To be released on cassette and digitally on 3/23/18. Purple tape with black imprints. 2-sided 3-panel J-Card with artwork from Constellation Botsu and Lockbox, and design from HausMo Max.
Lockbox (aka Chicago-based producer Jesse Briata) continues his electronic self-education with the mammoth 70+ minute program of Free VDV Prayer, his third release on Hausu Mountain. His tracks flow over frantic beats and evolving synth arrangements in the IDM tradition, finding room for innumerable one-off samples and melodic details that thread into dense mosaics of interlaced rhythm. A self-professed “plur posi rave child susceptible to dark energy vampire beams,” Briata contrasts the playful energy of his dance-floor-ready jams with passages of alternately blissful and queasy ambience that float alongside bursts of aggressive beat programming. Free VDV Prayer finds inspiration in the shuttering of DIY venues in Baltimore and Denver, both former homes and sources of artistic growth for Lockbox. The intense political atmosphere surrounding underground culture in this period led him to seek refuge for a time in Boulder, CO, which provided a marked contrast with its jam band and 420 dispensary institutions and a sense of willfully deluded hippie optimism. These energies bleed into Lockbox’s day-glo arrangements, which glisten with major key synth loops and bouncy drum voices. He churns through dance genre tropes at reckless speed, mashing high-BPM breakcore beats and acid basslines together with the lush pads and fine-grain lead voices of ambient techno - all frosted with an anything goes approach to sampling akin to plunderphonics or vaporwave. More than any previous release, Free VDV Prayer paints Lockbox as an attentive student of ambient music, with segments of beatless beauty that bloom into textural fields somewhere between Playstation 2 background music and the work of Wolfgang Voigt as Gas. Far from scattershot collages of juxtaposed ideas, the nuanced compositions of Free VDV Prayer speak to Lockbox’s developing sense of songcraft and his command of both hardware and software to manifest his sophisticated conceptions of tone and rhythm.