BEGOTTEN: A DISTURBING ONLINE MUSIC MYSTERY PART III
In 2017, a series of limited conversations between an unknown music producer and a record label owner would lead to the upload of six disturbing albums, each including their own unique set of tragic poems, blocks of confusing Chinese texts, mysterious music videos and paragraphs that recite the label owners experience with this unknown music producer, a producer with a worrisome story that seemed to get all the more real as time went by.
This notorious producer is known as b e g o t t e n 自杀, and as we’ve learned in Part 1 and Part 2, the first four releases from b e g o t t e n 自杀, and the mysterious events between them and the label owner who gave their releases a home, Dennis of Geometric Lullaby, are...pretty interesting…to put it lightly.
In a span of seven months, Dennis released the first four albums b e g o t t e n 自杀 sent to him on Geometric Lullaby. With each upload onto Bandcamp, Dennis would go into detail about his experiences and communications between himself and the unidentifiable producer at that time. I expect you’ve already checked out the first two parts of this series, so I don’t find it necessary to go over everything again, plus I know you want to get right to the big question: who is b e g o t t e n 自杀?
I’ve been along this journey with you as well as I’ve made sure to keep myself from reading the full story until I fully finished creating Parts 1 through 3. I thought doing so would be more of a genuine way to go about documenting the story of b e g o t t e n 自杀 over time, plus it would be more fun for me as well. It’s been giving me something to look forward to with each installment, so trust me...I am so beyond excited to finally crack this case and hopefully get to the bottom of it all as well.
The b e g o t t e n 自杀 Halloween Mixtape [October 14th, 2019 / GEO - SP10]
So before we get into the 5th and 6th albums, the two final releases from the b e g o t t e n 自杀 series and what ended up happening in the saga of events between b e g o t t e n 自杀 and Dennis, I think it would be really fun to talk about this thing: the b e g o t t e n 自杀 - (Halloween Mixtape)
Not only would it be fun to talk about, but it’s also pretty important. b e g o t t e n 自杀 , and the story of b e g o t t e n 自杀 , has become sort of legend in the Vaporwave scene...there is no doubt about that. With all of the mysterious uploads Bandcamp has for us waiting to discover, the b e g o t t e n 自杀 releases are easily some of the most interesting and darkest material to dive into and the b e g o t t e n 自杀 - (Halloween Mixtape) showcases the fascination not only from the fans, but from fellow artists and producers as well.
This thing is massive...20 tracks from some serious heavy hitters: Hantasi, 猫 シ Corp., MindSpring Memories, desert sand feels warm at night, just to name a small handful. And some of these tracks are hella long, MindSpring Memories remix of (invisible) - 无形 clocking in at over 10 minutes and 異星人’s remix of (love) - 真愛 hits the 12 minute mark.
What also makes this mixtape so much fun and such an incredible service to b e g o t t e n 自杀 is that each artist brings their own flair and signature sound to the table, but at the same time they still pay respects to that b e g o t t e n 自杀 mood. Signalwave legend S p o r t 3 0 0 0 and his jolting take on (longing) - 渴望 brings in an element of experimental and space-exploration-esque synth work, all while still laying it on top of that classic, ominous b e g o t t e n 自杀 drone. We even have the thunder from down under, A Future Funk titan: TUPPERWAVE is even on this thing, giving (aquamarine) - 蓝晶 a sort lo-fi hip hop treatment. He keeps the entire track feeling like it’s submerged in this sink full of ice cold water, a well done little tune and gives a great take on the b e g o t t e n 自杀 sound in just over a minutes worth of your time. And w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま’s remix of (ghost) - 鬼白 ?! I ain’t even gonna say anything…I’ll just let you listen to that one for yourself.
Dennis also got in on the fun as well, providing mastering for a handful of the tracks on here. The mixtape dropped seven months after the final release in the b e g o t t e n 自杀 series (new aura) - 新时代 (which we will obviously get to in just a bit, get ya seatbelts on!) and this mixtape was the perfect treat for the Halloween season in October of 2019. The album dropped alongside that mouthwatering Ghoul and Ghost box set, a limited collector's edition release dropped by Geometric Lullaby that contains every b e g o t t e n 自杀 album, including the Halloween mixtape, and was such a delightful way to pay homage to the entirety of the b e g o t t e n 自杀 story.
But now, it’s finally time to return back to where we left off. Let’s rewind it back a year earlier: October of 2018. b e g o t t e n 自杀’s 4th album, (happy anniversary) - 周年快乐, had just made its way onto the Geometric Lullaby catalogue, and around this time, the relationship between b e g o t t e n 自杀 and Dennis almost seemed sort of finalized… but was it really though?
Before that 4th release, just to quickly recap, Dennis had finally received an email from b e g o t t e n 自杀 after such a long time of hearing nothing back from them at all. Dennis wondered if they were seeing the albums on Geometric Lullaby, the reception and how the albums quickly formed a cult following. Dennis had no feedback from b e g o t t e n 自杀, which was unfortunate to him because all he wanted to know was what they thought of the releases.
The email Dennis received at the time of the 4th upload was short and simple:
"Thank you. I am still alive. I am okay for now."
Short, simple, sweet, and just enough to crack a smile on Dennis’ face. Despite its seemingly conclusive nature, Dennis wanted to take a couple of weeks to figure out how he wanted to respond and how he wanted to say it. He promised those who visited the Bandcamp page for (happy anniversary) - 周年快乐 that he would keep them updated on the situation.
b e g o t t e n 自杀’s 5th album: (forgive and forget) - 原谅和忘记 [December 24th, 2018 / GEO - 025]
Forgive and forget stands out to me for many reasons. I would say that this is the most melodic and romantic sounding of the begotten series. It uses mostly a different language so the words themselves are impossible for me to understand, but the sound of the music does all of the work with this one. Somehow, Begotten still manages that eerie feeling, a pit in your stomach, just a seed of something...off as you listen to this record.
Dennis of Geometric Lullaby
After b e g o t t e n 自杀 had thanked Dennis in his quick email, Dennis was very grateful to at least hear anything at all. After a couple of weeks, Dennis emailed b e g o t t e n 自杀 back and thanked them for the submission and their music. He explained that people were enjoying the releases and that they, b e g o t t e n 自杀, should be proud.
The email back would spring up a conversation. While Dennis was not given any details about this person's whereabouts or who they actually were, they began describing to him the intense mental illness that they lived with. Dennis notes on his Bandcamp that he actually holds a degree in psychology, so he understood plenty of what they explained.
But something (like most things involving this artist) seemed odd. As Dennis would receive more emails, he was starting to get a feeling that he was not actually speaking with b e g o t t e n 自杀 directly. It seemed as if he was messaging someone who spoke for them. A caretaker perhaps? They spoke as though they'd studied the human psyche in depth and really knew the deepest feelings of b e g o t t e n 自杀…but it just wasn't them.
All of this was happening after the 4th release obviously and before the 5th release was put out on Geometric Lullaby. Dennis was in Europe at the time with his band on tour through Germany, admitting he was a bit distracted at the time due to the shows. A bit of time would pass without Dennis answering b e g o t t e n 自杀 (due to lack of WIFI and general busy-ness) and when he figured out how he would ask if it was someone speaking on b e g o t t e n 自杀’s behalf...
He received one of the most disturbing emails yet.
For the sake of discretion, I am leaving it up to you if you would like to see the text of that email. On the Bandcamp page for (forgive and forget) - 原谅和忘记, that email is there, just be advised it is pretty morbid.
Along with this email, however, there was also an attachment labeled "me"
It was a video.
Dennis has yet to figure out what the video means, who it is, or what is going on in it. He uploaded the video to YouTube as an unlisted link through his Bandcamp page. If you click the link there, you will be able to check it out.
Dennis wasn’t sure if what was attached was some staged, fake video. Was it taken from a movie or tv show or even another YouTube video? He asks that if anyone recognizes it, let him know. The sound is unrecognizable, as is the individual in the video.
With this latest, intense email from b e g o t t e n 自杀, Dennis was once again going to take some time to figure out his next move. As time had past since (happy anniversary) - 周年快乐, Dennis thought now would be a good time to release the next album in the lineup given to him from the original b e g o t t e n 自杀 email as he once again found himself in a situation of email chess.
Released on Christmas Eve, (forgive and forget) - 原谅和忘记 would be Geometric Lullaby’s last gift for 2018. The release would contain nine tracks that all begin with “un” (except the bonus track).
1. (unprepared) - 措手不及
2. (unraveling) - 解开
3. (understanding) - 理解
4. (unfortunate) - 不幸的
5. (unending) - 无止境
6. (unconditional) - 无条件的
7. (undeserving) - 不值得
8. (unless...) - 除非…
9. (bonus track) - 同情
This is one of my favorite b e g o t t e n 自杀 releases, an extremely emotional blend of wonderful vocal sample selections melted with a heavy pouring of warm production on top. That smoky b e g o t t e n 自杀 texture is at an all time high on here, the reverb and fogginess that lays over track 3, (understanding) - 理解, is like hot fudge melting through sweet vanilla ice cream. Track number seven, (undeserving) - 不值得, features the pendulum of a beautifully tragic crying vocal loop on one side with a lonely and distant horn sample on the other. And in the middle? An ice cold blast of trap percussion, that heavy hitting hi hat frenzy is a brilliant surprise and provides some stellar contrast to the lost mood in the majority of the track.
I think “lost” is a good word to describe this album, it feels as if you’re in a virtual world of wireframe-filled hallways. Everything is black besides the thin purple lines that make up all of the wireframes. Track number five is a great example of this, (unending) - 无止境, that constant echo effect used on the claps and other instrumentals really feel as if this thing is large and, like the name of the track, never ending.
Unlike most releases that b e g o t t e n 自杀 sent over in that original email, (forgive and forget) - 原谅和忘记 would only feature one music video instead of the usual two. This music video came with track six, (unconditional) - 无条件的. And, who would’ve guessed it, more skeletons. This time though, maybe the cruddiest quality footage yet, the barely visible and barely working video is more like a collection of photos instead of a smooth flowing video. We’re simply given a skeleton dancing around, breaking down and building itself back up, all before breaking down one last time before the video ends.
Here was the poem given with this release:
Can I recognize feelings?
Can I sense that they're there?
Has all gone to numbness?
In place of despair?
I can ask for forgiveness
But I know it will never come
I can wait until you forget
But there's no ridding of what's been done
A quote was also given along with the poem that read:
Tell me why...
As with all of the other albums, a series of Chinese text was also sent along with (forgive and forget) - 原谅和忘记.
The album’s sound is in pretty heavy contrast compared to the vibes of the track list, poems, Chinese texts, and messages at the time from b e g o t t e n 自杀 (or as Dennis believed, a person talking on their behalf). I kind of see the whole thing as putting on a face, while on the inside you can feel completely different. It’s something we’ve seen come up time and time again with cases of severe mental illness, a person seeming happy and friendly on the outside while something is eating away at them on the inside.
The album hides away it’s thoughts and feelings through sound. The music given to us from b e g o t t e n 自杀 is a mask.
b e g o t t e n 自杀’s final album: (new aura) - 新时代 [March 25th, 2019 / GEO - 030]
A void is all that's left
No sanity to be found
I've lost my mind in the process
I can't distinguish any sounds
When there's nothing to live for
And you truly are at your last
You hate yourself thoroughly
Solely dwell on the past
A new you starts emerging
Something different, something clean
Something desperate for anything
Other than a dream
But dreams are what I have
They beckon me with demand
Let's hope my dreams never come true
For if they do, you'll know exactly who I am."
This was the last and final poem sent to Dennis from b e g o t t e n 自杀, this of course coming along with the 6th album: (new aura) - 新时代.
I knew this time would come. I had been waiting for it ever since releasing the very first begotten cassette, and I must say, it is bittersweet. I am honored be have been chosen by this artist to present their work to the world. I am glad that so many have listened and enjoyed what they've created. While I know it is not for everyone, I personally find each album as something special. But you probably already know that by now.
Dennis of Geometric Lullaby
(new aura) - 新时代 may be the most experimental release of the saga, and it seems fitting as this chaotic journey only seemed to get more and more bizarre along the way. It’s as if the mask from the fifth album was ripped off and b e g o t t e n 自杀’s thoughts, feelings and emotions scattered into a thousand different directions, with no destination in sight.
The album pushes far the abstract and spacious sounds of darkness. (new aura) - 新时代 plays with texture even more than the others, tracks like (distill) - 蒸馏 are straight up broken. Take the echo effects of the track we mentioned in the previous album, (unending) - 无止境, and turn it up to a hundred. Everything is crumbling...instrumentals stepping on top of one another...a stampede of muddy sounds. However, towards the end, the only thing we are left with that is tangible is that eerie, unsettling howling that’s laid over the congested mess of sounds. We see the same thing with track number ten, (connectivity) - 连接, which all feels like a Missingno. Version of a Mallsoft track, but once again that horrifying vocal comes back in to remind us of b e g o t t e n 自杀’s world.
It’s kind of like the same thing that happened in The Caretaker’s Everywhere at the End of Time, the final album in that series being the most broken and decayed release yet. Also, both projects have six releases in them…Kind of interesting to note.
To Dennis, (new aura) - 新时代 gives him feelings of other-worldliness, caverns, alien-like vibes, and pure insanity. The album feels like an emotion we can’t fathom, only something that the set, specific person it’s coming from, would understand.
The album is one of the longer releases in the b e g o t t e n 自杀 catalogue, 14 tracks which clock in at just under a half an hour.
Here was the Chinese text that was provided by b e g o t t e n 自杀 for this release:
死亡是不可避免的 - 目前至少是因为随着年龄的增长， 构成我们身体的细胞失去了自我修复的能力， 使我们容易受到心血管疾病和其他与年龄相关的大约三分之二的病症 的伤害。
When translated, we find a detailed discussion on death, which leads into human transformation. It is also a bit confusing towards the end, which I’m sure is just Google Translate being Google Translate.
This time however, no music videos were given at all. When I saw that there was none for the first time, I was a bit surprised. With a handful of videos in previous album releases, I was pretty sure there would be at least one that may answer some questions or give some closure to everything we’ve been through with b e g o t t e n 自杀. But nope, just 14 tracks.
I think this was a good move though and kind of wraps up with the ending of the whole Dennis / b e g o t t e n 自杀 saga quite well…
Upon the release of (new aura) - 新时代, Dennis was saddened that this would be the final piece. He knew not whether the world would ever see another album from begotten, but he did not want to dwell on it being over. Dennis would’ve rather dwelled on the emotion and satisfaction that this music would provide.
If you remember when Dennis released the 4th album, he stated that he had actually received another email from b e g o t t e n 自杀 thanking him for doing their releases. At the time, he couldn't think of what he wanted to say in return, and Dennis admits on the Bandcamp page for (new aura) - 新时代 that he kind of just rushed a reply in the end asking who they were and some other personal questions. It wasn't until several weeks later after all of the emails that he received an answer to his questions. It read:
"Do you really want to know who I am?"
At first, Dennis was a little mad at this response:
Why would I ask if I wasn't sure that I wanted to know who they were? But when I opened a reply email and began to type, I stopped myself. Did I really want to know? Would I be able to appreciate the music all the same if I knew the name of the person behind it all? Would it change anything?
Dennis of Geometric Lullaby
Dennis would take a few days to consider this, he knew he did not want to rush it. Whoever b e g o t t e n 自杀 was, they had trusted him with their expression. They had trusted him with their art. Dennis recalls saying:
Would it be disrespectful to say that, yes, in fact, I really wanted to know who they were? These things weighed heavily on my mind and I started to feel anxious about the entire situation. I stopped eating. I started sleeping longer each day and I began to have vivid dreams. It was impossible to tell how connected (or not) that all of this was to b e g o t t e n 自杀.
Dennis of Geometric Lullaby
In the end, after countless hours of balancing options in his head like placing coins on the plates of a scale, Dennis had finally come to a decision. He opened up an email with confidence and hit reply. In the body of the email, he simply wrote:
"You are begotten and that is all that matters to me. Thank you for trusting me."
He hit send and smiled. He then played the entire discography from beginning to end, closing his eyes and allowing it all to take him away.
Dennis no longer checked his email, constantly refreshing in hopes of a message. He had finally found the closure he had been looking for. It was never about the person behind the music, but the feeling, emotion, and atmosphere. It was about the realms to which it brought him, allowing Dennis to escape his own life, if even for a moment. he could finally fully enjoy what he had been given.
Dennis was finally at peace.
The tale of b e g o t t e n 自杀, and Dennis’ experience with the producer, is a tale we all go through in this day and age with music. I know for myself and many others who are heavily involved in the Vaporwave scene and community, there is a lot of music we love and adore from people we simply do not know. As our scene in particular has gotten closer in these past couple of years, with live shows and online shows and what not, there was a time when everything was a bit more unknown. Artists’ and aliases being able to paint even more vivid imaginations in your head of who they were and what they were all about. It’s easy to fall in love with narratives given with albums, artwork that helps you get to that set place and time the album seems like it would be in. But beyond the stories, beyond the settings, the most important thing will always be the music, the sounds, which can always be experienced bare of any context.
Nothing crazy happened in the end between Dennis and b e g o t t e n 自杀, Dennis was given this package of digital albums and just did what he thought was best with them. He never was able to find out if everything was a hoax or if this person was who they seemed to be. And in the end, he had the option to potentially figure it all out, but to Dennis, the music just seemed to be more important. Plain and simple.
Today, b e g o t t e n 自杀 is still listened to by many throughout the internet, some claiming the mysterious producer to be their favorite Vaporwave artist of all time.
But, what about our question: is b e g o t t e n 自杀 real? Fake? Is Dennis b e g o t t e n 自杀?
You know what, I’ll let you do your own digging on that one. Sometimes a mystery is best kept a mystery, but as always, it’s always up to you, my friend.
Although I really do wonder…who was in that car in the graveyard?
If you haven’t listened to the b e g o t t e n 自杀 releases yet, I highly recommend doing so, the music is so rich with or without the pairing of the b e g o t t e n 自杀 story. Thank you for joining me on this wild ride, and until next time…
Also known as "Youtube's Vaporwave Valedictorian", Pad Chennington is a content creator who has created a substantial following on YouTube for his videos discussing all things Vaporwave. Starting in the Fall of 2017, Pad's videos range from reviews to breakdowns, interviews to unboxings, and much more, always revolving around odd and interesting music genres found throughout the internet. Pad has also recently released an album in February titled "CONTRAST", available as a free download via the My Pet Flamingo label.