Hexode: running down the up escalator

Music maker hexode, draven stedman, who makes ambient music from his home studio in Wisconsin.

From what I can glean from his social media accounts, Hexode is the solo project of Wisconsin’s Draven Stedman, who self-describes his music as “ambient droney weirdness” and offers only one obfuscated portrait of himself. On his bandcamp is a few dozen DIY releases, peppered with VHS graphics and 90s nostalgia pastiche reminiscent of tumblr vaporwave. His musical references are obvious and many: one of his 25 albums is a literal remix of Floral Shoppe that doesn’t deviate from the songs’ original titles or album cover. His song titles are Tao Lin-esque sentence fragments and filled with pop culture: “performing song after song in front of an empty auditorium; oh to be locally famous” and “in the summertime listening to death grips and drinking large energy drinks with my best friend”.

Despite his reliance on reference, Hexode’s bandcamp is a collection of interesting ambient tracks, compiled with stretched samples and lulling riffs. His sampled material is often unrecognizable and much darker than the original incarnation. Hexode’s transformative ear gives his compositions a sleepy and cavernous quality. I would recommend listening to his albums “acid.” and “halfconsciousness” if you’re a fan of drone.

You can check out Hexode on Bandcamp.

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