The Zoom Lens head serves up transcendent trance-pop ahead of a new label comp.
Photo by Jimmy Bazzy
There is a deadness of the soul that for some reason afflicts people in the summer swelter. This sucks, so let's dig for happiness in the most reliable format we have for it: dance music. Zoom Lens leader Meishi Smile typically makes art that either attacks dance with noise or celebrates the form and milks it for all its emotional worth. They do the latter on new cut "Angel's Egg," a gorgeously ghostly song titled after the similarly unearthly and beautiful avant-garde 80s anime film.
Described by Meishi Smile as "Eiffel 65 making dream pop," "Angel's Egg" draws from both Eurotrance and the related internet-based nightcore remix subgenre in the name of pure bliss. The song comes ahead of and will be included in Zoom Lens' new compilation album Metempsychosis, which is also an art book produced in collaboration with manga publisher Fakku (yes, that Fakku). The release party for Metempsychosis will be livestreamed on Twitch, natch, and you can find more info about that here. As well, you can check out a super neat site by Toronto artist FANGRRLZ that breaks down their process behind the "Angel's Egg" single artwork.
Stream "Angel's Egg" below and read on for our interview with Meishi Smile.
Noisey: Which specific trance songs and artists did you draw from for "Angel's Egg"?
Meishi Smile: "Angel's Egg" was heavily inspired by "Free," a track by doujin artist USAO. To me, "Free" poses the notion of an idealized reality, as I want most of my music to convey as well. I listen to music alone. I write music alone. This is a lonely process. I listen and write in mind that a song can be contextualized in dual settings and contrasting emotions. Ultimately, "trance" is a reference in metaphorical terms, rather than one limited by genre. This is the manner in which "Angel's Egg" was written. It's about a numbing comfort. A pure white purgatory. I foresee a happiness, but it is never quite obtainable. The shell aims to be broken, to be penetrated. But you would have to step through the shards to get to the other end.
Seeing as this song is based on repetition, how do you feel the same device is important for other forms of dance music?
Minimalism and repetition is practicality. We should be allowing people to understand art in simple, yet broader terms so we can register its connectivity and individual emotional projection. Many listen to music as if it were a single path, without nuance and empathy. The most symbolic can be the most literal, as is the opposite. We can use repetition as a way to address what has initially been overlooked. On the dance floor or your bedroom, you can listen to this sort of music as if it were ambient or shoegaze - waves of sound, reoccurring motifs. Music becomes so similar once you apply a more primal reaction and lose the pretension.
Do you think people sometimes don't let the emotional elements of dance music register the same way they would for rock because it's "synthesized?"
I would think the main issue now is people who like electronic music not registering other forms of the genre. I assume much of the reason is due to commercialization. So I find doujin music particularly fascinating in that sense because you find independent artists utilizing commercialized ideas and tropes of mainstream pop culture to create something emotionally valid. They enjoy these things without irony and derive inspiration from the purest form. Popular, independent, it's kind of blurred. Actually, this is what Metempsychosis attests to. Esoteric interpretations are completely valid when they're sincere.
However, we're also witnessing this increasingly insipid and suffocating emotional appeal through the co-option of our interests through big social media brands as well. We are really expected to emote now. To emote is the norm. But it doesn't really matter what we are emoting for - instead, what we should be seeking is authenticity not through catered interests, but trusting ourselves to listen and utilize our interests as a catalyst to express the feelings we truly own. Subvert and deconstruction, rather than be subdued. Ask yourself why you submit to invalidating one expression, and why you so willingly partake in another.
Phil is an unrepentant adorer of this whole world on Twitter.