In 2015, digital technology has all but removed the ephemerality of the music making process, allowing for the retention of each and every step in the production process. Whereas the analogue process allowed the dissolution of drum arrangements and synth lines into the ether, software retains nearly everything, a practical development that has nonetheless erased some of the magic and immediacy of dance music. Kastle’s Hyperreality EP, the Los Angeles-based artist’s first release of 2015, is a conflation of past processes and a contemporary approach, decade old files dusted off and freshened up.
A love letter of sorts to a younger age, Hyperreality, which also functions as the cap on an eponymous tour, features six tracks that spawn classic garage and jungle sounds, from the maniacally chopped breakbeats on “Experienz” to the diva vocals and crunchy 2-step of “Strange Days”. Seated in deep nostalgia for his teenage years, Kastle’s arrangements on Hyperreality recall an experimental era, pre-internet where the parameters of dance music were yet to be established and rule breaking was the norm.
And while Hyperreality might recall a decade-plus old sound, the production value is essentially modern, each track fitting in beautifully as both sound system culture and introspectively-motioned headphone music. With a vocal boost from Xavier, Kastle touches on pop motifs throughout the tape, balancing R&B proclivities with the ruthless swing of 2-step and rhythmic energy of garage. Kastle’s aesthetic is based in nostalgia, but don’t trick yourself into thinking Hyperreality is just an ode to the past.
released April 21, 2015
All songs written, produced and mastered by Kastle