The new ⁂V‡▲D‡M∇R⁂  album Triangle Cult released on Hairs aBlazin’ is a dark trip that merges kvlt aesthetics and hip hop rhythms in a truly original way that resists the urge to veer into witch house territory, avoiding all of the stock cliches one would expect from an album like this. Layers of static haze over viscous beats that feel fuzzed out, fading in and out of focus like the aural equivalent of being up waaaaaay past your bedtime and binge watching trashy b movies for some reason you forgot… too zombified to remember to take yourself off to bed… and too wired to care. This is music that occupies a truly sublime space where everything is *just* off… there’s something ever so slightly out of whack, something at the very limits of your consciousness that just isn’t quite right constantly throwing you off. If I were to tried and describe the overall feeling of Triangle Cult in a single word, the word that would come to mind is smudgy: the top end of the mix folded in under layers of blurry reverb and buried in the subtle blanket of distorted noise that forms the sonic foundation of these tracks. It’s quirky, jarring and off-kilter in all the right ways.

⁂V‡▲D‡M∇R⁂ constructs a fascinating aesthetic journey, juxtaposing fragments of forgotten media that feel absolutely familiar and totally foreign all at once, and across the sixteen cuts that comprise Triangle Cult the sound is drawn in from all over the musical spectrum. Tracks like  R e d P i l l o r B l u e P i l l and B a r g a i n i n g M y S o u l bring a class hip hop flavor into the mix, whilst at the other end of the spectrum tracks like P i n e a l G l a n d and N i g h t m a r e s offer glitched out loops of jazz with samples slowed till the notes drag languidly across the beat. Tracks like S e c r e t  S o c i e t y C l i q u e explore the sinister potential of pitched down pop music. And the sonic dread invoked by the droning timbres of classical instrumentation slowed to glacial speeds are evident on tracks like D e p r a v e d. What holds the whole thing together are the beats that underpin each track. However even in this aspect ⁂V‡▲D‡M∇R⁂ demonstrates an appetite for diversity, stretching stylistically from smoked-out, lofi boom bap to the snappy energetic trills of trap and back again, stopping along the way to explore all the sonic territory in between these two key modes. As a result the album holds a listener’s attention from start to finish, with the end of each track bringing a sense of anticipation about what might be in store around the next corner. 

It is indeed an album of strange contrasts and interesting tangents but one that is in no way incoherent. Much to the contrary, the production stitches all these different styles together, constructing a dense, layered and strangely consistent sound which establishes an idiosyncratic internal logic that works well. The sense of flow created by ⁂V‡▲D‡M∇R⁂ is supported by the use of expositional dialogue which is a fundamental element of this album. The samples featured throughout are drawn from all manner of obscure media, bring a deeply paranoid narrative into focus that leans heavily on esoteric or occult imagery and allusions to conspiracy theory. And everything plays out in an atmosphere of drug-addled confusion which continually coalesces into moments of lucid clarity where it suddenly seems plausible that, much like the saying goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t after you. The overall effect is one which taps into the zeitgeist of a time in human history where our world leaders are continually invoking the threat of the deep state, social media is infested with swarms of political bots and, for many, society feels like it’s reaching some kind of breaking point.

Triangle Cult is available now from Hairs aBlazin’ as both a digital download and limited tape release. Check it out here.

doktorbing

I am a writer, scholar and musician (in that order) and more than a little obsessed with vaporwave.

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