As mentioned a few days ago, via Lars Gotrich, the Aphasia label has become a new obsession for me. Yesterday, while cranking through a chapter in my book, I needed some distraction so started clicking tags, “supported by” links, etc starting with the Protector 101 and Perturbator collab EP. And holy shit. I mean, obviously 80s pastiche has been a thing the past few years, with loads of bands/projects ripping off various modes and sounds from the decade in subtle to blatant ways, but this stuff is different. It’s different in that it’s not trying to hide it or fuck with it or anything like that. This massive group of bands just seems to be saying, “Fuck it, let’s timewarp this thing and just do 80s jams, STRAIGHT UP” and is cranking out album after album of 80s OST shimmer. It’s kind of nuts. Actually, what is really crazy is just how GOOD a lot of it is (some better than others, Aphasia seeming to be the cream of the crop to my ears – check out the Starforce album, which is totally ridiculous in the best possible way).
Some aspect of yesterday brought me back to my days as a tape trading teenager, when massive c90 compilations were all the rage. Seriously though, I loved those things (Shrimper & Catsup Plate, holler) because I’d discover so many new artists on each one, another thread to follow down the path that leads a person to owning 500+ home-dubbed, weird-ass experimental tapes before their 17th birthday. That obsession has never really gone away, it’s just mutated itself in different ways and patterns as the Internet has become the dominant music transmission medium. Yesterday I eventually ended up on the bandcamp page for NewRetroWave (like I said, no fucks given by these guys… I love it) and this compilation “tape,” The 80s Dream. Just LOOK at that cover. My god. It’s all so absurd. It’s awesome. The music is hit-or-miss, like all compilations, but there’s a couple real gems on there (it also cracks me up how much of this is better than a lot of the pseudo-retro dudes that get all the press) plus my favorite new project name, Arcade High.
None of this stuff is gonna change the way you think or anything high-minded, but what all these artists are doing is just fun as hell and, for me, that’s got a lot of value.