At some point in the near future, there’s a neutral, high-tech international city with tall and shiny skyscrapers, friendly service androids, macrobiotic eateries, and a fair share of rabble-rousers and miscreants coming out of the woodwork to instill just enough chaos to keep things interesting. The formula is something like one part 1940s Casablanca plus one part modern Tokyo plus the one part popular sci-fi, minus any Nazis.
Driving outside that walled megalopolis is a treacherous endeavor — only certain people are allowed to do it now that war, pollution, and climate change have ravaged the outerlands. But someone has to do it, and that person is CYBEREALITYライフ, the government-appointed ranger sent out every night to drive around on his hydrogen-powered, half-car, half-motorcycle to make sure no one gets in — or out. He is, as his EP’s title suggests, King of the Streets, keeping the gun-lusting nomads from interrupting society’s peaceful existence.
The five-song EP, released last week by AMDISCS: Futures Reserve Label, allows us to join in for one of those excursions. Throughout the songs, CYBEREALITYライフ offers up a taste of what the kinetic, car-obsessed Kavinsky would sound like if he made a synthwave-vaporwave record — or maybe if he and Miami Nights 1984 teamed up and decided to let some anxiety pour in.
There are three highlights on the EP. One is “Metropoli 2022,” a night song, but a shiny one. The synthesizer arpeggio dances around a solid, compressed, and relaxed backbeat, as the synth melody implores us to have profoundly cautious fun in the international zone. These are wealthy, auspicious times, my friends, but let’s not forget what lurks in the shadows.
Things change abruptly on “Flesh & Steel,” when CYBEREALITYライフ’s laid-back cruise to work becomes a race to address some particularly troubling developments at one of the city’s gates. An icy synth lead and fuzzy harmony yank us out of our complacency, and remind us that the speed limit is merely a suggestion for some people.
“Beach Highway (End Credits),” my favorite cut on the EP, opens up with the sound of pensive ocean waves, while the music slowly gains speed to let us know that CYBEREALITYライフ was triumphant in his recent row with the cadre of unsettled troublemakers. We can all go to the clean and chic Neon Club to celebrate another victory for the civilized. The international zone is safe again — for now.
1. Road Memories
2. Metropoli 2022
3. Flesh & Steel
4. Crime Never Rests!
5. Beach Highway (Ending Credits)