Compilation Review: Visceral Minds 2 – Fractal Fantasy

If you’re even somewhat involved in the club music scene, you probably have heard about Visceral Minds 2. This powerhouse compilation was produced by a total of twenty-six collaborators, all ranging in style, gender, and age — and that “dual-mind” weaving this beast together? Fractal Fantasy founders and life partners, Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones. The name comes from Hawke’s father Duncan Brimsmead, video game developer and Autodesk Maya software pioneer. Fractal Fantasy’s core, for Hawke and Jones, is an audiovisual utopia taking from the past to push toward a metallic future.

The 20-track compilation begins with sweet, dissonant harmonies that dip your toes into liquid chrome. “Monterrey,” produced by DJ Spinn, DJ Rashad & Hawke, opens the compilation diving headfirst into digital pleasantry. Honestly, all of the tracks are dynamically impressive, but these few stuck out to me the most (and have had on repeat since the release): “Loud,” with Heavee, Hawke and Jones; “Gunshotta,” with TrigganomSeroceeFamous Eno, Hawke and Jones; “Don’t,” with Martyn Bootyspoon and Jones; “Vision,” with L-Vis 1990 and Hawke; and, finally, “Dark Matter,” with Chicagoland-area native Jlin and Jones. Each track weaves each producer’s unique style along with Hawke, Jones, or both; most notably, essences of reggaeton, footwork, and Jersey club drift throughout, broadening the tones of the track and distancing itself from being a Tron-like narrative.

I was already a fan of Hawke and Jones as solo acts before this compilation release, and was ecstatic to conclude that none of the tracks disappoint. Literally. All come with a conceptual, eclectic dark club motive that invite you to step into Hawke’s and Jones’ (and the twenty-four other producer’s) vision—it is truly visceral.

As an audio compilation, it’s incredibly successful in conveying a vision of futuristic utopia, but when one delves into Fractal Fantasy’s website, it heightens the experience tenfold. Along with collaborations Cyberlight and Ezra Miller, Hawke and Jones imagine an intricate and specific virtual reality that feels so true not just to the world of audio production and DJ’ing, but to the burgeoning new media art world as well. It hits all of the high conceptual notes, along with the deep, dark club ones.

Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones will be coming in tandem to Chicago on September 23rd at East Room for the aptly titled Fractal Fantasy tour, and you will definitely see me there.

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