There are two important things you can figure out from carbine's scant online presence, which apparently didn’t exist until a few weeks ago (their first SoundCloud upload is dated to June 21st). The first is that they really like the Cartoon Network show The Amazing World of Gumball: all of carbine’s cover arts feature its goldfish character Darwin, and their location on SoundCloud is set as the show’s fictional setting of “Elmore, California.”
The second is that they really like dltzk. carbine's Twitter bio immediately marks them as “dltzk #1 fan”, but their music owes more to leroy, dltzk’s side project. This is the home of “dariacore”, a series of mind-boggling tracks that hurtle SoundCloud hits and memeable pop classics through online EDM chaos, punching open portals between genres and making scenes collapse in on themselves like the most climactic moments of a URLfest. (At first, leroy was presented as a mysterious solo act, but when the dariacore songs were assembled into one compilation in May, it was released on dltzk.bandcamp.com, putting the question of leroy’s identity to rest.) It’s some of the most exciting music of the year; carbine’s discography is full of explosive breakcore edits and Jersey club remixes which push forward the “I have FL Studio and can do whatever I want” ethos that defined Dariacore.
carbine’s first notable moment came as the producer behind vasto’s “bothering”. On previous songs like “wassup”, vasto has built her voice into instrumentals that recall the anthemic soundtracks of games like MegaMan, charging them up with drums and breakbeats to complete the sound. Carbine’s beat for “bothering” starts off with those chiptune trademarks — “on the road to the top, get out my way,” sings vasto — but quickly escalates into a much bigger breakcore construction that drowns out the intro. By the end, vasto’s digitized voice is just one piece of a massive, pounding sonic experiment that sounds like it could electrocute you.
Listening to “bothering”, you start to wonder: how did this 16-year-old producer appear out of nowhere? They didn’t seem to exist at all until last month, but they’ve already made connections within their scene and attracted a sizeable following.
If you investigate the other artists carbine is following, things get even stranger. You find accounts like elwood, named after the city in the PBS Kids show Arthur; d1tto, named after the Pokemon, and gerald, whose avatar is a picture of Garfield — all with a couple of dariacore-esque songs posted, all of them anonymously themed after some character, and all of whom popped up around the same time with no prior online footprint. If you keep unraveling the web of SoundCloud followers, it seems endless.
One common thread, though, is that leroy, the account where dltzk released the dariacore songs, follows many of these accounts on SoundCloud. leroy's own twitter bio marks them as the “founder of dariacore”, which suggests that there are multiple members. So are carbine and all of these other accounts just more of dltzk’s alt accounts? Among the web of follows, you can also find accounts like d0llywood1's alt “silly". So are these new accounts the secret alts of a bunch of dltzk’s peers, all working at once to concoct a mystery? Is this roster related to Twerknation28, the collective where various digicore-adjacent artists whip up deep-internet Jersey club edits of various songs? It’s hard to say.
Beyond the remixes, carbine has started releasing original songs with their own vocals. On “inside my head", carbine begins with 16-bit synth reflections like the ones dltzk threaded throughout their album Teen Week — sounds that whisk you back to memories of playing your DS under the covers as a kid. Then a cascade of cleaner, more vivid melodies envelops the mix, as carbine sings (in a pitch-shifted voice that isn’t recognizable as any known artist) about their troubled mind. “inside my head” starts off in the past, but when the song opens up into a stuttering dance whirlwind and springs to life, it feels like seeing the future. We don’t quite know who carbine is or what exactly is going on, but it’ll be exciting to watch the mystery unfold — and hear songs that unlock new levels in the online universe.