Unknown Data – X-5AS482
Artist: Unknown Data
Type: Extended-play (EP)
Release date: 26 July 2017
Label: TKX Vault
- Digital download (TKX Vault, 2017)
The theme of the second run of TKX Vault is corruption. From the songs to the presentation to the artist names themselves, each of the ten albums in the label’s second and final series of releases from 2017-2018 have some form of inherent corruption. In no release is this more apparent than X-5AS482 from Unknown Data, which is the final chapter in a line of “Unknown” releases that included releases from Unknown Artist and Unknown Forever.1 As with its ten sister albums, X-5AS482 simultaneously expounds upon and erodes its predecessors, presenting a further degraded document of vapordrone music that exceeded even the deterioration that typified the ambient of the other Unknown albums.
Part of the overarching mythos to TKX Vault (and related Dream Catalogue imprints Vault XYO and Vault EVE) is that each of the releases is a found document containing data that was decoded and uploaded. While the mythos was not apparent through the first run of TKX Vault albums, it was far more incorporated in the second. X-5AS482 obliquely references this decoding process with an introductory message on the album page stating that the “discoverer” of the album requires help in decoding it. Each track title is paired with an identical seven-character sequence and then four additional numbers that may or may not be randomly generated, adding to the album’s credentials in the unexplained.
The four tracks here are greatly distorted drone music and electronica. Downloading the album in VBR2 results in extremely low average bit rates, which compounds the idea of the music itself being corrupted. Garbled voices (maybe?) and instruments filter in and out of the mix, with significant static and hiss overlaid on top. Occasionally, some cleaner electronic keyboard sounds push out of the fog, as if the data is just on the edge of being resolved. The third track “X-5AS482-0664” incorporates a start-stop aesthetic to the keyboard sounds, similar to the clicks on SUPERCARTRIDGE by ULTRACOMPUTER. Overall, the music is a rough exercise in deterioration, but those who are into either narrative music or lo-fi drone might enjoy X-5AS482 – one of the loneliest albums ever released by a vaporwave (or related) label.
1. X-5AS482-0265 – (6:20)
2. X-5AS482-0454 – (6:34)
3. X-5AS482-0664 – (4:28)
4. X-5AS482-0980 – (2:36)
1(previously known as UNFR)
2Variable Bit Ratio. An mp3 encoding technique that captures the sounds at different bit rates depending on the relative complexity and fidelity of the music. (Grossly understating, but that’s the general gist.)