What Makes Something Vaporwave, It's History and What is Called Vaporwave
I remember it was about two years ago that I was first introduced to Vaporwave,
it was an off chance click, a small little tap of the finger, and because of that I saw something that made me say to myself with ideals of grandeur comparable to those of the colonists for the first time coming into contact with the Native Americans.
After reading the blog by the essayist behind This Exists I remember first listening to that one song that everyone knows but just refers to as Macintosh Plus 420.
I thought it was pretty shit. I remember listening to Blank Banshee's album with a picture of Laura Croft on the front and thinking to myself that it was just some
run-of-the-mill techno. I cleared my history after that for different reasons, but after that, I didn't really hear much about vaporwave for another year.
Vaporwave and I
I've always loved the '80s, something about it touched me. The roaring synths, the neon visuals, I always thought they were pretty rad. I'd always been raised listening to '80s music and a lot of it was staples in my parents house for the longest time. So when a friend sent me a link to Saint Pepsi's Private Caller in 2015, something clicked. I remember that musical frisson I felt as I closed my eyes and entered the faux '80s dystopia that the song evoked, I listened to five albums over the next day. I was hooked. As I looked more into the genre I was amazed at the variety that existed and how I brushed off such a diverse and multifarious music subculture because of two albums. I started back at the beginning listening to the two pioneers of the genre, Daniel Lopatin of Chuck Pearson's Eccojams and James Ferraro of Far Side Virtual. As soon as it played that feeling came over me again, that subconscious association, these ethereal and ghostly sounds with a world of dystopia and decay.
First touch: Vaporwave Songs
And as I heard that first track, I was brought right back to 80s. I listened to it again. There was something different about it, something new. There was now a bearded black man on the cover and someone was rapping about shorties and thots and in that moment I realized, wait this isn't the same video. I kept listening to Vaporwave over the following months. In that time I grew to love the Vaportrap of Blank Banshee, the Future Funk of Super Sex 420, the hypnagogic VHS pop of S U R F I N G and the ethereal beauty of the flowing synths of 2814 and despite what I was listening to, it wouldn't have mattered if it was some remix Japanese funk tracks that some kid in Oregon made or if it was some elevator music that pretentious hipsters would listen to one thing was the same: the ａｅｓｔｈｅｔｉｃｓ which serve in complete contrast to the multi-faceted nature of the genre. While it in and of itself in terms of audio can Appeal to anyone from freaky funk junkies to those taskly touting tendencies toward easy listening. There's unity in the visual we see VHS and '80s visuals. Deep Purple's, pretentious circle jerks, fluorescent yellows and greens from even the most traditional Vaporwave albums to the most Avant-Garde Ｔｈｉｓ'ｓ ｓｏ ｇｏｏｄ . What preceded Vaporwave was a multitude of artistic styles that embraced the 80's for what they were, or, at the very least, what we in modernity want them to be, the neons and the visuals and the brisk synths to the sounds.
What's The Difference: Other Genres
In Chillwave and Synthwave we see these taken to the extreme in artists like Kavinsky, Com Truise, and Neon Indian. what we see in Vaporwave are the remnants of these stylistic cues taken from these genres, taking on the purplish and blue hues of the predecessors and degrading them, utilizing traditionally '80s aesthetics and turning them on their head, inverting their meaning in the process. Instead of the expertly composed synthesized tracks of Timecop 1983, Vaporwave greets us with music stolen from decades ago, warping and eroding away at it Almost to say, "Hey man, fuck you. The future sucks." As Vaporwave continued to develop this overarching theme remained constant across all sub-genres as the consumerist culture of the '80s came to be associated with Vaporwave and most prominently future funk. When we look at the music videos for Saint Pepsi's Private Caller, Cherry Pepsi and Enjoy Yourself, we see exactly this, a visual narrative based around the product that brings about energy and happiness in the actors, interleaving beautiful commercials with often ethereal music to create a concurrent dichotomous appeal to pathos. One which employs us to indulge in the consumerist culture of the '80s and '90s in the visual, while at the same time exhorting us to reject it for its decadence and moral.
Such an overt Marxist critique of modern cultures even illustrated in the very name of the genre itself alluding to both vaporware: imaginary products said to be released by corporations and to Marx's critique of the worker under capitalism whose energy facilitates the transformation of solid goods produced by the capitalist class for the consumption of the worker into a gaseous state, in the same way does Vaporwave take on the very sounds of capitalism itself, elevator music and bright synths and subvert the meanings that they originally intended to convey but even when the marxist underpinnings of the genre are disregarded what remains perfectly constant within every Vaporwave song is an agreed upon ideal at the manipulation of sound can create a world unique to each individual listener, that the atmospheric tone of each and every piece of Vaporwave can make manifest this world. "But Mister Hipster isn't Vaporwave a meme though like I saw it in one of those dank meme vine comps 2016, extra edge edition, and come on Glue70 Nutshack Oh, oh yes Thank you for reminding me and it is fair to say that Vaporwave at the most superficial level is now and always has been a meme." You look at people like FrankJavCee who actively embrace the satirical nature of the genre for what it was so bad.
Community of Vaporwave
Shitposting, circle jerking and irony have always been there and now it's even a running joke in the comments section of every piece of Vaporwave to see how
experimental the music can become until people listen to it ironically and at times
I completely understand because it takes a certain amount of anemic deficiency to listen to Macintosh Plus 420, 800% slower, one whole hour But even then and there, there is beauty in the meme not even ironically but literally so you look at the vast amount of Vaporwave tagged vines and the Simpsonwave videos on YouTube and at first glance some avowed fans of the genre may regard either as the sullying of something that once loosely stood for personal magnum opera through contiguous intonations. But when you look at Vaporwave for what it actually is the meme it has become is the meme it was always destined to be, in the same way Vektroid sampled a song from Diana Ross and turned it into an iconic droning piece of music so too does Pyrocynical or Astros parody and mock it and recontextualizing that which already was, it's given new meaning, in such a way Vaporwave as a meme is Vaporwave as it already was, in the very context of what Vaporwave can be, and lives what it actually is A huge monumental thank you to two amazing video editors Tim, the Enchanter and Cordi Tim was amazing enough to give me some tips on some of the effects I could use to give my video some more aesthetic, as was Cordi he was actually Happy enough to edit some of the video for me upon his request Please show both of them some love they are
beautiful editors if you like the way, I edit my videos, you'll love the videos they make to Vaporwave heavy '80s inspired just really awesome videos I Hope you all got a kick out of this video I tried to incorporate some more jokes than I usually do just in general you know make the channel more comedic a little bit but I did want to keep the overarching tone of the video a bit more serious simply because I really do enjoy Vaporwave .