Ladies and gentlemen, welcome, welcome, to 75 Bands in 75 Days, where we bring you the best talent that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, one day and one band at a time… kind of. Today, we’re exploring the creative output of not one band, but rather a musician who has released music under several different pseudonyms, one Ramona Andra Xavier.
Ramona Andra Xavier is an experimental electronic music producer based in Portland, Oregon that has accumulated somewhat of a cult following since her creative inception in 2005. Xavier has reportedly released over 40 albums since she started, and has to date has worked under 12 different projects. While a lot of her projects share some similarities, Ramona has proven herself throughout her career to be one of the most diverse and ambitious electronic music producers currently working in the Internet age of music.
Easily the most popular of any of these projects has been MACINTOSH PLUS, whose stellar 2012 LP Floral Shoppe is widely regarded as a masterpiece in contemporary experimental music, as well as one of the greatest vaporwave albums of all time. Floral Shoppe, like the musical style it defines, takes preexisting electronic music styles like plunderphonics, chopped and screwed and chillwave to recreate lounge music, elevator music and smooth jazz from the 1970’s-1980’s, often sampling music that falls under those three categories. The most prevalent theme on the album is nostalgia, and could easily be interpreted as a way for young people born in the 1990’s or later to experience the same sort of teary-eyed nostalgia older people have for things of their time. It’s definitely a strange sonic odyssey, and one we recommend you all traverse on, whether you love it or hate it.
Aside from MACINTOSH PLUS, Ramona has many other labels she has released music under. We won’t get into all of them, but there are some highlights. Vektroid is her main means of output, whose material is very sugary and light retro-futuristic electronic beat music, a style popularised by the likes of Com Truse, Neon Indian and Saint Pepsi. NEO CALI in particular stands out as a very expertly-crafted electronic music record. Dstnt is a fairly beat-deprived project whose material is very noisy, dissonant and mechanical, with a lot of the sound-craft sounding like broken computers trying to operate normally. It’s intriguing, progressive and unpredictable, and it’s easy to think of it like the technology age’s answer to Metal Machine Music. Other pr0jects include 情報デスクVIRTUAL, which also explores the vaporwave formula, PrismCorp Virtual Enterprises, which is very glitzy and upbeat future funk, and New Dreams Ltd., with its ambient and plunderphonic approach to neo-psychedelia. A more comprehensive guide to her discography can be found on her website here.
While Ramona Andra Xavier’s discography and musical elements are very polarising, there’s an undeniable amount of passion that goes into every release she puts out. Her attention to detail is excellent, and her choice of samples and the way she manipulates them on certain releases is nothing short of breathtaking. Xavier’s extensive back-catalog is worth diving into, so long as you can handle very off-the-wall and off-putting experimental music. Floral Shoppe is probably a good place to start, then everything under the Vektroid moniker, then everything else. Welcome to PrismCorpTM. We hope you enjoy your stay.