Following 2011’s Hypernebula, Ripple~Field’s new record Cyber Pulse Ultra is a conceptual piece inspired by dystopian sci-fi futures of cybernetics, transhumanism, hackers, and made-up swear words. The lyrics read like vivid diary-entries by paranoid fugitives and dreamers atop neon-lit tower blocks. For a record with a clear retro, cyberpunk flavour, the bulk of mastermind Aaron Kelley’s muses are drawn from those associated with technology. He cites videogame composers as a major influence, with games like Deus Ex handling themes of technology and humanity, as well as seminal electronic acts such as Yellow Magic Orchestra, whose optimistic outlook towards technology defined much of the extraordinary sounds that came out of the eighties. For his unique palette of geeky stimuli, I invited Kelley to curate a mixtape of songs that inspired his latest record.
Listen to the full playlist here, or check out the individual tracks below, with commentary from Kelley.
“The works of Alex & Michiel van den Bos, who did the soundtracks for the first two Deus Ex games (also Unreal/Unreal Tournament, Age of Wonders, and others) were a driving force in getting me to make music from the very beginning.”
“This song and this whole OVA inspired the vibe and aesthetic for this EP and helped fuel my enthusiasm to finish it.”
“YMO make me strive to be a better musician and to make music that’s fresh and stand-out from other similar artists. Huge fan and I adore this song.”
“More like … ‘I Wish I Could Make Catchy Dance Music As Well As Yasutaka Nakata, But Damn It, I Try’. His stuff, along with 80’s R&B and dance pop, inspired a chunk of this EP’s sound.”
“Best outrun electro artist I’ve ever heard next to College. Great melodies and vibes, part of the feel that I tried to reach with CPU.”
“Replaying Diablo 2 fairly recently reminded me how much I loved Uelmen’s dark percussive intensity and the sample that he used in this track inspired me to dive into Hindustani Gamak singing styles. That lead to how I approached the last track on the EP.”
“Rutherford and Banks are always on my mind when I’m thinking about interesting, progressive, synth and guitar-heavy music compositions. These guys basically inspired all my instrumental noodling and Collins is one of my favorite pop vocalists.”
“BUCK-TICK are one of my favorite bands of all time and their electro period played a big part in the sound on this EP.”
Cyber Pulse Ultra is available now.