Sunday, February 07, 2021

Ambient Vaporwave - A mix by Innesti

Photo by Nick Reynolds on Unsplash

I am so psyched to have another excellent guest mix. This one comes from long-time friend of the blog, Innesti -

I have featured a bunch of Innesti music over the years and have hosted guest mixes from him as well. A couple of days ago I got an email asking if I was interested in another guest mix of ambient vaporwave tunes. Aww, hell yeah, I'm interested. Although I'm not quite sure what Vaporwave is. No worries, Innesti explains it for us:

Vaporwave is a niche genre of electronic music that combines the visual aesthetic of meme culture with the glitched out and stretched sounds of 1980's mall and infomercial music. It is not the kind of music that you would expect to appeal to listeners who enjoy deep ambient soundscapes. Nonetheless, buried deep within this genre are some amazing beatless and atmospheric pieces. I am drawn to these because they capture the kinds of atmospheres that I enjoy, but emerge organically within a completely different musical tradition. This mix represents a sample of some of my favorite ambient vaporwave tracks.

Sounds great!


[ s t r e a m ]    [ d o w n l o a d ]    [ i t u n e s ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    地球  -  ジャングル PART 2
  • 07:10    Subaeris - The City In Rain
  • 12:50    Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza - Polynomial Voices
  • 19:40    Corp. & t e l e p a t h - 進化  - 猫 シ
  • 23:12    Corp. & t e l e p a t h - A New Life Awaits You
  • 26:07    暗号零 - 我爱你我的孩子 (Mother)
  • 30.59    SONYA™ SleepStation - [program b] - sleep
  • 36:30    ∑ V ∑ R Y T H I N G - In this forest all of your problems become beautiful birds
  • 42:25    Zadig The Jasp - (海の前で-In Front Of The Sea.)
  • 52:12    ll nøthing ll - Cycle
  • 60:00    end


Jens Alfke said...

Most vaporwave puts my teeth on edge. I suspect the genre mostly only appeals to people who didn’t actually live through the 1980s, or were at most small children then. I can’t muster the necessary ironic detachment.

However! Tanning Salon's “Dream Castle”, which I understand fits into vaporwave somehow, has a few amazing spooky ambient tracks. “Dunnad Hill” is a deep and atmospheric dive, like an nth generation VCR dub of footage from a spooky video game.

The Interstellar Radio Station said...

@ Jens - Ironic how a stress reliever puts your teeth on edge. The 1980 decade was when vaporware flourished, so I believe it has appeal to the demographic you excluded. The "Dunnad Hill” is droneware, not vaporware, and is unlistenable because of severe oversaturation; it is continuously clipping. If that what was meant by an "nth generation VCR dub", I can at least agree with that point.

Jens Alfke said...

Nope, vaporwave began in the early 2010s (per Wikipedia). It _references_ the sort of musical smog that existed in the 80s; but like anything that’s based on repurposing crap, if you can’t get past disliking the crap you’re not going to enjoy it. And as I was already a teenager by 1980 and spent the decade listening to post-punk, early goth, noise rock and indie, I wasn’t fond of bland DX7-driven pop.

“Ironic how a stress reliever puts your teeth on edge” — Well yes, isn’t that most people's reaction to Muzak? Actually, if you’re young enough you probably don’t know what Muzak was like, since it doesn’t exist as such any more. Basically 1950s schmaltzy string music boiled down into a goo and played in elevators and department stores. As the people whom it was meant to appeal to died out, it morphed into the background music you hear now.

Sorry you didn’t like “Dunnad Hill”. It’s not exactly vaporwave, but it’s by Vektroid who was apparently a big figure in the genre. Yes, it features a lot of clipping and distortion, but then, so does most popular music released since the 1960s, right? Digital clipping is a different sound, but it’s been deployed by quite a few groups such as Sleigh Bells.

The Interstellar Radio Station said...

@Jens - So when I look at the Wikipedia entry on "Vaporware", it basically says hardware or software publicized for release, but never released (and/or never canceled). I don't know what that has to do with music, except maybe software intending to be released having publicity tracks released way out in front.

I also stopped to consider the post's topic of "ambient vaporware" may be a different entity that "vaporware". I could find no "ambient vaporware" on the web, which explains Dave's point of view. I could draw no conclusion here either.

On the other hand, I can neither relate to Innesti's definition in the post: "stretched sounds of 1980's mall and infomercial music". I could only relate to his term "beatless and atmospheric pieces", but that appears to oppose the 1980 comment. No comfort for my sanity here either.

Which brings me to my usage of "vaporware" in my prior comment: "ethereal" ambient tracks, "beatless and atmospheric", which flourished in the later 1980s. The tracks in this mix seem to me to be descendants of those (albeit the musical form has evolved to encompass further extremities of both brightness and darkness).

The Interstellar Radio Station said...

PS - correction: I could find no "ambient vaporware" DEFINITION on the web