telepath テレパシー能力者 + 猫 シ Corp.





Oi, the above headlines of the artists and the title of their album seem like a bloody mess to the Occidental eye, and one can be almost glad that the Japanese scheme continues throughout the album’s runtime, without a supra-stylized post-ASCII affront in sight for a change. But first things first: テレパシーの (aka the telepath) is a 25-track opus vaporium of two genre veterans whose protodigital funk escapades and chromatic memorabilia always enshrine an Ambient core and genteel craze, both of which are reasons to feature them at the Ambient section of AmbientExotica. Enter telepath テレパシー能力者 (current abode: Earth) and 猫 シ Corp. – pronounced: Cat System Corp. – from the Netherlands whose tape Hiraeth I have previously reviewed. The duo's enormous album is released in digital form on the Dream Catalogue label – est. 2814 – and can be fully streamed and purchased at Bandcamp. The album is not a true collaboration but mixes traits of artistic mind swaps with the expressions allowed by a split tape… minus the tape, that is. テレパシーの is therefore based on three columns: firstly tunes by telepath テレパシー能力者, secondly submissions by 猫 シ Corp., and thirdly truly collaborative efforts scattered throughout the album's epic runtime which is not just huge by Vaporwave standards but ginormous within any system of music-related rules. Songs of over six minutes length are no rarity amid the endemic boundaries. However, the overarching topic, if taken seriously, is not as telepathic as one might think: there is neither a formerly esoteric virtual reality imposed nor the appearance of a video game BGM classic guaranteed. Here we have the case of a Vaporwave dob that is prone to absorb the clichés, arrangements and superfluids of soulful Pop and R’n’B. Expect loads of slowed down vocals… and surprisingly bewitching tone sequences of sumptuous rapture. The upcoming two paragraphs are dedicated to each artist, followed by another paragraph about their – seemingly – collaborative efforts. Here comes テレパシーの!


The tracks by telepath テレパシー能力者 are consistently wraithlike, almost languorous, neglecting even the tiniest bit of gratuitous force. The sleazy opener 真夜中の後に愛 (love after midnight) is the archetypical gateway to Vaporwave’s victorious vestibule, spawning elasticized slowed down Pop vesicles whose formerly glorious singer becomes a whiney specter of his former self. One either hates or loves this specific trait, it’s more of a quandary, but what always works in this regard is the zoetrope of whitewashed synth surfaces and pompously muffled hi-hats, snares and shakers whose pink aura illumines the blurred bokeh ever stronger. プロ ムナード (promenade) meanwhile augments a tropical haze of simmering heatwaves with crystalline aqua synths and appended electric guitar blebs in adjacency to prolonged male vocals, whereas ファンタジー (fantasy) is supercharged with vitreous aureoles and smarmy tenor saxophone splinters. This cross-linkage would be an affront in its original state, sure, but now that it is slow as molasses, the agglutinating rain pads among the bridges are an epiphany, embodying what the Dream Catalogue label is all about. A magic sparkler! And so the path down to less(ssssss) BPM continues as telepath テレパシー能力者 gets his hands on pop culture and R’n’B artifacts, be it the glacially piano-driven 陶酔 (euphoria) with its maracas turned to icicles, the bucolic Bronx boombox 誘惑 の目 (temptation eyes) with its reverberated bass guitar granuloma or the Anglo-American Transcendence and its clinically polished Chicagoan guitar diorama complete with twinkling blips and horticultural chimes. Whatever is presented by the artist, it oscillates between stupefyingly dreamy setups and equally portentous setbacks as delivered by the formerly glitzy vocals which remain fully intact but become discontentedly trapped in shangri-la.


The material by 猫 シ Corp. is no less dreamy, but gradually punchier, with a bias towards less smoke machine fog and more reverb. ヒューマノイドの愛 (humanoid love) stresses the helicoidal synth ctenidium of the 80’s and saccharifies the soulfoul affectation of the lead singer – who could that be? – with an approach that is as sloooow as it is smooth. The strikingly effulgent P&P 小娘ジャズバンド (P & P chit jazz band) worships a textural reticulation that was heretofore neglected, but is an all too prominent and ubiquitous part in 猫 シ Corp.’s music: funky guitar slices and eupeptic brass prongs of the MIDIlicious kind. The backing synths turn to iridescent cloudlets, the vocals become a blur of yesteryear, the drums scythe through the checkerboard into the crimson sunset. Oceanデート (ocean update) then is embedded in a light blue aura all the while dry two-note guitar skeletons meander through a more flat than wave-like pond. Once the vocals set in, they are so much over the top that a certain hilarity ensues… but so does an aquaponic braiding. One could call that a catch–22, but egad, Vaporwave harbors these double binds as well. While ブ ロッサム (blossom) turns out to be a luscious tendril of the Hip-Hop kind complete with artificial cowbells, equally apocryphal glass pads and a bumpy bass epithelium, ↖ジェットコースター↴ (coaster – watch the arrows!) exudes a Sunday morning atmosphere among a synthetic syrinx sybaritism, cautious breakbeat allusions and a euphony suprème. And heck, is it a short corker of less than two minutes, based on a short loop that is oh so majestic; the epicenter of Vaporwave. First Landing is particularly noteworthy as well simply due to its faux-Industrial polyrhythmic fugacity and bone-crushing beat galore. Fluorescent synth styx and a train-like choo-choo hi-hat helix round off the benevolently overproduced post-processing landspout. This one is refreshing like a mephitic steel mill at dawn.


Then we finally have the titles that are supposedly created by both artists and are thus the famous ocean-spanning collaborations. 方向 (directions) enchants with its etiolated flute flumes, polyfaceted spheroidal cyber cymbals and blurred male vocals that are almost too hard to understand and therefore gain a real meaning for the first time since they are stripped off their Pop corset. Sorry for being so pernicious here, but hey, you cannot spell meaning without mean. Endless Elevator then offers an unexpected rift into a dimension where memories of Rimini and Capri are stacked onto each other, offering a sizzling melting pot of iceman jingle preludes and genuinely balmy pipe dream afterglows, with Luxury Sedan (420 Extendo Phaserwave Mix) bringing the listener back to the beach scenery where sun-soaked surf guitars and Rave-like sirens cascade through the cavernous echoes. This one is gigacatchy, just wait for the chiptune spirals in the middle which glow like a whole crystal coppice. 宇宙双子 then is the endpoint of the collaborative effort, sporting blotchy vibraphone patterns, fizzling shakers and distant brass eruptions whose computer-generated existence is a boon to the spurious syndesmosis which makes up the Vaporwave genre in general and this album in particular.


It is funny that Vaporwave is most often about slowing down material from somewhere else™, thus prolonging the original source, but still calling it a day after less than 30 minutes. Here, we have a different case, at least partially so: テレパシーの is not about a flimsy moment of euphony and enchantment. It rather wants to prolong the synth mixtures and wealth of different surfaces. Naturally, there is a reason why some of the songs are running for more than six or even seven minutes: the original song, whatever it may be and wherever it may come from, is simply played form start to finish. Due to the decrease of the BPM and the already soulful vibe of the R’n’B examples, these ditties become even slower. But there is, I believe, more to it than just that. Slow a song down and laugh about it, fine. But the live- or post-processing effects are the things of artistic – or computational – value here, no matter how audacious a sentence with the terms Vaporwave and value may seem to the bohème incredible. テレパシーの is elevator music alright, but the elevator lifts off to paradise. The catchiness of the originals is properly maintained in this slowed down state, and better still, it is rescued: its ridiculous sugar levels and corn syrup-alloyed fanfaronades have been transmuted into bliss, into an oneiric state. I’m telling nuffin new to the Vaporwave expert. An Ambient aficionado will still not give in to the vocal-pestered galactocascades of telepath テレパシー能力者 and 猫 シ Corp., but the best and most positive thing to say about their collaborative estate is that it both genuflects before the genre and reflects the grand overtones of the material it moulds into this new form.


Further listening and reading:


Ambient Review 347: Telepath & Cat System Corp. – The Telepath (2014). Originally published on Jun. 4, 2014 at