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Thread: V Λ P O R W Λ V Ξ ▓▒░

  1. #1
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem

    V Λ P O R W Λ V Ξ ▓▒░

    So as I've grown older my tastes in music have narrowed considerably. At this point I only like about ten genres: jazz, vaporwave, 90s electronica, and Ulver.

    (That was a joke. Ulver are minimum ten genres unto themselves.)

    Anyway I mentioned that I like vaporwave and some links to it were requested, so I did -- but it was in the diarrhea orgasm that is the Trump Dump thread, so on Piglick's suggestion I'm starting a new thread.

    Here's a quick primer on vaporwave:

    Vaporwave is a fairly recent, frequently evolving genre that relies heavily on sampling existing music and sound, ideally from bygone decades, and slowing them down and warping them to create something new, often with additional layers of original composition overtop. There's still a thriving community of artists and curators on Youtube and Soundcloud. There's a lot of overlap with trip-hop, underground/alternative hip-hop and trap music, and synthwave. It's also spawned and related to a lot of little microgenresthat don't always have much in common with "traditional" vaporwave but it all gets called "vaporwave" and lumped in together.

    There's an associated visual arts culture (important, but not integral) that revolves around the concept of "aesthetic," which mixes 80s/90s (but not always) pop culture and commercial iconography: old clipart, the weird abstraction of 90s math textbooks, footage from old 80s/90s commercials, clips from old anime and cartoons.

    Related to this, a note on the concept of "Simpsonwave" since it's probably going to come up: It's not actually a genre of music. Aesthetic plays a major part of vaporwave culture, and "Simpsonwave" was a relatively shortlived movement in which mixes or single songs were posted on Youtube with Simpsons gifs slathered in a blue filter and VHS artifacting to give it a nostalgic vibe, like watching tapes of old episodes recorded off the TV. The Simpsons is a bittersweet kind of show beneath the humor, a relic from another era that still feels relevant and relatable, so it worked well for vaporwave as an accompanying aesthetic.

    Ultimately, vaporwave is best understood as a deconstruction/reformulation of 80s/90s cultural/commercial tropes to play on a sense of nostalgia. The traditional neon-slathered aesthetic has shown up in quite a number of indie games and small projects for precisely that reason. Vaporwave, at least in its original form and intention, lays bare the modern state of what was once the cutting edge 20-30 years ago in terms of technology, design, commerce/consumerism, et cetera. Our world has changed an enormous amount in a very short period of time, and so things that seemed modern, or even futuristic, now seem quaint, and forgotten.

    However, strip away the nostalgic trappings and what you're left with is an increasingly prolific genre that shares links with the likes of trip-hop, hip-hop, smooth jazz, new age, and just good old-fashioned electronic music.

    Side note: while there is some overlap with synthwave, vaporwave shouldn't be confused with it. While they share some thematic roots they're very different genres. I was heavily into synthwave for a hot minute back in 2014 or so, but I've become increasingly frustrated with it because it never really lived up to its promise of a revival of 80s-era synth music. At heart, synthwave is a modern EDM genre that simply uses emulated synthesizer sounds for its samples. Carpenter Brut for example is borderline dubstep. Very much not what I'm looking for.

    Anyway, on to the music.

    Let's start you off with some of the basics.

    Here's a basic primer on the "classic" era of this frequently evolving genre. Features Macintosh Plus, who helped pioneer the genre with Floral Shop though I tend to prefer Blank Banshee from that era.

    Another introductory mix.

    Next here are some of the early mixes by NEOTIC, a frequent curator of mixes on Youtube whose early mixes were my gateway into this stuff.

    N O S T A L G I C

    M E L A N C H O L I C

    M E M O R I E S

    Not all of this is strictly what you'd call "vaporwave," HOME sometimes is considered synthwave, but there's a more bittersweet nostalgic property to HOME's music that I find lacking in most synthwave. Neotic seems to pick a lot of stuff that has a certain mood.

    As much as I enjoy Neotic's mixes for their specific mood, if you're looking for a really good overall source of vaporwave, its many cousin microgenres (like future funk), obscure synthwave, and a dash of synthpop, you can't go wrong with SoulSearchAndDestroy on Youtube, who gives us mixes like So 1989 and Look Up, Los Angeles!

  2. #2
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Good thread. I will explore.

    I'm big into synthwave but I agree that a lot of it misses the mark. Carpenter Brut, for example, gets it really, really right but only on occasion and mostly not. An example where they get it spot on is Looking For Tracy Tzu. I find the climax to this immense, and in context (in the gym, on a night drive) it's perfect.

    As such I dip into bands and tend only to like one or two tracks. But if anyone is interested in looking at synthwave I think Gunship are the current crowned kings, though they don't do dreamy stuff like DJ Ten's Eternal so much.

    The primer you linked has significant crossover with synthwave like that DJ Ten track imho. The other stuft not so much. Vaporwave really feels like it'd fit as some Amiga game music.

    I think, june gloom, that it was you that put me onto Miami Nights 1984 and Lazerhawk a few years ago.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    another genre which I love and kinda bleeds into the synth(or retro)wave sound/aesthetic is Citypop.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bNITQR4Uso is the poster child of the whole genre, and if you dig a little deeper is a crazy story behind this and youtube algorhythms.

    this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H0-dOAjXBk is a great place to start as well.

    as i said elsewhere, it evokes a nostalgia for an era that never really existed except in our pop culture imaginations.

  4. #4
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Why do you say the era never existed?

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    On synthwave, June's post that kicked off this discussion was a piece from the Brigador soundtrack by Makeup and Vanity Set, and the whole album is great.

  6. #6
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Great stuff. Here's the Spotify link if anyone wants to check this out: https://open.spotify.com/album/37srW...QqC6u9kShvDtJA

    MAVS have always been on my radar because they remixed a Gunship track on the first album, but I never realised they were a. so prolific and b. so good!

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Subj, the era certainly existed, but not in the way it is felt about today. Its kinda hard to put into words, but its like a social consciousness collective thing.

    https://aesthetics.fandom.com/wiki/City_Pop

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: under God's grace

    Love how the ceiling just floats off

    I always enjoyed whisperwave, especially this one song by Junebug and Jonny from Kentucky Route Zero. Not quite vaporwave, but close enough.

    Sometimes it's too late

  9. #9
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    So I've been listening to the Spotify playlist that comes up if you ask Google to play vapourwave. It's call Vaporwave, unsurprisingly (yes, you'll see me spell it both ways, force of habit, what what old boy).

    june, have you heard this? Is it a good representation in your opinion? I don't often go with Spotify's recs (e.g. the psybient one is pretty poor) but its the easiest way when on the move constantly.

    Anyway, that playlist is very stripped down 80s stuff, with samples from 80s tracks that are heavily distorted. Billy Idol, but stretched for example. It was quite chill.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    Thanks June, I just finished the workweek and am chilling with a beer and your vaporwave playlists. Thanks for the interesting thread!

  11. #11
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem
    Quote Originally Posted by SubJeff View Post
    So I've been listening to the Spotify playlist that comes up if you ask Google to play vapourwave. It's call Vaporwave, unsurprisingly (yes, you'll see me spell it both ways, force of habit, what what old boy).

    june, have you heard this? Is it a good representation in your opinion? I don't often go with Spotify's recs (e.g. the psybient one is pretty poor) but its the easiest way when on the move constantly.

    Anyway, that playlist is very stripped down 80s stuff, with samples from 80s tracks that are heavily distorted. Billy Idol, but stretched for example. It was quite chill.
    That's not the most helpful title. If you can provide a link to the specific playlist I'd appreciate it.

    Meanwhile, while it's far from 100% vaporwave, if you'd like a nice, chill, maybe rather depressive playlist on Spotify, I've been adding to a playlist of my own devising for the better part of three years.

  12. #12
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    It's this one.

  13. #13
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem
    Whaddya know, I already have it. lol.

  14. #14
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Trying your Sadwave right now. Only on the second track but thumbs up so far. I'd have no idea where to find stuff like this, it'd be by pure chance or recommendations. Makes me wonder what else I'm missing out on...

    Reminds me of a party I went to years ago where the DJ was a friend of the birthday boy and they were both into this really trancy drum and bass. I've never been able to find tracks quite like it.

    What do you think of that Vaporwave playlist then?
    Last edited by SubJeff; 15th Nov 2020 at 04:14.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    read this quote in an article today and it describes perfectly what I was trying to say about retro/vapor wave stuff and how it makes us feel.

    "This nostalgic yearning is Sehnsucht, the rich German concept C.S. Lewis described as the “inconsolable longing for we know not what.” It is “our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off.”

  16. #16
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    That's a Rammstein album dude, come on

    But, yes, I see what you mean now.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    more retrowave

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere

  19. #19
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Ohhh, like this one. Nice layers.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Drum and base - This is damn fine stuff for having something in the background while your doing something else. Loved the genre of music since I was a kid, but gotten more into it in recent years.

    Progressive rock - Used to be majorly into rock, metal and alternative growing up, but you just don't hear anything new of that on the radio anymore (radio sucks nowadays). So overtime got more and more into internet radio and progressive rock (eg Porcupine Tree, Dreamtheater etc).

    Synthetic wise - The Weekend and Daft Punk is the only thing I like down that road presently.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    none of that has anything to do with the subject matter of this thread, do you even have any reading comprehension?

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Just stumbled on an Errant Signal video about the game Broken Reality where he also delved briefly into vaporwave:


  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    none of that has anything to do with the subject matter of this thread, do you even have any reading comprehension?
    Drum and base and Daft Punk / the Weekend do. Do you even have a brain, or are you an idiot every other day?

  24. #24
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Oh I hope they don't fit or literally the last 4+ videos I posted in the "What are you listening to now?" thread should have been posted here instead!

  25. #25
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    Drum and base and Daft Punk / the Weekend do. Do you even have a brain, or are you an idiot every other day?
    Nah, they really don't.

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