HKE / wosX / COCAINEJESUS / Sandtimer – Pain of Gods
Artist: HKE / wosX / COCAINEJESUS / Sandtimer
Album: Pain of Gods
Type: Split full-length (split LP)
Release date: 3 June 2016
Label: Void 21
- Digital download (Void 21, 2016)
Void 21 is a video game on Steam, and it’s also a very short-lived Internet-exclusive label that released only four albums in its two months of life. Pain of Gods was the first of these, and it’s a four-way split between HKE, wosX,1 COCAINEJESUS, and Sandtimer. All four of these artists closely worked with each other throughout the creation of dreampunk and hardvapour (especially hardvapour); they have also all released music through the Dream Catalogue label, which is owned and operated by HKE. Additionally, numerous HKE projects have released music through Antifur, which is run by wosX. By roster alone, the existence of Pain of Gods just makes sense.
Each artist presents three tracks. Two from HKE (“Memories” and “Ghost Dream”) would be featured in unchanged form several months later on Loop Matrix, as would “Meteor Dagger” by Sandtimer on The New King. Both albums were part of the initial set of releases on Pyramids, a ghost tech label founded about the same time as Halo Acid’s Tekres label – which also released ghost tech. The songs by wosX and COCAINEJESUS have not been featured elsewhere, although they were available on the artists’ individual Soundcloud pages.
Although all four artists were known for their output of aggressive techno music and hardvapour in 2016, Pain of Gods is primarily an ambient album that’s much more understated compared to their normal output. For example, all three wosX tracks are carefully revolving ambient music, and the COCAINEJSUS tracks are absent of the weirdo pop melodies and sardonic electronica that characterizes full-lengths such as Adult and We’re Worried About You (excluding “It’s Not Better without Her”). “Meteor Dagger” from Sandtimer is notably different from the rest of the split with its significantly lo-fi production, as if wind is blowing over one’s speakers. “Portal” from Sandtimer is the most uptempo song in the entire release, featuring bouncy cyberpunk beats akin to sister project Subaeris.
Owing to the number of tracks featured elsewhere and its slight consistencies, Pain of Gods is not a necessary release. However, it is a respectable collection of ambient-cyberpunk music that may appeal to fans who want more of either four. It may also appeal to those who are curious in the evolution of ghost tech from hardvapour in 2016, as this split contains several early experiments from notable projects that would go on to be a part of Pyramids and Tekres.
1. HKE: Memories – (5:54)
2. HKE: Ghost Dream – (4:09)
3. HKE: Time – (4:08)
4. wosX: Triad – (4:21)
5. wosX: Pulse – (2:32)
6. wosX: Escalate – (4:18)
7. COCAINEJESUS: What’s the Point – (3:30)
8. COCAINEJESUS: It’s Not Better without Her – (2:36)
9. COCAINEJESUS: Saika – (3:48)
10. Sandtimer: Portal – (2:59)
11. Sandtimer: Meteor Dagger – (2:06)
12. Sandtimer: Recycle X – (3:03)
1Then still known as wosX, as he’s had several name changes since and might have more after publishing this article.