In Memoriam: Cesar Alexandre, + Brief Thoughts on Legacy

The news was broken to me last night that Cesar Alexandre, the person behind Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza and Mount Shrine has passed away from coronavirus.

I never met or talked to Cesar Alexandre. I was well aware of their underground-classic 2013 release Daily Night Euphoria EP, at times serving as the high-water mark within vaporwave (at least from an outsider’s perspective). Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza was an early building block to vaporwave culture, strengthening the legitimacy and legacy of those that came before it while simultaneously expanding the potential and outreach of the genre as a whole.

The idea of legacy within music can be complicated. Usually a word saved for the most famous of artists. But Dave Brockie’s death in 2014 wasn’t lost on me, and neither was Randy ‘Biscuit’ Turner’s death to the Austin, TX scene when I visited nearly 15 years after the fact. In the same way, Cesar Alexandre’s legacy will not be lost on the vaporwave community.

The enrichment of our collective cultures depends on artists and the work they do, regardless of the medium or stylistic movements in which they work. And with that, let’s remember the legacy of Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza, Mount Shrine, and most importantly Cesar Alexandre.

“The night isn’t young anymore.”

*UPDATE 4/19/21* Proceeds from NTSC Memories by Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza will go to the artist’s estate. You can check that out here:

REVIEW: Veruschka – The Secret (2001)

Released in 2001 on Ant.Zen Records out of Lappersdorf, Germany, The Secret is a 5 song EP by Australian singer Veruschka and producer David Thrussell (Snog, Soma, Black Lung).

The Secret thrives in its cinematic-centricity, degrees of warmth are faintly revealed with vinyl fuzz layers and occasional hand percussion. Slow swelling orchestral synths loom heavily behind the otherwise minimal instrumentation, topped with Veruschka’s neoclassical darkwave vocal styling. Where The Secret falters is in the end with vocal-forward tracks Boredom Kills and The Fruits. This isn’t to say Veruschka’s singing is bad, simply that the vocals aren’t utilized in a way that ultimately enhances the cinematic element as much as they could, which leaves the set-up of opening tracks The Secret and The Department unfulfilled.

What could be accountable for this a lack of post-production focus on vocal tracks, or simply a disconnect from producer to performer. Sure, this thinking may reek of cliche label-control, but what I propose is that when the artist is the producer, the producer needs to play a stronger roll in direction if the artistic vision can’t be reached in the already highly-synthetic post-production process that we hear in trip-hop, sampledelia, and other musique concrète adjacent genres.

Alternatively, it can be hard to say what the business arrangement was for this album and how that effected it. Maybe producer David Thrussell played a secondary roll, maybe there were financial or time restraints with having the album produced. Unfortunately we haven’t seen a second release from this duo, which could very well right the course with a stronger follow-up.

While The Secret may lack the vocal prowess of Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, the cold, cinematic production and ethereal Dead Can Dance-esque vocals should win over most fans of Portishead’s Dummy or Tricky’s Maxinquaye.

For fans of: Portishead, Dead Can Dance, Dido

Like Veruschka? Give these a listen: Cold Choir, Theft Design Firm, Haircuts For Men

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