Remember – ルートバックホーム
Remember, remember the 5AM streets of Tokyo. That’s how the saying goes, right?
Remember’s deep-city ambiance rivals only that of HKE in its evocative nature. ルートバックホーム1 – the artist’s debut for himself and on Dream Catalogue – creates extraordinarily vivid soundscapes through the barest yet most beautiful of synthesizers and field recordings. It’s a true application of the phrase “more is less”, as ルートバックホーム is sparser than most other dreampunk and ambient vaporwave.2 Practically all tracks are beatless with the exception of “エレベーション Elevation”, which, fittingly enough, features the co-creator of Dream Catalogue in all of his cyberpunk glory. Speaking of which, Remember had quite a cast collaborating with him here, as telepath3 and 猫 シ Corp. also make guest appearances; ルートバックホーム is the output of a veritable supergroup.
Despite opening with the quintessential dreampunk/cyberpunk field recordings of traffic and rain, ルートバックホーム is a warm album. Its hour of runtime is filled with cycling synth progressions and comforting tones that feel far more expansive than claustrophobic. At the risk of overplaying my HKE comparisons (which is hard to do – ルートバックホーム is certainly indebted to him), it’s quite similar to HK in tone, where the city serves as a passageway to adventure instead of isolation. “地下自然公園 Underground Nature Park” features quite a bit of birdsong toward the end, using a sample that’s so incredibly cliché in its countless usage in video games and movies that it’s instantly recognizable,4 which totally makes sense in context of the track’s allusion to hyperreality.
Little touches like that demonstrate the care that was put into each of the album’s seven tracks; for another example, the subway chatter and gentle distortion at the end of “午後11時 The 11pm”. “トランスミッション Transmission” is easily one of the greatest tracks of which telepath has ever been a part, and it’s a true highlight for Dream Catalogue and cyberpunk music as a whole. The rippling keys and choir-like synths fill up every part of the song while betraying just a hint of longing. Some electronic aberrations come forth in the latter half of the track, sounding like glitches dancing on top of the waters of the song’s main body. It never feels its eleven minutes and is seriously beautiful.
ルートバックホーム is a bit too reliant on its collaborators, occasionally drowning out Remember as with the HKE feature. There isn’t much room for Remember to shine as an artist on his own two feet on that one. However, that’s barely a fault when the music is just so damn good. ルートバックホーム is a necessary addition to your Dream Catalogue and cyberpunk music collection.
1. 私を愛して Love Me – (7:43)
2. 午後11時 The 11pm – (7:03)
3. 地下自然公園 Underground Nature Park (ft. 猫 シ Corp.) – (6:30)
4. ストリップの明るいライト Bright Lights of the Strip – (8:00)
5. スカイライン Skyline – (5:48)
6. トランスミッション Transmission (ft. t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者) – (11:11)
7. エレベーション Elevation (ft. HKE) – (12:48)
1Japanese translation: “Route back home”
2Check out Keito Shimuguchi, Kamokata, and ADOV (all of whom are, coincidentally or not, also projects of HKE) for some more like this.
3Back when he was t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者.
4Like Amazon Trail 3rd Edition. Yes, that’s a real game. I played the hell out of it back when I was in elementary school.