Take One Step: Instupendo shares mix with a few words on video games & the magic in de-romanticizing memory

, 13 May 2021

Instupendo is releasing their ‘Matryoshka’ mix, premiering today via AQNB on May 13, 2021. The mix follows a handful of collaborations with artists including Himera, Cedric Madden, and Dylan Brady. It also arrives in advance of the artist’s next album, Love Power A-to-Z, which enmeshes pop idiosyncrasies within themes of idealization and devotion.

The alias of Brooklyn-based Aidan Peterson, Instupendo transcends aesthetics of cheeky video games or lo-fi pop. While antiquated gaming consoles are undoubtedly some of his long-time favorites, Peterson turns to the surrealist spontaneity of Flower, Sun, and Rain (FSR)– a 2000’s mystery game notorious for its non-sensical and masochistic playthrough –to help retell his experiences outside of a nostalgic perspective. According to Peterson, idealizing the past or anything for that matter often disarms one from engaging with what they appreciate, detracting from his reading of inertia which seems more in-parallel with the supernatural than scientific. He wrote me over email to explain all of this a bit further.

Instupendo (2021). Photo courtesy Michael Wolever 

**You mentioned on Twitter how a video game called Flower, Sun, and Rain changed your life. Tell me, what’s its significance?

AP: It’s so absurd. Nothing about playing it on the DS felt like a video game…maybe more like being in control of an episode of Twin Peaks or something. Suda51’s writing is really funny, but at the same time, he created a nuanced look into the mind of a person with little-to-no sense of self. It’s like watching a swan attack a pedestrian who gets too close to its cygnets… it’s so over the top, but really, it’s touching in a way. The whole game is a beautiful example of this kind of serious humor. Ever since I played FSR, I want to do things this way.

**I read into magical-realist aspects of the game, like airplanes exploding repeatedly in the skies, and I was wondering, do you try to do something similar in your music?

AP: It’s a more natural mode of retelling for me. Unadorned exposition in songwriting somehow feels more dishonest than me just telling you I got thrown out of a helicopter or hit by a boat or something.

**I get the sense you’ve also been writing between multiple, potentially nostalgic perspectives; can you go into this more?

AP: To see yourself as a whole, you have to understand your many conflicting parts. Walt Whitman said, “I contain multitudes.”

**Going into nostalgia a bit further, I see you’ve lately referenced a few early 2000s game consoles and robot toys. The memory of these feels closer than that which is typically distant and idealized. What’s your take?

Instupendo (2021). Photo courtesy Michael Wolever.

AP: The truest answer is just that I love these things. I love DS and 3DS and PS Vita; I love looking at a random item on my desk; I like to talk to people about these things. It never feels nostalgic to me because none of it is inflated to me. I love having my 3DS just sitting open on my bed and having the Jack Frost demon in the banner of Devil Survivor Overclocked just spin around on the screen.

**Lastly, in the lyrics for ‘Idol’, you write about longing something or someone between the present and future possibilities. Can you go into that more?

Instupendo, ‘Idol’ (2021). Image courtesy the artist.

AP: Everything is happening all the time even if you don’t engage with it. When people are paralyzed by things they idolize, they don’t move to engage with them. The subject only needs to take one step and inertia or entropy or whatever will do the rest. It’s weird how destiny is a thing when you describe it.**

Instupendo’s album Love Power A-to-Z is released July 16, 2021. Listen to the first track ‘Idol’ out now.