Future hope is a theme here on Obstacle Illusion and I feel like the ∜♡MDISCS: Futures Reserve Label is a definite pathfinder on this trail -- they usher in a consistent and glittering stream of future-gazing, -exploring, and -unveiling sounds from every glazed angle of the electronic hypersphere and do so with a real healthy mix of playfulness, humour, and joyful sincerity. What also sets them apart is the aesthetic cohesiveness they create across all their releases while still wrangling in a massive diversity of sounds, conjuring everything from slick HD technicality and precision-beats to lo-fi pop dreamhazes to sludge-wading yet glimmering hip-hop to so many indescribable mongrel genres that it's hard to keep up. Their latest compilation is a mind-opening testament to all of this; 73 tracks moving over 4.4 hours in length and spread across two discs. I've enjoyed every track here and wish I could give some words to every single one, but truly, the task to describe even half of what is contained here in these compilations is monumental enough!
Starting with the first slab we encounter a i r s p o r t s exquisite 'Dubbed in 3D', the sorta .wav perfect for cruising high and happy over a floating ecopolis, wrapped up like a bird man and slicing through the air in a state of perfect bliss. Straight after, LINGERIE's 'KIMI KIWI' evokes a wired VR-disco for spaced romantics to boogie down with one another, a kaleidoscopic mirror-room which wobbles like jelly with every kickbeat and treble-sharp handclap. Climbing the ladder we reach 'Pizza Man' by Golden Axe; because even pizza men will be respected heroes in the future. Blast this out of your space-cruiser speakers while traversing the neon streets of New Mars. A couple tracks later we hit a personal fav of mine, 'Works' by Dreams, composed of beautiful heartbeat snare roll ups, happy pitch-high stammers and enthusiasms, subtle Yoshi samples, funkdafied bass and disco stabs, all woven together at the end of each section with a chorus-like flotilla of upwards-ascending synths and atmospherics… beautiful.
The hits keep coming; Jogging House's 'You Don't Talk (feat. Kat Kaufmann)' sends me aboard a train weaving through alps and snow-encrusted forest. From lilting atmospherics we shift very suddenly into 'GOOD ANNA DA BAD' by POORSCHE which is like a cerebral wormhole cyber voyage through a 90s happy hardcore rave spliced with Mount Kimbie at 20x speed. Apart from hyperfuturistic electronics there are plenty of more traditional vocal- and pop-oriented tracks spread across these two discs and 'What v.2.0 Do' by Gabriel White is one of my favourites along that line.
Another side to ∜♡MDISCS and featured on this comp are some next-phase vapourwave sounds which, for me, sound like vapourwave's younger and less cynical bro/sister, less bitterly ironic and simply more chill, and not very concerned about impressing you or your friends. You don't quite understand their mannerisms, their clothes or anything they are saying, but you feel as if everything they do is coming from a much more honest and joyful place than you could ever muster up when you were their age. This is a sign of the times; growing up with the internet means instant exposure to a multiplicity of realities, and it tramples that homogeneity which schools try to impose generation after generation. The internet abolishes one-truth systems and explodes the levee with mind-shaping levels of variety. ESPRIT空想's 'cruiser' pushes aside the half-speed dirge which can make so much vapourwave feel like a chore and replaces it with unapologetic sax-driven 80s funk mash. Infinite Frequencies 'The Sultans Garden' is the glimmering digital landscape you reach after the bad trip you experienced in the 'corporate elevator.' QUILTLAND brings us 'TIME PHRASE,' a lush and positive trip with percussion submerged in an echochamber of quilted synth-layers. Ramzi's 'Pou Yon Mond Nouvo' unsurfaces scuba-dived water beats from plaintive dimensions all chopped and diced for optimum textural enjoyment. This is just the first side, and it ends with 'The Patriot' by 333 Boyz , a track which is just too great and too bizarre a mix of mysteriously harmonious elements that to describe it would ruin the sheer enjoyment one gains from encountering it for the very first time. Really, to describe in detail every track I love even on the first disc is quite a task -- much more could be written for Giraffage's 'Computer City (Go Dugong Remix)', the misty cool vibes of 'The Elsa' by Jaaska, and the endless bliss-drift of 'Grid Life' via Coolmemoryz.
Wiping away the sweat and joyful tears we move to the second side. 'Hot*DOG…' by Gunge is a damn nice dance wash soaked in bubbling electronics, streaming synths, handclaps and old diva vocal echoes moving in from a past realm somewhere. Feels like I'm at a pool party with 3D holographic waterfalls instead of fake fireplaces - the ending sounds like the speaker system fell in the pool but kept on chugging anyway, with the MC in snorkels and everyone too busy dancing to notice. Lockbox's 'LUST 2.0' is a righteously splayed skittering phased-out beat hurricane whose musical heritage is so diverse that it leaves you in a kind of Socratic aporia. Myrrh Ka Ba calms things down with the serene and steady galactic bounce of 'Astral Disco', expertly-diced vocal samples perfect for a late-night dancefloor meditation, or an even later-night bike ride home to bed. Things turn 4/4 with PARTY TRASH and FERAL LOVE, and like Myrrh Ka Ba they chop their vocals with sushi-sharp knifework, glazing the rest in reverb and overdriven bass for future preservation. Then there's Krusht's remix of 'Just My Imagination' by The Temptations. The way Krusht carefully stretches out the chorus is simple yet masterful - truly and utterly serene, a flood of peaceful energy perfect for any hour of the day.
There is just so much ingenuity across these two discs in terms of production and structure. On the production side of things we have songs like "Heard-Crashed" by Shisd, where some sort of reverse crash or hi-hat takes the foreground while the rest of the kit is buried in faraway reverb; the vocals sit somewhere in-between, oozing mellow vibes despite the enfolding racket. MEWL's 'Stop Caring' is structurally fascinating, anchored the whole way through via one very simple (but never tiring) guitar loop. Free-wheeling drums crash over the top with no obvious purpose - yet, in their spontaneity, they suit perfectly. Finally, with the guitar loop playing anchor it's the vocals, reassuring and carefully escalating, which act as the lifeline, urging you along blissfully throughout.
It's interesting that the final track ('Voodoo in The Afternoonn,' by Kikiilimikilii) is also one of the darkest, making it something of a rarity amidst the previous explosions of light. On this finale it feels like the sky is being torn apart, but it's the kind of apocalyptic storm that one senses is completely necessary, as a kind of catharsis for all sentient life. Many times humankind has had to undergo these worldwide historical experiences in order to shed the deadweight of old, unjust ideologies and power structures. We are in a similar age where much tension is occurring alongside beautiful waves of relief and realisation. The last 16 or so seconds feels like a tribute to that relief, and a symbolically eloquent closure to 4.4 hours of mind-altering sound vibrations.
You've heard enough from me, stream it below!
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You can also head here for download options and other tings.