ATLS PLAZA N.D. melts the world away on the trippy vaporwave vibes of “ME/NOT ME”. The way the two pieces interact is akin to showing different sides of the same coin. Yes, there are those trappings so often attributed to the genre – warbled samples, nostalgic melodies, surprisingly heavy beats, yet the approach goes further than that. Elements of glitch, electro, even rave enter into the picture helping to give the songs a fragility. Production matters quite a bit too with the polish of both done in a varying degree of ways in order to keep the listener fully on their toes.
Never one to speed things along, with gigantic physical plodding beats anchoring the experience. At least in this particular sense the heavy emotionally laden basslines recall some of Andy Stott’s best pieces. The volume ought to be blasted for these are songs to be heard in an almost animalistic way. On the vaporwave side of things, ATLS PLAZA N.D.’s stacks up favorably against perhaps the only heavyweight of the genre: Macintosh Plus. Warped pitch shifts, strange ghostly whispers underneath, even the album art brings to mind a bit of Floral Shoppe’s undeniable magic.
Disembodied vocals start things up with “Multi-paradoxical Consciousness”. Like rave covered by Low there is a patience about the way the elements fall into place. Melodies have a mournful, yearning quality to them. Usage of the wordless voices helps to add to the sense of the gigantic within the track itself. Everything here absolutely glistens even as there is a heavy degree of nostalgia that filters into the fray. The evolution of the groove ensures that the atmosphere’s tension is never fully broken. By keeping things just out of focus a mysterious aura descends over the massive geography of the space. For the latter half of the piece, they pick a bit of TCF’s hyper-symphonic take for the song expands out into the seemingly infinite. On the finale of “Advaita Vedanta” a reflective stance takes shape. Within this longer piece elements of early James Ferraro’s midi and fidelity obsessions rear their heads. Quite meditative the way the track becomes something serene feels fully earned. At certain moments it, glitches up, giving the Balearic vibe a bit of a stutter. Looping and hypnotic, it has a reflective stance.
“ME/NOT ME” proves to be a truly immersive experience, one that shows off ATLS PLAZA’s uncanny ability to sculpt sound that feel surreal.