I found myself the other day in one of those record collector loops, where you suddenly remember a song you haven’t heard for awhile, which draws you to look up a label that no longer exists, which makes you search for a producer you forgot that you forgot about. The concept of Dunbar’s Number suggests there’s a limited number of connections we can maintain before people start to fade away; there are constantly people floating in and out of what academics used to call every person’s own “social network” before the term was co-opted for giant spyware machines.
The name I was thinking about was Will Azada, known primarily for the label Proper Trax. I actually started an interview with Will several years ago that never finished (we handled it by email, one question at a time. I think we got to Question 3 before it died of someone’s neglect. Probably mine.) A few years ago his SoundCloud stopped updating; the last record posted there is the same 2016 EP that is the final entry on his discogs page: The Illuminati Traqckx (with Alex Falk) and the unblinking eye beside a pentagram stare back at you from the album artwork. (This is actually a great record, now out of stock everywhere as far as I can tell.)
Some searching around and I discovered that Will’s on Bandcamp now but I think I’m more confused than I was when I started. He’s releasing a tremendous amount of material – some 30+ tracks in the last two months, all of it with quasi-2003 graphic design disaster artwork, liner notes that read like William S. Burroughs cut up pages of internet marketing guru coursebooks and needling reminders that everything, everything is better with crypto.
The music is raw and to be honest… I don’t know if it’s changed that much! The title track for one of September’s releases, The Burden of Abundance, has the same minimalistic touch, that Chez Damier-plays-a-Midwest-Rave sound that I originally loved in Will’s tracks.
I’m kind of a connoisseur of bizarre Bandcamp records by now but these get more esoteric and stranger the further down the rabbit hole you go. The titles read like a person in the midst of agony and/or rapture: “tranquilized in a beam of indescribable,,,limitless,&,Terrifyin%`'” is the title of one tantrum of a track, an 11:36 workout of intense loops preparing the ground for growling hydraulic percussion. This isn’t hardcore but it’s fucking harder than any other techno record. Tracks 4 and 5 (the latter is another crypto cue, titled “dont be shy,,,$BTC; bc1qhaar5udqw9xhj49gtkp0s2jspyavmpxmn4ns26” which is I assume someone’s wallet, maybe Will’s) slowly come alive like animated monsters. Maybe it’s just the season but there’s a sinister undertone to a lot of this (oh, also a giant fucking pentagram on the artwork for the 11 track ULTIMA LP is pretty overtone-y too). It feels almost like an Alternative Reality Game that will eventually reveal how a mild-mannered techno and house producer in Tennessee unlocked the Seventh Seal and held The One Ring or something.
I still don’t know what Will Azada is up to, to answer the question posed at the beginning here, but he’s still making some dope shit.
Cult Culture: The Burden of Abundance
1. Cult Culture: the burden of abundance (05:30)
2. Cult Culture: tranquilized in a beam of indescribable,,,limitless,&,Terrifyin%“ (11:36)
3. Cult Culture: gods mortal journey; presented (07:10)
4. Cult Culture: its a goddamn choppy mess in our heads (04:55)
5. Cult Culture: dont be shy,,,$BTC; bc1qhaar5udqw9xhj49gtkp0s2jspyavmpxmn4ns26 (07:08)