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Debmaster, DJ Die Soon, oki-chu – Sammo Hung Quest II: Cursed Demons Season

Le Petit Mignon / Staalplaat

Debmaster, DJ Die Soon, oki-chu - Sammo Hung Quest IILike the ages-spanning computer game tropes that oki-chu‘s eye-popping artwork celebrates and its music soundtracks, the dayglo psychedelic sounds of Sammo Hung Quest II: Cursed Demons Season are splattered across the soundscape, mirroring the pixelated sprites from the LP labels that find themselves reflected in the half-face visor of the skull-necklaced cyborg gamer that adorns the LP’s unfolding outer sleeve.

Cyberpunk to the max, Debmaster and DJ Die Soon each get one side of transparent vinyl to set out four tracks of incandescently brief ‘wares, dishing the sequences and breakneck beats in an acidic frenzy of getting their game on. Their electronic highscores are sought and achieved with the peripatetic fury of post-modern bricoleurs in search of a new (retro) high, inscribed on a palimpsest of territories marked out as both age-old (on delicate, fragile, singular-sounding vinyl) and neo(n)-fangled (as ever-available, always-pristine downloaded audio files) in the accelerated digital century.

The pulsing energy bubbles and ripples like a newly-fabricated android stretching its limb, testing its operational parameters on their incept date, unfolding and tensing, turning and admiring its own reverberations and pondering whether to be hip-hop, drum and bass or technoid electronica at any given moment. Bass shudders and the snares snap and crack, seeping menace or surging on peripatetic nerves that range wildly within the strictures of the sequenced groove. There is evident delight in seeking out the devilish detail, of testing, of prodding, of hacking as they dart relentlessly hither and yon, like a player searching for the boundaries of known gamespace in order to see if the fabric of the world will glitch in interesting ways — or not as the case might be.

So tightly are the sides meshed in intent that where Debmaster is intent on “Invasion”, Die Soon is celebrating the “Crash”, though whether that’s in hard- or software is never apparent nor especially important to delineate, merely obvious in the clusters of trappish bass bombs detonating in the nether regions. Perhaps they are being sent surfacewards on the chimingly bright comic book lightning beams that spurt from three flying discs menacing the city which sprawls across the widescreen centre panel (while both of oki-chu’s images are impressive enough when represented on a screen, they’re nothing short of wonderful as an old-school fold-out print wrapped around a 12″ disc). The invaders are seemingly under the control of a games console held lightly in the hands of a wasted wastrel (are they the same as the gamer in the other image, or simply of a kind; it’s not obvious) with shocking pink hair who stands aloof on a clifftop vantage point, making the world change radically, and perhaps not necessarily for the better. Debmaster, Dj Die Soon, oki-chu - Sammo Hung Quest II interior

One track per side is a remix by the other producer, and there’s that hacking metaphor and methodology at work again: take an artwork and remake it in the era of digital reproduction in a fresh form that leaves the (already ephemeral) original untouched and capable of infinite copying. Reboot, reuse, repurpose; and rewind and come again for a higher score — and for bonus points there’s two download-only digital tracks that come with the LP as well.

Just keep on repeating, it’s only a game, it’s only a game.

-Linus Tossio-

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