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Vaporwave is a "microgenre of "electronic music and an "Internet meme that emerged in the early 2010s.[17] The music typically features a fascination with 1980s and 1990s styles of "mood music such as "smooth jazz, "elevator music, "R&B, and "lounge music,[5][9] often "sampling or manipulating tracks via "chopped and screwed techniques and other effects.[10][5] The "subculture surrounding vaporwave is often associated with an ambiguous or satirical take on "consumer capitalism and "popular culture, and tends to be characterized by a "nostalgic or "surrealist engagement with the "popular entertainment, technology and "advertising of previous decades. It also incorporates early Internet imagery, late 1990s web design, "glitch art, and "cyberpunk tropes in its cover artwork and music videos.[9]

Originating as an ironic variant of "chillwave,[18] vaporwave was loosely derived from the experimental tendencies of the mid-2000s "hypnagogic pop scene and pioneered by producers such as "James Ferraro, "Daniel Lopatin and "Vektroid (Ramona Xavier).[19] Following the blueprint established by Vektroid's "Floral Shoppe (December 2011), a circle of online producers were inspired to make music in the style. The movement built an audience on sites "Last.fm, "Reddit, and "4chan, with a flood of new acts, many operating under online pseudonyms, turning to "Bandcamp for distribution.[3] The wider exposure of vaporwave in 2012 led to a wealth of subgenres and offshoots such as futurefunk, mallsoft, and "hardvapour.

Contents

History[edit]

Origins and characteristics[edit]

...imagine taking bits of 80's "Muzak, late-night "infomercials, "smooth jazz, and that tinny tune "receptionists play when they put you "on hold, then chopping that up, pitching it down, and scrambling it to the point where you've got "saxophone goo dripping out of a cheap plastic valve. That's vaporwave.
—Michelle Lhooq, "Vice Media[9]

Vaporwave originated on the "Internet as an ironic variant of "chillwave[18] loosely derived from the work of "hypnagogic pop artists such as "Ariel Pink and "James Ferraro, which was characterized by the invocation of retro popular culture,[20] as well as the "analog nostalgia" of the chillwave scene.[6] Amplifying the experimental tendencies of hypnagogic pop,[8] vaporwave draws primarily on sources from the early 1990s and is made from "brief, cut-up sketches", cleanly produced, and composed almost entirely from samples.[3] Early incarnations of vaporwave relied on the "sampling of sources such as "smooth jazz, retro "elevator music, "R&B, and "dance music from the 1980s and 1990s,[6] along with the application of slowed-down "chopped and screwed techniques, looping, and other effects.[5][3][10] Critic Adam Trainer notes the style's predilection for "music made less for enjoyment than for the regulation of mood," such as corporate "stock music for "infomercials and "product demonstrations.[21] Another critic, Adam Harper, describes the typical vaporwave track as "a wholly synthesised or heavily processed chunk of corporate "mood music, bright and earnest or slow and sultry, often beautiful, either looped out of sync and beyond the point of functionality."[3] The style's visual "aesthetic (often stylized as "AESTHETICS", with "fullwidth characters)[22] also incorporates early "Internet imagery, late 1990s web design, "glitch art, and "cyberpunk tropes.[9]

""
""
The cover artwork for Eccojams featured a crude, mashed-up 1980s-style graphic design that became a staple of vaporwave[5]

Harper notes that vaporwave artists are often "mysterious and often nameless entities that lurk the internet, often behind a pseudo-corporate name or web façade, and whose music is typically free to download through "Mediafire, "Last FM, "Soundcloud or "Bandcamp."[3] The genre's origins are traced to the albums "Eccojams Vol. 1 ("Daniel Lopatin as "Chuck Person", August 2010) and "Far Side Virtual (Ferraro, October 2011).[23][24] Lopatin's featured chopped and screwed variations on popular 1980s pop songs, with album artwork that resembled the packaging of the 1992 video game "Ecco the Dolphin. As he moved on to other ideas, middle-class teens and young adults used Eccojams as a starting point for what would become vaporwave.[5]

According to Metallic Ghosts (Chaz Allen), the original vaporwave scene came out of an online circle formulated on the site "Turntable.fm. This circle included individuals known as Internet Club (Robin Burnett), Veracom, Luxury Elite, Infinite Frequencies, Transmuteo (Jonathan Dean), Coolmemoryz, and Prismcorp. Following the release of "Ramona Xavier's "New Dreams Ltd. (credited to "Laserdisc Visions", July 2011), a number of producers took inspiration from the style, and Burnett used "vaporwave" to tie the disparate group together.[25] Xavier's "Floral Shoppe (credited to "Macintosh Plus", December 2011) was the first album to be properly considered of the genre, containing all of the style's key components.[15]

Popularity and further development[edit]

Vaporwave subsequently found wider appeal over the middle of 2012, building an audience on sites like Last.fm, "Reddit, and "4chan.[25] After a flood of new vaporwave acts turned to Bandcamp for distribution, various members of the online music press began writing about the movement. Initially, this was only on smaller publications such as "Tiny Mix Tapes, Dummy and "Sputnikmusic; Ash Becks of The Essential notes that sites like "Pitchfork and "Drowned in Sound "seemingly refused to touch vaporwave throughout the genre’s two-year 'peak'."[24] The release of "Blank Banshee's debut album "Blank Banshee 0 signaled a move into a vaporwave style that was more influenced by "trap music.[5][15]

Subgenres with names like "vaportrap," "vaporgoth," and "vapornoise" have soared to subcultural popularity, only to rapidly twist into new forms that are further removed from the style's original features. This rapid proliferation of subgenres has itself become part of the "vaporwave" punchline, gesturing at the absurdity of the genre itself even as it sees artists using it as a springboard for innovation.
—Rob Arcand, Vice[13]

A wealth of subgenres and offshoots followed the initial wave, some of which deliberately gesture at the genre's non-seriousness. These include the offshoot futurefunk, which expands upon the "disco/house elements of the genre, mallsoft, which magnifies the "lounge influences, and "hardvapour, which reimagines the genre with darker themes, faster tempos, and heavier sounds.[13] Dylan Kilby of Sunbleach Media stated that "[t]he origins of mallsoft lie in the earliest explorations of vaporwave, where the concept of malls as large, soulless spaces of consumerism were evoked in some practitioner's utilization of vaporwave as a means for exploring the social ramifications of capitalism and globalization", and said that such an approach "has largely petered out in the last few years in favor of pure sonic exploration/expression".[26] Hardvapour is influenced by "speedcore and "gabber, and is viewed as oppositional to the vaporwave aesthetic.[27] According to Vice's Rob Arcand, the genre lies somewhere between vaporwave and "distroid, writing that hardvapour uses similar music software tools "not out of any special fixation with them, but simply because they're now the cheapest and most accessible tools around."[13]

In 2015, "Rolling Stone published a list that included vaporwave act "2814 as one of "10 artists you need to know", citing their album Atarashii Hi no Tanjō (新しい日の誕生, "Birth of a New Day").[28] That same year, the album I'll Try Living Like This by Death's Dynamic Shroud.wmv was featured at number fifteen on the "Fact list "The 50 Best Albums of 2015",[29] and on the same day "MTV International introduced a "rebrand heavily inspired by vaporwave and "seapunk,[30] "Tumblr launched a "GIF viewer named Tumblr TV, with an explicitly MTV-styled visual spin.[31] Hip-hop artist "Drake's single ""Hotline Bling", released on July 31, also became popular with vaporwave producers, inspiring both humorous and serious remixes of the tune.[5]

Critical interpretations[edit]

It initiates a lot of important conversations about power and money in the industry. Or... everything just sounds good slowed down with reverb?
—Aaran David Ross of "Gatekeeper[32]

"Vice's Ezra Marcus lists vaporwave as one of several short-lived microgenres that were spawned in the early 2010s: "There was chillwave, "witch house, seapunk, "shitgaze, vaporwave, "cloud rap, and countless other niche sounds with gimmicky names. As soon as one microgenre flamed out, another would take its place, and with it a whole new set of beats, buzz artists, and fashion trends."[33] Pitchfork contributor Jonny Coleman defines vaporwave as residing in "the uncanny genre valley" that lies "between a real genre that sounds fake and a fake genre that could be real."[18] Also from Pitchfork, Patrick St. Michel calls vaporwave a "niche corner of Internet music populated by Westerners goofing around with Japanese music, samples, and language".[34] Michelle Lhooq of Vice wrote that "according to commenters in various music forums, it's 'chillwave for "Marxists,' 'post-elevator music,' "corporate smooth jazz "Windows 95 pop". She explained that "parodying commercial taste isn't exactly the goal. Vaporwave doesn't just recreate corporate "lounge music – it plumps it up into something sexier and more synthetic."[9]

Hypnagogic pop and vaporwave both like to manipulate their material to defamiliarise it and give it a sense of the "uncanny [...and...] have an eerie tendency now and again to turn trash, something shallow and determinedly throw away, into something "sacred or mystical.
—Adam Harper[3]

Music writer Adam Harper of "Dummy Mag describes vaporwave as having an ambiguous relationship to "consumer capitalism, writing that "these musicians can be read as sarcastic "anti-capitalists revealing the lies and slippages of modern "techno-culture and its representations, or as its willing facilitators, shivering with delight upon each new wave of delicious sound." He noted that the name itself was both a nod to "vaporware, a name for products that are introduced but never released, and the idea of "libidinal energy being subjected to relentless sublimation under capitalism.[3] Music educator Grafton Tanner wrote, "vaporwave is one artistic style that seeks to rearrange our relationship with electronic media by forcing us to recognize the unfamiliarity of ubiquitous technology ... vaporwave is the music of 'non-times' and '"non-places' because it is sceptical of what consumer culture has done to time and space".[35]

Speaking on the adoption of a vaporwave and "seapunk-inspired rebrand by "MTV International, Jordan Pearson of Motherboard, "Vice's technology website, noted how "the cynical impulse that animated vaporwave and its associated Tumblr-based aesthetics is co-opted and erased on both sides—where its source material originates and where it lives".[31] Critic "Simon Reynolds characterized Daniel Lopatin's Chuck Person project as "relat[ing] to cultural memory and the buried "utopianism within capitalist commodities, especially those related to consumer technology in the computing and audio/video entertainment area".[36] Xavier described her 2012 album Sapporo Contemporary (札幌コンテンポラリー, "Contemporary "Sapporo") as "a brief glimpse into the new possibilities of international communication" and "a parody of American "hypercontextualization of e-"Asia circa 1995".[37]

"The Brooklyn Rail's Scott Beauchamp proposes a parallel between punk's "No Future" stance and its active "raw energy of dissatisfaction" deriving from the historical lineage of "Dada dystopia, and vaporwave's preoccupation with "political failure and social anomie".[38] Vaporwave's stance is more focused on loss, the notion of lassitude, and passive acquiescence.[38] Beauchamp writes that "vaporwave was the first musical genre to live its entire life from birth to death completely online".[38] Cultural theorist "Dominic Pettman, professor of Culture and Media at the "New School for Social Research, notes that the internet causes users to have micro-experiences of "hypermodulation".[39] Beauchamp suggests that expressions of hypermodulation inspired both the development and downfall of vaporwave.[38]

Miscellaneous trends[edit]

Simpsonwave was a "YouTube phenomenon made popular by the user Lucien Hughes.[40][41][22][42] It mainly consists of videos with scenes from the American animated "television series "The Simpsons set to various vaporwave songs. Clips are often edited with "VHS-esque distortion effects and surreal visuals, giving them a "hallucinatory and transportive" feel.[43]

Fashwave (a portmanteau of ""fascist" and "synthwave"[44]), is a largely instrumental subgenre of vaporwave and "synthwave[14] that originated on YouTube circa 2015.[45] With political track titles and occasional soundbites,[14] the genre combines "Nazi imagery with the visuals associated with vaporwave and synthwave.[38] In 2017, "Vice's Penn Bullock and Eli Penn reported on the phenomenon of self-identified fascists and "alt-right members appropriating vaporwave music and aesthetics, describing fashwave as "the first fascist music that is easy enough on the ears to have mainstream appeal".[14] One offshoot, Trumpwave, focuses on "Donald Trump. Vice writes that Trumpwave exploits vaporwave's perceived ambivalence towards the corporate culture it engages with, allowing it to recast Trump as "the modern-day inheritor of the mythologized 80s, a decade that is taken to stand for racial purity and unleashed capitalism".[14] "The Guardian's Michael Hann notes that the movement is not unprecedented; similar offshoots occurred in "punk rock in the 1980s and "black metal in the 1990s. Like those genres, Hann believes there is little chance fashwave will ever "impinge on the mainstream".[44]

List of artists[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ward, Christian (January 29, 2014). "Vaporwave: Soundtrack to Austerity". Stylus.com. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ Tanner 2016, p. 3.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Harper, Adam (December 7, 2012). "Comment: Vaporwave and the pop-art of the virtual plaza". Dummy. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Harper, Adam (December 5, 2013). "Pattern Recognition Vol. 8.5: The Year in Vaporwave". "Electronic Beats. Archived from the original on Feb 23, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Han, Sean Francis; Peters, Daniel (May 18, 2016). "Vaporwave: subversive dream music for the post-Internet age". Bandwagon.asia. Retrieved January 7, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Schilling, Dave (September 18, 2015). "Songs of the Week: Skylar Spence, Vampire Weekend's Chris Baio, and the Return of Chillwave". "Grantland. 
  7. ^ Aux, Staff. "AUX". Aux. Aux Music Network. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c Bowe, Miles. "Band To Watch: Saint Pepsi". "Stereogum. Retrieved 26 June 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lhooq, Michelle (December 27, 2013). "Is Vaporwave The Next Seapunk?". "Vice. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c Gahil, Leor. "nfinity Frequencies: Computer Death". "Chicago Reader. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  11. ^ Trainer 2016, p. 419.
  12. ^ http://theessential.com.au/features/the-catch-up/vaporwave-is-not-dead-nmesh-dream-sequins
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Arcand, Rob (July 12, 2016). "Inside Hardvapour, an Aggressive, Wry Rebellion Against Vaporwave". Vice. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c d e Bullock, Penn; Kerry, Eli (January 30, 2017). "Trumpwave and Fashwave Are Just the Latest Disturbing Examples of the Far-Right Appropriating Electronic Music". "Vice. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Beauchamp, Scott (August 18, 2016). "How Vaporwave Was Created Then Destroyed by the Internet". "Esquire. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  16. ^ Kilby, Dylan (July 31, 2016). "Sacred Tapestry - Shader - Sunbleach". Sunbleach Media. Retrieved October 30, 2016. 
  17. ^ For early 2010s microgenre of electronic music, see Tanner 2016, p. 3. For Internet meme, see:
  18. ^ a b c Coleman, Jonny (May 1, 2015). "Quiz: Is This A Real Genre". "Pitchfork. 
  19. ^ Britton, Luke Morgan (September 26, 2016). "Music Genres Are A Joke That You're Not In On". "Vice. 
  20. ^ Trainer 2016, p. 416.
  21. ^ Trainer, Adam (2016). "From Hypnagogia to Distroid: Postironic Musical Renderings of Personal Memory". The Oxford Handbook of Music and Virtuality. Oxford University Press. "ISBN "978-0-19-932128-5. 
  22. ^ a b Minor, Jordan (June 3, 2016). "Drown yourself beneath the vaporwave". Geek.com. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  23. ^ Bowe, Miles (October 13, 2013). "Q&A: James Ferraro On NYC's Hidden Darkness, Musical Sincerity, And Being Called "The God Of Vaporwave"". "Stereogum. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Beks, Ash. "Vaporwave is not dead". The Essential. The Essential. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b Galil, Leor (February 19, 2013). "Vaporwave and the Observer Effect". "Chicago Reader. 
  26. ^ Kilby, Dylan (August 7, 2016). "Disconscious - Hologram Plaza - Sunbleach". Sunbleach Media. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  27. ^ Broomfield, Matt (April 28, 2016). "Inside 'hardvapour', the internet's latest microgenre". "Dazed. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  28. ^ a b "2814". "Rolling Stone. 10 New Artists You Need to Know. November 25, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2016. The next-level gambit paid off with second album 新しい日の誕生, an unparalleled success within a small, passionate pocket of the internet. 
  29. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2015". "Fact. "The Vinyl Factory. December 9, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  30. ^ Lange, Maggie (August 29, 2015). "The Crowd-Sourced Chaos of MTV's Vaporwave VMAs". "GQ. "Condé Nast. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b Pearson, Jordan (June 26, 2015). "How Tumblr and MTV Killed the Neon Anti-Corporate Aesthetic of Vaporwave". Motherboard ("Vice). "Vice Media, Inc. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  32. ^ Friedlander, Emilie; McDermott, Patrick D. "A Recent History of Microgenres". "The Fader. 
  33. ^ Marcus, Ezra (May 12, 2017). "Wave Music Is a Marketing Tactic, Not a Microgenre". "Vice. 
  34. ^ St. Michel, Patrick (December 3, 2014). "10 Essential Japanese Netlabels". "Pitchfork. 
  35. ^ Tanner 2016, p. 10.
  36. ^ Reynolds 2011.
  37. ^ 情報デスクVIRTUAL - 幌コンテンポラリー. "Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  38. ^ a b c d e Beauchamp, Scott (April 2017). "Attention Online Shoppers.." The Brooklyn Rail: 23–24. Retrieved 2 April 2017. 
  39. ^ Denton, Shane (May 29, 2016). "Hyperdistractions". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2 April 2017. 
  40. ^ Lozano, Kevin (June 14, 2016). "What the Hell Is Simpsonwave?". "Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
  41. ^ Song, Sandra (June 6, 2016). "What Is Simpsonwave? A Brief Introduction Via Scene Staple, Lucien Hughes". "Paper. Paper Communications. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  42. ^ Robson, Kurt (July 7, 2016). "We spoke to the creator of Simpsonwave, and it's about to end". "The Tab. Retrieved July 20, 2016. 
  43. ^ Blevins, Joe. ""Simpsonwave" is the most wack, tripped-out Simpsons meme ever". "The A.V. Club. "The Onion. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  44. ^ a b Hann, Michael (December 14, 2016). "'Fashwave': synth music co-opted by the far right". "The Guardian. 
  45. ^ Coleman, Jonny (December 19, 2016). ""Fashwave" Is Fascist Synthesizer Music and Yes, It's an Actual Thing". "LA Weekly. 
  46. ^ "Blank Banshee Returns With New Album MEGA". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  47. ^ http://sunbleach.net/2016/12/14/phoenix-2772-the-dream-catalogue/
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Virtual Vaporwave Scene". Bandcamp Daily. Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  49. ^ "Vaporwave Dude Saint Pepsi Will Now Be Known to the World as Skylar Spence | Thump". Thump. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  50. ^ "A Conversation With James Ferraro, Critical Futurist". Spin.com. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  51. ^ "Oneohtrix Point Never Shares Remastered Version Of His Vaporwave Classic Eccojams". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  52. ^ "nano神社's manifesto on the future of vaporwave". dazeddigital.com. Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  53. ^ Miles Bowe. "Nmesh pays tribute to Adult Swim with [bumps] EP". Factmag.com. Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  54. ^ "t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者: 向かい合って | Records | Cokemachineglow". Cokemachineglow. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  55. ^ "Vektroid releases noisy collaborative album as CTO & Ray Sherman; No Earth coming in 2017". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 

Bibliography

External links[edit]

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