Hantasi – ラキア2019
Hantasi’s ラキア20191 is one of the strangest albums from the vaguely-defined “first wave” of vaporwave. Self-released in September 2012, this album is nearly seventy minutes of psuedo-noise/drone music that primarily utilizes a plunderphonics style of samplism to give each of its ten tracks a texture akin to tribal music. In fact, it pretty much is tribal music: the instruments on tracks like “Clowns / Pills” and the chanting on “Pillracer” are straight up tribal, as if digital technology has advanced in such a way by 2019 as to send human civilization back in time.2 It’s kinda like field recordings mixed with vaporwave, except in the context of actual recordings from the field instead of computers whirring or a mall. In fact, the album was created by scrambling the soundtrack to the anime Akira 2019 in representation of the “deconstructionist Internet-based short art movement” called PAINS, which stands for “post-avant-Internet-surrealism” – according to Hantasi.
Back in 1980, Brian Eno and Jon Hassell created a series of ambient and worldbeat works that they deemed “fourth world” music. The result of these collaborations were the titular Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics, which melded Eno ambient with Hassell trumpeting and the textures of sub-Saharan African music to create an imaginary, futuristic world3 where cultures of the Old, New, and Third world mutually informed and influenced each other. ラキア2019 is kind of like that, except within the context of vaporwave. It’s fourth world music in the way envisioned by Eno and Hassell almost forty years ago, merging some extremely Western ideas of music production with thoroughly non-Western and classical source material. This is especially notable on closing track “Mass”, when Hantasi mixes together multiple samples of pitch-/tempo-shifted liturgical music, organ music, that ubiquitous tribal percussion, and even previous album tracks (e.g. “Pillracer”).
It’s not an easy listen, and at over an hour in length, most listeners would be hard-pressed to hear it all in one sitting. The sound collage atmosphere may seem impenetrable at first glance. “God’s Room” has a ton going on – from the harp arpeggio to the sped-up turntablism to the multiple percussion samples. It’s a lot more capital-P Plunderphonics than most vaporwave, as John Oswald’s exercises in piracy weren’t exactly the easiest listens out there. However, ラキア2019 a lot of fun. Those who enjoy the wackiness will find tons to explore. Give it a listen if tribal vaporwave sounds like it could be up your alley. Recommended for fans of post-punk like Cut by The Slits.
1. Pillracer – (3:09)
2. Clowns / Pills – (3:37)
3. Neo-Weather – (2:47)
4. Nozomu – (10:18)
5. Storytime – (2:53)
6. Showdown – (10:10)
7. Changing Room – (4:50)
8. God’s Room – (3:18)
9. Superficial – (13:56)
10. Mass – (14:24)
1Japanese translation: “Rakia 2019”
2Ever play the game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem for the GameCube? The music on this album sound a lot like the soundtrack to the Angkor Thom levels.
3Dare I say “utopian”, in the word’s literal meaning?