Monday, February 15, 2016
Cassette Review: Kyonpalm "電気の街 ELECTRI-CITY" (Illuminated Paths)
[$7 // Edition of 25 // https://illuminatedpaths.bandcamp.com/album/electri-city]
I still remember my review of the Kyonpalm cassette "C Y B E R I A", combining the country of Syberia with the term "cyber". It's funny how such a review can come from the end of 2014 and yet I still remember it clearly enough- and enjoy the cassette enough- to see Kyonpalm on the Illuminated Paths Bandcamp page to the point where something clicks and I know that I have to have this cassette as well. So if you didn't read my previous Kyonpalm review or take it seriously enough, perhaps this Illuminated Paths stamp of approval will help ease your mind.
One of the first things I remember calling Kyonpalm was vaporwave so it only seems fitting there would be a Kyonpalm cassette on Illuminated Paths. (Coincidentally, this release does not appear on the Kyonpalm Bandcamp but there are enough other pieces of music there for you to enjoy, most sold out on cassette but still available to enjoy digitally at a name your price download which, yes, I will likely end up bootlegging onto my own blank cassettes) As per the Bandcamp page for this release though it did come out in 2015 which makes it the most recent of the Kyonpalm releases and I guess I'm just waiting on the "W I R E D B O X" CD to sell out so I can download that one as well.
This cassette begins with tribal type beats and whispered vocals. It then crosses over into some straight up funk out of the 1980's or early 1990's. I'm sure that someone else out there would identify this type of funk with George Clinton or the such but for me and my love of cheesy movies growing up I can only think of the Was (Not Was) song about walking the dinosaur from the live action "Super Mario Bros." movie made back in the 1990's (R.I.P. Bob Hoskins) The music then turns mostly instrumental as it walks that fine line between electronic hip hop and chillwave. It might not be as close to vaporwave as you'd expect, especially given it is on Illuminated Paths, but it does manage to remind us of that era of technology we currently live in while also producing genuine music of an organic nature.
What I like most about Kyonpalm is that even on a cassette not released by Illuminated Paths I could hear what is called vaporwave and yet on this cassette I'm just not hearing it enough. I'm not sure if it's because my mind has gone into more complex versions of the music and no longer relies on the fall back I once had of simply putting everything of a similar sort into one blanket term but I feel like that doesn't matter. I feel like Kyonpalm can push that boundary between what is vaporwave and what is not and in that sense I feel this music is the perfect ambassador for vaporwave and Illuminated Paths. Not to sound crude and with all due respect to those with actual narcotic problems, I feel like Kyonpalm is a gateway drug to Illuminated Paths but that certainly doesn't mean this music should be taken as a stepping stone either.