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Album Review: C A S I N O ☆★☆★☆ M A S T E R – ☆★☆ ボーナススピン幸運 !!!

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Welcome to the casino. Welcome to the glitzy hallways and illustrious palaces ringing with the sound of coins tantalizing throughout the room. Step inside to a realm where traditional doctrine of album construction is no longer mandated – the world where the game takes sole priority. The only music heard here is the sound of dice hitting the felt, cards breaking necks against each other and most of all the electronic cheers emanating from the brightly-lit machines filling the gaps between tables. It is here where every digital recreation of the traditional format is recolored to its stimulating extreme – who knew that upping the ante by 1 credit could sound so exciting? Slots and dice roll with a sound only sensible surfing the virtual gamut and payouts are embellished with a fireworks display of victorious trumpets and stock applause. Each coin doled sounds like it was shot at one another at bullet speed and Japanese hostesses instruct you with the same level of enthusiasm as they congratulate you. This is the only music you will need here – leave all moody background music at the door.

CASINO☆★☆★☆ MASTER is a star-embroidered name swimming somewhere deep in the vaporwave sphere who chooses to take the facets of the genre a step further. Stripping the virtual factor down to its amelodic musical prose, the excitedly-named ☆★☆ ボーナススピン幸運 !!!takes notes from more abstract vapors such as Fuji Grid TV only putting its entire emphasis on the element of game sound effects. That’s right – and it’s not even composed into music. The sound present here resembles watching someone else going strong at the gambling machines, and it is explicitly just that. The resulting “music,” chooses to ship as a collection of bite-sized jingles mirroring albums like Lullatone’s Alarms and Ringers or even Ventla’s fansubbed last words, but while completely derailing traditional song format. This decision carves itself an unusual niche in the coves of ambient music by offering the perspective of the passively participating third party of the game player. Unlike other immersive branches of the subgenre, traces of muffled background music are relegated to absolute brevity.

Eschewing traditional crescendos, structure and climax, the album doesn’t necessarily suffer for it as it does baffle. On the contrary, these facets do exist if you look carefully – by being subjected to the flow and winnings of the participators, they are simply subverted in a scatterbrained manner. When the credits come pouring out, you feel a feigned sense of secondhand satisfaction, which may or may not really be meaningful if not an interesting means of immersion. Rather, the depth comes in the form of faint commentary on the growing state of vaporwave and its steadily encroaching grasp on not just textured surrealism (ala  t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 ) but plain gaudiness as well.


Stream and purchase from the Tokyo Exchange bandcamp page

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