Sandtimer – 808 Hate Suite
Vaporwave Is Dead gets most of the attention as the trope-codifying hardvapour album, but there’s another release by Sandtimer that predates the artist’s (in)famous take-that by a couple months. 808 Hate Suite is the bass-heavy Ur-example1 of hardvapour music, back when the tags were “XXXX”, “XXXX”, or even “dark vaporwave”. Although its association with hardvapour is more in retrospect when one considers the first push of “hardvapour” incorporated Eastern European cultural aesthetics, it does feature the same hard-pounding industrial techno by which hardvapour took and takes its main influences.
808 Hate Suite was released in October 2015 through the TKX Vault label (formerly known as Tokyo Exchange), which is an imprint of Dream Catalogue that provided a space for label owner HKE and other artists to release more experimental works that may not have been thematically appropriate for their main projects. 808 Hate Suite was TKX Vault’s twenty-eighth release out of an original run of fifty that included the vapornoise of テレビ体験, the long-form ambient of Kamokata, and the signalwave hard drive-dump of ULTRACOMPUTER. In 2017, the album received a limited edition physical run of fifty orange cassettes on Acid Medical, which accompanied physical releases of other TKX Vault albums on labels such as OKO Sounds and BLCR Laboratories through the latter half of that year.
If there ever were a hardvapour album title that reflected its content, then 808 Hate Suite would be that album. The “808” refers to the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, which was one of earliest programmable drum machines and a significant influence on modern electronic music genres such as drum ‘n’ bass and IDM, in addition to modern popular hip-hop.2 The album artwork depicts an image of the 808 with some Japanese lettering and image degradation; the artwork to the Acid Medical edition is even more distorted. As for “hate suite”, well, consider that this album takes the 808’s famous bass drum and kick to an extreme that skirts the line between the logical extreme of the 808’s rhythmic capabilities with noise and industrial music.
808 Hate Suite is a highly eclectic work with some traditional and unorthodox instrumental techniques (insofar as 808s are concerned). The primary compositional element is bass – not just bass drums, but straight bass in a manner that is akin to mid-2000s British dubstep music. For example, the rough period between five and seven minutes features a nigh percussion-less portion in which bass is practically the only instrument with the exception of glitch sound effects that sound like an arcade Pac-Man dying – an effect that shows up several times throughout the track’s run. The industrial rhythms that take precedence approximately halfway through the track draw comparisons to turntablism due to the skittering rhythmic effect and the . Even piano comes through at some points, often acting as a foil to the ever-present bass tones. The effect of all these disparate elements coming together is evocative of the “hate suite” to which the album’s title alludes.
Recommended for fans of hardvapour, industrial techno, gabber, and all other sorts of challenging electronic music that camp on the line of noise.
1. 808 Hate Suite – (19:06)
1Oh yeah, we’re bringing TV Tropes into this.
2One of the most famous being 808s & Heartbreak by Kanye West.