Monday, November 11, 2019

Synthwave Review: Pictures of Purple Skies

Pictures of Purple Skies by Memorex Memories is the latest installment in an amazing artist's discography.  It's both nostalgic and fresh at the same time, and to me gives off a sense of wonder at the future.

Like most synthwave albums, Pictures of Purple Skies has a bit of a futuristic feel, but it also dabbles in the past.  Little bits of FM radio, children playing, and waves rolling on a beach can be heard throughout the album, almost as if fragments of memories are coming to the surface as you listen.  This makes an awesome contrast that feels unique and helps set apart the album from the competition.

One track in particular, Ebb and Flow, is quite interesting as it deviates from the traditional synthwave formula by incorporating an acoustic melody to accompany a fast paced beat and ambient synths.  Another interesting track is Fathom (Deep Dive) as it uses a voice fading in an out of the song to add an interesting little twist to it, one that I thought was rather cool.  I personally love both of these tracks, and was pleasantly surprised when I first heard them.

Personally I would describe this album as chillwave.  It's great to just throw on and relax to.  It has a few fillers, which I'm never a huge fan of, but besides that this whole album is an amazing journey through the past, or future, depending on how you look at it ;)

So, I definitely recommend giving this thing a listen, and if you like it to check out the rest of Memorex Memories' work.  I promise you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Halloween Aesthetics: a Youtube Halloween Vaporwave mix

I just recently stumbled upon this mix on Youtube dedicated entirely to Halloween Vaporwave songs!

The video itself is kind of old (it was uploaded in 2016), so the songs all make use of the older style of Vaporwave featuring samples, loops, and lots of distortion! :P

But still, I'd say this is totally worth a listen, even if you only throw it on in the background while doing something else.  It's a spooky little trip into the past of Vaporwave music ;)

Hope y'all enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ambient Review: Hovel of the Pumpkin Witch

In the spirit of Halloween, today we'll be reviewing a spooky ambient/drone album titled Hovel of the Pumpkin Witch!

I found this album while randomly browsing the ambient section on Bandcamp, and I was obviously intrigued by it's Halloween imagery.  I love all things ambient and Halloween, so I though why not give it a shot?

First off I have to say I absolutely love the album cover.  It's got that classic, nostalgic, Halloween feeling to it that we all know and love.  Additionally, the description for the album has a short story following the character "Mr. C" as he attempts to uncover the mystery of why so many children in his town go missing during the Halloween season.  I thought this story was a genius touch to the album, and helped with the overall world building the artist seems to be doing.

The music itself is what I would call ambient/drone with a heavy focus on synths.  Every track has a foreboding/demonic feeling to it, making you feel like you're in some dark dungeon, or traveling to the pits of hell.  The only song that deviates from the normal formula would be Track 5, Patchwork Monster, which is a three minute track with a highly repetitive melody and clips from different horror movies overlayed on top of it.  I thought this was a nice break in the middle of the album, and I absolutely love the word play here.

As for the artist himself, his entire Bandcamp page is dedicated to Halloween albums, of which he currently has three released.  All three follow the story of Mr. C, and he seems to be releasing one every October.  I personally love the intertwined narrative of these albums, and can't wait to see what the artist has in store for next year! :)

So, I definitely recommend you check this album out.  It's an eerie, chilling album that'll get anyone into the Halloween spirit.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Pop Review: Pop Food

Whew!  I'm finally back with a real post!  It's been long enough :P

Annnndd... it's not a Vaporwave album.  Well that's true, it's not, but I must say this album has had me grooving since I first found it a week or two ago and I think you all are going to like it ;)

Pop Food by Jack Stauber is one of the best "pop" (if you can even call it that) albums I've ever come across.  It's songs have a weird, distorted sound which Jack's unusual singing style wholly compliments, and while at first it might just seem like some odd little album that you're supposed to listen to once and never pick up again, but the more you listen the more you realize how great of a musician Jack truly is.

Like I said, this album is weird, but it's songs are also insanely catchy.  Jack does an amazing job of creating original melodies and lyrics while still making sure that every song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the week.  This isn't your typical lovesick pop album, it's so much more.

I know it may seem like I'm gushing about this album a bit more than I usually do, but I was super impressed my first listen through, especially since I had zero idea what I was getting myself into.

So yeah, obviously I recommend you guys go check out this album, and if you have a little extra time definitely check out Jack's YouTube channel where he makes cool little animated shorts.

So thanks for reading, and I'll see ya in the next post!


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Meta: I'm Alive, I Swear!

Okay okay, remember when I said I'd be getting back to more frequent posting? Yeah... well here we are.  I've still been busy and have been spending my (admittedly little) free time doing other things.  I haven't been keeping up with the Vaporwave scene as much as I used to either, but I should have a post or two coming out soon ;)

So yeah, sorry again, and I have a real post on the way!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Future Funk Review: Pink Dance EP ピンクのダンス

I'd just like to start this post by apologizing for the lack of content recently.  This summer has been crazy busy so far, and it's been hard for me to keep up with all the new releases/goings on in the community as well as write about them.  I'm hoping as things lighten up I'll be able to get back into the groove of things.  Anyway, enough of my blabbing, let's get on with the review!

I've only heard one of Future Girlfriends albums before this one, so I wasn't exactly sure what I was in for with Pink Dance EP ピンクのダンス.  What I found was a simple, yet fairly original take on Future Funk.  The EP doesn't use the standard city pop samples (at least not as far as I can tell), which I thought was refreshing right off the bat.  All the songs are simple but catchy.  If you're they type of person that hates getting the same song stuck in your head forever then this EP isn't for you ;)

Another thing I've always loved about Future Girlfriend is his album art.  I'll admit, I'm a bit of a sucker for colorful anime album covers, but I think regardless of that he always manages to make clean, colorful, professional looking covers that aren't always present in the other Vaporwave sub-genres.

And finally, to close this review, I'd just like to say I love the "hello my future girlfriend" sample he puts in the songs.  I never really thought about it until this EP, but that meme is most likely where he got the name from, and I think that's hilarious.

So the final verdict: check it out if you have a few minutes to spare.  It's energetic catchy tunes are sure to put you in a good mood for the rest of the day!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dark Ambient Review: TOWERS

TOWERS by TOWERS is a cinematic, ambient adventure through a dark dystopian future.  It's Dark Ambient, which is a genre I've loved for quite a while, but still haven't explored as much as I would like to.  Dark Ambient being sub-genre of Ambient characterized by dark, dystopian themes which I personally adore.

The album itself is one of the best I've come across in the genre.  It doesn't quite rival 2814's masterpiece: Birth of a New Day, but it feels like a little brother to it of sorts, at least in the overall theme.

The album consists of four tracks: TOWERS I, TOWERS II, TOWERS III, and TOWERS IV.  Each one sort of blends into one another, and makes it seem like it's all one giant musical piece.  Each track is quite long, with the shortest being twelve minutes long and the longest being sixteen.

The whole thing all feels like one long walk through a cyberpunk city on a sad, rainy night.  It has distorted samples of rain, police cars, ghostly voices, and numbers of other things to help set the mood.  I think it does a good job of giving off enough of an air of purpose to know what it wants to be, but is also still vague enough to let the listener's imagination fill in the blanks.

I think what really makes an Ambient album good for me is when I forget I'm even listening to it at all.  If it lets my mind wander and go where it wants to, it's done it's job in my eyes.  And, from listening to this album, I can definitely say it did this well.  It's not overly complicated or showy, but it's still there, almost guiding your mind through your own imagination.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Future Funk Review: Hibiki EP

Hibiki EP by Hibiki is the artist's first and only album, with only one three year old single under his belt, and I must say it's very good, especially for a first go!

It's everything you'd expect from a future funk album, with a little less focus on anime/Japanese culture than some of it's peers.  While it's only six tracks long, every one is enjoyable.

I actually ended up picking the cassette up from Palm '84 during their sale, and it holds up very well.  It sounds great, and the cover/cassette art is awesome looking.  Another little touch I enjoyed on the cassette is that Hibiki actually listed the sample used for every song on the album, which I thought was a nice change.  Unfortunately they're sold out, but I'd definitely recommend  getting it if it every gets reprinted.

So, as with every album I've reviewed so far on this site, I'd definitely recommend checking it out!  It's a great little album to start your summer off right with ;)

Friday, June 28, 2019

News: BAE 5 just Dropped!

BAE 5 just dropped today, and man does it vibe!  I haven't listened to the whole thing yet (I wanted to get this post out as soon as possible), but I have no complaints so far.  He's got some classic future funk beats in there, as well as some more traditional songs with other artists doing original vocals.

Speaking of which, it feels a bit surreal to have bbno$, Billy Marchiafava, and Yung Bae on the same track, but I can't say I don't like it.  I'm proud of Bae, he's moving up and making what he wants to make.

Well, I'mma get back to listening.  I obviously recommend everyone to give it a listen, this was a long time coming :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Internet Findings: Vaporgames, a Vaporwave Videogame Blog

Vaporgames.blog is a new blog dedicated to Vaporwave themed video games.  Vaporwave themed games are something I personally haven't delved into (despite loving video games quite a bit), so this might be a good way for me to get into them ;)

The blog posts are well written, and the site has a simple to-the-point design that makes it easy to navigate.  The site is only nine days old but is already looking very nice.  I'm personally a big fan of blogs (obviously :P) and an avid user of RSS, so I'm always happy to see new blogs emerging.

So whether your into video games or not I'm sure Vaporgames would be an interesting read for you, and I highly recomend you check it out!

(P.S. Thanks for linking my site Vaporgames ;)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Meta: Sorry for the lack of posts!

Just wanted to make a short post saying sorry for the lack of posts lately!  I've been on a trip this week and haven't had much time to write.  I should be able to get a new post out sometime around Wednesday, so look out for that, and thanks for your patience!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Synthwave Review: Humavision

Humavision by MightyGlen is a fun, energetic little Synthwave album.  It has a very cinematic feeling throughout the whole thing, while also managing to add in some slower more emotional sounding parts (e.g. the beginning of track 2: Existence Is Life) which I thought was a nice change of pace.

I thoroughly enjoy every track on this album with one exception, that being track 6: A Judgement.  I personally found the vocals to be a bit out of place in this track, and I would've enjoyed it more without them.  Now, that's not to say I didn't enjoy any of the vocals the album offered, I thought the robotic sounding vocals at then end of track 2 where a nice addition, I just personally thought on that track specifically they were a bit off.

I have one final nit-pick with this album, but it doesn't lie within the music itself, rather the cassette.  I enjoyed this album enough to pick up the cassette, but I found it odd that there wasn't a track-list on the sleeve at all.  I'm not really sure why this decision was made, but I just thought it was a bit weird.  Perhaps there's something going on there I don't quite understand, though.

So, final verdict: this album is very good.  I loved the vibes it gives off, and it's super enjoyable the whole way through.  I would definitely suggest it to anyone looking for a dystopian cyberpunk adventure.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Broken Transmission Review: 地球

地球 by 天気予報 is quite the interesting album.  I remember being taken quite aback when stumbling across it in 天気予報's discography because it's completely different from any of his work I've heard.

Instead of the traditional commercial samples and chopped jingles, it's a more traditional vaporwave album.  The first track, a punchy synth-filled joy, sets the mood perfectly for the rest of the experience.

This entire album makes me feel like I'm jamming out in a spaceship floating around somewhere.  It has heavy space vibes (I mean, just look at the cover), but still manages to keep that smokey retro feeling over the entire thing.

I'm not sure I would quite label this album Broken Transmission, but that's what the artist tags it as, and that's what he's known for, so I'm going to title it that for the sake of simplicity.

So, given how short this album is (it's only 4 tracks long), I'd say give it a listen.  It's some of 天気予報's best work in my opinion, and it's a lot easier to listen to than some of his other stuff.  You might even find a new sub-genre you end up loving!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Internet Findings: Pad Chennigton, a Vaporwave Youtube Channel

Pad Chennington has recently become quite the figure in the vaporwave community.  He's easily the biggest vaporwave Youtube channel out there, and for good reason.  He has a smooth voice, a unique descriptive style, and well done editing.  Add all of these things together with a obscure genre of music and you've got yourself a hidden gem ;)

One of my favorite things about his channel is his vinyl review series.  In it he not only reviews the album itself, but the quality of the vinyl as well.  It's a great way to learn what to look for and which labels to stay away from when you're just getting into the vapor-vinyl scene.  He also has several very well done videos on vaporwave sub genres, namely Future Funk, Utopia Virtual, Mallsoft, and Signalwave.

Another cool thing he does is his live streams, which are always very laid back and fun to tune in to.  He usually discusses the general happenings of the community during these while obviously allowing viewer input/discussion.

Overall, I'd give his channel a 10/10.  It's a great source of information for vaporwave newbies and veterans alike.

Friday, June 7, 2019

News: Yung Bae Drops his First Single off BEA 5!

Yung Bae dropped his first single off his upcoming album BAE 5 last night with a music video coming out just today, and man do I love this song!  It's classic Future Funk with a bit of a fresh twist on it.  It makes me even more excited for the album, which should be coming out sometime before the summer begins!

Additionally, he just announced his BAE 5 tour which will be going on this summer/fall.  You can find more information on that over on his website.

So yeah, Yung Bae fails to disappoint yet again!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Future Funk Review: Online Dating

Online Dating by Vercetti is a ten track Future Funk treat.  Its bouncy anime-fueled beats are the perfect ear candy to satisfy all your FF cravings.

The album uses City Pop samples as most FF albums do, and isn't anything too adventures for the genre, but it hits all the standard beats very well.  It's upbeat, uses heavy summer vibes, and is fueled by Japanese samples.  Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to personal preference.

One thing I'll say, though, is that the title of the album is a bit odd in my opinion.  When I think of FF I don't necessarily think of the internet as I do when listening to some of the other Vaporwave sub-genres.  It's just not a prevalent theme.  Because of this I was expecting something different from this album, something fresh, but it's just a standard FF album.

That said, as I mentioned earlier it's still a very good album, and I would recommend it to any FF fans out there.  Just don't do what I did and expect anything new ;)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Internet Findings: Private Suite, a Vaporwave Magazine

Private Suite is a online-based magazine focused on Vaporwave and its subgenres.  It has reviews, news, and even fictional pieces based off Vaporwave!  It's a very interesting project which currently has five issues out and a sixth on the way.

You can purchase both a physical and digital subscription to the magazine through Patron, as well as a third tier which gets you physical goodies alongside the magazine.

I haven't read any of the issues, so I can't speak on their quality, but my man Pad Chennington did a video praising what they're doing, as well as going a bit more in-depth about the contents of the issue, so make sure to check his video out!

So in conclusion, I think this is an awesome project.  I love how passionate the Vaporwave community is about their work, and I absolutely love all the physical media that is created by it, whether that be vinyl, cassettes, magazines, or anything else.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Vaporwave Review: midday dream transit

midday dream transit by anyways feels like a dreamy trip through the Microsoft headquarters.  The album has a few themes that seem to run through it, the main ones being (for me) technology, big companies, and an overall dreamy feeling.

The eight track album has a variety of styles throughout.  From the upbeat sounds of simple dance song, the OS startup tune of new login and the dreamy trip that is cubical sounds it's like the variety of the buffet in the company lunch room. 

Additionally, it's been released on cassette with only twenty pressed!  There are still 2 left as of the publication of this post, so make sure to hurry and pick one up if you want it! ;)

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Future Funk Review: Japanese Disco Edits

Japanese Disco Edits by YUNG BAE is a simple, fun little Future Funk EP.  There's not much to it, just some upbeat feelgood Future Funk Beats sampling obscure J-Pop/City Funk songs.

And, because of this, there isn't much to dislike about it.  If you enjoy Future Funk you'll enjoy this.  YUNG BAE is a master of nostalgic summer vibes, and this early release of his is no exception.

My favorite track has to be Bae City Rollaz.  With a funky beat, nice vocals, and a nice sample break in the middle, it makes you feel like your dancing in some retro-futuristic Japanese dance club.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Internet Findings: Vaporwave shop, Vapor 95

If you're looking for vaporwave merch, Vapor 95 seems to be the place to go.  While I haven't personally bought any of their stuff, and therefore can't give an opinion on the quality, it seems to do quite well, and it seems most people are happy with it.

Additionally they have a blog section titled "Darknet" where they have artist spotlights, album reviews, and other things you'd expect from a Vaporwave blog ;)

So yeah, if you're looking for vaporwave shirts, hoodies, pants, and more check out Vapor 95.  And be sure to let me know what you think if you end up buying anything :)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

News: Late Night Delight Vinyl Sells out in two Hours!

Saint Pepsi and Luxury Elite's album Late Night Delight had a vinyl reprinting yesterday, and it sold one thousand copies in an astounding two hours!  I was lucky enough to see the email from My Pet Flamingo (the label doing the reprinting) a few minutes after it went live and pick up a copy for myself.

I must admit, I'd never heard Saint Pepsi before I bought the record, but boy am I glad I did.  I downloaded and listened to the digital version just after I purchased the vinyl, and whew is it good!  I'll most likely do a full review of it some time in the near future.

Anyway, I hope everyone who wanted a copy got one, because boy did they go quick!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Vaporwave: The First Ever Vaporwave Song?

Arguably the first vaporwave song to ever be created was "nobody here" by sunsetcorp.  It was uploaded to Youtube on July 19, 2009 with the original upload still up as of the date of publication.  This means, one could argue, that we are approaching the tenth year anniversary of the vaporwave music genre.  Whether people will see it that way or not, I don't know.

The song itself is an eerie, reverb-filled loop of one line from "The Lady in Red" by Chris De Burgh.  Accompanying it is an an old 90s computer graphic of a curvy, never-ending rainbow road.

While the song only goes on for two minutes, it seems like hours when you listen to it for the first time.  I remember the first time I heard it I was filled with a feeling of hopelessness, like I was stuck inside this endless loop of a song for eternity.

So with the tenth year anniversary of this song, if not vaporwave as a whole, coming up, go and check it out.  I guarantee you won't regret it ;)

A link to the original Youtube upload: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RFunvF0mDw

Mallsoft Review: everything must go

everything must go by chicagopalmsコンピューター has to be one of my favorite mallsoft albums out there.  It's simple, easy to listen to, and uses a great selection of commercial samples to really transport you back to a 90s mall experience.

This album is slightly more upbeat than a lot of mallsoft albums, with a few tracks being more traditional and elevator music-y.  The second track, "executiveパワーランチ", is by far my favorite.  I find myself actually moving with the music to this one, which is something you don't find often in mallsoft.  Additionally, I love the Microsoft and AOL commercial samples in "executiveパワーランチ" and "ようこそstay" respectively.  These really drive home that 90s feeling, and compliment the groovy beats even further.

Another thing I enjoy about this album is the song titles.  Titles such as "ヨットinterior", ".arcade", "airconditioning_scented_autoON", and "foodcourt brunch" really compliment the entire aesthetic of this album and extenuate the mall feeling still further.

The last point I'd like to touch on is that I have a bonus song on my downloaded album that doesn't seem to be available anymore.  On the bandcamp page it lists seven songs, but my version has eight.  Additionally, it has a different album cover than the current bandcamp page.  I'm not sure why this is as I honestly forget how I came across/downloaded this album in the first place.  Anyway, the final track, "crush", is another groovy track to add to the list.

So in conclusion, I highly recommend this album to any mallsoft fan, or even anyone looking to get into the genre.  It's an upbeat, groovy trip through a classic 90s mall that I don't think anyone could regret.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Internet Findings: A Beginner's Mega Guide to Vaporwave

I've been around the r/vaporwave subreddit for a while now and one of the best things I've ever found on it was u/CatholicGuy77's vaporwave guide.  He does a great job of describing all the main sub-genres of vaporwave as well as making an easy to understand guide that's fun and simple to navigate.  He hits all the great artists/albums and it's a great guide for helping someone new to the genre find an album they'll like, as well as veterans trying to find something they've never heard before.

The guide: https://i.redd.it/oohi8n74xei21.jpg

Monday, May 20, 2019

Broken Transmission Review: 現在の地域条件

現在の地域条件 by 天気予報 was the first broken transmission album I'd ever heard.  I originally heard of the genre from a top 5 video on Youtube and decided it sounded interesting enough to check out, but I didn't expect to like it.  I honestly thought this would be the limit; this is where I drew the line.  This would be where vaporwave went too far for me.  I was wrong.

The album is 23 tracks long and consists mainly of short songs (generally under a minute long) comprised of looped commercials and jingles.  A few tracks feature voices and humming, but most of  them are strictly instrumental.

So what do I like so much about this album?  Honestly, I can't put my finger on what it is exactly.  There's just something truly captivating about the seemingly infinite loops of commercials, jingles, and sounds that make up this album.  I think the artist does a good job making you feel like you're in the moment.  He captivates the feeling of sitting in front of the TV watching the morning news in a very interesting way.  Additionally, the looping that's used makes you feel like you're watching all this on an old broken CRT.

So in conclusion: I'd say check it out.  You may like it, you may not, and that's fine.  This genre definitely isn't for everyone, but for those weird people like me out there it's a channel surfer's paradise.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Internet Findings: Vapor Memory

Vapor Memory is a Youtube channel dedicated to uploading full "vapour, ambient, experimental, and electronic" albums and music.  They describe themselves as a "YouTube music library", and I honestly love what they're doing.  They upload modern and classic music and act as an archive of sorts.  They're really useful because they upload many unknown and obscure things that would most likely never make it on Youtube if it weren't for them.

Additionally, you can find all their Youtube videos neatly ordered by date in the archive section of their website along with the description, release date, and external link of that album.

Like I said, I love what these guys are doing so definitely go and give them a look.

Archiving: More Archived Vaporwave

Archive.org has an entire section dedicate to archiving vaporwave.  At the time of publishing it has 437 albums/songs archived, and it's very easy and convenient to listen to them right through the site.  Additionally, you can help out by uploading any vaporwave songs/albums you have to the site to help preserve the genera we all love.

If you're interested you can find the archive here or on the external links page of this site.

Happy archiving! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Internet Findings: Nightwave Plaza, an Internet Vaporwave Radio Station

I often stumble across interesting little places in my internet travels, and this is no exception!  Nightwave Plaza is a "online vaporwave radio station" where you can just tune in, sit back, and enjoy the music.  With a windows 98 style and plenty of different backgrounds to choose from, it guarantees a pleasing visual experience to compliment the music.  They also have a Youtube live stream if you're into that sort of thing :)

Site link: https://plaza.one/
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWlIvOwEek-OFt_GZbdFtxQ

Archiving: Lots o' Vaporwave

Over 100 GB of Vaporwave all archived for our listening enjoyment: http://files.sq10.net/music/vaporwave/list/

Most of this is from around 2015, so don't expect any newer stuff on there ;)

Meta: Welcome to Vaporscapes!

Welcome to Vaporscapes!  This is my own little corner of the internet focused on discussing, archiving, and sharing vaporwave and other "wave" (e.g. Synthwave) music genres!

I'm not sure of the scope of this site yet, but I guess that'll come with time.  Anyway, have a look around, and enjoy yourself!