SPLICE GIRLS “Spliceworld” C40 (Suite 309)

It’s no secret that I was a Spice Girls fanatic. I don’t why it happened that way, I just latched on to the phenomenon and rode it. There was no reason for doing it – I was much happier listening to indie guitar bands at the time, but there it was, that Spiceworld poster hanging on my college bedroom. Yes, I received funny looks from people the first time they’d see it. Sometimes those funny looks would morph into general outrage. (Not really, but wouldn’t that have been something?) I didn’t care. There was something about Mel B., Mel C., Ginger, Victoria, and Emma that really spoke to a college sophomore like me.

Nah, that’s not it – I just liked how they looked on the poster.

Listening to the geniously monikered Splice Girls on their geniously titled Spliceworld, one would think that late-1990s pop radio was actually a pinnacle of some kind of modern art. It’s not, even remotely, but Mel D. and Mel Z. fuck songs up until they resemble a beam of sentient energy directed right into the center of your brain. You’re powerless against the sinking feeling that your late adolescence/early adulthood (if you’re my age) is unmooring itself from its place in your history and careening like a Voltron with a thousand components through the streets of downtown Anywheresville, wreaking havoc on the psychic populace like a thousand-component Voltron in a china shop. Did that really happen? Or was that the beam?

The hits just keep disintegrating, like an atomic bomb just went off within the radio, and everywhere I turn a new song tries to rise above the destruction but quickly collapses and is replaced by the next song behind it. Mel D. and Mel Z. keep splicing, keep decaying, and the melted-faced MTV pyrotechnics take on terrible new hues before crusting over like blowtorched magazines. I watch as everything I was mildly fascinated by for fifteen seconds gets mulched through the spools, magnetic tape the blood and the casualty and the carnage. I gaze at Mel C., Sporty Spice, on the cover, a collage reminiscent of the interior of a high-school stalker’s locker door, and I’m not remotely comforted (I was more of a Melanie Brown/Emma Bunton fan, myself).

My timeline ultimately resets, the beam becomes vapor (somehow) and vanishes. I’m left in a pool of samples, raw and battered, the song fragments flopping like fish dying on a beach, trying to suck oxygen from the atmosphere, but no, they can’t! No lungs. My Spiceworld poster, long shredded (I imagine) in a dumpster in central Pennsylvania, likely rat nest fodder, is merely a memory, and my memories are quickly receding into a vast blank nothing. That is until the Splice Girls get a hold of my consciousness. Then all bets are off.

Notice, too, the heart sticker on the cover of the tape, like a Valentine’s Day message candy, but paper and glue: “363 tape loops banned from Bandcamp!” The poor, poor loops. May they always find a home in a physical format.

Suite 309

--Ryan Masteller