Some time during my last year of college, I got really into listening to "lo-fi hip-hop" on YouTube, which is just pretty instrumentals with a beat (and always, for some reason, with an anime visual attached to it). This wispy, loose genre is marketed as great music to study, sleep, chill, or relax to. New York trio Triathalon doesn't make "lo-fi hip-hop," but their new project, premiering in-full today on The FADER, viscerally brought me back to my little collegiate apartment in Chicago and its steady vibes.
Fittingly titled Online, the project spans a gloriously languid 13-tracks, with each acting like another layer of an ever-enticing onion; listening becomes trance-like, as it can start to feel like the soundtrack of a parallel world where everything is chill 100% of the time.
Triathalon's production is complex and rich — full of synths, twinkling bells and laser-fire — and the vocals take up a fair amount of foreground space. ("Day One" is a delightful standout that sounds like how silly slime moves: all squiggly and stretchy, thanks to a sick gurgling effect.) But the vibe — that amorphous, geographically-detached internet vibe — is what I imagine negative space sounds like.
Of the project, band member Hunter Jayne writes: "These songs reflect the struggles of balancing normal life and music life, having personal relationships, and being on tour. It explores how the internet affects our perceptions as individuals and as artists. In the process of making this album we were in different places not only geographically, but also artistically. Adam moved to New York, bought a Casio and started making demos to send to Chad and me in Savannah [Georgia.] At the time we were all listening to different types music which gave the record multifaceted depth and inspired new approaches to our respective instruments."
Do yourself a favor and elevate this above mere study music. Instead, lay on your bed and let it all settle in. Stream Online below, and look out for it when it officially drops February 16.