Sunday, March 12, 2017

猫 シ Corp's Vaporwave, Mallsoft: Nostalgia for a pre-9/11 World

Having read, The Mall, Nostalgia, and the Loss of Innocence: An Interview With 猫 シ Corp., what's most fascinating for me is an exploration of the reason for using a sound that's so reminiscent of the 1980s/1990s - and how that connects more broadly to western music's obsession with those decades:
"[猫 シ Corp'] cryptically tells us [his work] provides “an image of a (past) world that we love to escape to because our old world died in 2001.” 
"[...], it becomes much clearer when we consider another recent album—NEWS AT 11—and realize  that his records share in the same intriguing worldview, one which partly involves blocking out the troubling turn world history took after a certain catastrophic event.  As hinted at by the album’s release on September 11, 2016, this event was the 9/11 terrorist attack, which the producer confirms “was indeed the subtle, but yet very obvious, theme of the album.” He explains, “When the Twin Towers were hit on that day in September the old world died. It’s like the whole planet suddenly opened up and changed, [and] not for the better. Gone were the peaceful days.” 
“Vaporwave relies heavily on 80’s consumerism, fashion, stylish malls with palm trees and late night drives on neon lit streets,” since these tropes help artists such as himself — and perhaps society as a whole — to deny that history has branched off in the way it actually has, and to act as if things have continued as their nostalgia reconstructs it.
[...]  it’s the memory of simpler and more innocent times that plays a big part here in 猫 シ Corp.’s artistic vision. He also thinks it plays a big part in the vision that drives much vaporwave, describing the genre as “a glorification of a past that never was."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Drab Majesty track - Produced by Telefon Tel Aviv

A tragicwave/mid-fi track from group Drab Majesty produced by the survivng member of Telefon Tel Aviv, Joshua Eustis.

Drab Majesty's other tracks are good, but are simply too muddy in their mixing (the mid-fi audio aesthetic?) for my tastes. 
There's something to be said for low to mid-fi, but emulating dub of a re-dubbed cassette tape doesn't work for everything. :) I feel the band benefits from Eustis's cleaner production and clarity of sound. 

Friday, December 23, 2016


I love the samples of Mac OS 7 startup sounds, Enya, and so many other sources - all blended into one smooth memory key. Well worth listening to: Blank Banshee - Blank Banshee 0 Blank Banshee - Blank Banshee 1
NxxxxxS - Fujita Scale

Monday, November 28, 2016



I've meant to write more about the emerging 'Wave' genre, as it's emerged over the past few years on SoundCloud. After finding a great new mix by Kareful today, I decided to just that.

Wave is a genre label attached to a collective of different artists, but typically has a mix of trap, dubstep and grime influences, but I also hear echoes of Witchhouse, and a lot of influence from gothic dance music, but slower and more chilled out due to the Trap influence.

To my sensabilities, I find this genre very enjoyable, as it channels what I liked about the goth music scene of the mid-2000s, but without any of the pretension or the homage to the 80's aesthetic inherant most dark synthpop or EBM. It's a style of music that's evolved out of a collective of artists spread across the world via SoundCloud, which this article explores really well.

There's a great article discussing the ins and outs of the emerging genre, with some interesting quotes from the artists themselves about the aspirations they have for their music, one that bridges the gap between dance floor and introspective bedroom music:

Kareful has one other ambition that at first seems bizarre, but makes complete sense within the wider context of the times in which we live.“Wouldn’t it be great if our tracks resonated so deeply with people they start breaking down on the dance floor crying?” he grins. “We’re trying to make the most emotional tracks possible. This surely has to be the best result of that?” [...]

“I think emotion plays the most powerful role in any production or piece of music,” agrees Sorsari. “Being able to move a listener with an emotional vibe that you want to exude from a track is probably the coolest thing ever. I want the listener to put themselves into an imaginary environment based on what they’re listening to and to resonate with it… The wave genre has been a gateway for me to do that, and play it in clubs.”

For others listening pleasure, an ongoing WAVE genre playlist I've been curating for a few years: 

Friday, November 18, 2016

College - Synthwave

“When David approached me for this project, I was thrilled. Listening to Auto-Pilot, I envisioned a distant world with 1980’s American mall aesthetics. I wanted the video to resemble a fever dream, drifting through empty corridors and spaces that have long lost their luster. The dozens of hours of footage I have collected of dead malls in America paired with the track was a perfect, harmonious fit. It was a fantastic collaboration to be a part of. We both knew exactly what we wanted with this project..” - Dan Bell

Related: [1] [2]

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Midnight - Endless Summer (Instrumental version)

A wonderful synthwave track by The Midnight:

Also worth listening to is the rest of the album: