Darksleep – Identity Ender
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Identity Ender was one of the first ECCOJAMS to be recorded. Darksleep’s sophomore release is pure chopped-and-screwed samples of popular hits from the eighties and nineties, such as “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. Track titles generally have some wry comment on the theme of the original sample and Darksleep’s resultant edit: for example, “Insomniac” is an edit of “Another Night Another Dream” by La Bouche.
The tracks are hit-and-miss; unfortunately, Darksleep makes frequent use of tracks that are little more than slowed-down full versions of hits. If they’re catchy, it’s because of the original song and not the edit. Daniel Lopatin’s Chuck Person avoided this by using microsamples of songs to create a musical equivalent of semantic satiation; but when it’s the full track slowed down, then it’s just the full track slowed down (e.g. “Sea of Dream”).1 It’s rather ironic given the title of the album because the identity of these vaguely-edited tracks isn’t ended at all. Sure, ECCOJAMS is supposed to incorporate well-recognized tracks, but given the theme here, one expects a bit more.
When Darksleep fucks around a bit more, the results are frequently extraordinary. “Night Terror” is an insane track of fantastically bizarre hyper-edits played at speeds like a cassette tape disintegrating in play. “Lucid (A Night with B)” is Lopatin-style ECCOJAMS at the best, with several distinct sections from the song making an appearance. Although short, “Where Are You” is an excellent demonstration of the uncanny, narcotic atmosphere that this subgenre uniquely facilitates so well. These screws are great, and Darksleep’s long tracklisting can’t help but feel turgid when these tracks are mixed in with a bunch of minute-long ditties or the three-minute-plus “Rude Awakening at 4AM” that is almost entirely just “Time After Time” slowed-down with reverb. A lot of the songs are lethargic in comparison to the peppier Chuck Person album, which sets Identity Ender apart from many albums that try to emulate Lopatin’s dance tendencies.
Were Identity Ender to be trimmed to its ten best tracks, then it would easily be one of the better ECCOJAMS albums in the scene. It’s still quite good with several exceptional hits-from-hits, but uneven given its pedigree. That being said, everything here sounds quite “good,”2 and there’s nothing that demands an outright skip. Give it a try.
1. Sleep Aid – (2:56)
2. Who Am I? – (2:11)
3. Insomniac – (2:33)
4. Bruxism – (2:26)
5. Magicant – (2:32)
6. Rude Awakening at 4AM – (3:29)
7. Clear Night – (4:19)
8. Night Terror – (2:25)
9. Sea of Dreams – (2:04)
10. Sea of Dreams (Reprise) – (1:13)
11. Lucid (A Night with B) – (2:15)
12. Apnea – (1:04)
13. Going through with It – (0:52)
14. Melatonin – (1:56)
15. Where Are You – (1:26)
1… which is a valid criticism that a sizable portion of the vaporwave listener-base has toward Macintosh Plus’ Floral Shoppe.
2Whatever that ephemeral notion might be.