Saturday, 3 November 2012

Breaking The Bits - Similar Sides Of Two Different Coins - A Look At Vaervaf And Orangy

You ever listened to two artists and believe that they're the same person? I'm sure you could think of a ton of bland pop songs or rave tunes that have made you think that. It's alright to think that, because music is an ever-expanding medium. There are bound to be copycats and coincidental sound-alikes to emerge from this process. Now, we usually just leave it at that and simply assume that whoever made song A probably made song B. That's fine, but when listening to these two artists, I felt the need to separate the two. It's hard to tell at times because they have moments where the both of them seem to be a mirror image of each other, but at other times, you can tell the difference without knowing anything about their location or personality. There was something in the way they made their music that would show me what defines their style. Before we can do that though, we must know a little more about what makes Vaervaf and Orangy seem the same.

Their Similarities

- High-pitched vocals
- Repeat small bits of a track a lot
- Chop tracks constantly
- Have moments where the song is interrupted by talking audio or put dialogue/odd noises over a loop
- Use samples
- Partake in loud, obnoxious noise-heavy tracks

Orangy: The Camouflaged Urban Surrealist Who Sees The World As Erratically As He Is

For those of you who don't know what I mean by urban surrealism, it basically boils down to viewing the contemporary world in a distorted light. It combines the typical metropolitan world and its pop culture with the haphazard vision of a heroin addict watching cartoons. What can come out of it could range from eerily plausible to as far-fetched as anything Dali has made in his life. A few of the Breakbit artists (DR777, glue70) have skimmed this idea with their works, but Orangy seems to live it in his music. In fact, he defines this concept much better than I have.

First, let's look at DIDNT CAR. The whole feel of the album plays off as if you're living in an awry neighbourhood near the city . "Burgers Out" and "Relax" make it evident with their chill progression and the beat that is behind the tracks. It's a fairly standard level-headed tune, with the occasional parts that can make you venture a little more into the outlandish. It's especially clear with the vocals in "Burgers Out" that something is heading a different path. You then take a song like "lets caw someone" that sounds like someone is waking up from a clock radio on a Latino station, getting a fuzzy call that progresses into a warped slowed-down tune creeping from the clock radio. It then starts to slide a little more off the normal scale when you venture into "LONG LINE OF GERMAN DOCTORS" which starts to play off a frantic clash of your subconscious deceiving your senses to a point where you're unsure of what is going on in your neighbour's house. Then "A CAT NAMED KITTY" comes by to transport you aware from the world for a few seconds, almost as if it was a dream day. Other parts of the album (most notably "Frank's Discount Sets (I Like Me)") serve to give a seemingly light-hearted tint of the bizarre nature that is to be expected from him, while still having enough to consider itself a part of the standard.

Afterwards, we have STILL DONT CAR, where these ideas are taken to a greater extreme. It's also ties more themetically, as all the music is based around cars and driving. Aside from the ever-so-catchy "Drivin'", the whole album makes sure that the average listener considers it weird. Songs like "Windshieldlicker" and "Gastastion Bathroom Boogie" tackle the idea of a car-centered song in such a unique and unexpected way, with one song talking about having sex with the car and the other one making jokes about a gas station bathroom. While the latter's subject does not sound too odd, the way the song progresses with it's fast pace and high-pitched vocals chopped up constantly blends in a way that the noise that comes out is unlike anything else you've heard. The rest of the tracks manage to set a platform that starts to show how Orangy is at the point where he's about to fall into a place where nonsense is the only thing that makes sense.

Now we have Mr. OJ, where he has become jeri, which is his declaration of embracing that he is insane and that the world is too. Some songs create an atmosphere that can range to being very calm and somewhat happy ("My Cat Is Asthmathmatic", "Mr. OJ") to almost at the brink of self-destruction ("Try Numeral", "That Was Fun..."). Some songs even switch in the middle of the song ("Slav Disco Dove"), while others act on delusions ("Secretly We Are Gods"). The song that summarizes the whole feel of this album is "Cyber Load", as it shows the twitch from incredibly furious to delightfully crazy. You can feel the parts that make the music seem like it could be played on the radio ad nauseum, but it's shrowded by a vision of warping the norm for the sake of conveying a mangled and confusing reality. It is the human mind lost in thought, exaggerated to such lengths that it would seem like you're hearing the creation of a child with ADHD and dementia.

The music of Orangy sees the same world that you and I do, but it perceives it in a manner that it seems as though what he's seeing is something completely alien to what we're seeing. It has rhythms and melodies that you could hear in other songs, but it also has sounds and transitions that are more twisted, abrasive, absurd and/or violent. While he has his moments where he simply gives into his imagination and lets it run free, there are also moments where the tune can be constructed in ways that it could one day end up becoming something relatable with a larger, "mainstream" audience. It doesn't really matter to him whether he can be accepted to the masses or not, he simply enjoys what he says and find a special way to laugh at the world with his music. 

Vaervaf: A Passionate Man Talking In A Constantly Changing Code That Is Not Meant To Be Deciphered

There are people out there that are relatively normal people that have very little about them that make them stand out. That is until you find more about them personally. They think about things in a very different way, they solve problems from another perspective, they even communicate in ways that are vaguely understandable and possibly cryptic. Their message may be simple but the form they choose to express it becomes more complex and convoluted. Even though you don't comprehend them completely, you still find yourself engaged by what they have to say. As you can imagine, Vaervaf is one of those folk.

While Orangy has 5 albums (2 of which I did not discuss), Vaervaf has 10 albums (3 of which I will not discuss), so Vaervaf seems to work at a somewhat faster rate. Also, Vaervaf's album don't completely show him slowly going from subtle to very blunt like Orangy does, but rather capture Vaervaf in phases whilst he starts to find his style. Let's take Splitgut and Weaveknee for example. For the most part, the tracks in these two albums have a soft, pleasant sound ("SUPPORT IRAN MAKE A FACEBOOK GROUP" from Splitgut and "AMEN BREAK AND FRIENDS" from Weaveknee being the most notable of this). Splitgut is a little louder in some of it's tracks (mostly with the tracks that are capitalized), with "IN THE BASEMENT MAKING A SERIOUS DECISION" having the most "obnoxious" rhythm. For the most part, the album has a vibe having fun with others where the more frantic-rhythm songs like "FORGET THIS TEEN ANGST BULLSHIT LET'S KILL ZOMBIES" play out like you're messing around with friends while tracks like "Fair Function" seem more fit for having a good time with your family. Weaveknee, on the other hand has a feeling of being lost in thought with tunes either taking in the thought and trying to think it through ("Prophet for Profit", "Escape Rope"), switching halfway through to another idea ("World Boss March", "SPOOK ROB DO YOU UH"), imagining something in a different light ("You Awake"), or simply enjoying the thought ("Sent Home", "Oh Sandpaper", "EndOfTheSlicks"). There are still some frantic rhythms in Weaveknee, but they're less accentuated.

Whilst the first two albums mentioned present his style and show that he tackles a way to express a mood differently than other artists, it isn't fully present in the work. FlarehandCorkvein and Spinefold come along and push his style further by basing tracks around his style rather than the track have his style in the background ("Meansleeves" from Flarehand, "Drywire Augment" from Corkvein and "chewing the witness" from Spinefold show this perfectly). Flarehand and Corkvein showed more of his willingness to try an array of different sounds whilst still keeping his style present whilst Spinefold became his signature album showing his style in all it's glory and creating a sound that is almost his own ("comic sans gravestone", "mat_fullbright 1", "summer roll"). Flarehand feels more like a spitballing of ways to incorporate his style into a different sound, with a lot of the tracks being short and having a drive to go somewhere further ("AKIMBO RIOT SHEILD", "I won't admit it but", "Knuckle Drag Racing"). It still has tracks that play on the concept longer and finish better ("Blastola", "Peck", "Real and Straight") but it has a tendency to feel more like a good ramble rather than a good point. Corkvein rather has ever single one of its songs at a decent length and plays on their ideas very well with "Wristband Gait", "Sig Varsette" and "The Bloke Machine (Vaervaf Remix)" being my favorites.

Finally we come to Hipcatch and Greengums where he decides to rebel against something by creating a more aggressive, unique sound that seems to cling to his older style by a few threads ("siamese cat" from Hipcatch and "relmfu" from Greegums embody this). Hipcatch feels more a mutation of his sound, as you can still sense his previous style in Spinefold shining through, but being covered by racket-like rhythms and incredibly altered vocals ("this is why", "jux"). It's almost uncomfortable hearing some of the tracks like "harpy", "forth dead" and "demon piss" because you find yourself very confused at what you're hearing. At the same time, it still draws you in and you try to wonder what's going on. Greengums emphasizes this even more by having more of the songs have incomprehensible lyrics ("brik", "laodl") and an alternate-universe version of his music ("alliex", "try it with blood"). It seems like there's something beneath what you're listening to, but you're not sure because it's so garbled, twisted and "annoying" that you don't bother to find it or simply assume that Vaervaf is just messing with you.

Vaervaf is possibly one of the most interesting artists that I've come across. While other artists dabble in experimentation or experiment a lot, Vaervaf is simply an experiment of his own. His approach to a new track is to tackle it from an angle that he has not yet done before. If he has done it before, then he tries to bend it enough so that the same message is delivered in a new type of package. For him to adhere to the same approach of a previous work in a recent creation of his would be incredibly peculiar. I don't know if what he is trying to invoke from me with his music is positive, negative, thought-provoking or trivial gibberish, but it is irrelevant  His songs have a great sense of emotion in them and have some vision in them that you can't help but wonder what it is.


Both of these artists have times where they're indistinguishable from each other. When you hear one of them remix something from each other in one of these albums, you could easily believe that it's just another track from the same artist. Orangy even managed to fool me into thinking he was Vaervaf with some of the tracks in Spinefold. Take away the times that they do sound exactly like each other and you'll see that they have something that shows that they are not the same person. Orangy tackles the alteration of certain genres of electronic music while Vaervaf tackles the alteration of the idea of genres in general. Orangy has a similar way to communicate but a different message while Vaervaf has a different way to communicate a diiferent message. Perhaps I'm simply looking too deeply into their music and perhaps there is nothing else on the surface of their music. That is most certainly a possibility. What I do know, is that they each have their own sound to them and they make good use of their different attributes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment