Sounds Like: A late night cruise through the cyber-future dream highway
For Fans of: Boards of Canada, Oneohtrix Point Never, Kavinsky
Why You Should Pay Attention: The Internet-birthed "vaporwave" aesthetic — highly nostalgic, highly reverbed, highly sampled — seemed like a trend destined to die in the place where irony met #feels. But as 2814, London performer HKE and his fellow enigmatic SoundCloud dweller Telepath have captured all the romance and wistfulness through bold, original compositions. "We wanted to show how the whole vaporwave vibe could be made as original music rather than just relying on the same muzak and kitsch-pop samples everyone else had been using for years," says HKE. "While I thought the whole idea of playing with samples was cool … I've always been more enamored by its thematic concepts — its focus on dreaminess and surreal futurism and on painting a narrative through music." The next-level gambit paid off with second album 新しい日の誕生, an unparalleled success within a small, passionate pocket of the internet. The album is a staple of the Bandcamp charts, the purple cassette version goes for $40 on Discogs and an Indiegogo campaign recently launched a 2xLP vinyl version. In short, it's the most popular release the genre has produced in four years.
They Say: "I don't take any kind of drugs. But my whole worldview has always been that of a "dreamer" though, and a lot of what drives me spiritually in life would probably be considered esoteric and obscure by most," says HKE. "I sit in a dark room lit by a red light almost every night these days and I just take inspiration from the world around me. I have pretty vivid dreams and nightmares often and have suffered from recurring sleep paralysis and hallucinations since I was a teenager. I've been reading a lot about dreams, philosophy, history, religion, science, etc. and have developed my own theories on music being some kind of objective divine language of the universe that I could and will probably write a book on one day. Ultimately it all comes down to trying to understand the human condition."
Hear for Yourself: 新しい日の誕生's opening track, "恢复," is a dreamy, gorgeous cascade of deep drone, cascading piano and distant sirens. "The track's name in English is "Restore," explains HKE. "It's about reliving the same story in another time and space ... again and again. Not so much reincarnation but the endless cycle of the universe as it expands and contracts forever, time repeating itself." Christopher R. Weingarten