情報デスクVIRTUAL // 幌コンテンポラリー // April 20 // Beer On The Rug
Carrying on where I’ve left off the other day with the Flower Shoppe review. The so called vaporwave is a weird creature. With Macintosh Plus we established that it takes samples and gives them a screw treatment while working in the nostalgia of the dawn of the computer era. As 情報デスクVIRTUAL AKA Virtual Information Desk will show, it’s much more complicated.
幌コンテンポラリー, otherwise known as Contemporary Sapporo is an elevator jazz record, to put it simply. Add that to the other vaporwave artists who find their samples and inspiration in the forgotten edges of 80s pop and you might as well just disregard the genre as some sort of wasteland of irony. Many people (plebs) still don’t take sampling as a serious way to make music, put that next to awkward samples and you’ll get something that is way too easy to hate. Contemporary Sapporo works outside these norms then. Treat it as an internet era jazz record with nostalgia for the pre-internet era hardware. It’s not like it’s a one trick pony either. First two tracks on here might be what I just described but the next two that follow are much more tribal and ambient. You know those weirdos who pick stuff in junkyards and then create something so great, something you can’t even buy with your pocket money? That’s the sort of album that Contemporary Sapporo is.
Virtual Information Desk just happens to be the same person who works under Macintosh Plus name (and a couple of other ones). The two releases are hard to compare though as while Flower Shoppe has largely worked in the constraints of pop music, Contemporary Sapporo is closer to lounge and chillout. The screwed vocals are few and far in between, even the screwed music can be lost among the vast amount of what sounds like untreated samples on tracks like the amazingly titled WELCOME 2 SHOP@HOME NETW☯RK LLC #WEEDBREAK #ROLL_UP_THEM_BLUNTS_FOR_2K12 and PRISM CORP不可能な生き物. Moments like those are the most memorable on here because of their cheesiness. Electric pianos, sax solos, some electric guitar. It’s a modern art take on the Japanese futurism. Acquired taste to say the least. What makes Contemporary Sapporo brilliant and arguably the best release under the vaporwave umbrella is its ability to adjust itself and despite being made up of corporate sounds, force some feeling onto itself. Tracks like 7 WONDERS OF THE iNTERNET FT WIND☯WS 97「GEOMETRIC HEADDRESS」, XX ”RUBY DUSK ON A 2ND LIFE NUDE BEACH” ☯ … の生活・・・「ロベルタ」 and HB☯ PORN act as mood setters among the more upbeat moments. The use of negative space helps the LP as it makes it much more than just an audio collage. Think of Contemporary Sapporo as vaporwave version of Chromatics’ Kill For Love, a record that built upon its great pop moments with long ambient passages that enhanced the mood and made every moment that much more important.
Just like Kill For Love then, Contemporary Sapporo is not for the impatient. It’s around 70 minutes long and requires at least 4 listens to even begin to digest all that happens during its 25 tracks. It’s worth the time as in the end Virtual Information Desk delivers an album that works as one piece of music that, despite all its samples flows effortlessly. You won’t find yourself being bewildered by the sounds and going over your head to scout out all the samples used here, it doesn’t work like that. It shouldn’t work at all but despite it all, Contemporary Sapporo feels like watching the technicolor sunset during the perfect date in a dos junkyard.
Macintosh Plus // Floral Shoppe // February 25 // Beer On The Rug
I’m always looking for a new sound, something exciting and something innovative. While many people will roll their eyes and say that 2012 is all about seapunk, I will beg to differ. While its aesthetic is nice and the sounds and pleasurable enough, its makers are lazy posers that are more concerned with taking a cool photo on Instagram rather than making music. Fuck seapunk, give vaporwave a chance.
What is vaporwave? Good question. It’s a nostalgic genre but not in a way where the producer just makes generic electronic music with tons of reverb on top. It has been compared to chillwave by some and while it does aim for that neon 80s sound, it is predominantly made of samples. The result aims to sound like something that was being used in advertisement at the turn of the computer era. That’s why it’s also been called eccojams and doswave. Vaporwave feels like a soundtrack to lost japanese home computer adverts, elevator music, the sounds that come out of the phone while you’re waiting on your call, soundtrack to j-rpg games on Sega Saturn. It has that 80s Japan feel to it, all the song titles are in japanese despite the fact that most of the producers come from the States. Over the next few weeks I’ll review the essential vaporwave albums released so far as personally I find this aesthetic very pleasing.
First things first, there’s no point in questioning who these artists are. Vaporwave is the baby of the internet and these are people of the internet, a bunch of anons. Floral Shoppe is the release by a person/group called Macintosh Plus, the cover of the album sums up the sounds on here pretty well. It feels like 80s music backed by 80s ideas with sampling mindset of the present day. All things on here are made out of samples, some tracks have vocals, most are instrumental. Vaporwave is a young genre and it shows as Flower Shoppe feels like a collection of ideas that are stuck around one or two tracks that are actually great. リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー samples Diana Ross’ It’s Your Move, cuts it, screws around with it and delivers a 7 minute meltdown that is just as great as the original. It’s the definite standout on here and one track that shows genre’s capabilities of screwing and rearranging music that already exists. It doesn’t just take a sample to make a new song, it samples the song to make itself into a warped version of the same song, not quite the same as a remix or chopped & screwed versions. ECCOと悪寒ダイビング is one of the better moments too, sounding like it samples your average Phil Collins track, it manages to make a track that progresses instead of just looping that same thing over and over. The rest of the album is definitely good but it requires more patience and just like the music that it takes its samples from, it ends up being sound of the background.
It’s clear that vaporwave is inspired by people like The Field and especially Oneohtrix Point Never. Daniel Lopatin’s progression-by-loops technique is currently making him one of the most exciting young new faces in the IDM playground and his last album is definitely a big inspiration on these young producers. Replica consisted of tracks that were made from old commercials. Vaporwave takes that idea and puts it against the backdrop of 80s neon lifestyle. Floral Shoppe aims for one specific sound and while the album does feel like a bunch of songs to support the couple of truly great moments, at least it nails that sound.