System Delight






System Delight is a tremendously colorful, lasciviously luring and eminently elasticized popsicle of genre-spanning braidings created by Athens, Georgia-based artist Vaperror (stylized as VAPERROR). Self-released on a battery of tapes that have already sold out, it can still be digested digitally at Bandcamp as usual. Released in December 2014, spanning 40 minutes of bliss and featuring fleeting visits into easygoing Hip-Hop territories, richly alluvial Rave rhizomes, beat-driven flashbacks in 4/4 time and molten Ambient nuclei whose sylphlike prongs radiate throughout the album, System Delight epitomizes everything that is right with today’s Vaporwave-accentuated synth movement: unique melodies, reinterpretations of seemingly lost genres, reintroduction attempts of intriguing synthetics and cavalcades of chiptune customs. In an essay that tries to approximate the elegiac erethism of System Delight and its – sorry for the excitement – utterly fantastic reciprocation between textures and melodies, I have come up with three primary cornerstones that make up the success of Vaperror’s synth-driven mirages, with a final paragraph outlining one particular shortcoming of his work. This review is obviously no soulless list. I wouldn't want you to interpret the following paragraphs as the definitive array of ingredients and omissions, divided, analyzed and written down for the connoisseur. I haven’t found the conclusive key to System Delight’s allure. I rather want to disaggregate the various phenomena and tendencies that drive its success and function as the realization of Vaperror’s credo: "living in a dream; tranquil, serene."


That's System Delight… with all color sliders cranked down. Photo by Vaperror.


★ The Gradient ★

The front artwork willfully delineates where Vaperror’s journey is going. Aglow with colors, bursting at the seams with pastel visions of penicillin overdoses and floating weightlessly through the orthochromatic ether, there is one visual sentinel that is transformed into an aural indentation – and identification – that constitutes one peculiar flavor of leeway within System Delight’s endemic epithelium: the gradient. Flowing from ice-blue hues over veridian vestibules into atomic-green mists, the vectorless segmental arch of two dimensions serves as the Ambient bokeh in the majority of the tracks: while the bubbling verglas cauldron of sentienceKEYS turns into a legato lavabo that encompasses said gradient amid pixellated tropics, effervescent bass blebs and a sudden shift into Jungle territories genre-wise, openME.up emits the gradient’s inclination even more successfully via lactic laid-back lariats of languor, only blurred down in order to protrude the omnipresent nexus of square lead pads and mucoid dripstone vesicles. And naturally, the real Ambient corker Respirator Memory is one crystalline gouraud shading suntrap par excellence, comprising of thermal heat and color metamorphoses aplenty. In short, and with no particular track in mind: the gradient caulks the interstices, fills the holes, feels the sense of emptiness and prevents it from destroying the insouciance.


★ Arpeggio Aureoles, Punctilio Pericarps ★

These two buddies are, if you will, the antagonists of the gradient. In lieu of streamlined, droning rainbows of eternal roygbiv-isms, they epitomize little chopped up tidbits, bursting slivers, slices, droplets and pulses that gyre around the percolation, hitting the retrosternal areas of the listener, primarily oscillating in the foreground where all the action unfolds. These constituents harbor the flavor of playful Hip-Hop and transmogrify into fantastically fast-paced avulsions when the album’s end is nigh. Again, the poetically named arpeggio aureoles appear throughout Vaperror’s work, and I would rather link them to the synths, whereas the punctilio pericarps are agglutinated to the beats and rhythms: 2ND FX, for instance, features three parallax layers of caustic coruscation, one of them serving as the arpeggiated placenta, wonkily fluttering, radiating rubicund rhizomes. The friendly (g)low-fi appearance of the Hip-Hop beat meanwhile embeds a long phase of punctilio pericarps of the lower frequency range. They work so well because Vaperror lets them break out of their corset. The beat isn’t static, it isn’t programmed to be stable; it instead features sudden convulsions and ctenidiums made of quicker successions of beats and drums, letting the material become alive and energetic. The inebriated (?) film_E.up is awash with similar appearances, as the punctilio pericarps of the beat spectrum lead purposefully astray more often than not, all the while the heterodyned sinew superimposition of synths spawns technicolor titrations. To summarize: unexpected iterations rhythm-wise work well in tandem with synth-based fiber driblets.


★ Melodies, Textures, Surfaces ★

No grandiloquent poetics here but the barest of all facts: System Delight is mercilessly awash with memorable melodies, sequences of ear wig superfluids and thorough hydrazines to enchant the listening subject time and again. And if these are the barest facts, you know you're in for a treat! Everything is build from the ground up, Vaperror invented the cosmos, no vignette is sampled at all. The textures and surfaces let the melodies shine for real and turn them into amethystine mica, fir-green emeralds and glaucous diamonds, not coincidentally comprising the same candy shop color range that the luminous stimulus called "artwork" exudes in the first place. System Delight accomplishes a hard task: it is cohesive throughout its 14 tracks and still ablaze with different genres, rhythms, patterns and, well, textures. The faux-apocalyptical square lead epiphany K-Gem only feigns rufescent sundown fires with its polyfoil synth burst, only to lead to viscoelastic segues in 4/4 time and amicable melodies afterwards. Boy, is it stuck in my head for good! Likewise, Lightyear Luvrs breathes excitement as Vaperror lets it run on all cylinders: fast-paced Detroit patterns, pluvial backing synths, emaciated bleeps grafted onto the main aorta of autochthonous-caproic synergies, it is at least as overwhelmingly euphonious as the adjacent Perfect Circuit [Night Drive] with its staggering Teutonic beats of Eurodance flavor and nighttime synth stabs; a tunnel vision into glowstick trysts, but no gimcrack at all. I have – accidentally or not – named the fastest tunes of the album in this section, and they are indeed barn-storming, rousing permutations of Vaperror’s skills, but any track could’ve been called in this here paragraph: there’s not one single weak moment of arbitrariness, no efflorescent bluntness, the senescence level remains at 0%.


★ Shortcomings & Outlooks ★

It is no coincidence that this is the last of all paragraphs, serving as the reminder that even an attractive tape such as Vaperror's has at least one tiny flaw. Naturally, there is an irritant that pesters System Delight… followed by an artistic solution: cheekily enough, Vaperror has expelled, ostracized and then annihilated said flaw within the intrinsic worlds of the album, which means that the nuisance is not a phylogenetic part of System Delight but remains outside of its sphere, a sphere not many listeners care about. I am talking about the story arc. Believe it or not, but Vaperror’s tape is actually a light, fragile concept album. If it weren’t for the digital playbill that comes attached with the music – aka the liner notes at Bandcamp – chances are that everyone had missed it. The concept is not much more than a mere synopsis, but there it goes: "Two computer programs spawn from a central AI system code-named System Delight. The two programs gain sentience and explore their newfound abilities to feel emotion and perceive the world around them. But both quickly calculate that something is missing…" To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t relate to the story for a reason: the tremendously successful songs themselves are the real stars! And they're autonomous. It is true that the BPM rate revs up as the album progresses, but this fact alone doesn’t translate into a cinematic epiphany or final action sequence. Vaperror isn’t alone though: Fatal Memory Error’s Cherished (Dream Catalogue, 2014) has a related story attached to its cannelure, and it is similarly blotchy, incidentally addressed in one song, then quasi-forgotten in the following triptych. Don’t expect a masterpiece story-wise when you encounter Vaperror’s System Delight, but by all means, do check it out for its omnivivacious onstream, prismatic physiognomy and the exciting melodies that grind their way into the hippocampus.


Further listening and reading:

  • You can purchase the digital version of the album at Bandcamp.
  • Read an insightful interview with Vaperror at NeonVice
  • On the Twitterz: @Vaperror


Ambient Review 414: Vaperror – System Delight (2014). Originally published on Feb. 11, 2015 at