especially if under the influence of well, oaisjdlasfjdoisjdf, stuff...)  This song is no doubt the masterpiece of the album and if you're gonna start anywhere it may as well be here.  I can't really put into words what the song does for me, but it borders on the sublime, and that's not something that many songs can really do.  I'll take the risk of sounding pretentious and over-complementing of this track, I don't care, it's that good.

"Cristal D'acier" again pulls on some really old school electronic sounds to produce a punchy and bloopy beat that feels like a rollercoaster ride through a mid 90's microsoft screensaver.  That's all I'll say about this one.

"Vader" is a really (and eponymously appropriately) dark and disjointed track.  There's almost a kind of Deathgrips-esque disjointedness to it and it just kind of "exists" for 5 minutes of rolling beat and seemingly (hate this fucking word) random melodic elements.

"Immortals Only" kind of takes traits of the background melody of Fantasy and a very Idiotequesque background beat and just peruses through it's 3:42 playtime.  It's a fairly forgettable track in the mix of things, but not "bad" by any means.

"Hole in Ocean" is the first reappearance of the vocals we first heard on Fantasy and takes the logical pathway of a more chillwave styled track with less of the (for lack of a better word) bleepbloopiness of the rest of the album.  Not quite as compelling a track as Fantasy, but the vocals still sound wonderful and kind of invoke a bit of a Tears for Fears/Depeche Mode 80's vibe which ties in great with the retro computer sound aesthetic of the rest of the album.

"Mattias & Charlotte" bridges the gap in the album between the "chillwave" songs and the "bleepbloop" songs and ties it together with a kind of poppy melody and beat that isn't wholly appealing but not wholly unappealing at the same time.  It's an ok song and kind of flows with the rest of things.

"Dark White" heads straight back into atonal dysphonic territory with a really harsh background buzz and eerie detuned cavernesque vibe, and right when you think it's gonna drone on for a while it just ends, it's only 1 minute long.

The eponymous track of the album rounds out the bleepbloop aesthetic and has really wacky synthesized cat snarls thrown in at odd times with the completely off key and unpredictable melody that just kind of shows up at random intervals.  This track defines the extremes of the robotripping compunightmare melody slaughter that DyE defines the album with.

The album closer "Star Vac" begins with an appropriately spacey passage and then pulls a bit of a Nike in the way it erupts into disjointed melodies, but in a much more sedated and appropriately finalizing sense.

When the album ends, should you have in on repeat, it flows back into itself in a very engineered fashion that leaves you wondering where in the album you are if you weren't to be familiar with the track orders.  There isn't nearly the same kind of conclusion and restart feeling you get from most albums, but it is still present, you just might not notice it if not pointed out.  This album is a wacky one for sure and most importantly presents a perfect microcosm of the process of musical exploration.  The track that most likely led you to the album in the first place, and may seem missed during some of the weirder moments of the album on the first couple listens, now itself feels out of place in the grand scheme of the album.  If it weren't for Hole in Ocean, Fantasy would be completely alone in its aesthetic on the album.  Though, just like most genre bridging "accessible" examples of music it remains the home base for ones exposure to Taki 183 and DyE's work in general.  Fantasy is to Taki 183 what Opeth is to death metal, (and what Ghost Reveries is to Opeth for that matter), it is what Beck is to indie rock, what Pink Floyd is to prog, what Bob Dylan is to folk.  It's the reference point for new listeners of the album, and a wonderful track to boot, but more importantly it facilitates the aural experience of the rest of the album and gives even long time listeners a reference point to fall back on.  It is Everest's base camp of this album and explores a really interesting idea in album construction.

All in all, give the album a shot, preferably while messed up on something, or just really relaxed (which for me requires being messed up on something).

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