|Cultural origins||Early 2010s, "cyberculture|
Vaporwave is a "microgenre of "electronic music and an "Internet meme that emerged in the early 2010s. 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, often "sampling or manipulating tracks via "chopped and screwed techniques and other effects. 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.
Originating as an ironic variant of "chillwave, 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). 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. The wider exposure of vaporwave in 2012 led to a wealth of subgenres and offshoots such as futurefunk, mallsoft, and "hardvapour.
Vaporwave originated on the "Internet as an ironic variant of "chillwave 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, as well as the "analog nostalgia" of the chillwave scene. Amplifying the experimental tendencies of hypnagogic pop, 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. 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, along with the application of slowed-down "chopped and screwed techniques, looping, and other effects. 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. 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." The style's visual "aesthetic (often stylized as "ＡＥＳＴＨＥＴＩＣＳ", with "fullwidth characters) also incorporates early "Internet imagery, late 1990s web design, "glitch art, and "cyberpunk tropes.
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." 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). 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.
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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. 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.
Vaporwave subsequently found wider appeal over the middle of 2012, building an audience on sites like Last.fm, "Reddit, and "4chan. 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'." 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.
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. 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". Hardvapour is influenced by "speedcore and "gabber, and is viewed as oppositional to the vaporwave aesthetic. 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."
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"). 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", and on the same day "MTV International introduced a "rebrand heavily inspired by vaporwave and "seapunk, "Tumblr launched a "GIF viewer named Tumblr TV, with an explicitly MTV-styled visual spin. 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.
"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." 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." 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". 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."
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. 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".
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". 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". 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".
"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". Vaporwave's stance is more focused on loss, the notion of lassitude, and passive acquiescence. Beauchamp writes that "vaporwave was the first musical genre to live its entire life from birth to death completely online". 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". Beauchamp suggests that expressions of hypermodulation inspired both the development and downfall of vaporwave.
Simpsonwave was a "YouTube phenomenon made popular by the user Lucien Hughes. 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.
Fashwave (a portmanteau of ""fascist" and "synthwave"), is a largely instrumental subgenre of vaporwave and "synthwave that originated on YouTube circa 2015. With political track titles and occasional soundbites, the genre combines "Nazi imagery with the visuals associated with vaporwave and synthwave. 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". 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". "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".
... this musical microgenre/internet meme's obsession with obsolete technology ...
Both vaporwave and its offshoot hardvapor are genres as well as memes.
If you haven’t guessed by now, vaporwave is a bit of a joke, or more accurately, an internet meme.
Vaporwave is a total meme, but there’s really cool stuff about it.
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.