qualchan. – the spectacle.
First and foremost: that album artwork is gorgeous. I’m already interested in the world of the spectacle. in which people apparently swim beside oil and industry rigs in the middle of the ocean. The cassette is spectacular, too. Cell Death Tapes sold translucent purple-blue shells that juxtapose well with the album artwork. Those two factors alone make the spectacle. an excellent example of how important presentation is in music promotion.
the spectacle. is the fifth full-length by qualchan., a producer based out of Seattle, Washington. Its digital version is composed of two sides as if mastered exclusively for cassette. Small samples of music are spliced together to create each track’s twenty-plus minute run-time. The first side is generally ambient vaporwave, opening with several minutes of drone-like music; the second side features lots of sample curation and production akin to classic-style vaporwave.
However, the spectacle. is rather unconvincing in its utilization of two long tracks made up of all of these small compositions, as many of the samples have questionable levels of relation when they’re pushed up against each other. It has the jump-cut milieu of signalwave, but given the preponderance of ambient samples, that doesn’t seem to be the feeling for which qualchan. was going. The samples themselves are great – the ambient sections (e.g. approximately sixteen minutes into “side b”) are just on the threshold of attention with true Brian Eno qualities – but the collation of samples kind of drowns everything else out in a weird way that’s specific to the decision to delineate tracks by album side rather than by song.
the spectacle. would be a much stronger album if the sheer number of samples were cut down to give the remaining ones the space to develop to the extent that that they deserve. Some of the classic-style samples in the beginning of “side b” end before they’ve really began. By no means necessary is this a negative listening experience; it’s simply awkward in its construction, and a bit more individualization of songs would be the best way to make qualchan.’s future compositions stand out among each other.
1. side a – (21:09)
2. side b – (21:50)