· 4 min read
Klang Mix 008: MEDIAFIRE by Uxelite
Mixed and written by Juan Cisneros aka Uxelite
Part nostalgia love letter, part internet archivist effort, this first installment of MEDIAFIRE culls tracks from p2p networks, YouTube rips, and SoundCloud doomscrolling for some gems of the Facebook/Tumblr/Soundcloud/YouTube era.
For teenagers and young adults making music during the age of Myspace, the utopian promise of the internet felt like it was at its peak. Users were spurred to learn a modicum of HTML to deconstruct and subvert the default framework of our pages with as many animated gifs, clashing table backgrounds, and reductionist deletion of script as possible. Information wants to be free and the counter-messaging from major record labels only galvanized the sense that these early platforms and p2p networks were the bastion of some kind of cultural cyberpunk resistance movement.
With the illusion of utopic cyberspace long since eroded for most, and several generations of platform migration later, the assumption that our data was still there like some dusty cassette tape stuffed away in a closet remained. This assumption would come to an end on March 18, 2019, when it was announced that Myspace lost all of its user-uploaded music content, over 50,000,000 songs during a failed server migration. As we increasingly surrender our data and the transhumanist notion of uploading our consciousness keeps getting pushed by Meta and Neuralink, it seems ever prescient to remember entire libraries of cultural history can be “lost” because of the dubious negligence and at worst nefarious apathy of any given platforms corporate ownership.
Each of these artists deserves an article of their own to do justice to their story arc but this mix offers a window into the impetus of their oeuvre. Opening with “Elysia’s Black Harp” by Chino Amobi is a reference to Elysia Crampton Chuquimia, a friend and collaborator who makes an appearance later in the mix. Amobi is a painter and musician whose work ranges from cutting dystopian sound design pieces to media cut-up harsh noise.
The producer Valerie Caputo’s project, DV-I delivers a sleek high-energy megacity soundtrack with distinct fusion aspects. The tracks from Bebe Tunes and Chuck Person’s Eccojams are notable for being early projects of James Ferraro and Daniel Lopatin respectively. Followed by “Have You Ever” by Elysia Crampton Chuquimia’s moniker E+E is the first track from the album Recortes, characterized by its melodic reimagining of ’90s-’00s mainstream R&B songs, stands apart from her more iconic cacophonous maximalist style.
Nike7up’s work, containing too many mainstream samples to coherently navigate proper release, exists only on p2p networks, SoundCloud, and via his Tumblr which still has functioning Mediafire links. As stated on his Facebook page, “I have no idea how to log into this Tumblr account.” Producer Kalifa makes an appearance under his Myspace era moniker Le1f with triple omega embodying serious footwork energy. For the full effect of Neville Lawrence’s Superstar and Star, search for this song on YouTube to watch the video, and then watch another, and another and see a passionate and idiosyncratic body of work that would be squashed by todays SEO optimized version of Youtube. As I write this, my heart goes out to him as I discover only through the updated description on one of his most viewed tracks “I AIN'T MISSING YOU” a link to a GoFundMe to support his coping with chronic pain, mobility issues, struggling to keep work.
The final two tracks come from a related territory of the internet of this era with Travis Hallenbeck’s MIDI Users Group excerpt from “demomix.mp3” and the audio captured from a YouTube video performance by John Romero’s project Rene Abythe titled “pag”. The circle of Post-Internet art that collected in the surf clubs like Computers Club and Nasty Nets offers a deep dive into non-platform-based websites abound with broken links, crypticly designed home pages, and a healthy dose of Photoshop abstraction. Expect more from this sector in future episodes. For a comprehensive overview map of these networks, check out the Rhizome page.
Both pieces offer sparse, personal expressions of computer music that paints the portraiture of the late-night online surfer. If Facebook and YouTube were a glowing metropolis for the time, by comparison, the surf clubs functioned like villages buttressing the forest labyrinth of homepages scaffolded by blue text hyperlinks. This mix aims to describe a moment at which the playground of the internet still felt open and malleable, before the social network was an inescapable monolith of how we experience culture.
Chino Amobi - Elysia's Black Harp
DV-i - OPTICAL MODE
Bebe Tunes - BLACK & RED
Chuck Person's Eccojams Vol.1 - A2
E+E - RECORTES - Have You Ever
NIKE7UP - JUSTIN_BIEBER_ONE_TIME_
Le1f - ΩΩΩ
SUPERSTAR & STAR IN KEEP ON ROCKING DJ IM SORRY
Dynooo - biblesteak
MIDI USERS GROUP - demomix.mp3
Rene AE - pag
Juan Cisneros aka Uxelite is an artist, music technologist, and educator based in Texas.