Tuesday 27 June 2017


'Time Passing' – one of the more diminutive tracks among this selection of seventeen – is as good as any a place to start off this odyssey of beats. Fluttering whooshes like the track's just landed on your windowsill and will start cooing to you at any moment, it arrives with decayed instrumental sample, glitchified percussion with hi-hats that fizz, kicks that thud with MegaDrive distinction. 404 Funeral is a selection of vignettes that feel like this. 'U Got It Going On', one of the more wobbling tracks in this series of seventeen, feels decayed, suffocated by age and warped beyond recognition, with elements that feel similarly bitcrushed; 'Squash' feels like a flood, fifty-two seconds of mashed beats and samples that feels like a luscious rainstick of sound.

Paisley's new stream of lo-fi creations – "made well over a year ago" – does go beyond just tape cassette decay and crackling nostalgia. The retro VGM sound to some of the percussion is matched by a sharp and delicious outpourings of drum sounds, like on 'What's Your Name' where behind snippets of Japanese dialogue a hi-hat dimly ticks with rounded flavours, and by the real-life drum-kit's-next-door feel beat in 'Lost My Suica'; here the outdoors noises, the singing birds of evening and the whir of insects, are evocative of the track's eponymous story: losing a Suica card (one of Japan's numerous, regional travelcards) means walking through the pseudo-suburbs that blossom between Tokyo's main hubs, thus hearing the city differently—here is where the titles of these tracks meet their content perfectly, a contemporary urban idyll. Indeed with this in mind the album's title could refer to the organicity of these tracks, embedded in the real world: '404' refers to a missing webpage and the 'funeral' part, well, netdeath: becoming a web ghost.

So 'Sunday' is chilled, samples like colours melting into each other stream along with a sleepy feel. In 'Until Next Time' the music wobbles rapidly like eyes welling up, the samples plaintive, painting the thoughts you have after a goodbye. But it's not all rose-tinted: 'I Need an Adult' seems to signify, with its exorbitant trap-infused beat and dramatic icy tones, a twinge of despair, a sense of longing exuding from its cold booms. Amidst the warped pianos that sound like television in black-and-white with no remote controls, rotary dial telephones, floorboards and gas lighting, there is more. Stand-out and yes/no favourite '1992' sounds like a joint right out of Earthbound, 'Battle Against a Machine' to be exact, with its huge gloopy constructivist beat and cold-sleek sampling; 'Nobody' makes groovesome use of a funk sample, 'Doomed' weaves in MF Doom—'One For Rex' glosses futuristic with hollow synth melodies.

404 Funeral skips along for just twenty-one minutes of your time, each track just over or just under a minute long. But it is that exact brevity which makes Paisley's morsels of music so delectable. To conjure a feeling through music, any feeling, is impressive, but to do it in a matter of never much more than 100 seconds feels wonderful, a bagful of gems, a batch of cookies, sketches, a pile of postcards that etch images for us, evoke comfort or love or adventure or relaxation, that temporally, spatially send us elsewhere: time passing.

Paisley Internet Presence ☟

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