Fridays mean one thing here at Celadon Plaza: Review Day. As stated in my introduction post, I'll be taking the time to review, in depth, sold out Vaporwave Physicals to provide you with the information you need to decide if it's worth the potential insane resale prices.
Today we take a look at the cassette issue of Elektric Dreams’ 2018 Future Funk album "ANNO 2352."
ED. takes us on a funky and dance filled trip through the stars during the year 2352 in search for life on other planets, in which, as the gentleman in the sample used in the first song says, “it is extraordinarily arrogant to think we are the only inhabitants of the cosmos.” Truly this must be the case, as the groovy vibes that ED. produces with this album are out of this world entirely.
"ANNO 2352" was self-released on ED’s Bandcamp page on April 18, 2018 on “ Matte Black Cassette with hand-placed color labels” at an unknown edition. The cassette stayed in stock for some time (surprisingly) before finally selling out in February of 2021.
I had the pleasure of picking up a tape directly from ED’s Bandcamp this past year after not really hearing much talk about the album.
Let me tell you, I was missing out.
This tape release is absolutely gorgeous from front to back, j-card and all. The front features artwork of Queen Tyr'ahnee, the leader of the Mars Empire from the Looney Tunes based cartoon series “Duck Dodgers,” which is originally what caught my attention. I was simply scrolling through Reddit one day when I saw a picture posted of the tape which instantly activated a long lost childhood memory in the back of my mind of watching Duck Dodgers on Cartoon Network in the early 2000s. I quickly learned of the album, gave it a listen, and was infatuated.
The cassette itself is stunning as well, featuring two different artworks of the
Queen, along with the song titles on each side and ED’s magnificent logo. The labels’ dark blue hue and white lettering compliment the black cassette nicely and fit the theme of space exploration in the distant future.
But, does the sound quality match the aesthetics?
I don’t say this lightly, but I believe this may be the best sounding cassette I own out of about 40. The sound is crystal clear and pronounced for a tape, sounding about just as good as the high quality digital files and dare I say possibly close to vinyl (which, as a side note, this album belongs on vinyl, and a label needs to make this happen ASAP). None of the funky, out of this world tracks are hindered by being on cassette, and I truly have to praise the dubbing job done on this release by whoever ED decided to use.
Music wise, it’s no secret that my love for this album is immense. Future Funk is a tricky genre, and while I enjoy most of the releases that make it up, many critics are quick to point out the potential laziness and repetitiveness of the songs since its inception, which I do not disagree with. Personally, I’m not looking for masterfully crafted songs that took ages to produce when I turn on Future Funk. I’m looking for some groovy, hard hitting jams to zone out to, so I don’t mind the simplicity of sampling a segment of a song, upping the tempo and pitch and repeating it for 2 minutes. But, every once in a while, I’ll listen to a Future Funk album that invests me in it in a way that I can sense the time and love put into it.
“ANNO 2353” is one of those cases.
I adore every track on this album, from the old sampled monologue about life on other planets in “A Fresh Future,” to the groovy melody of the reworked sample in “Lightspeed” to the ingenious repetition of the line “got me feeling real” from Stacy Lattisaw’s “Screamin off the Top” used to make up almost the eternity of “StarCrusier.” Future Funk has a reputation of being short and sweet but each track on “ANNO 2353” feels full and satisfying, like a 3 course meal. My favorite track off the album is hard to say, but I’d have to go with “StarCrusier,” an impressive display of ED’s sample chopping and rearranging techniques.
As stated earlier, this cassette took a very long time to sell out, which to me, is astonishing. If you want a copy, I would venture to guess it would be relatively attainable on Discogs or through a Vaporwave marketplace community for a decent price. The tape was originally $10 when released and was eventually bumped down to $5 as time went on. Resale wise, these are the prices it has stuck to. Sales history on Discogs shows the album has only been resold once, at a price of $5, and there currently is a copy for $10 on the marketplace at the time of publishing this. The cassette doesn’t seem to be in too much demand (again, surprisingly) so I venture to guess if you want a copy, you could easily find one by posting in a community dedicated to collecting like R/VaporwaveCassettes or the Vaporwave Cassette Community on Facebook.
And that’s about all for “ANNO 2353,” one of my favorite cassettes in my collection! Let’s see how it does on the rating scale out of 30 and take a look at resale suggestions.
Pressing/Sound Quality: 9
Aesthetical Pleasure (Album and Vinyl/Cassette Art): 9
Album Content (Music): 9
TOTAL RATING: 27/30.
SUGGESTION FOR BUYING SECONDHAND: Definitely buy. Low demand and resale prices should provide a good deal.
SUGGESTED PURCHASE CEILING: $20-25
Until next time, hope to see you around the Plaza!