The music of Comomodore 64 has always been an immersive and utterly expansive listening experience. On albums like 2017’s ‘I Am Death’ which was released on Junk Maker Sounds tracks like …a near death experience parts 1 and 2 build into sonic dreamscapes as whisps of sound emerge like tendrils reaching out from some dimension beyond. Each album builds slowly, a cohesive whole rather than a collection of tracks, founded upon the blurring of densely layered droning sound which gradually winds itself around the listener, drawing them in until the music eclipses all else. Make no mistake, this is music that requires attention and patience.
The latest album, ‘Death With Benefits’ pushes this approach to new limits, taking advantage of the limitlessness of the digital format which allowed him to “take a bit more creative liberty with track length and composition, and allow those slow burns to happen and not worry about the restraints of a tape or anything”. The result, Princess Commodore 64 explains, is an album that demands you “to fully concentrate and be in the moment or you’re missing something”.
In many ways ‘Death With Benefits’ feels like the fullest realisation of the Princess Commodore 64 sound possible which makes no compromises and is, as he admits, intended for the hardcore fans. The sound here also transcends the artists ambient vaporwave beginnings, moving beyond extreme sample manipulation to offer eight original compositions which focus on texture, repetition and subtle gradual change creating a dense sort of glacially slow minimalism. The sonic palette employed on this album stands out as particularly unique within the Princess Commodore 64 discography and invites comparisons to a host of influences beyond vaporwave such as dark ambient or and dungeon synth. A sentiment which is re-iterated by the label Girly Girl Musik, as co-founder Fae Moonbeam explains that whilst their label “has gotten a small, solid fanbase from the dark ambient and witchwave scenes” they “feel that Princess Commodore 64’s album is a perfect bridge between those genres and the vaporwave scene.”
And whilst this album challenges listener’s preconceptions of genre and tests concentration, the intentions on Death With Benefits are anything but sinister. Unlike its predecessor Death Never Sleeps, which Princess Commodore 64 describes as “depression music, point blank” this follow-up album is “feel-good music with an edge” which seeks to spread a positive energy. Girly Girl Musik co-founder Seffi Starshine describes it having “kind of a therapeutic effect” with it’s soothing sounds making it “the perfect album to listen to when you’re alone in the darkness and just let the music drift you away”.
And as you can hear from the first single Bad Skinfluence which is out now, this album is quite a trip indeed.
Look out for Death With Benefits which will be dropping 14 February on Girly Girl Musik (https://girlygirlmusik.bandcamp.com)