Equanaimo is an EP of eight little Vaporwave vignettes, released in April 2014 on Winnipeg, Manitoba-based artist Telozkope’s own Spectral Blissonance Ltd netlabel and available to fetch for free at Bandcamp. That this is a clear-cut Vaporwave artifact is slammed more than one time into the potential listener’s face: the front artwork comprises CAD graphics and probably video game memories, the term is mentioned by the artist himself in the liner notes or tags, but most importantly, it is the stylized typography-based alienation of each track title that greets the listener time and again. Equanaimo is a short affair, fugacity is thus not only embraced conceptually, but by the very means of track-related time limits and constraints. But what is the specific value of this EP, given that Vaporwave is a hit-or-miss genre, no matter how noble and intriguing the subculture is as a (w)hole? Turns out that Telozkope’s vision lives up to the front artwork with the help of synths, programmed drums and gorgeous textures such as rain pads and even marimbas. And this vision is as follows: the artist takes Vaporwave off both its shopping mall context and questionable catenae of civilization and brings it straight into the Arctic woods and – as the EP progresses – the aural rain forests of the mind. Cyber Exotica? Maybe! Despite the occasional riotous rhizome, Equanaimo sports an Ambient core, one that has to face breakbeat bubbles, Glitch globs and naturally Vaporwave vestibules. The jungle is exposed in the following paragraphs, with some fucked up typography to come as well.


The genre may be highly artificial and everyone involved is more than capable of willfully injecting synthetics and cheap polyester flavors all over their works, but Telozkope’s opener ☄∑motionSwamp is a different affair, if not in regard to the synthetics – which are nonetheless placed here in the shape of programmed staccato drums and 80’s handclaps –, then all the more so due to the peacefulness: distantly pentatonic koto-like strings conflate with vitreous wind chimes and field recordings of birds. The New Age scenery, however, is not only broken by the feisty breakbeat, but the strangely warped and dun-colored synth movements which bubble and flutter through the fake nature scenery. The front artwork comes to mind indeed.


The follow-up Arboreal☾ʟᴜʀᴋiᴎ☽ is incidentally the longest track and runs for almost two and a half minutes charged with antediluvian Italo pianos whose stuttered echoes hail from a formerly petrified past that is now laid bare by the bone-crushing and overly histrionic beat abyss which proves once more to be a counterpart to the otherwise susurrant reticulation of horticultural helixes. ❒⌠N ⋀ s ⋀ WATER⌡❑ finally breaks the chain of coppices and copses in favor of copper and chromaticity. The color range is now delicately aqueous and enigmatically mystified. Mercilessly captivating and equally droning vocoder billows mesh with fusillades of woodpecker snares, arcane electric guitars and erudite Exotica epitheliums aka downwards-spiraling marimbas. Spacy and otherworldly, the darkness of this third track is actually playful and soothingly amicable, with the following p e r i h e l i o n presenting a superimposition of fairy tale tonalities, Far Eastern sequencer acatalepsies and vesiculating Glitch-oriented convulsions. Rounded off by the hopeful glockenspiels, this is a welcome trip to a crystalline wonderland.


While I do not know what kind of culture is presented in §ILVICULTURE.☍, I am once again fond of the resurrection of the mephitic marimba mélange whose jungular flavor is only further augmented and adamantly boosted by the backdrop of synth flutes whose parallax aureoles create a high-plasticity braiding of interstitial afterglows, fissling foliage and oneiric clandestinity. Gyrating between acroamatic fluorescence and fir-green effulgence, the clicking claves are the final marker of the rain forest amid the unsurprisingly medulla-emptying low frequency cannelure. ⓌeatherⓂenuⒶnalysis is fortunately not too far away from these mighty endemics either, as Telozkope drops the most complex yet wondrously laid-back and comprehensible beat structure. Rattling snake-like hi-hats and rotatory corkscrew elastics float through a moodily withdrawn marimba melody with high amounts of contemplation and remoteness.


ⓌaitingⓇoomⒶtaraxia does not differ much from the tropical undercurrent, and both the stylized typography and the soundscape themselves showcase a continuation of the jungle path; since a waiting room is implied, luminescent rain pads illumine the scenery, their decay and polished purity being pristinely saccharified granulomas to the artificial wood glades, their hopeful overtones are freely floating through the brown hue of the locale, with the finale s⋏sᴘ⋏ʀiʟʟ∀* giving in to the ever-demanding need of more cowbell, but the appearance of the instrument of the century is not arranged for reasons of mockery, as the jungle aroma is still firmly in place, enchanting with its echopraxia of snakes and birds via speckled hi-hats and cauterized drum measles. A slow fade-out implies that it is not the jungle that ceases to exist: it is the listening subject itself. Back to reality.


As is often the case, I am not skilled enough to pinpoint which instances of this EP are stitched together with the help of samples and material from other sources that are infamously known as “somewhere else,” but these secrets aside, Equanaimo is a coherent, particularly minimal work whose sudden microtonal eruptions and melodies are all the more stunning – even staggering – when they appear in the mystical jungle. Telozkope’s verdured place is actually much more about doldrums than, well, drums, but it is the latter which are able to scythe through the lost atmosphere like a savage brute. While everything is perfectly in order and even soothing, it is the evocation of the jungle that is hugely surprising. With purposefully limited means, Winnipeg’s Vaporwave artist is still able to aesthetically please. With the one exception of a gorgeously ethereal fleeting visit to space on the aptly-titled ❒⌠N ⋀ s ⋀ WATER⌡❑, the whole album is keen on alluvial soils and marimba patterns which interpolate the density, the moisture and humid haze that is found in the jungle. But there is more: darkness. All temples or crypts notwithstanding, Equanaimo is an open air experience, with critters and crawlers schlepping themselves forward throughout the little EP. It is still fond of a crepuscular twilight state. I can recommend Equanaimo to those listeners who want retrogressive creativity in their Vaporwave music in lieu of the same old slowed down shit that is out there. Telozkope has succumbed to the law of the jungle. Ambient. Exotica. Indeed.


Further listening and reading:


Ambient Review 334: Telozkope – Equanaimo (2014). Originally published on Apr. 16, 2014 at