Bandcamp has certainly helped stave off the crushing despair/morbid terror of the past ten months. Besides this, it’s doing a great deal to support artists during the worst year in modern history. Its cultural importance should not be ignored.
Searching through Bandcamp’s tags is just as satisfying as browsing the racks at your local record store (assuming any are still open near you). One of the most pleasant surprises BC recently gave me came in the form of Mexican outfit Nihilist Jellyfish. It’s a striking name, and hey, you gotta love this icon.
There’s a decent amount of mystery around Nihilist Jellyfish. Which means, yes friends, we have another Civic Duty Records style rabbit hole.
I’m no fan of Instagram, but I have to rely heavily on it here. It’s the only social media attached to their Bandcamp and SoundCloud accounts. Bandcamp features one IG link, which leads to Jellyfish’s primary account. SoundCloud helps us dig a little deeper. It carries two marked “J3LLY XOXO” and “HASEN XOXO”.
J3LLY XOXO is the same as the primary account from Bandcamp. Its bio like this:
“#emo”, “#depressedboy” and Spanish text which translates to “Disappointment and love of art”. It gives us a sense of what J3LLY’s about. From here we can follow the link to Uri Marshall Blue, who sits at “La Cima de Babel” (“The Top of Babel”).
The art they create for this account and Jellyfish overall is certainly impressive. And if you scroll down through the main account, you’ll clock this young woman:
This is HASEN XOXO. We know this because the other SoundCloud link takes us to their page. Also known as “Alma Toan”, they feature on the cover of the first Nihilist Jellyfish record I listened to, cute and pink sounds.
“Cute” and “Pink” may not sound like something you’d get from a #depressedboy, but the love of art is there. cute and pink sounds is also a good introduction to Jellyfish’s sound.
“Dubstep” is the duo’s go-to tag. “S4DB0Y” shows what happens when dubstep meets future funk. It’s quite refreshing and perfectly accompanied by “One & Only”. It blends dubstep with EDM. It’s dreamy, despite the striking beat beneath it. “Delicately weird” was the phrase that came to my mind while listening to it.
Worlds Pt. I was the EP which really won me over. “Metamorphosis64” opens with a bass straight out of 5th gen gaming consoles. It’s joined swiftly by a howling, big-dick 80s guitar. A sudden dubstep drop is joined 20 seconds later by another which amps things up even more.
“Trap” is another genre Jellyfish often nod towards. “Citalopram95” runs it through a vaporwave lens. The “95” is telling because this could’ve been produced on a mid-90s DAW. There are little bleeps like ye olde pop-ups that accent the meaty dub and sharp scratches.
Interestingly, Worlds Pt. II carries no tracks. There’s cover art, a release date and tags. In true deep dive fashion, I found myself clicking around the ocean of black space which dominates the page. On the off chance that there was a hidden link. A secret track, maybe artwork. I couldn’t find any, but I really appreciated the additional layer of interaction. And yeah I was a tiny bit disappointed not to find any more music, but that’s kind of the point. The love of art remained.
It’s worth noting that Worlds is a referential title. Specifically to an ancient 3D MMO world. The proto Second Life, which has gained notoriety over the past fews years due to urban legends and creepypastas. YouTuber Nexpo did a great breakdown of it:
Regardless of whether or not cults existed within Worlds, its primitive design and uncanny atmosphere gels well with the aesthetics and themes of darker vaporwave. And the world of Jellyfish.
Surprisingly, Jellyfish showed some love to an old friend of Pastel Wasteland – Vylet Pony. This was a striking discovery because I can’t find any other links between the two acts. Jellyfish’s YouTube channel features a flip of “Beautysleep”. It’s one of Vylet’s harder tracks, and I can see why it’d appeal to them.
Citalopram is an anti-depressant, and honestly so is the world of Nihilist Jellyfish. They create idiosyncratic music, art, and experiences. There’s is a field of unique sounds, images, and delights. They’re well worth your time and worth keeping eyes on and ears open to.
You can find Nihilist Jellyfish here: