Sour Gout – Transformations
Along with Hantasi, Sour Gout is one of the most prolific and varied artists within the vaporwave and cyberpunk music scenes today. Through the first nine months of 2017, Sour Gout released at least seven full-length albums on labels as varied as HVRF (hardvapour), Antifur (hardvapour), Elemental 95 (classic-style vaporwave, hypnagogic drift), and Sud Swap Audio Brewing (various genres). Transformations is the sixth of that bunch; it was released through the Norwegian label Asura Revolver as the label’s sixth overall album.
Transformations is exactly what its title implies: a work about changes. Each of the four tracks on Transformations is listed as being one of four “stages”, which emphasizes the connection that the album has with metamorphoses. They begin with drone and ambient textures that gradually progress toward something completely different by the time the track is over. For example, opener “1st Stage” has a looping tempo-shifted sound that steadily becomes garbled and gives way to a dark ambient middle section and ending. The non-abrupt changes between ideas is seamless on all of the “Stages” – compare them to the post-rock epic “Djed” from Tortoise’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die, except electronic music and longer movements. The composition is somewhat rough-around the edges, which elicits a jam-like quality in Transformations, which is facilitated by the length of “1st Stage” and “4th Stage”.
Transformations is chiefly informed by dark ambient music, and the results are occasionally terrifying. Although the shortest track on the album at under three-and-a-half minutes, “2nd Stage” demonstrates this with a strangely pulsating series of bass notes that act as percussion in an otherwise beatless album. The background features dissonant strings and a distorted synth-like sound that recalls the scraping dread of вовки тіні on TKX Vault. “4th Stage” prominently features a gross crust of static over a low bass rumble with a curiously lo-fi texture that gives way to what can only be described as a mix between a scream and wind blowing at the halfway mark; the production is similar to that utilized by Paysage d’Hiver on the cavernous Kerker demo. “3rd Stage” somewhat subverts this with a cyberpunk-soundtrack theme akin to METROPOLISからオーディオ from ニューシティ.
Transformations is a strange and unnerving work; it is one of the most challenging releases of Asura Revolver’s first season. Fans of the vapordrone and dark ambient-dreampunk on TKX Vault will likely enjoy this work – especially the aforementioned вовки тіні and METROPOLISからオーディオ – as will fans of Sour Gout’s Corrupt Sensations for Elemental 95. It’s best experienced by way of a complete and uninterrupted listen.
1. 1st Stage – (12:03)
2. 2nd Stage – (3:24)
3. 3rd Stage – (4:25)
4. 4th Stage – (10:36)