GRIND TITE by GLOOMCVLT (Vaporwave Album Review by Red Scryyn of Death)
Welcome ladies, gentlemen, and marble statues, to another album review. This time we will be taking a dive into another rare and hidden piece of “vaporwave” content, “GRIND TITE” by GLOOMCVLT. My use of quotation marks for vaporwave this time will be explained shortly, but first and foremost, I hope you enjoy both the review and the album. This set of tracks resonates with me on a personal and spiritual level that’s been with me for a good two years now.
GLOOMCVLT has absolutely mysterious origins, and this is very well reflected with how many of the samples in their music have unknown origins as well (at least from my own experience, I’ve only ever managed to randomly stumble upon samples when I didn’t even have any intention of looking for them). Although the GLOOMCVLT style can very easily fit in vaporwave, with its overcompressed, down pitched 80’s pop sound, the Chvrch of GLOOMCVLT say they are not very much affiliated with vaporwave, in which they call this music “black disco.”
As a matter of fact, the sounds they’ve released publicly so far are only scratches in the surface of the thousands of unreleased songs created by the Composer for use in underground parties, conferences, and other forms of media for their members. The album description on Bandcamp is as follows:
“24 unreleased tracks recorded by the church of GLOOMCVLT in the beginning of 2014, in their original, peaking, overcompressed form.
Our church will be opening our neotheocratic nightclubs across the country.
Here is a sample of our in-house mix, conjured by the members of the church of GLOOMCVLT.
Glory to the church of GLOOMCVLT.
May you ever peel forth your true form.
May you shed your rotten pelt so that your true form might emerge.
“GRIND TITE” is the second of three (and hopefully soon to be out of four) albums they have released, and so far it is my favorite. Before I knew of the background and message of the Chvrch, I’d been through a lot and this album was by my side the entire time. It’s a coincidence where it’s led me. I am forever grateful and it’s been a life-changing experience. Now, shall we explore the depths of the black disco, shed our rotten pelts, and discover our true selves?
Launched directly into the murky, bass boosted abyss of sounds, you are consumed by the deepest parts of the hypnopompic realm, struggling to wake. The information of the world outside is incoherent, confusing, and difficult to process. You can’t bring yourself to break the barrier of threshold consciousness, and so you sink back into your mind, growing at peace. This track is a catchy and perfect start into the album.
I can loop it for days, and that’s what I did when I first heard it. The sound takes away all outside worries, its bassy feel and upbeat, simultaneously low pitch tone is incredibly comforting and somehow immerses you into a new state of mind. It’s like making a first dive under the water, then ending up in an unexplored cave with fresh air.
Just after you have entered the calmness of a quiet, sleeping mind, you erupt into a dream of whimsical experiences and visions. Euphoria overtakes you, nothing but bloom, bright sunlight, haze, and vast vegetation. The calm breeze keeps you cool and the plants sway in a choppy manner right along with the beat.
Through the dreamy vegetation, you see an oasis. The sun is setting gradually, and you can see the stars begin to appear and move across the sky, reflected upon the open, calm water. The moon calls to you through its reflection. The stars in the sky grow, illuminating brighter into your eyes. They begin shifting into every color imaginable, your surroundings glowing in the myriad of beautiful hues, eventually all colliding until all you see is white.
Suddenly you are underwater, accompanied by a plethora of marine life. Everything is moving in at an unnaturally high pace. Schools of fish seemingly expanding and contracting like lungs, plants making a waving floor of green and blue, and you’re floating without sensation. The mysterious sounds of what sounds like exhaling really makes this track or me. It’s a subtle but comforting detail that’s equally dreamy.
You’re taken to the next dream, laying in the backseat of a car, “MOONBITCH” plays as you see silhouettes of palm trees against the starry night sky pass by.
This track’s energetic start is a contrast from the tone of “BLISSED OUT”, but its sudden change is done well and feels like an empowering wake-up call. I’ve used this track as an alarm for a while, it’s quite effective. The heavy synth makes me extremely happy, this is the hallmark sound of GLOOMCVLT, which I’ve never heard vibes quite like this anywhere else. The down pitched, echoed singing completes this track. It’s unique and bumps hard! As the reverb increases and the sounds become less recognizable, the track fades out.
In the empty parking lot by the beach, you sit on the roof of the car. The sunrise slowly coming up behind mountains. It’s strangely already warm despite the darkness. There’s a consistent soft breeze moving towards the mountains across the bay.
Directly after the powerful kicks and synths of “MOONBITCH”, we enter “LOVE LITE” with nothing but chill vibes. It’s interesting how the album progresses in tone. Going from calming to energetic and back again. The ending of this track gives me chills as the melody disappears because I already know what comes after it…
DONT BE AFRAID
As soon as half of the sun has risen above the mountains, the soft breeze becomes more than just a breeze, but some force that lifts you off your feet and takes you upwards into the sky, the sun rises faster, and with the drop of the song, you’re launched through the air, glorious sights of the horizon and mountainous terrain moving below you, city after city passing by, psychedelic visions form, you’re losing control. If you look straight ahead, thick bright clouds are in front of you, marble statues and ancient columns surround you, aware of you. DON’T BE AFRAID.
When this track begins, you can feel something’s about to go down. This is probably the best track in the entire album, although that’s just my opinion. Its buildup and eventual drop are incredible and honestly, it’s quite hectic for a vaporwave song. But this is black disco my friends, may our dance always be an instrument for chaos! I’ve never felt so much energy in a track of this genre before, and it’s absolutely delightful. Despite the armful of lyrics I can make out, I’ve never been able to find the sample. It’s truly a unique experience to hear this in the album.
In a foggy forest, you slowly walk. Ruins around you, people with blank white masks looking at you. GLOOMCVLT is with you. The forest slowly turns into a massive ballroom, the people with masks now much more abundant.
After the fast-paced chaos that is “DONT BE AFRAID”, we find ourselves in a slower, more classic sounding vaporwave track with Japanese lyrics. This track sounds haunting with the extremely deep chants that appear every now and then. The slow beat entrances me.
As quickly as it had all begun, it ended. You’re left alone in your room, nothing but questions and hollowness dominate your mind. Your TV screen is nothing but gradient color, lighting up your dim room with beautiful shows of geometric shapes in colors that don’t exist.
This track is a solemn one for me. I’ve listened to this many times late at night, struggling to do my tasks past normal hours… after hours. It’s a repetitive sound, but it’s done right as to add small changes throughout. I could listen to this for hours, it’s a captivating sound (and if what I’ve been told is true, there does exist a version of this song that loops far longer than this public version). Although to many it may not be the most incredible track on the album, it has its place in my heart and memories. It didn’t sleep unlike everyone else around me, it was there when no one else was.
I SWEAT U
Your TV gets brighter, distortion sets in. You hear the soft words, “come to me, I don’t want to kill you,” and the TV engulfs your realm. Analog dreams all around, nowhere to go, there is no direction. The masks that you’ve been wondering about appear in your peripheral vision, but as soon as you look at them, they disappear.
In an instant, you’re riding in the passenger seat of a sports car. The erratic turns give you barely any time to get a grasp of the bright city lights, the crowds of people taking pictures and videos, the light-polluted night sky with no moon or stars. Other sports cars crossing in front of you, turning just as erratically and always coming within inches of crashing into you. You turn to look at the driver, they are wearing a blank white mask, illuminated by the gradient lighting of the car’s dashboard. You pass through a tunnel, the views outside now gone, and look in front of you. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Exiting the tunnel, it’s now noon, the sun a bright, glowing white ball at the center of the sky. You’re dizzy, the world around you blurring as you develop double vision. The only thing you can really tell is that the road you’re on is beachside, the city is no longer around you, and you’re nearing a massive cloud engulfing the sky and the road. You reach the cloud at maximum speed.
YOU WET MY CEREAL
Everything but yourself and the endless white clouds cease to exist. You are floating, hearing random voices, the ticking of a clock, and soft chimes.
This track is heavenly. It has an interesting place in this album as well considering the other tracks aren’t ambient and are more upbeat. It’s a neat surprise to the ears. Another good way to visualize the feeling of this track is through this video.
Surreal, dreamy, and hypnagogic perfection.
The clouds morph into images of people you’ve seen on commercials, as well as the products they presented to you. You feel your direction nosediving, your stomach freefalling inside you. The images get clearer, cycling through phases of extremely high definition, beyond what the human eye is normally capable of seeing, to blurry clouds. The clouds begin turning into plants. You are now falling through an infinite, windy green.
You wake up to visual chaos. It seems you are at a concert or a party of some sort, but it’s difficult to see beyond the flashing lights and people walking and dancing all around you. There’s nothing you can hear besides the music, you can’t fathom the situation you are in. There’s too much information for you to take in and your head is beginning to ache.
“LAST NITE” is one of my top picks for this album. I haven’t a clue where the sample is from, but it’s bump as fuck and it’s got one of the most perfect 80’s Japanese feelings ever.
It becomes a struggle for you to get off the floor. It feels like gravity is working against you in almost every direction. You can’t feel if you’re upside or standing straight anymore. You try to make your way beyond the crowd, the lights, and the confusing memories and visions still present in your vision and mind. It’s difficult to muster any of your own thoughts or to even try to understand what is happening. It’s cognitively straining, you feel like it’s all building up in your brain. You barely walk to what you believe is the exit. All of your body weight falls forward onto the door.
In an instant, your body disappears. You can’t feel yourself, but you can see. It’s bright, you feel groggy, and the cognitive load is still present. You seem to be traveling across to various locations from moment to moment, but the geometry isn’t making any sense and the speed is picking up. You have so many questions, but you can’t piece them together in your mind, you can only recognize that you have them. At the same time, it feels like there are no questions to be asked, perhaps it all makes perfect sense.
This is another highlight of the album. This track packs so much punch and it’s incomparable to other vaporwave tracks I’ve heard. I wish I could hear it on the ballroom speakers to get that incredible vibe resonating through the air at max volume. This one track adds instant energy into your system, and if you don’t feel it, you’re already dead.
The geometry is slowly evening out, your mind gradually grasping itself and your brain is cooling down. You feel the wind and hear soft waves around you. But you don’t quite return to normal yet.
The muffled echoes of heavy synths and an ominous voice fill your ears. The cognitive load is lighter, but you feel cold, and for the first time in a while, you feel fear. A hollow feeling consumes you as the images get darker. Your body has rematerialized. You reach your hands out to see if there’s anything you can grab, but there is nothing.
THAT GIRL IS O.D.
Just as the nothingness had been fully realized, you find yourself sitting in a booth at a club. Your eyes slowly open to blurry sights. The music isn’t so loud anymore, and there are plenty of people to fill the room. There are others sitting at the table with you, from what you could see, they had white masks, reflecting the purple and blue lighting of the club.
You briefly feel the confusion and mental stress as the music begins to chop. You’re jolting in and out of consciousness until everything becomes clear in a single second. You are alone at the table. The building is mostly cleared out. You set elbows on the table, take a deep breath in and exhale.
You look into the distance. A massive screen is displaying bright images of a jungle landscape with waterfalls and wildlife. It’s slightly distorted and overexposed, the advertisement calling you to visit the location it is showing you. You shake your head and blink your tired eyes. You get up and make your way outside to your car.
You get into your cold car, turn on the radio, and drive off through the city. You squint your eyes as they’ve seen enough bright lights. They’ve seen just about enough, they ache from seeing all that there is to see. Despite you having only recently gotten up, you’re so exhausted that you lack the motivation to even drive all the way back to where you live. You take a road away from the city, into the hills where you decide to park your car at the top. No one else is around in the parking lot. You crawl into the backseat of your car and lay there. You faintly see a rocky hill through the window, barely shown by the faraway city lights.
As you look out the window, your memories bring you back to a feeling and place long lost. It’s sunny and clear, rocky mountains covered in thin snow passing by slowly as the car drives on the long road. You feel warm in your fleece, comfortable in the backseat since you’re a kid, small enough to not get cramped. The air conditioning is blowing, the music calms you. The image slowly fades away.
This is by far my favorite track in the whole album. It didn’t really start out that way, but as I aged with this album, hearing it countless times, this one slowly built an almost spiritual and highly emotional significance that is unique to itself. No other song in the world takes me to the places that this one does. It makes me shed a tear every now and then. It’s a surprising and strange feeling, as the rest of the album doesn’t quite feel this way, more on that in a bit.
YOU ARE A FIREWORK
The rocky hill is illuminated brighter now, the first few rays of sunlight are finally breaking into the atmosphere. You get up and look between the driver and passenger seats out the window. You can see the city in front of the sunrise. You no longer feel just exhausted, but an indifference, an acceptance. You hold no emotions within your mind. You just stare into the sunrise. The last thought you have, is a memory, of a single blank white mask.
So we’ve reached the end… The album starts off with an amazing collection of sounds that certainly tick the vaporwave box, but are unique to GLOOMCVLT and are a brilliant introduction to their world and style if you haven’t heard their other creations.
However, this album, at least to me, is much more special than their first release “HOSTAGE.” This is because this album is a lot longer and displays a wide variety of sounds GLOOMCVLT can hold, where “HOSTAGE” has a single theme of dark synths and the feeling of an 80’s horror movie. “GRIND TITE” still has a few tracks with that feeling, but over the hour of music it contains, you’ll definitely hear much more than that.
There are a lot more chilled out tracks alongside the dark synths, as well as some ambient tracks. To me, this album feels like a journey. The last few tracks are highly emotional and carry a somewhat spiritual weight to them that I didn’t originally expect when hearing the beginning of the album.
You go through much of the album with barely any rest, it’s only in the last couple tracks you begin to realize how much has changed and how much you went through. It’s difficult to explain what I’m trying to get at. It’s a perfect representation of being in the moment, being present in the chaos of life with few moments to catch your breath. Then there is the end when you finally take a step back to reflect and remember what has happened. Not sure if it makes sense, but language has many limitations for explaining things. That’s why I say the last two tracks have a strange feeling, most of the album has a stark difference in theme and mood than them.
As I said before, this album has been through a lot with me, so maybe what I’m saying is a highly personal and emotionally charged opinion than an actual fact. In either way, I hope you can enjoy this album and GLOOMCVLT in general as well. This album is a wonderful and exciting experience that no one should miss out on in the vaporwave world. This will be it for my review, I hope you liked it. I love you all, and I’ll see you in the next dream… ~РСоД
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Lastly, I have we have vaporwave community forum called Agora Road’s Macintosh Cafe here
Thanks for reading!
hawaii ’83 by 香港快運２０８３(Vaporwave Album Review by Red Scryyn of Death)
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