Vektroid is perhaps the best catch-all for the mysterious Portland, OR-based producer who has been creating highly hypnotic music for a few years now under many different monikers. Her (often free) releases have found her in the same conversation as larger artists like Oneohtrix Point Never and James Ferraro. Her chopped-and-screwed arrangements of old pop and Muzak under the name ?????VIRTUAL were mashed up with Waka Flocka Flame in an iconic moment on one of Ryan Hemsworth’s best mixes. Her most focused album, Floral Shoppe (under the one-off Macintosh Plus moniker), clearly influenced the direction of a star like Hemsworth and rising producers like SAINT PEPSI — his “Call Me Maybe” (one of my top 10 of last year) pays a bit of tribute to Floral Shoppe. Greater than the scene it influenced though, Floral Shoppe is a bafflingly unique album, and one of the few experiences I’ve had this decade where something sounded completely devoid of a time, place, influence, or objective. It just sounded “new.”
This spontaneous release, which is credited to the previously used moniker New Dreams Ltd., finds Vektroid taking bits of an old, short mix appropriately titled Initiation Tape, and cutting, rebuilding, and expanding it into a completely different and new album. Isle Of Avalon is the most exciting thing I’ve heard from the producer since Floral Shoppe, and from its title feels like a re-introduction. Using the sort of source material that would be better for elevators, malls, or shopping centers, Vektroid loops and warps these tracks into beat-tape gold. Tracks like “Fatal” and “Art Nouveau” seem cheesy, but grow increasingly surreal and challenging. The centerpiece pair of tracks “Slave” and “Meditations” embrace and indulge the Muzak vibe until it sounds downright spiritual. The drum-crashing and heavily skipping “Cast” is a major highlight just waiting to be paired with an open-minded rapper (here’s hoping Hemsworth will mash again) as is the underwater ambience of the 9-minute closer, “Aurora 3D.” Vektroid released Initiation Tape on Twitter with the one-word explanation of “bye,” but I hope that’s not the case, because this sounds like a whole new beginning. Listen and download the album below.
Initiation Tape: Isle Of Avalon Edition is available for free via Bandcamp.