Now that a few months have passed since its release on the Vancouver based 1080p label, it seems fitting to take a second look at Magic Fades + Soul Ibsum’s “ZIRCONIA REIGN”, partially in reference to No Fear of Pop’s valid expression of concern that albums, which belong to a specific moment of internet based tape culture and exhibit a specific fascination with music recording technology will be forgotten before their due time. It’s just the nature of the beast that tape labels with runs of about 200, who keep their production costs low enough to afford putting out a release every two weeks or so, exist on the razor’s edge of our memory. Taking that into consideration, I aim to guide this Portland-based ambient production duo back into the stream of your consciousness in hopes that it will get lodged there. Now unfortunately for those of you who missed it the first time around, the tape run is sold out, so those of you who fall into this category will be experiencing an album as a closed loop of computer signal; as a MIDI tapestry that spread to you via wifi. There’s a different emotional character to listening in this format; on the negative side it has the connotation of impermanence, but in spite of this regrettable trait, it’s also a format that complements the synthetic space that “ZIRCONIA REIGN” conjures.
It’s fitting that they have been featured on the SPF 420 broadcast, an online music venue that uses a site called Tinychat to stream live electronic music while allowing spectators to chat along with the performance. In parallel with this virtual venue, “ZIRCONIA REIGN” generates a spatial quality in its atmospheric stasis. Each voice in the song is like a piece of furniture in a waiting room; the sub bass frequencies of Dumb Wrist .obj forms foundation to the empty dance floor while the 808 snaps frame the perimeter, enclosing the arctic air of the synth wash. The “post vapor” tag on their bandcamp page suggest an impulse to distance the music from the rigid definitions of vaporwave with that tag’s distinct political association, but it would be difficult to listen to the album without thinking of James Ferraro’s FAR SIDE VIRTUAL, a cornerstone of the vaporware concept. A hint about its departure from the aforementioned album and genre tag lies in all the mentions of the daily trudge of Portland life in its bio. While “ZIRCONIA REIGN” definitely shares FAR SIDE’s fixation on MIDI timbres, although it demonstrates a broader, more personal association of ideas, less focused on the course of techno-capitalist society and more focused on the sign and signifiers of the individual’s mundane rhythm. The song titles and sound bites archive a series of bus stops, 16-bit video game sessions and periodic seltzer breaks. Treat your internet persona right; let him savor the undefiled digital caress of these sounds, environments and most importantly feelings.
Download it here.