めんどりnegra – Shell Expansion
めんどりnegra1 is a pseudonymous vaporwave artist who released the album Shell Expansion simultaneously on Sud Swap Audio Brewing, Seikomart, and Botanica1. Don’t worry – those three labels work with each other, so there’s nothing questionable going on there. Shell Expansion is an hour-long album of vaporgoth music that combines dark ambient with lonely tribal music. Each track consists of three main compositional features: a capella vocalizations,2 drone synthesizers, and field recordings such as birdsong. Although separated into seven distinct tracks, the album is best viewed as a single hour-long conceptual piece given the similarities over each track. Each track name refers to a different concept in shamanism or Native American mysticism – for example, “Ollantaytambo” refers to an Ican village in southern Peru’s “Sacred valley”.
The success of Shell Expansion is predicated on the listener’s opinion after the first track, as the eight-minute “Ayni Karpay” sets the stage for what one may expect throughout the remaining forty-nine minutes. Shell Expansion does not change tactics throughout its entire run-time, which imparts an emotionally and creatively static impression. Since the compositions do not change much between tracks or even within tracks, the sense of slow development over time that accompanies much of drone music is absent, and the production obfuscates promising ambient leads (e.g. “Pampamesayok”). Shell Expansion has promise, but it’s important to remember that even drone and dark ambient music demonstrates some level of progression, which is what is lacking here.3
1. Ayni Karpay – (7:58)
2. Pampamesayok – (5:14)
3. Kurak Akuyek – (6:22)
4. Inka Mailku – (7:13)
5. Sacsayhuaman – (9:45)
6. Pisac – (13:26)
7. Ollantaytambo – (7:13)
1Japanese/Spanish translation: “Black hen”
2Likely Native American, but I do not know enough about that genre of music to say for sure.
3… unless your deal is to push boundaries by producing in static composition, but that require a level of recognition and technical aplomb that perhaps only LaMonte Young could attempt.