“DeepWebMoney™ Platinum Edition” is ten tracks of sensory overload, a story of technological takeover that takes every opportunity to overwhelm.
“Clearing Out Memory”, the third track on mastercard2k’s latest beat tape “DeepWebMoney™ Platinum Edition”, could not be any less faithful to its title. In fact, the song does everything it can to occupy the whole of the listener’s mind. The rapid, building synth melody sounds ripped from an anime intro, with a grandiose sense of awe and a hypnotising refrain. The bass is blown out to the extreme, but what legible rhythm is left in these massive 808 hits sends the beat forward like a rocket propelled grenade. The resulting explosion of risers, gunshot sound effects and reverb creates an erratic and dizzying display.
Such is the case with many of the tracks on “DeepWebMoney”, an album which finds its foundation in earworm melodies that clip and distort but hook the listener’s attention through the sheer force behind the sound. Aesthetically, mastercard2k celebrates excess with this album, from the title’s evocation of precious metal to the wordy and mystical song titles. A great example is “Lost Religion Year 3001 Technopack”, which calls out to the future with jittery EDM leads but locks itself in place with a repeating sample. The luminous synth lines on “Windows XP Home Edition” are met with tight, compressed drum patterns and the same extreme bass found on “Clearing Out Memory”. The bright synths cut through the mix like sugar through alcohol, a clean sweetness against intoxicating haze. The track has a sticky consistency, all of its moving parts are crammed in close together, each instrument fighting for the chance to be heard in the constrictive mix. With reference to the title, “Windows XP” (and the album in general) portrays an unfamiliar reflection of trap music, as the deep web does to the internet.
There are mellower moments though, and often they give a spotlight to the smaller details mastercard2k uses. “Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC)” calls to mind science fiction with its name and choice of sonic palette, with robotic chirps accompanying lively chords. The bass, while somewhat overpowering, is used to a more melodic effect. Small vocal snippets are found intermittently, offering some humanity to a piece that is otherwise thematically dominated by technology. “Linux Girl” also features some vocal samples, a laugh slowed and pitched down to create a haunting atmospheric tool. Alongside collaborator Nxsta19k, mastercard2k employs ghostly guitar-like loops and subdued percussion to create the only true moment of respite on the album.
All but one song on the tape references technology in some capacity. Even the album’s presentation defines it as a cybernetic product, with an “intel inside” logo plastered on the cover art. There’s a genuine sense of being stuck inside a digital space on “DeepWebMoney”; it’s the same feeling 100gecs crafted their debut album around. The album exists in some kind of digital uncanny valley, at once familiar and corrupted.
With this threat of corruption at the heart of the record’s sound it’s only right that mastercard2k puts himself in control with the first track, “I Feel Like The Goth UnderWorld Scott Storch”. Wiry leads pair well with elastic 808s that bounce around between octaves. Claps land with a satisfying crunch and snares hit with a loose snap. The lead synth resembles a pipe organ due to its vibrato, a call back to classic horror music. This track positions mastercard2k as the puppet master of the virtual underworld the rest of the album explores.
“DeepWebMoney™ Platinum Edition” is abrasive and sometimes overly loud, but it is an album of strong ambition. The commitment to concept mastercard2k demonstrates here is commendable, as are the many infectious loops and refrains that pop up throughout the 24 minute runtime. This is a great listen for any fan of dark trap or experimental hip hop looking for adventure; with another tape released since this one, and 4 before it in 2020 alone, it’s clear that mastercard2k has many more adventures left to craft.
Listen to “DeepWebMoney™ Platinum Edition” here.
– Jamie (@youngjade1216)