Ninjitsu Princess – BlackICE
Owing to the nature of cyberpunk music, there are quite a few shadowy labels out there, one of which is VK 250. Named in part after the Russian social media network (despite claiming residency in Taiwan), VK 250 released a variety of vaporwave and hardvapour within what’s best describe as an “aggressively eclectic” milieu.
BlackICE by Ninjitsu Princess is one such release. The artist name refers to an obscure episode of The X-Files in which a sentient AI goes rogue; one of the programmers in the episode is mentioned as having “programmed the autonomous bots in Ninjitsu Princess, the most gnarliest piece of entertainment software ever.”1 The episode was co-written by William Gibson, an influential artist within cyberpunk media who wrote Neuromancer and a myriad of other stories and screenplays. “BlackICE” refers to “Intrusions Countermeasures Electronics”, a term coined (also by Gibson) in reference to security software designed to counter hackers within Gibson’s The Sprawl trilogy.2 The accompanying text to BlackICE seems to play on both of these concepts, describing breaking into the eponymous BlackICE while being chased by an AI.
This five-track EP is from the early days of hardvapour, being released on New Year’s Eve in 2015. It consists of the high-speed gabber and industrial techno that typified the genre’s beginning. There is almost no focus on melody; the entire release is a straightforward rhythmic explosion that evokes an atmosphere similar to the Wipeout franchise if Wipeout occurred during the Cold War. It’s fairly standard in this regard, being pretty close to everything else released by Antifur’s Krokodil Krew at about this time.
1. UPLOAD – (2:55)
2. Nothing. Only paranoia – (1:27)
3. Intrusion Countermeasures Electronic – (3:25)
4. Club Deimos (feat. S0ViET NiTEKLUB) – (2:45)
5. Ancient Terminal – (3:19)
1“Kill Switch”. Season 5, Episode 11. Aired 15 February 1998.
2… and hence made many appearances in other media, such as Deus Ex.