Nmesh – Nu.wav Hallucinations
Nu.wav Hallucinations is vaporwave’s remix album. A nigh eighty-minute suite by Alexander Koenig (presenting here as Nmesh), this album utilizes the characteristic recognizable sampling of the ECCOJAMS subgenre and imparts each track with the body-moving atmosphere of dance music. Just check out the Smiths-screw of “Soon Enough,” which wouldn’t be out of place in an eighties nightclub in the NYC East Village alongside its source material; or the intoxicated introduction track “THΞ GΘΘSΞ IS LΘΘSΞ,” which turns Top Gun‘s theme into the seduction soundtrack it was always meant to be.1
Like trip-hop pioneer DJ Shadow’s work on Entroducing and Psyence Fiction, Nu.wav Hallucinations features samples of old television advertisements and jingles between the main musical tracks, serving as a kind of refractory period between the heavy-hitters; unlike DJ Shadow’s work, these samples are pretty fucked up and often go into the territory of a bad trip, like on early-album break “ΞΛT THΞ ΞGGS ЭЭЭ.” Some tracks – such as “:::: Mala Radio Ácido ::::” and “:::: Totalmente Vaporizado ::::” – sound like an old AM radio picking up a station just out of range, replete with interference from neighboring frequencies. There’s even that instantly-recognizable sound effect from the Windows XP operating system that plays when trying to interact with a frozen program – although, just to keep it interesting, I won’t tell you the track on which it appears.
Although a sprawling release that might be a bit intimidating for first-time listeners, Nu.wav Hallucinations is quite easily digestible. It’s best experienced as a single cohesive experience rather than as individual tracks; it’s the mark of Koenig’s ability as a producer that full run-throughs are not exhausting, but invigorating in the album’s emotional variety and clear periods of downtempo/uptempo. Nu.wav Hallucinations can go from romantic to unsettling in the span of two tracks without breaking the flow, as seen in the transition between “//ΛLLNITΞ//ΞVΞRYNITΞ//” and “SkyChurch// テラストクニセ.” It subtly demonstrates Koenig’s deep familiarity with songcraft, albeit in a completely different genre of music: he drummed for Kentucky band Nemesis, and explored his interest in remix/plunderphonics by sampling death metal and grindcore music as ZONΞ ΞATΞR.2
Nu.wav Hallucinations is a psychedelic sound collage of plunderphonics dance music – one that does not conform to any particular style of electronic, club, or vaporwave music. Its eclecticism and style of samplism has much in common with trip-hop à la The Avalanches’ Since I Left You, especially in how both albums successfully present themselves as complete sets rather than as collections of individual tracks. Occasionally it lapses into vaporwave’s unflatteringly memetic tendencies (especially in the track titles, e.g. “Bayside High As Fナソノ” and “FLΛSHBΛXXX UNLIMITΞD™”), but thankfully those faults are in the presentation and not in the music itself. Nu.wav Hallucinations is a startlingly fresh release that never feels its length; if anything, it’s shorter than most albums with half its run-time.
Koenig is a gifted (and prolific!) producer; Nu.wav Hallucinations is a good introduction to his discography, and it is a strong addition to the library of any fan of vaporwave, electronic music, and remix culture.
1. THΞ GΘΘSΞ IS LΘΘSΞ – (
2. Leaving Hollywood – (4:41)
3. However – (
4. Staring is Caring – (
5. A Face without Eyes – (
6. Byte by Byte – (
7. ニミシララス In/Door/Fun ハナミ – (
8. ΞΛT THΞ ΞGGS ЭЭЭ – (1:08)
9. Beach Club (V.I.P. Mix) – (0:47)
10. BΛNGKΘK NITΞS :.:.:.:.:::: : : : – (2:17)
11. Soon Enough – (5:21)
12. //ΛLLNITΞ//ΞVΞRYNITΞ// – (6:28)
13. SkyChurch// テラストクニセ – (2:11)
14. This Plane Stops In Paris – (2:50)
15. CLΘSΞR THΛN ΞVΞR – (3:57)
16. Nuthin’ But A きThang – (2:39)3
17. More Than A Mouthful – (0:46)
18. This Is Drugs – (1:04)
19. Bayside High As Fナソノ – (2:53)
20. Mラミシチン Aキチニミ – (0:32)
21. Even Though I Tried (I Can’t Break Free) – (4:17)
22. :::: Totalmente Vaporizado :::: – (1:43)
23. CΛLL MΞ SUΞ – (0:42)
24. Arctic Cat®: Taking Charge! – (3:11)
25. I Got Your Letter – (5:57)4
26. :::: Mala Radio Ácido :::: – (1:46)
27. NΞΘN DRΞΛMS FΘRΞVΞR – (4:04)
28. FLΛSHBΛXXX UNLIMITΞD™ – (0:37)
29. :::: d(-_-)b :::: – (1:21)
1Let’s be real: Top Gun is pretty much a high-budget porno without the sex. It’s gotta be the most homoerotic war film in the mainstream.
2Never Nervous: INTERVIEW: Alex Koenig on Sand Worms, the Viper Saga, and Batdancing! Never Nervous: INTERVIEW: Alex Koenig on Sand Worms, the Viper Saga, and Batdancing! December 23, 2015. Accessed June 06, 2016. http://www.never-nervous.com/2015/12/interview-alex-koenig-on-sand-worms.html.
3Get it? Because it samples Kenny G.
4Koenig is a fan of Weezer, so I can’t help but wonder if this is a shout-out to “Across the Sea” off of Pinkerton.