Mixtape for deCurators Gallery, 2015
One of the more fascinating aspects of popular music in the 2010s is the play with voice. This of course has origins in technology : autotune went mainstream in the 2000s. But by the 2010s, musicians were using manipulations and transformations of voice - speeding it up, slowing it down, "chopping and screwing" it - as a kind of play with gender and identity.
It's kind of interesting that the genre sometimes known as "witch house" (ie. an update of electro-goth with contemporary hip-hop influences) was also sometimes known as "drag". And that slowing down voices in the "chopped and screwed" style, which added masculinity to 90s hip-hop, could be applied to 80s female soul-singers like Diana Ross to trans them into male-sounding singers, as demonstrated by Macintosh Plus's infamous vaporwave anthem : リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー.
In this mixtape, to accompany the exhibition Bicho-Bicha (literally "queer animal", adopted from the name of the local poet / rapper) at the deCurators gallery, I present a number of artists from a mixture of the vaporwave / distroid, post-club, nightcore and PC Music genres who (let's face it, I was digging at the time, but also) seem to embody this play with voice : changing them from female to male, human to machine (and vice versa), conveying extraordinary camp or blasé personas, exagerated misery, and the extremes of human emotion through entering an uncanny valley of not-quite-human sounds.