Review Summary: don't go to sleep
Funny, isn't it? The long-time black metal drummer that has an ambient side-project that's spanned for more than a decade? It sounds like a really bad joke but it's the reality for Alex Koenig aka Nmesh, whose discography as an electronic music producer has ranged from wildly absurdist experimental tunes to borderline field recordings. But it's interesting to note that on Dream Sequins
, his newest and most fully realized full-length yet, he paints a musical landscape that's as much akin to nightmarish brutality of black metal as it is the nostalgia-induced haze of vaporwave. The re-occuring fantasies crafted by the garish voices of old generate a hypnagogic trance as terrifying as it is enticing. If Far Side Virtual
is the future in which everything is chrome and nothing hurts, then Dream Sequins
is our imminent doom wrapped up and portrayed in nightmare sequences.
Although Nmesh keeps the aesthetic in tune with the more dated aspects of late 20th century capitalism, he keeps himself from strictly appropriating Muzak and other various easy listening genres, instead opting for a split eccojam-esque first half and ambient sampling second half. The end result is wholly cohesive effort that mimics a dream becoming a nightmare. "NΞΘN DRΞΛMS INFINITY" opens the album mirroring how it'd feel to enter a dream consciously, and inviting you into a state of stupor. What follows is abstract bliss, as "KΞΞP/////THIS////", "Irregularly Scheduled Programming" ,and "Climbing The Corporate Ladder" all transfix one into relaxation and the knowledge that everything is okay.
Or so it seems to be.
After quick break from our sponsor, ":::: Más Abajo En La Madriguera Del Conejo ::::" turns the ecstasy into panic, as the atmosphere swiftly degenerates into maddening noise. The dreamlike reverie is turned into a disorienting jumble of static and media samples. The environment conveyed has instantaneously transformed into a dreary milieu with a mammoth sheen coated over it. Vaporwave's hallmarks and harmless ambiance have combined to form a discomforting dystopia where everything is safe but no one is. "Just A Simple Thing" and "DΞΞP COMΛ™ SKKY Diving" are harrowingly discomforting in their features, the soulless echoes crumbling off the walls built up by the nightmare paradise. In this reality, this is no contentment, no pleasure, only fear.