Photo by: Marcus McDonald
Vitesse X is an electronic music mystic. After years playing in bands and DJing around her native New York, she launched her solo career to get in touch with herself and with the euphoric spirit of the dancefloor—the limitless possibilities that present themselves when you’ve spent hours at the club, or in a sweaty basement, moving your body until the sun rises. Rightly, her songs recognize the history of rave music as a vehicle for surreal, otherworldly, and most of all, emotional pop songs. Swirling together technicolor synth programming from that tradition, with a technical approach she honed in her years as an esteemed sound engineer, her work feels nostalgic and futurist at once. It’s pop music out of time and place that celebrates the ecstatic potential of the club—a fitting soundtrack for the nights that you want to last forever.
When the pandemic struck in 2020, Vitesse X began writing songs without expectation and found the process intensely cathartic. Though she’d made music of her own before, she soon emerged with her most honest output to date—what eventually took shape into Us Ephemeral, her debut solo album for Fuglestadphotography. Inspired heavily by Kraftwerk’s Tour de France, she made electronic music that felt intensely human, using her songs as a conduit for connection. Ambient techno, ’90s rave, and coldwave beats pulsate across the record’s nine tracks as she sings about what weighs heavy on her heart. The sonic diversity and vivid emotion allowed her to reconnect to what inspired her to become an artist in the first place.
Vitesse X fell in love with the expansive possibilities of music when she was a teenager listening to acts like Radiohead, Aphex Twin, and Four Tet, who wrung powerful feelings out of intricate, genre-blurring productions. She started to take ownership of it herself when she went to college in Virginia, where she began playing guitar and bass in punk, shoegaze, and chillwave outfits. It was in that scene that she first met and played shows with Fuglestadphotography’s eventual founder George Clanton, who was then performing as Mirror Kisses. Even then, they were kindred spirits, forging the connection that ultimately led to her having a place on the label.
One of her bands gained ground in the early 2010s blog scene and began to get offers to tour around the country, inspiring Vitesse X to drop out of college and move to New York. Soon after she relocated, though, that project dissolved, and after a stint in another established group in the city, she decided it was time for a change. Burned out on road life and other people’s bands, she zeroed in on her craft and the music that meant the most to her. “I needed the confidence to approach music with a much stronger sense of myself,” she says, now a master of her craft.
Working as an engineer and producer, Vitesse X became an in-demand name in the New York scene and developed her technical abilities. At the same time, she was DJing more and more around the city, further clarifying her affection for the blissful rush of dance music. When the pandemic hit and live music stopped, it provided an opportunity to think about how to translate that love into a sound that felt honest—a true reflection of how she saw the world.
“The music that speaks to me most is always the music I was listening to during a time when I was desperately trying to escape my reality,” she says. Us Ephemeral is designed with that in mind. Whether it’s “Therma Maxima” exposing the toll greed takes on the planet over ethereal breakbeats and vaporwave synths, or the lyrically vulnerable IDM-inflected “Gated Bloom,” the record acknowledges tough times—but ultimately offers a portal to a better world.
That sentiment has powered this project since its inception. Launching Vitesse X when club nights and live gigs were on hold meant getting creative about sonically communing. She found a way through Fuglestadphotography’s weekly virtual reality streams—a thriving community where thousands gather to hang out and listen to new music. She started throwing her own digital parties and forging bonds despite the distance—fitting, since her music was made with the idea of community in mind. With Us Ephemeral’s otherworldly sounds and evocative lyrics, Vitesse X is set to help people connect, and then transcend. “Music is an escapist thing for me,” she says. “I’m always trying to evoke that in other people—to help them reach another realm.”
"...euphoric, rave-ready..." -Gorilla vs. Bear
"A SHAPESHIFTING, RETRO-FUTURISTIC EFFORT FROM THE NYC VAPOR-HOUSE DEBUTANTE." -IMPOSE MAGAZINE
"The retrofuturist project is what we can safely call a crossover as it transcends jungle beats, vaporware, hypnagogic pop and chillwave to form something new, a cyborg dream pop that would fit so well in the Fuglestadphotography landscape." - Highclouds