23 Jul Seiho – Collapse Album Review (Leaving Records)
On March 15, 2015, the Washington Post published a typically buzzworthy article titled, “Is the Internet Giving Us All ADHD?”. The article begins with the usual litany of start-of-days, most likely familiar to anyone who works at a desk or a computer, or spends a large amount of time e-mailing, chatting with friends, looking at puppy videos, checking Facebook, Instagram, online shopping, or on and on it goes…
Further along, the article goes on to say, “The Internet, it turns out, incentivizes the exact type of behaviors and processes that characterize ADHD…” and finally concludes that, “those that use the Internet excessively are likely to also have symptoms of ADHD.”
Those who suffer from ADHD, we must remember, don’t respond to stimulation in the same way. The faster the world is going, the more peace, focus, and flow they’re likely to experience. It’s like downhill biking, which is overwhelming and panic-inducing for more slow-going nervous systems, but results in a perfectly peaceful Zen state for those that love constant novelty and stimulation.
Collapse, the newest digital concrete collage from Japanese producer Seiho, serves as an inoculation against this dense informational overload, acting as a kind of sonic Ritalin or Adderall, to transform the line noise buzzing about our cerebellums into a peaceful hum. Yes, the music is composed of spastic or comprised of irregular elements, but it is put together in such a graceful way that it encourages peace. As its waves and waves of information wash over us, we are able to find in the eye of its hurricane.
Surprisingly, given the sometimes spastic and entirely synthetic flavor of Collapse, there’s actual not a lot of digitalism going on here. Instead, the Japanese beatsmith compiled extensive field recordings from his actual life and surroundings, and dropped the blips, bleeps, and burbles into his machinations, to be muggled and morphed into tracks both catchy and danceable.
The final result is like the sound of some hyper-intelligent algorithm scanning the Internet for rich, actionable metadata, trawling like some behemoth shrimp net. Along the way, ’80s and ’90s game shows and sitcoms (“DO NOT LEAVE WET”) rub elbows with scrubbing bubble percussion (album opener “COLLAPSE (Demoware)”, and smooth, sultry yacht rock smooth jazz. It’s kind of like watching TV, texting, and doing homework at the same time. It sounds daunting to Baby Boomers, perhaps, but that’s just normal life for a lot of us.
Similar sounds and styles can be heard on numerous other top shelf albums of the last few years, from M83’s Junk to the synthetic funk/soul of Neon Indian’s VEGA INTL. Night School. It’s not only an attempt to come to peace with the speed we’re all moving, at this point, but also to try and synthesize the past into something positive and useful. So much of ’80s/’90s culture was complete and utter dog vomit, aesthetically speaking, and trying to create gold from 1,000 infomercials is more than 10,000 vaporwavers could pull off, worthy of applause, and sometimes spontaneous dance parties!
Collapse is more academic field recording than big room banger, but it’s a compelling and well-executed listen, from one of the most innovative future beat imprints out there – L.A.’s Leaving Records. Seiho continues to explore and innovate, adding to the already interesting and compelling genre, instead of succumbing to generic codifiers or style over substance.
Seiho – “The Vase” Music Video