LOTW | 21 November – 27 November: Nirvana Port
This week’s album-of-the-week isn’t an album at all. It’s our first “label feature” on Sunbleach: Nirvana Port, a short-lived imprint from the Dream Catalogue label, owned and operated by HKE and telepath. Its nine releases touch drone music, breakbeat, noise, furniture music, and ambient DnB; and sometimes, all within the same album.
Nirvana Port is something of a little sister label to TKX Vault. Many of the Nirvana Port artists released albums on the other label as well, including Kamokata, Sandtimer, ADOV, and チェスマスター; in fact, チェスマスター’s album 夢に生きます is out on both. Nirvana Port and TKX Vault featured the kind of extreme experimentalism that HKE & Co. were looking to explore off of Dream Catalogue. Additionally, Nirvana Port was founded as a digital-only imprint with free download mirrors, whereas Dream Catalogue was looking to specifically focus on physical releases and distribution.1 The Nirvana Port albums were specifically made for Nirvana Port; none were transferred from the extant Dream Catalogue planned releases.
The imprint only released nine albums in ten months before closing. It was founded on 3 October 2015 and was folded in 5 August 2016, close to the date of TKX Vault’s closing as well. From there, Dream Catalogue focused on the continuation of the Vault series of imprints (Vault EVE and VAULT XYO opened within three months of Nirvana Port’s closure) and on the beginning of the Pyramids imprint for ghost tech releases.
Nirvana Port is a not-often discussed part of Internet Age music history, but it offers a unique glimpse into the goings-on of the minds of some of the most prolific producers in modern cyberpunk and electronic music at the start of a new wave of -wave. The projects that both ended and started here demonstrate the ripples of change occurring through Dream Catalogue and the branching out of many producers from vaporwave into hardvapor, ghost tech, and beyond. Despite (or in part of) its truncated roster, Nirvana Port presents a snapshot of a turbulent yet fertile period of web-based cyberculture.
Now for the “where are they now” part: ADOV and Kamokata have yet to release another album. bleak is the only album by cold.2 – which was the final album on Nirvana Port. チェスマスター stayed quiet for almost a year until I Am Chesumasuta dropped on Dream Catalogue in mid-July 2016. emperor tangerine, Deiphix, and Subaeris resurfaced in the week prior to the writing of this article. Of course, 仮想夢プラザ is still an ongoing project of telepath. Nirvana Port was also the start of one of the most well-known (and provocative) of the current HKE projects: Sandtimer, under whom the polemical Vaporwave Is Dead was released at the end of 2015, heralding the public end of HKE’s vaporwave production efforts.3
This week, Sunbleach will discuss each album released on Nirvana Port in our “Reviews” section. Check back each day as we update the list below, and of course, listen to the music at Nirvana Port here.
- निर्वाण: 000 Sandtimer – Leave With Us
- निर्वाण: 001 チェスマスター – 夢に生きます
- निर्वाण: 002 虚拟梦想广场 – 爱的吸收
- निर्वाण: 003 ADOV – Exit
- निर्वाण: 004 DEIPHIX – Hyperchamber
- निर्वाण: 005 emperor tangerine – find me lady
- निर्वाण: 006 Kamokata – A Journey
- निर्वाण: 007 Subaeris – Transcendent God
- निर्वाण: 008 cold. – bleak
1Read the thread on reddit here. The “[deleted]” user is HKE’s old reddit handle. He has since deleted the account, so all posts will appear as if they are posted by “[deleted]”.
2That’s not a typo. The period is part of the name.
3The self-titled Hong Kong Express album that closed TKX Vault might qualify that statement a bit.