Sour Gout – VIENNA//2516

Album Information


Artist: Sour Gout
Album: VIENNA//2516
Type: Full-length (LP)
Release date: 10 July 2016
Label: Lost Angles
Format:

  • White cassette, unknown edition (Lost Angles, 2016)
  • Digital download (Lost Angles, 2016)

 

Recommendation: ☀☁☁


Sour Gout’s “post-vaporwave soundtrack for a virtual Vienna” is intentionally ambiguous about what exactly it’s supposed to elicit. The album’s blurb states that it’s to “create a sense of unease and anxiety” (which it most certainly does) compared to that which “would have been in place in Vienna at the turn of the century (pre-war fear, etc)”, but it also states that the release is “geared towards neo-modernists enthusiasts in 2516”. Precisely for whom is this album made? Listeners in the far future of 2516 looking onto past Vienna history – possibly exploring the virtual lifestyles of a geopolitically turbulent Austro-Hungarian Empire? Or is the “turn of the century” actually that of the 2500s, and that “VIENNA//2516” refers to a virtual map of Vienna before some terrific war that begins in 2516?

VIENNA//2516 is hypnagogic drift with incipit vaporgoth. The tracks are generally short to medium-length, and they provide the impression of vignettes rather than contemporarily-defined songs with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Songs are constructed with a combination of original and sampled original material, with the primary methods of composition being steady, unobtrusive percussion and ambient synthesizers (e.g. “MENSCHLISCHE//ZERSTÖRT”). “WINKEL/TRAUM” is exceptionally melancholy downtempo electronica, comparable to the trip-hop of Psychic 9-5 Club by HTRK. Many synthesizer and other electronic elements seem to float within and without the mix, as if they’re phasing in and out of virtual Vienna. Occasionally (as with the first and last songs), garbled and backmasked spoken word looms out of the fog, possibly welcoming or directing the cyberworld visitors.

The track titles emphasize the vagueness. Fittingly, they are all German words. Rather than be place names or cities in Austria, they are descriptors of different regions or experiences. For example, “MENSCHLISCHE//ZERSTÖRT” translates to “Destroyed Human”, and “DUNKLE//LANDSCHAFT” to “Dark Landscape”.1 Others are more innocuous: “//STRAßENSZENE//” is “Street Scene”, and “//TAVERNESZENE//” is “Tavern Scene”. They are pleasantly imaginative in context with the narrative, despite having little thematic relevance with the actual music other than to enhance the lugubrious atmosphere.

 

Tracklist


1. SECHS//KLAVIERE – (1:49)
2. //UNHEIMLICHE// – (3:32)
3. NACHT//ANSTARRT – (3:59)
4. //VERKLÄRTE// – (1:35)
5. DUNKLE//LANDSCHAFT – (3:31)
6. //STRAßENSZENE// – (5:02)
7. WINKEL/TRAUM – (2:51)
8. //NACHTSZENE – (1:18)
9. MENSCHLISCHE//ZERSTÖRT – (3:47)
10. //TAVERNESZENE// – (4:14)
11. KLAVIERE//SECHS – (1:50)


 

1Black metal fans should’ve recognized “dunkle” from Burzum’s “Dunkleheit”.

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