It is certainly not the destined way to kick off my review of the ever-mysterious entity Remember’s full-length Dream Catalogue debut ルートバックホーム with a name-based delineation, but there might be Vaporwave fans out there who might fall for a moniker mixup, so here goes: Remember is not related to fellow artist Vincent Remember. I think. But whoever might laugh all the way to the bank, this time us listeners are invited to join both the laughter and the path to Remember’s goal, for ルートバックホーム roughly translates into route back home. This implies that the seven-track album is not necessarily about the endpoint or destination, but the journey itself. Released in August 2015 on HKE’s Dream Catalogue label and released in an editiom of 100 – sold out in less than 24 hours – blue C60 tapes, the digital version is always available as a name-your-price download at the label’s Bandcamp page as it should be. Remember doesn't come out of nowhere: he has previously appeared on at least two 2015 releases: the DREAM_100 compilation and the bosky New Age/Now Age forest OVERGROWTH by Oscob / Digital Sex.
In terms of ルートバックホーム, four particular things come to mind in its Ambient-focused oneiric-orographic high rise-infested tour through a neon-illumined rainy megacity. First, the obvious connection has to be made, if only for the reason of bullshit bingo cards: the timbre of ルートバックホーム reminds of Vangelis and the Blade Runner soundtrack, a movie that is cited time and again in the wake of a flickering shadow-oriented Vaporwave work, so there, I have you covered. In a second step, HKE’s works and split releases such as HK and 愛慕／悲哀 (both 2015) come to mind, the latter of which also features t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者. In a third step, and in order to come full circle, HKE and t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 collaborate with Remember on two distinct tracks, preceded by the Dutch cat lover 猫 シ Corp. who realizes yet another majestic team-up. And finally, the album showcases why – maybe to HKE’s playful chagrin – Dream Catalogue shouldn’t be reduced to the V-genre anymore. Dreams are made of various constituents and cataracts, and so it turns out that ルートバックホーム shares the stylistic sentiment with neo-futuristic viewpoints, but not mandatorily the genre markers of Vaporwave, at least not all the time. Here, then, is a closer look at its seven tracks.
Sold out in less than 24 hours, but HKE's photograph remains. It warms the heart.
Could there be a more lachrymose outing than the opener 私を愛して Love Me? Over the course of almost eight minutes, Remember ennobles the click-induced atmosphere with polyfoil-pastoral synth choirs whose diaphanous aura is backed by caproic capsules. Reverberated rivulets, cars passing by, perennial afterglows… quite a contemplative locale to be situated in. In the latter half, the hoarfrost wanes, making room for potassium exocarps in synthesized form, their granular physiognomy protruding through the hexangular quilting. The city? Far away! Remember continues to approach the big towers though, taking the train in 午後11時 The 11pm, a wondrously elysian peritoneum of flangered hydrazines, pristine blisters and mellifluous mica percolating through the ether. Public service announcements offer earthbound tendrils to hold on to, but they aren’t needed: this is a solemnly soothing thiazide, vanillarific and benignant from the start till the whitewashed pink noise-agglutinated end.
地下自然公園 Underground Nature Park meanwhile sees Remember collaborate with 猫 シ Corp. who leaves his beloved Hiraeth behind in order to erect a grandiloquent diffeomorphism. Believe it or not (I say believe it!), but this track offers a fantastic simultaneity between hydromagnesite helixes and sapphire-lit droning fractals of the utmost prismatic-pectiniform shapes. Yet again soothingly flangering, this Ambient cavern is amicable to the max, placing scattered yttrium magnetotails with downwards-spiraling songbirds. This pulsatile stream of life is centered in the limelight, with nature oozing through the superficial ventricles and fissures. ストリップの明るいライト Bright Lights Of The Strip then approximates a bokeh of city lights via faux-ligneous half-crystalline beryl blebs, Angkor Wat superstructures and golden globs of light. This is the first instance where Remember relies on a clandestine mysticism, allowing the circumambience to be drenched in biomorphic lozenges and whispering wisps.
スカイライン Skyline is the final instance of wafting spherification, an anthocyanin-colored ancestor to the first two tracks coupled with the secretive phragmoplasts of the former ストリップの明るいライト Bright Lights Of The Strip. Yet again zoetropic by nature, Remember’s skyline is aglow with yttrium lycopods and square lead phytoliths. In lieu of flaring flashes, glittering galactosamines reciprocate in the longitudinal megafauna. トランスミッション Transmission follows suit, seeing t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 and Remember in a paraphyletic state of rhombohedral rhinestones. Elasticized and slowed-down thanks to a total duration of eleven minutes, I sense the technocratic telomeres of the city, hued in fog, amidst stratiform layers, rotating tower cranes and dusk-alloyed evening epithelia. It is only at the end – once the alluvial aeriform cell tissues decrease – that a periglacial momentum is evoked.
The finale is nigh, featuring HKE and Remember in the same realm. Worlds do not collide, for both artists share the same angular viewpoint. It is all the more surprising in the given scope that エレベーション Elevation bursts at the seams with its stokehold fovea and gravitational redshift toward the revolving juggernaut that is the city. Previously featured as a single and consequentially reviewed in-depth in this Vapor Vertebrae writeup, the superresonance still rings true, but showcases an even more cinematic interferometry now that the complete album is finalized. More of a planetesimal than a mere lift, it is the industrialism coupled with the acidic synth sinews and aerial waves of euphony which leave the city behind for good. A curious remark, considering that the city is never fully reached in the first place. It needs HKE’s cryofibrillar adjuvants to come close… and then go beyond.
ルートバックホーム is about the city, but the vision is heterodyned and surreal, fueled by neonescent muons and nascent fibroblasts that oscillate between the lavabos, remote parks and posh apartments. Being a clear-cut concept album at its core, Remember’s crafted artifact doesn’t want the listener to tear it apart or distill its cornerstones. It creates a flow that negates any attempt of making the respective track an insular, withdrawn antrum. Superimposition and chirality are the two primary forces to reckon with: the former element augments the synths and field recordings with density, plasticity and occasionally contrapuntive one-eighties or blocked paths, whereas the latter meanwhile extrapolates the innermost nucleus, transfigures and morphs its mood and creates an apparition or chimera. It’s a bewildering but tempting allure, with coruscating cannelures leading to celestial catenae before demonic depths and desiccated dungeons push forward into the cochleae. ルートバックホーム is About Vaporwave after all, but with a decreased omnipresence sound-wise, more reliant on the pictures – and dreams – it evokes via the puissance of its kaleidoscopic patterns and textures rather than a certain synth, stem or meme. Has Remember reached his destination?
Further listening and reading:
- You can stream and fetch ルートバックホーム as a name-your-price download at Bandcamp.
- Remember has been briefed by OSCOB in the inaugural episode of his podcast series called OSCAST: available at Bandcamp too.
- I repeat the previous question: Has Remember reached his destination? He will tell you on Twitter @remember4802, albeit in a twisted way. Want more clarity? Succumb to @dream_catalogue!
Vaporwave Review 117: Remember – ルートバックホーム (2015). Originally published on Aug. 17, 2015 at AmbientExotica.com.