Lead photo by Stefania Antonucci, courtesy of Negashi Armada

When I first arrived in LA a year or so ago, I was heartbroken, angry, and in a real weak self-victimization mental schedule. New York, my previous home, exacerbates this sort of self view — from the gender fluid SJW wave, all the way to the Proud Boy pubster who says “PC culture is our biggest problem.” Everyone in New York think they’re the protagonist of the city. On the way out of town, however, my friend Emil Bognar — formerly of Dawn of Humans and many other punk and movement-oriented projects — told me about two words that changed my relationship with music and helped with strengthening my mental: “DUNGEON SYNTH.”

From my understanding, Dungeon Synth is an offshoot of Norwegian Black Metal. They’re pretty much the same kind of music, but DS is more keyboard- and sample-heavy. A lot of it sounds like trap and horrorcore riffs with minimal drums. YOUTH OF THE WORLD: IT IS VERY RIPE FOR SAMPLING. 

In this week’s edition of my column Negashi’s Nugs, I’ve featured an album that you might describe as “Finnish Old School Dungeon Synth.” When I was weak and fragile heartworm, I would do a crazy Rambo-style prison workout to this record of pure fiery triumph. Supposedly, it’s all Tolkien inspired, but I don’t know anything about that because I’m not lame…  mostly kidding, I just never read that stuff. But if you fancy yourself on any sort of heroic journey or redemption ascent/descent cycle, this will pull you out of Gehenna. 

I love imagining what sort of freak grandma’s boy was in the basement making this music. Probably enjoys his enviable Scandinavian livable wage while playing Altered Beasts or Dungeons and Dragons in between seshes on his casio keys. Anyway, let’s get into my random, not-timely culture picks of the week.

“I’m Every Sparkly Woman”
By Ana Roxanne 

The position of gratitude is a position of strength. There’s a yiddish proverb about how paradise with a fool can be worse than hell with a wise one. An applicable concept, if ever, especially in the realm of interfacing with culture (I prefer that phrase, compared to “consuming art/music”). Ana Roxanne, who I’ve encountered in a myriad of contexts — as she is literally my roommate’s best friend — is an example of a gem hidden in plain sight. Ana always kept it brief with a cautious airy stoicism that would encapsulate me in a field of “I better respectfully keep it moving.” I recently had the pleasure of catching her set at the release party for her new self titled EP on Leaving Records. Her voice is like maternal primordial water from space, and the minimal-yet-ripe power of her music has fully imposed itself on my emotions. From what I’ve experienced, Ana’s style seems to represent that of a Biblical Proportion Progressive Pop Diva. If Ariana Grande is the highest parts of Mariah Carey (but sustained and always demanding money for her “emotional labor”) then Ana is like an angel whose body is trapped in a minaret synthesizing Whitney Houston’s heartbreak, Madonna’s rare reverent moments, and Anita Baker’s gleeful human saxophone esophageal control. Together, Ana Roxanne soars through higher realms that exist in us all.