The Darkest Future – ????????

Recommendation: ☀☁☁

The Darkest Future is a somewhat curious figure. And alias of D▲RKPYR▲MID, this artist put out one of the most contentious albums of 2014, Floral Shoppe 2, which is either a satire on the nigh-obsession with Macintosh Plus’ classic or an onanistic bad joke. Many members of the scene quickly wrote off the project and turned their attention elsewhere, but several months later, The Darkest Future released an unlikely second album titled ????????1 with ten untitled tracks of a completely different bent.

Unlike Floral Shoppe 2, this release is no joke. In fact, it’s pretty removed even from home label Tokyo Exchange’s typical affair – with the exception of the relatively experimental and caliginous mood. Whereas most vaporwave albums take aesthetic influence from East Asian technology, language, and digital art; The Darkest Future actually samples traditional music from the area, as demonstrated on tracks one, three, and six. The compositions are incredibly sparse, often utilizing little more than scattered string plucks, echoing electronic effects, and artifacts from analogue formats (e.g. tape hiss, vinyl static).

???????? lacks kitsch, with one notable exception: track nine samples the infamous “Oh my Gooood!” from the so-bad-it’s-good2 movie Troll 2. It totally disrupts the flow of the album after several tracks of spacious, drifting music; and it has nothing to do with anything else present. The final track is basically a resample of the first one; it’s decent, but pretty unnecessary for a ten-track album that barely clocks in at twenty minutes in length. Those are the only two real mis-steps, they stick out on such a short album.

Of all the releases by The Darkest Future, ???????? is the only one that could be called “necessary” for fans. The utilization of traditional East Asian instruments is a nice change from easy listening and smooth jazz,3 and its morose character is nicely balanced to avoid becoming lugubrious or funereal. ???????? is the soundtrack to a cyperpunk martial arts film in the perpetual twilight of 2047 A.D. Los Angeles.4 Check it out.



1. Untitled – (2:08)
2. Untitled – (2:40)
3. Untitled – (1:26)
4. Untitled – (1:20)
5. Untitled – (2:08)
6. Untitled – (2:32)
7. Untitled – (1:39)
8. Untitled – (1:40)
9. Untitled – (2:12)
10. Untitled – (2:16)


1Suitably obfuscating.
2… or so-bad-it’s-really-just-bad.
3Although who doesn’t love either of those?
4Too overwrought? I like descriptions like these; if they aren’t too self-indulgent, I find that they can describe an album’s flavor quite well.


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