Words: James Frostick
Artist image: Lou Wheeler
We are pleased as punch to be premiering ‘Toyota’ the new single from sound artist Hextape aka Bridget Chappell. Shaped by moon-lit cityscape explorations and fractured science-fiction imagery, the track oscillates between nighttime lurk and throbbing, pulse-quickening techno.
Hextape’s new track ‘Toyota’ begins with keys in the ignition and the motor purring. We’re not sure where we are going, but Hextape’s behind the wheel and they seem to know their way around the dimly lit neighbourhood we’re cruising. As the radio dial is twisted, fragments of late-night talk radio and obscure music fades in and out until we find what we’re looking for – a low reverberation heralding something invigorating. Hextape isn’t in any hurry to kick things off. For several minutes we’re humming along at a safe speed, teased with snippets of radio static, vocal samples of Hextape collaborator Mala Herba, modulated recordings of a ’96 Hilux and ominous bass-y waaaahms until we’re finally given some vigorous quick-stepping techno to nod along to. Hextape’s foot increases pressure on the accelerator, the track tightens up in response and we’re off – ‘Toyota’s quivering wobble kept rigid by a taut beat snap, which itself is urgent but not messy. ‘Toyota’ a showcase of restraint – many electronic artists love the bait-and-switch of false drops and the dizzying peaks that are impossible to pull off in a satisfying way, but Hextape is more concerned with laying the foundations for something with substance – warping reality into an illusory nocturnal soundscape ripe for sonic cartography.
The accompanying visuals for ‘Toyota’ – made in collaboration with animation artist Henry Pyne aka Eek – follow a loose narrative centred around an surreal exploration of a inhuman realm, one that manifests on a particular night drive through Melbourne/Naarm’s moon-lit backstreets. This forsaken dimension is comprised of blasted landscapes and networks of subterranean caverns, inhabited by demonic creatures that prowl menacingly across the jagged topography. Hextape’s spike-wheeled ATV frantically navigates between angular slate-grey spires while being chased by nameless pursuers towards the waiting maw of a fanged, dread-inducing mecha-serpent. The clip is akin to a feverish half-dream shaped by watching too much dystopian anime and the unrelenting unce that pulses through the synapses of the cerebral cortex. It’s visceral and cool as hell, which sums up ‘Toyota’ well, I think. Have a look/listen: