Nyetscape – Nyetscape 4
That vinyl crackle intro on “Fever”? A+. Sure, some might say it’s been played out by the five billion indie bands who just discovered that wax still has a market,1 but mallsoft hasn’t utilized it all that much – which is kind of interesting, considering the genre’s focus on replicating retro-style playback. Then there’s the AM chatter feed that plays throughout “AgenciesXL,” which, as anyone who works in retail or sound tech can tell, is not an uncommon occurrence in quality control for PA/sound systems.2 Those two tracks are excellent starts to Nyetscape 4, and they’re perfect for anyone’s mallsoft playlist.
The next two are standard mallsoft, but by no means is “standard” meant to be a pejorative: they’re really well-done, produced in the mindless zone-out ultra-reverb that happens to be the default setting for every single goddamn sound system in chain retail stores.3 “CRYSTAL_sUrge-_-Precious moment” has a bit of a twist toward the end in a sudden decrease in pitch and tempo that isn’t as heavy-handed as ECCOJAMS. The next three tracks are different flavors of short shopping-spree tracks with upbeat and twinkling progressions; of these, “mall BARON” is the best, especially with regards to the old-school TV advertisement outro.
But the best, absolute best parts of this album come at the end. “Mastercharge” and “ROUTINE_-_-PRAYING_MANTIS” are total curveballs that suddenly launch into Chinese Hackers-territory with extreme distortion and time-stretching that creates a genuinely unsettling atmosphere, especially after the relatively happy-go-lucky textures of the former three tracks. A lot of mallsoft takes its creepiness from the concept of brainless drones walking around shopping, but Nyetscape 4 abandons subtlety and goes straight for the weirdness. Closer “AIR” hits a mark also touched by The Caretaker, with the return of a the crackle/static and impressive stereo screw that shifts in and out of focus. It’s made even better by the sad, minor melody of the sample that starts off following a similar progression to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
Nyetscape isn’t an artist who is mentioned all that much in vaporwave circles, but Nyetscape 4 will definitely change that for the intrepid listener.
1. Fever – (2:32)
2. AgenciesXL – (2:26)
3. Golden opening hours – (3:49)
4. CRYSTAL_sUrge-_-Precious moment – (2:41)
5. LETS!<~PURCHASE! – (1:37)
6. mall BARON – (2:13)
7. Super Love – (3:11)
8. Mastercharge – (2:17)
9. CRYSTAL_sUrge-_-Precious moment – (1:33)
10. Young Beauty – (2:18)
11. AIR – (3:26)
1Notable exception: The ’59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem. “Great Expectations” begins with the sound of a needle drop and the guitar lick skipping that are perfect in the context of the work.
2Ever seen *This Is Spinal Tap*? Remember the part when the guitarist’s amp keeps picking up air traffic control transmissions? It’s played for laughs, but that’s totally happened at shows I’ve attended.
3I know, because this morning I waited in line for twenty minutes at my local Walgreens.