Review Summary: This is DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ.Part 0: Charmed Intro by JohnnyoftheWell and Pheromone
The internet is deep and dirty like a gutter. It is a place where people piss their dreams and other things, but sometimes it spits out an unlikely pearl of warp at us. You know the kind: something surprisingly pure that deadpans and disarms your skimpy conceptions of infinite content and stretches them into something infiniter
From our understanding, Charmed
, the once-viral infinite album by the anonymous artist DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ, represents something prescient or telling for someone (remember that name) or many-ones. It’s a thin line to tread, whether this be the semi-satirical light at the end of the tunnel of endless consumption, a post-modern, (post-flash animation) epic; or a slightly on-the-nose clutching at the laurels of anonymous cyberlore.
Thus, a Sisyphustic task laid in front of us. We were not equipped, so here is a brief collection of conversations and excerpts we cajoled our friends into supporting us with.
Part 1: JohnnyoftheWell x Sinternet
Part 1.5: Reflections on Part 1 (ramon.)
Part 2: Pheromone x someone
Part 2.5: Pheromone x jotW
Part 3: JohnnyoftheWell x Cygnatti
Part 3.5: The Final Hypothesis
Part 4: JohnnyoftheWell x MiloRuggles
Part 1: JohnnyoftheWell x Sinternet
Hi Google document, hey wait how did you know my-
Watcha listening to right now?
Currently, my neighbour along the corridor yelling and smashing stuff because of PTSD or something. But I did check out this Julie band that's getting some buzz and they rule, grungy noise poppy gaze shite.
Wow, nice. What time of day is it for you?
It is currently 8:30 pm and I woke up 4 hours ago.
[bullshit smalltalk response]. What’s the last movie you watched?
[bullshit response to bullshit smalltalk response] Uhh movies are for people who can focus on things for more than 20 minutes so I can’t remember. I have been doing a rewatch of Daria though.
Okay, d’ya mind if we ask you a few questions about the album
Charmed by DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ?
Do I mind? No, I don’t. Whether or not I answer them is a different matter. I kid.
Wait wh oh haha. Okay! First up, can you give us the lowdown on
Charmed and you? What does it mean to you? How did you find it?
Oh yeah when I said I can’t focus on things for more than like 20 minutes? Chalk this one up to an exception, I can jam Charmed the whole way through with little to no issues. I think I first heard of DJ Sabrina a couple years back after their first album Makin’ Magick got a little bit of buzz, didn’t get round to hearing it but mentally noted the name down for the future. Then suddenly Charmed pops up somewhere (I think on RYM?) prompting me to impulsively check it out. Almost quit after two minutes after realising it was three hours long, but said I’d check the first half-hour. Realised the album had finished what felt like an hour later. Put it straight back on again.
Woah no way. Now, could you share with us your best single memory that involves Charmed?
Haha I’m not sure I’ve had long enough to associate the album with anything concrete in my life yet, music generally doesn’t really have that effect on me anyway. But I did play Feel the Pain I in a DJ set I had to submit for a uni project that ended up going pretty well, and it was probably the highlight of the set from where I was standing. So I guess that counts.
It counts. So do you. What makes
Charmed is the ultimate representation of how nostalgia can be channeled in a far more personal way than seen in the vaporwave scene, for example, whilst tapping into a greater level of authenticity than that of modern post-punk revivalism. It’s messy but in a meticulous way, it’s merging of isolated memories of early/mid-noughties young adult TV series (Sabrina, obviously), the funky French house scene of the late 90s, and Avalanches-esque scattershot production all acting as one to whisk you away into some distant yet familiar snapshot of a life you recognise but never lived. It’s uncanniness comes from that feeling that you’ve heard all this before somewhere, but that something’s different, and for some reason you are becoming way more invested in it’s world and characters than you feel you ought to be. Charmed is charmed because there’s no gentle adjustment luring you into its clutches, it throws you in at the deep end and expects you to understand it - you can’t leave but you don’t want to anyway. It just has that charisma, and by god does it know it.
Righteous shit. One final question - and this one is very important so watch out! - what is the future of DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ in your view?
I don’t think the future of DJ Sabrina really matters. This is already a defining moment for the ‘outsider house’ scene at large, expanding upon any preconceived notions of what house music can be. Sure, I expect whatever they follow this up with will be just as good if not better (I would hope at least), but barring an unexpected breakthrough into a more mainstream audience I’m not sure how you can really up the ante after this. Maybe they come up with something completely off-the-wall bonkers that shocks everybody, or maybe they just do acid covers of Phoebe Bridgers songs. I don’t know, surprise me. The legacy is already there.
Yes, legacy. Nice. Love it. Anything else to add?
Thank you Sinternet, it’s been a pleasure.
You’re not getting off on this are you?
Part 1.5: ramon’s response to Sinternet’s interview
The uncanniness is, indeed, real. It stares at you like a Papillon Maltese taking a shit. Even given my status as the Resident Hater of Small Dogs, those eyes are brimming with trust and they must be protected. Maybe it's uncharitable to analogise DJ Sabrina's efforts like that, and it is, because while she does strike with potency, her hand is that of the surgeon, acutely diagnosing at every turn, and pumping you full of anaesthesia at the slightest whiff of non-compliance. Less a finger to the pulse and more your heart being held out in front of you like the spoils of war. A three hour record with the energy potential to split a rift in spacetime and end in sixty minutes is one hell of a value judgement. A phenomena to coerce Sint into indulging an interview with no prior elbow grease friction burn required. LSD-laced Francais nostalgia vibrating with the moxie and gumption of the best palm-beach-Spring-chateau-tragicomics of days long gone. The Romans lit fires in the skulls of their dead so they might forget their past, and Charmed crashes down as waves on the sand, filling us with hope for the past once more.
Part 2: Pheromone x someone
Alright - this is for DJ Sabrina. Answer any of these questions how you feel pre much - we’ll have the candid copy on Discord.
Where were you when you first heard
"oh i remember the day exactly. you don't forget something like that. twas a late and rainy night. you said hey, i'm doing a piece with Johnny on that Sabrina DJ. i asked 'what?' you said listen to this. i thought sure whatever. but it was 3 hours long, so i bailed. that was the first time i didn't listen to DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ. from then on, once every couple of days i think to myself 'maybe today, maybe it's good', but then think 'nah, Relinquished had some new techno list posted, rather check that' and again, i do not listen to DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ"
Did you ever listen to DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ?
I listened to a friend talk about it once, he's a special case, about a year ago he was diagnosed with stage five ******. It's terminal. He's thinking of starting an electrofolk band with Dj Sabrina the Teenage DJ samples, he's calling it Band Salem the Talking Cat Band.
DJ Sabrina (the Teenage DJ) has been oft-labelled outsider house. What does “Outsider House” mean to you?
also just as a preface point
Johnny interviewed Milo / Sint / Cyg (HA I am not pulling my weight)
and they all were more serious with good satire chucked in so we gotta walk that balance
which I think is our schtick so should be good
I happen to have insider information from inside this outsider house that all outsider house music is considered a very commonplace inside music inside the outsider insight. not sure what Robert Heinlein wizardry is at play here but i am slowly losing the thread
Hahaha - that's such a struggle to read. Good. Also, as a serious question, what DOES outsider house mean to you?
Serious answer here: given the multiple shapes house music takes (house as a label is mostly a non-descriptor), outsider house i believe is just whichever work takes any number of house music variants and either expands them with (if taken seriously) avant-garde, experimental elements or (if not taken seriously) makes fun of the house music formulas, eg. Sabrina.
Do you think this is a fair label?
House is such an immense range of styles and subgenres that cataloguing something as outsider house mostly rings of plain "i dunno what to call this anymore. errr. Outsider"
So, Sabrina falls into that?
(of the DJ variety)
for Sabrina? i guess
She is outside?
i mean, it's a joke album
but it's as plain a house as it gets if you take away the tomfoolery
Thus, she is not inside but also has a toe inside? How inside is she? - in a metaphorical sense?
House music in general is outsider art to the general listener - she peaked inside, we tried inviting her. She's kind of a loner. Comes over for Christmas, brings casserole
Of this album, a source online wrote “it’s so innocent sounding to me; cheesy, but in a way that’s adorable” - Does this match your thinking?
Add irksome wherever in that sentence and pretty much yes - oh btw, back to the outsider house thing. Stylistically it's all over the place, of course, but nothing you cannot characterise as house music. But in terms of cultural appeal and meme-ability it's like vaporwave
Yeah a few of my online sources made similar claims
I'll think about this comparison some more and get back to you, but there sure is a line to be drawn. Proceed
An alternative source wrote “The most pointless thing since my son” - is this something you have thought about?
Yes, I often think about that guy's son
Okay, next question
At least young Timmy points at things every now and then, thus becoming pointful by proxy
Okay, next question
Have you ever watched the show? (Sabrina the Teenage Witch)
Waaaaaaay back when, yes. It was on around the time I got back from school when I was maybe 7-11 years old, give or take. The new one sucks tho
Why, perhaps, do you think she may be named after the show?
Same reason as she could've been named DJ Buffy the Vampire Slaying DJ
or DJ Hannah the Montana DJ
(idk if Hannah the Montana has the same oomf)
It's a moderately well-remembered show that the target audience for this thing most likely experienced in their youth and has warm-to-lukewarm memories of good theme for a joke
ay thats a real good answer
It is not really an ingenious feat to base a tongue-in-cheek electronic project on a show like this, pick a show, sample the fuck out of it and go nuts, but really the Sabrina part is replaceable for the most part
What is your analysis of there being 2 “DJs” in the name
Funny tautology, don't overthink it, mane. Ever heard of the band Dananananaykroyd?
Loosely - how are they pronounced?
I'm sure we're putting more thought into the creation process of DJ Sabrina than DJ Sabrina
Dan - then the NANANANA from the Batman theme - then Aykroyd.
Woah that’s cool
It's a funny name. They probably got stoned and came up with that.
Taking one swift push to serious territory - one glance towards the 24hr news cycle and all you happen upon is division; cultures and people pushed apart in a hotpot of dangerous propaganda run by those who benefit from such. The world is cruel, and political. DJ Sabrina is nice and hopeful - what is the implication of Brexit on this sort of album?
I don't have tv and only learn of the news from people in my life saying "how could you not know that?" Most of them are quite stupid, so I always just assume most things are quite exaggerated. Times are fine, give or take the planet dying - I doubt there was much political subtext in the conception of DJ Sabrina. Like "I am making this to unite the divided world"
Not even Brexit?
Oof sure, Brexit. That played a role. DJ Sabrina ordered a big case of cheap Greek drumnbase beats and the order had to be cancelled due to the increased tax. Such a shame.
Imagine their limits - Okay. What’s next in the proto-loopy, selfy-weary, plunderploonder music (welf sware)
Next? all sorts of things - There's the new MC Massive Hoover the Tricky Seefeel. I'm personally looking forward to the new album by John My Carpenters, where the Lebanese-Australian duo of sister-wives yelp their way through nothing but Teletubbies samples.
Okay, serious now boy
Serious answer is going to be underwhelming - I don't care. I don't really follow much of today's memery anymore - and musical one especially, if the music it produces is good, i’m all for it
It's only gonna grow from here bro - you’ll have norwegian BM from AI toddlers
I once listened to Neckbeard Deathcamp thinking it's a legit band
The world is a cruely and hefty place - OKAY, so one last question (for Johnny in the future, it ended up not being the case)
How does this album compare to Kid A, or say, 2 Melodrama’s?
On a scale between Kid A's rehearsal tape outtakes where Colin and Thom are yelling inoffensive obscenities at each other, and a recording of Lorde being blackmailed by Jack Antonoff into tossing her musical appeal, I'll rate this as Chino Moreno trying to sue every harsh noise wall project as an illegal recording of any number of Deftones plundering buzzmess of a live show
So I have a few questions which are (somewhat) on the potential cutting room floor.
1) Do you think someone from the lower class could make DJ Sabrina the teenage DJ (Potential satire lost here)
Lower class like RnB or UK garage?
No, you'll need to be self-aware for that
Hahahaha love that.
2) Lor(((d)e)pot)((S) gave this album a 5.0 (classic). Discuss.
LordePots is the electronic music aficionado Sputnikmusic deserves
Thus anything he says goes?
He says so much that some of it is bound to go by sheer theory of probability
3) Do you believe in god?
Thanks a bunch Someone, unless you have any more points you’ve been an absolute bloody star !!!
Sure. Sabrina, more than anything else, is a clear example of what human music can achieve if you commit yourself fully to the one true god Allahuasca Christauma of Spaghettiville. Eat your dicks and veggies, cheers and bye.
Part 2.5: Pheromone x jotW (someone Interview Debrief (transcribed from Facebook))
jotW: Hahahahaha Okay, next question
You’re an interview I love this
Pheromone: Wow thank u
I love u
I love DJ Sabrina
jotW: I love DJ Sabrina
I think someone might have just dropped our rating from a 5 to a 4.9
Pheromone: Hahah why to 4.9
jotW: Because it can’t be below a 4.9
Pheromone: oh yeah true
jotW: So I’m thinking now that we have almost everything
Pheromone: Omg why are u texting at work
jotW: I’m taking a d*mp lol
Pheromone: Why are you d*mping work
Should we have a zak interview whereby
“What do you think of DJ Sabrina”
jotW: I think atm we need some random fuck to go between
Pheromone: prose ?
jotW: Idk all of it?
I meant like
jotW: O story prose
Yeah a little bit
Pheromone: metaprose and metacons
We could use pictures of some sort
to break up text
jotW: We can only do text art
Okay lol let’s do that
Pheromone: is pedobear due a comeback
jotW: What the icefuck is that
Pheromone: hahaha as if
Maybe I am older than you
proper pure 00s 4chan shit
jotW: Wow you were indoctrinated to the internet from an early age
Pheromone: I played Habbo age 8
Remember this information
jotW: What is habbo
Pheromone: it was good you er
are you still d*mping
I need to sleep what should I read before bed
jotW: Finishing up
Pheromone: Ok thanks will do
jotW: Heck gtg wash my hands good chat
Pheromone: good chat enjoy teach
Part 3: Johnny of the Well x Cygnatti
Greetings Cygnatti. Hi. How did you find the album?
I can't quite remember how I found it, I don't think it was either on sput or on rym. This was during that time of the year I was on the listening grind and I jammed it on bandcamp. Still do.
Fair play. What were your impressions back then?
Warm and fuzzy. A persistent endearing quality to it. I listened to it and I smiled almost the entire runtime. Can't say that for a lot of albums.
And now? I gather you relistened to it lately - what did you remember, what would you like to forget?
There's a lot of tracks to this, and honestly, I don't think this album is one where you need to be able to pick out each and every track. Just one that you have to get the vibes. There are a few tracks on this that I don't care for much. These are the ones that stray away from it's overall general tone. This album knows what it wants to be and does a very good job of being it.
Awesome. Moving on, what’s aged more since November last year: you, or DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ?
Charmed has a vintage feel to it. Honestly it's about as good as when I first heard it, even if the hype has certainly dried out. For me, I've been on this site for 10 years now really, crazy how that works.
Could you give us a quick for-fans-of?
The easiest comparison to this is definitely to Avalanches’ Since I Left You. In fact, Charmed is rather like if someone took that album's opening track and decided to stretch it out for 3 hours. The vision and execution of this seems very much in line with vaporwave in how it often uses vocal samples and 80s throwbacks. It doesn't distort or slow it down like many vapor tracks do, but the influence is still very much there. It's like a sort of vapor house.
Does this specific take on house belong more to the past or future?
A lot of this doesn't sound like classic house music. It's influenced by both 80s songs and house music, but most of it isn't quite nu-disco. The house stylings are modern, but isn't the overbearing or highly energetic kind that's often more popular. I think anyone that hasn't given this a try already would be able to enjoy it so long as they don't explicitly hate 80s music. As someone that's often exacerbated by modern throwback and nostalgia-baiting music, I found this refreshing.
Awesome, thanks for your time!
No problem. Genuinely happy to spin this again.
Part 3.5: The Final Hypotheisis
Ryus (on Charmed
, source Sputnikmusic.com reviewid=82567 Material Girl - Tangram
auth. Gyromania, p.2): “it is hilarious and also very good”
Part 4: Johnny of the Well x MiloRuggles
Hello Milo, my old friend.
You've come to meme on me again...Kia ora, mate. What's the story?
Greatest ever told. But no rush - you doing okay over there?
Yeah, we've recently hit lockdown again (luckily only our second) but fortunately my situation is stable. Yourself?
Not too bad, not too bad. You got any snacks, any refreshments? Listening to any pretty musics? What's for dinner?
Well, well, I've hit the usual run of eggs, toast, and bananas today, and since I'm an uncultured cretin I've got sausage rolls crispin' up as we type. Just finished listening to the latest Sweet Trip (wow, pretty) and now on the latest Stimming. Trying to take stock of 2021, ya know. Dinner is a mystery. How's Japanese cuisine? Still mostly eating toast?
Ayy, sounds like a good lockdown innings for those peaceful paws of yours! I actually just finished a nice bag of these bland bitch breakfast rolls with my coffee. Yummy yummy. Sushi on the cards later though, so that's something.
Yes, I'm built for lockdowns to be honest. Not that I'm celebrating or anything, but I gain a lot from spending time with myself (that's not vanity speaking, I assure you). Sushi is King.
Indeed. Anyway, sorry to prang the pony here, but we're going to go pastwards. Is that okay with you?
Certainly, prang away!
Alrightio, I'm going to state a time period and I'd like you to empty your freshly gravitised associations directly into your crispy keyboard. Ready?
Righto, no centralised theme?
My brain is yours to poke and prod. Results may vary.
Good good, here she is: November 2020!
Oh God. Small window, small memory for old mate Milo.
Sunshine, friends, spike ball. Wellington. A reserved sense of freedom that New Zealand would soon start get complacent with. Planning for exciting New Years ventures. Slogging away at work.
A fair, square plot of the past you've got there. Zeroing in a little, what would you say you - or anyone in your shoes - most needed from an album of music at that point?
Catharsis in any sense. Like an album could somehow make up for the world's woes, either by harshly confronting or successfully escaping them. Either tell me something I've almost thought, something critical that's right on the tip of my tongue, or just make me forget everything, transport me somewhere.
I hated (especially initially) the avalanche of world-referential content associated with the last year and a half (Jesus), but I think seeing just how unstable the world is right now vindicates the whole process.
Okay, good. Better-than-expected good, well
done lad. Let's take that post-Pandora notion of successful escape - how much of an escape were you after at that point? A couple of minutes? An hour? Six hours? Tell us about the wispy links between single doses of album-shaped escapism and time.
For me in particular, life was basically back to normal by that time. My crew were socialising up a storm and going outside, so around that 60 minute mark is the kind of bite-sized escapism that one can reasonably make time for. For those stuck indoors, longer form was probably more viable, I guess. I'm certainly chewing through music now that I can't leave the house again.
Roger that. I'm going to throw you another point in the past now - you ready?
Attaboy. January 19th 2021: shoot.
[editor’s note: this was the date that MiloRuggles assigned a rating to Charmed
Christ, we're dialling in on days now. Struggling to transcend the subjective here. I'd had a very successful new years, even went to a festival, so at that stage my mind was completely wrapped up in unraveling Avantdale Bowling Club's work. Seeing them live was a pretty crazy moment for me — I've always known our country has an identity crisis and that it's not very well-represented in mainstream art, and Tom Scott really helped me to put some of the pieces together. I know you said the 19th, but I'm still not done mulling that shit over, so it was very much in my mind around that date. Again, it was summer here, and we still felt free. I think NZ has used a lot of this time for internal reflection, and I was (am) kinda swept up in that.
Probably not what you're looking for. It's around then that I also start panicking about exactly which date my Mum's birthday is haha
Okay cripes I might have given the satnav the wrong settings for that one. All good! I'm going to state some albums that you happen to have rated on that specific day - for each one, could you give me a judgmental one-liner and a rating out of ten for how well you believe that record occupies the coefficient between escapism and time?
Big whoops, stick to the topic at hand haha. Memory is an emotive wee maze, sorry. Yup, absolutely!
No problem, no need to hedge those mazey mazey bets. Okay, first up: No Note -
if this is the future then I'm in the dark.
I remember it being confronting, but I don't actually remember it. That must mean it was neither offensively bad or astoundingly appealing. Let's say 5.
Not an album I've circled back to much, but one that I think has a real personality. Would waste x minutes again, 8/10.
Come to Grief
Oh boy! Come to Grief flips the table. You don't consume it; it consumes you. Plus it's somewhere near first wave! 10/10
Leifur James -
Angel in Disguise
I believe that was an album that confirms the digging superpower of Sput's very own Potsy. The artist's name still conjures memories of quality for me despite being unfamiliar with them at large 8/10
DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ -
Ah, this rides a fine line as it relates to escapism and time. I was blown away that something so trite and gimmicky could be so fun, but it's kinda unbearably long without switching gears at any point. 6/10
Interesting. Which of those albums do you think would be most and least effected if they were released August 24th 2021 [today]?
Although it might be irrelevant to your broader point, Grief would suffer the most given just how thoroughly that sound has been pummeled (again, ironic) in the following years. I feel as if Leifur James could've been released at any point and remain a great listen. Bonus round: it wouldn't matter when Charmed
was released, because it's a fucking meme.
Mr. Ruggles, thank you for your time.
A pleasure. I feel like a lab rat.
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