cold. – bleak
bleak is the last of the Nirvana Port releases, capping off the label’s ten-month run with not a bang, but a whisper.1 In fifteen minutes, cold. ends the second Dream Catalogue imprint with a stark “click” that suggests turning the lights off before leaving – or, more fittingly in theme with the Port/Vault imagery of D.C. imprints, the turning of the lock as one closes the steel-safe door. bleak is the end of the Nirvana Port chapter, but with the end of the Port came the beginning of several more: Pyramids, Vault EVE, and Vault XYO all opened within the first three months of Nirvana Port’s conclusion.
The short ambient/drone pieces of “bleak.” and “end.” are something out of a psychological horror film. Each track feature murky production and ever-intensifying static, as if some stalking creature or human is slowly coming up behind the listener. Even the album artwork depicts as such, with a man looking over his shoulder and appearing to be in mid-gasp. Neither of these tracks are as grandiose as Subaeris’s Transcendent God or as mind-fuzzing as 虚拟梦想广场’s 虚拟梦想广场; they are, instead, a wistful and mournful denouement.
bleak isn’t so much a culmination of Nirvana Port as it is a cessation of thought. TKX Vault finished with Hong Kong Express, the final release from HKE as Hong Kong Express months after the project supposedly ended with This. It was an unexpected but entirely-fitting ending to an extraordinarily experimental run of releases with the most “vaporwave” album released by HKE in almost a year. On the other hand, bleak is anticlimactic. It’s a sudden, unextraordinary end. No bombast, marvel, or remembrance: it’s just over, and good-bye.
1. bleak. – (7:33)
2. end. – (7:31)
3. click. – (0:01)
1Yes, I think I’m very clever.