fuji grid tv – prism genesis
prism genesis is better viewed as a nineteen-minute gestalt than it is a collection of seventeen individual tracks. This record is one of the first of the broken transmission scene – by which tracks are sampled from old commercials, soundtracks, and similar media in microsong format in order to create the impression that one is listening to a fragmented transmission from some long-lost feed. It predates ghosting’s Telenights by almost three years; and, as is the case with most of Ramona Xavier’s works, proved influential on a score of producers that include Internet Club, ショッピングワールドjp, and Infinity Frequencies.
This album is not “musical” in a strict sense; prism genesis is a sound collage whose samples flow into one another like channel-flipping through late-night television in a desperate attempt to find something to watch to stave off sleep. As fitting with the broken transmission aesthetic, tracks are glitched and thoroughly edited in pitch and tempo – e.g. “cinemax / speak” – and rarely linger on a single sample for more than several seconds.1
Unlike ghosting’s Telenights – and closer to the “mainstream” vaporwave vibe – almost every sample utilized by Xavier in the production of prism genesis comes from an East Asian source. Already unintelligible due to the multitude of effects, the audible-yet-not-understandable language lends an exotic atmosphere to the album, but not in the way of fetishization: simply in the context of imbibing media in a foreign country whose cultures and methods of communications are alien, yet not necessarily scary or suffocating.
Despite prism genesis‘ experimental tendencies, it’s not impenetrable like ▣世界から解放され▣ by Internet Club2 nor oppressive like Eulogy by Employee#6817. A mix of careful editing and the utilization of soundtrack samples ensure that the album rarely – if ever – passes into the realm of vapornoise. Quite a bit of the album is just plain goofy – as heard on “sharp vhs,” “change yr mind,” and “walkmann / lil babies.” It’s abstract and weird, even for broken transmission, but one whose listening value transcends its historical importance to the scene. Check it out.
(On Valentine’s Day 2016, Xavier released an expanded and remastered version of the album called Fuji Grid TV: EX. It’s different enough to warrant separate articles for each album.)
[UPDATE 20 June 2016: changed the overall rating from two suns to one sun.]
1. panasonic / hearing aid – (0:33)
2. ssun dreamss – (1:35)
3. change yr mind – (1:03)
4. toyota / waiting for you – (1:58)
5. slime ritual – (0:35)
6. cinemax / speak – (1:25)
7. fujifilm / cougar – (1:20)
8. black horse / white bitch midi – (1:11)
9. waterfall voyeur – (2:07)
10. mosaic 2.1 / demo – (1:14)
11. sharp vhs – (1:10)
12. warm life / legs – (1:18)
13. walkmann / lil baies – (1:09)
14. new life / cd player – (0:36)
15. hbo / pyro tv – (1:01)
16. heaven’s gate / sneak out! – (1:08)
17. disku system – (0:36)
1A symptom of media-affected attention deficit disorder? Probably.
2… presenting as ░▒▓新しいデラックスライフ▓▒░