AOTW | 7 May – 13 May: Martin Smith – LOST: The Infernal Mixtape
Everything about TKX Vault is an enigma. Everything. I’m serious, guys: everything. LOST: The Infernal Mixtape by Martin Smith is a perfect encapsulation of the weird, sardonic, experimental, and constantly subversive practices of TKX, which is notably an imprint of the Dream Catalogue label headed up by HKE. LOST: The Infernal Mixtape can be succinctly described as the surprise ending to the unannounced second season of a label that officially closed almost two years ago, except the label didn’t end but rebranded itself after Smith as two labels in one called TKX Martin and TKX LOST. And that’s not getting into the music, which is an experimental hip-hop cluster featuring entirely original material by Smith and a whole collection of hardvapour producers such as DJ Alina, wosX, Pyravid, Sandtimer, and EIGHTXNIGHTS. Plus there’s the numerous references to the short-lived iOS game Flappy Bird, of which Smith claims to be the creator and all-time master.
Like I said, enigma.
LOST: The Infernal Mixtape is kind of a microcosm of the weirdness of vaporwave and its related genres. Now this mixtape isn’t vaporwave at all – contrary to first impressions, none of the beats or verses here are sampled. Yet somehow, that just makes sense for this particular album, which closed TKX Vault’s second run that mostly consisted of ambient/drone works. The themes of TKX Vault have always incorporated reinvention, going all the way back to the change to TKX Vault from the original Tokyo Exchange. Several albums over the label’s run have been removed, retooled, or replaced – such as Penthouse Apartment by Trump. In and out of context, the absolute ridiculousness and left-field statement that is LOST: The Infernal Mixtape makes pretty good sense, even if the album itself might not make much sense to listeners who aren’t schooled in the history of TKX Vault (not to mention Dream Catalogue, Antifur, and the myriad of other little bits of hardvapour and experimental vaporwave history).
Regardless of the music therein (fans of Death Grips, this one is for you), LOST: The Infernal Mixtape has – in more ways than one – deserved its place in vaporwave history, and one’s time with Dream Catalogue as a whole is not complete without experiencing Martin Smith’s caprice.
Read the Sunbleach article here, and check out the music below: