Subaeris – Transcendent God
The penultimate album on Nirvana Port, Subaeris’s eleventh full-length release is cyberpunk breakbeat.1 The first four are short, uptempo songs that somewhat foreshadow ghost tech – which makes sense in chronological context, as Transcendent God was released only a few months before HKE unveiled the all-ghost tech Pyramids label. The final one – “Prelude to Transcendence” – is an 18-minute evolving ambient electronica piece that’s exceptionally different from previous Subaeris offerings but an excellent addition to the album nonetheless.
Opener “Time Existence” features elements of hip-hop, ambient DnB, and dreampunk with lyricless vocals floating in the background; it’s a stellar beginning, and easily the best track on the album. “Shadow Portal” has an extremely distorted descending bass, like in 2000s UK dubstep. “Beating Heart” is ambient trap music (and the hi-hats aren’t too abusive like in so much trap music). “Final Battle” has an exceptional walking keyboard line and rhythm section somewhat akin to that performed by The Knife in their live performances.
So much cyberpunk focuses on the dichotomous relationship between utopia and dystopia (often to the point where one is indistinguishable from another, depending on your vantage point); Transcendent God is a bit different. As with sister project チェスマスター’s landmark I Am Chesumasuta, Subaeris explores the human side of cyberpunk and simple (or not-so-simple) existence in a digital age. The preponderance of human voices – even if they’re wordless – and the utilization of nature/city sounds (especially in the final track) is less commentary and more a simple description of life in the world that Subaeris inhabits. And what can make a man feel more like a god than access to technology that is indistinguishable from powers enshrined in the temples of past peoples?
While not a central component to the “love story” told through the DARKPYRAMID project,2 it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that Transcendent God has a bit of romance in it. Airy female vocals (or edited to sound as such) play a large role in the projects of HKE that revolve around interpersonal connections and the strange foreignness of such a concept in a world overwhelmed by virtual verisimilitude. Again, the album artwork to Transcendent God depicts this idea: two silhouettes,3 featureless but with the bone structure of opposite genders, looking at each other as they are illuminated by distorted colors akin to each gender’s stereotypical representation. As for the music – “Beating Heart” could easily be their love-making theme.
The philosophy of albums like Transcendent God can be beat to death, but at the very least, it’s a hell of a fun album, and more ideas develop through its half-hour than many albums can muster in double that time. Check it out for a ride into yet another one of HKE’s cyberpunk worldscapes.
1. Time Existence – (3:16)
2. Shadow Portal – (3:02)
3. Beating Heart – (3:15)
4. Final Battle – (2:29)
5. Prelude to Transcendence – (18:07)
1… if you couldn’t tell by that album artwork.
2See more here.
3… or, perhaps, holograms.