Friday, June 5, 2015

Cassette Review: Window "Strands/Immersed" (Crash Symbols)

[$5 // Edition of 100 //]

Window is an artist who explores the fine line between hip-hop and electronic music.   While this does sound like straight up hip-hop at times (though mostly in an instrumental sense) it also has some electronic elements to it which keep it away from being strictly in either category.    The first song on here, for instance, has a fairly triumphant hip-hop sound to it that could be very easily be the backing to some young rapper on the radio or wherever else rappers go these days to get noticed.    But then the second song even has lasers and bubbles, and as Side A progresses there are other sounds coming out such as xylophone trill, synthetic melodies and other subtlties that make me think this could be venturing into vaporwave even.    Though there are the constant big beats and so I still think of it as always having those hip-hop roots.

One thing that did strike me right away when listening to Side A was that there is an audio clip that appears more than once and it is sampled from another song.    Had it been just about anyone else I likely wouldn't have been able to identify it, but considering that it is the one and only Nicki Minaj- one of my favorite artists of all-time now- I was able to not only sing along with the chopped up way it was presented but also I can tell you it is her part of the song "Bottoms Up" as performed by Trey Songz, which was really one of her first big moments on the radio and such.    It's actually one of my favorite songs of hers still (Even though it isn't technically her song) just because I like pretty much every word she says in her part there.

Funny Truth: I've actually had the part Nicki Minaj does in "Till The World Ends" stuck in my head recently ("Told you they'd revive your career but somebody lied / I ain't talking poultry when I say this chicken's fried"), and while I have the solo CDs of Nicki Minaj and the CDs she appears on of those other artists, it does make me feel as if I should create a mix CD that has her songs on it where she appears but aren't actually her songs.

After some "Knight Rider" type of synth levels there are more of those xylophone trill parts and then just a lot of drum machine claps.    The pace increases into something like "Alias" and then eventually we get back to the audio sample about a "glock" which was at the beginning as well, before Nicki Minaj appeared.   But it basically goes back to the idea of "pop it slow", which is what Side A started on initially.     Some singing, some beats and an all around amount of R&B and soul come into the music and I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't rethink my idea of whether or not this is vaporwave.   Could it just be maybe 20% vaporwave, 30% electronic and 50% hip-hop?    An audio clip comes on about drinking pickle juice and sums up the way I feel about voting.   (Would you rather drink pickle juice or dog piss?  If you choose neither people will say you're throwing away your Constitutional right to vote! Jon Stewart and MTV want you to drink it!)  Though as the audio clip comes to an end, along with Side A, it seems to be an upset model at a photoshoot so "America's Next Top Model" perhaps then.

Side B has an equal amount of rhythms and beats.   Vocals come out sometimes and though they don't say anything in terms of words that might just be why I find them so hollow and thus haunting.   There is definitely a stronger electronic feel to Side B, as it pulls closer to what perhaps could be vaporwave or chillwave and moves from the hip-hop sounds of the first side.   There aren't really any samples on Side B either, like Nicki Minaj on Side A, but as much as I think that Window sampled Nicki Minaj on Side A and it made me appreciative of the music because of like minds and all that, it is worth noting that I enjoy Side B perhaps a bit more because now that the listener has been lured into that comfort zone Window seems to really open up and show the music which can be created without the use of as many known samples.

My three year old would be quite upset if I also didn't point out that this music does have an energy to it which makes you want to dance because I caught him dancing at several different times to this and usually his interest in music comes and goes so quickly, as is the case with most everything because he's three years old, but he did manage to dance his way through quite a bit of Side B which was odd for him to have that sort of dedication to a piece of music rather than his interest sort of popping in and out.

From the hip-hop to vaporwave to electronic, Window explores musical sounds but also the sounds that music can make when you think of it as something more than just a set of random (or planned) clicks and beeps.   I know too many people who write off electronic music as being someone pushing a button on a laptop, but if they'd just open their minds a little bit they could find that beauty within the powerful music created right here.

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