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Vaporwave is a "microgenre of "electronic music and an "Internet meme that emerged in the early 2010s.[16] The style is defined by its appropriation of 1980s and 1990s "mood music styles such as "smooth jazz, "elevator music, "R&B, and "lounge music, typically "sampling or manipulating tracks via "chopped and screwed techniques and other effects. Its surrounding "subculture is sometimes 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, "anime, "3D-rendered objects, and "cyberpunk tropes in its cover artwork and music videos.

Originating as an ironic variant of "chillwave,[17] vaporwave was loosely derived from the experimental tendencies of the mid-2000s "hypnagogic pop scene. The style was pioneered by producers such as "James Ferraro, "Daniel Lopatin, and "Ramona Xavier under various pseudonyms.[18] A circle of online producers were particularly inspired by Xavier's "Floral Shoppe (2011), which established a blueprint for the genre. The movement subsequently built an audience on sites "Last.fm, "Reddit, and "4chan while a flood of new acts, many operating under online pseudonyms, turned to "Bandcamp for distribution. Following the wider exposure of vaporwave in 2012, a wealth of subgenres and offshoots emerged, such as "future funk, mallsoft, and "hardvapour.

Contents

Characteristics[edit]

Building on the experimental and ironic tendencies of genres such as "chillwave and "hypnagogic pop,[8] vaporwave is an "Internet-based "microgenre that draws primarily on musical and cultural sources from the 1980s and early 1990s, while also being associated with an ambiguous or satirical take on "consumer capitalism and "technoculture.[3] Early incarnations of vaporwave relied on the "sampling of sources such as "smooth jazz, retro "elevator music, "R&B, "lounge music, and "dance music from the 1980s and 1990s,[6] with the music made of "brief, cut-up sketches", cleanly produced, and composed almost entirely from samples,[3] 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.[19] Harper described 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]

...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 of "Vice Media, 2014[9]

The style's visual "aesthetic (often stylized as "AESTHETICS", with "fullwidth characters)[20] incorporates early "Internet imagery, late 1990s web design, "glitch art, and "cyberpunk tropes,[9] as well as "anime, "Greco-Roman statues, and 3D-rendered objects.[21] "VHS degradation is another common effect seen in vaporwave art. Generally, artists limit their source material between Japan's economic flourishment in the 1980s and the "September 11 attacks or "dot-com bubble burst of 2001 (some albums, including "Floral Shoppe, depict the intact "Twin Towers on their covers).[22]

History[edit]

Origins and early scene[edit]

Vaporwave originated on the "Internet as an ironic variant of the 2000s internet-based genre "chillwave,[17] drawing on the "retro style's "analog nostalgia"[6] as well as the work of "hypnagogic pop artists such as "Ariel Pink and "James Ferraro, who were also characterized by the invocation of retro popular culture.[23] "Hypnagogic pop" was coined by "Wire journalist "David Keenan only a few weeks after "chillwave", and the two terms were often used interchangeably with each other and "vaporwave".[24] According to "Vice, vaporwave was one of several short-lived internet genres to emerge during the era: "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."[25]

Vaporwave was built mainly upon the template of the albums "Chuck Person's Eccojams Vol. 1 ("Daniel Lopatin as "Chuck Person", August 2010) and "Far Side Virtual (Ferraro, October 2011).[27][12][22] Eccojams 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,[5] while Far Side Virtual drew primarily on "the grainy and bombastic beeps" of 2000s media such as "Skype and the "Nintendo Wii.[22] According to "Stereogum's Miles Bowe, vaporwave was more specifically a fusion between Lopatin's "chopped and screwed "plunderphonics" and the "nihilistic easy-listening of James Ferraro’s "Muzak-hellscapes".[8] A 2013 post on a music blog presented those albums, along with Skeleton's Holograms (November 2010), as "proto vaporwave".[28]

""
""
The cover artwork for "Floral Shoppe (2011) by "Macintosh Plus features elements that would come to exemplify the vaporwave aesthetic, including "retro computer imagery, Japanese lettering, and pixelated graphics.[15]

Inspired by Lopatin's ideas, suburban teens and young adults used Eccojams as a starting point for what would become vaporwave.[5] Vaporwave artists were "mysterious and often nameless entities that lurk the internet," academic Adam Harper noted, "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] 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.[29] 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 core elements.[15]

Popularity and further developments[edit]

Vaporwave found wider appeal over the middle of 2012, building an audience on sites like Last.fm, "Reddit, and "4chan.[29] After a flood of new acts turned to Bandcamp for distribution, various online music publications such as "Tiny Mix Tapes, Dummy and "Sputnikmusic began covering the movement.[12]

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]

The release of Blank Banshee's 2012 debut "Blank Banshee 0 introduced elements of "trap music to vaporwave.[15] Bandwagon called Blank Banshee 0 a "progressive record" that, along with Floral Shoppe, "signaled the end of the first wave of sample-heavy music, and ... reconfigured what it means to make vaporwave music."[5] This marked the beginning of a large wave of sub-genres and offshoots, some of which deliberately gesture at the genre's non-seriousness. Future funk, a more energetic, sample based take on vaporwave, expands upon the "disco/house elements of the genre, [13] It incorporates elements of "French house.[30] Mallsoft magnifies the "lounge influences; 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".[31]

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").[32] 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",[33] and on the same day "MTV International introduced a "rebrand heavily inspired by vaporwave and "seapunk,[34] "Tumblr launched a "GIF viewer named Tumblr TV, with an explicitly MTV-styled visual spin.[35] 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]

"Hardvapour emerged in late 2015[36] as a reimagination of the genre with darker themes, faster tempos, and heavier sounds.[13] It is influenced by "speedcore and "gabber, and is viewed as oppositional to the vaporwave aesthetic.[36] 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]

Miscellaneous trends[edit]

Simpsonwave was a "YouTube phenomenon made popular by the user Lucien Hughes.[37][38][20][39] It mainly consists of videos with scenes from the American "animated "television series "The Simpsons set to various vaporwave songs. Clips are often put together out of context and edited with "VHS-esque distortion effects and surreal visuals, giving them a "hallucinatory and transportive" feel.[40]

Fashwave (a portmanteau of ""fascist" and "synthwave"[41]), is a largely instrumental subgenre of vaporwave and "synthwave[14] that originated on YouTube circa 2015.[42] With political track titles and occasional soundbites,[14] the genre combines "Nazi symbolism with the visuals associated with vaporwave and synthwave.[43] 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".[41]

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[44]

Vaporwave was one of several short-lived microgenres spawned in the early 2010s.[45] 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'."[12] 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."[17] 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".[46] 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".[47]

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".[35] 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".[48] Xavier described her 2012 album ""Contemporary Sapporo" (札幌コンテンポラリー) as "a brief glimpse into the new possibilities of international communication" and "a parody of American "hypercontextualization of e-"Asia circa 1995".[49]

"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".[43] Vaporwave's stance is more focused on loss, the notion of lassitude, and passive acquiescence.[43] Beauchamp writes that "vaporwave was the first musical genre to live its entire life from birth to death completely online".[43] 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".[50] Beauchamp suggests that expressions of hypermodulation inspired both the development and downfall of vaporwave.[43]

Notable artists[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ward, Christian (January 29, 2014). "Vaporwave: Soundtrack to Austerity". Stylus.com. Archived from the original on June 2, 2017. 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. Archived from the original on April 1, 2015. 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 Han, Sean Francis; Peters, Daniel (May 18, 2016). "Vaporwave: subversive dream music for the post-Internet age". Bandwagon.asia. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. 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. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. 
  7. ^ Aux, Staff. "AUX". Aux. Aux Music Network. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c Bowe, Miles. "Band To Watch: Saint Pepsi". "Stereogum. Archived from the original on July 21, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Lhooq, Michelle (December 27, 2013). "Is Vaporwave The Next Seapunk?". "Vice. Archived from the original on April 26, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Gahil, Leor. "Infinity Frequencies: Computer Death". "Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on April 6, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
  11. ^ Trainer 2016, p. 419.
  12. ^ a b c d Beks, Ash. "Vaporwave is not dead". The Essential. The Essential. Archived from the original on December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Arcand, Rob (July 12, 2016). "Inside Hardvapour, an Aggressive, Wry Rebellion Against Vaporwave". Vice. Archived from the original on December 31, 2016. 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. Archived from the original on February 6, 2017. 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. Archived from the original on April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  16. ^ For early 2010s microgenre of electronic music, see Tanner 2016, p. 3. For Internet meme, see:
  17. ^ a b c Coleman, Jonny (May 1, 2015). "Quiz: Is This A Real Genre". "Pitchfork. Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. 
  18. ^ Britton, Luke Morgan (September 26, 2016). "Music Genres Are A Joke That You're Not In On". "Vice. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. 
  19. ^ 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. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b Minor, Jordan (June 3, 2016). "Drown yourself beneath the vaporwave". Geek.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  21. ^ Jurgens, Genista (July 29, 2016). "Why Won't Vaporwave Die?". Format. Archived from the original on January 3, 2018. 
  22. ^ a b c Colton, Stefan (April 15, 2017). "Love in the Time of VHS: Making Sense of Vaporwave". The Poltiic. 
  23. ^ Trainer 2016, p. 416.
  24. ^ Trainer 2016, p. 409.
  25. ^ Marcus, Ezra (May 12, 2017). "Wave Music Is a Marketing Tactic, Not a Microgenre". "Vice. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Chuck Person: Chuck Person's Eccojams Vol. 1 - Spectrum Culture". Spectrum Culture. 2016-12-04. Retrieved 2018-01-08. 
  27. ^ Bowe, Miles (October 13, 2013). "Q&A: James Ferraro On NYC's Hidden Darkness, Musical Sincerity, And Being Called "The God Of Vaporwave"". "Stereogum. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  28. ^ Trainer 2016, p. 420.
  29. ^ a b Galil, Leor (February 19, 2013). "Vaporwave and the Observer Effect". "Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on January 25, 2014. 
  30. ^ Victoria, Elisa (August 16, 2017). "Future funk, el género musical que te va a alegrar la vida" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2018. 
  31. ^ Kilby, Dylan (August 7, 2016). "Disconscious - Hologram Plaza - Sunbleach". Sunbleach Media. Archived from the original on September 1, 2016. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  32. ^ a b "2814". "Rolling Stone. 10 New Artists You Need to Know. November 25, 2015. Archived from the original on July 3, 2016. 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. 
  33. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2015". "Fact. "The Vinyl Factory. December 9, 2015. Archived from the original on January 30, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  34. ^ Lange, Maggie (August 29, 2015). "The Crowd-Sourced Chaos of MTV's Vaporwave VMAs". "GQ. "Condé Nast. Archived from the original on December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  35. ^ a b Pearson, Jordan (June 26, 2015). "How Tumblr and MTV Killed the Neon Anti-Corporate Aesthetic of Vaporwave". Motherboard ("Vice). "Vice Media, Inc. Archived from the original on December 6, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  36. ^ a b Broomfield, Matt (April 28, 2016). "Inside 'hardvapour', the internet's latest microgenre". "Dazed. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  37. ^ Lozano, Kevin (June 14, 2016). "What the Hell Is Simpsonwave?". "Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on June 22, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
  38. ^ Song, Sandra (June 6, 2016). "What Is Simpsonwave? A Brief Introduction Via Scene Staple, Lucien Hughes". "Paper. Paper Communications. Archived from the original on June 8, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  39. ^ Robson, Kurt (July 7, 2016). "We spoke to the creator of Simpsonwave, and it's about to end". "The Tab. Archived from the original on July 12, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016. 
  40. ^ Blevins, Joe. ""Simpsonwave" is the most wack, tripped-out Simpsons meme ever". "The A.V. Club. "The Onion. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  41. ^ a b Hann, Michael (December 14, 2016). "'Fashwave': synth music co-opted by the far right". "The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  42. ^ Coleman, Jonny (December 19, 2016). ""Fashwave" Is Fascist Synthesizer Music and Yes, It's an Actual Thing". "LA Weekly. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. 
  43. ^ a b c d e Beauchamp, Scott (April 2017). "Attention Online Shoppers..." The Brooklyn Rail: 23–24. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  44. ^ Friedlander, Emilie; McDermott, Patrick D. "A Recent History of Microgenres". "The Fader. Archived from the original on April 4, 2017. 
  45. ^ Marcus, Ezra (May 12, 2017). "Wave Music Is a Marketing Tactic, Not a Microgenre". "Vice. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. 
  46. ^ St. Michel, Patrick (December 3, 2014). "10 Essential Japanese Netlabels". "Pitchfork. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. 
  47. ^ Tanner 2016, p. 10.
  48. ^ Reynolds 2011.
  49. ^ 情報デスクVIRTUAL - 幌コンテンポラリー . "Tiny Mix Tapes. Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  50. ^ Denton, Shane (May 29, 2016). "Hyperdistractions". Los Angeles Review of Books. Archived from the original on April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  51. ^ "Vaporwave Dude Saint Pepsi Will Now Be Known to the World as Skylar Spence | Thump". Thump. Archived from the original on March 1, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2017. 
  52. ^ "A Conversation With James Ferraro, Critical Futurist". Spin.com. August 18, 2016. Archived from the original on March 25, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  53. ^ "Oneohtrix Point Never Shares Remastered Version Of His Vaporwave Classic Eccojams". The FADER. Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. Retrieved July 24, 2017. 
  54. ^ "Vektroid releases noisy collaborative album as CTO & Ray Sherman; No Earth coming in 2017". Tiny Mix Tapes. Archived from the original on March 1, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2017. 

Bibliography

External links[edit]

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