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Vapor Vertebrae 04-2016



Chaos Emerald

<Baconwave One Year Anniversary>





Stating that OSCOB's sample-and-loop-based worldview is comparatively recondite and shady is a safe bet most of the time, especially so in his collaborations that are frequently featured in these Vapor Vertebrae writeups. Multifaceted interpretations beat Future Funk weightlessness any time. Chaos Emerald differs. Chromatically so. Contributed by the US-expatriate and label owner of Bedlam Tapes and Bedlam Digital as part of Baconwave's One Year Anniversary Compilation as released on the Miami-based Elemental 95 label, Max is in good company after all, or what else to call the illustrious wizards such as DEIPHIX, 2047, No Death and General Translator that are featured on the same compilation too? Chaos Emerald fits perfectly within the consecutively colorful coruscation. Too fast for being a Mallsoft artifact, but with all its timbrical constituents — such as MIDI pianos, softly simmering blue sky synths and elevator muzak tone sequences — firmly in place, OSCOB's contribution is a splendid little eximer exocarp, severely stressing the positive vibe. Considering Max's infamous Twitter persona, I'm sure the joke's on me. There must be vitriol and brimstone in this here cerulean corker, but until I know better, Chaos Emerald functions as a soulful proto-Vaporwave sanctuary. 

Twitter: @VirtualPlazaMax











10,000 followers and counting, that's コンシャスTHOUGHTS's SoundCloud account in a nutshell… if you ask a business economics student. What the strict numbers don't reveal about the Glaswegian producer's paradisiacal Future Funk corkers is the delightful crispness and in-your-face immediacy of Chris's four-to-the-floor cataracts. Being one of the few artists that are equally at home in the funk sphere and vapor proscenium, コンシャスTHOUGHTS presents a bazooka called Highlights. It fires on all cylinders, giving fans what they want. The hi-hats are sizzling. And yes, the beat is straight forward, with many a blurry bokeh flangered into scintillating clarity. The highpoint, however, is the clear nod to millennial Filter House anthems. Highlights is based on two main loops, one of them a three-note choir-fueled summer floralcy, the other a more viridian staccatofied addendum that boosts the good mood to higher lights. There are tracks by コンシャスTHOUGHTS that are polysemous, dreamy and shapeshifting. For now, however, let there be summer. Don't over-interpret, just succumb and go outside.

Twitter: @ChrissyCray1





VHS Logos

<KBEATS Vol. 1 Compilation>





Brazil's most famous Vaporwave producer VHS Logos is back — although he was never away in the first place — with a Trip Hop-oriented vapor veil whose midtempo appearance sits somewhere in-between Bibio's rural bonfire chirality… until the song experiences a major shift after 80 seconds or so, making the listener aware of the fact that it isn't called Bliss for nothing. Appearing as the third track of KBEATS Vol . 1 - Música Eletrônica Meridional, listeners are in for a sun-dappled treat throughout the runtime of four minutes. From the vitreous yellow beams of adiabatic aurorae, over the constantly warped tape reel effect that reciprocates throughout the tempo-altered concrete jungle, to the squawking Japanese girl-avec-songbird-choirs in the glossy epicenter, Bliss is a gorgeous kaleidostrope of various styles and genres. There may be listeners out there who deride the pitch-shifted flow as gimmicky, but to my ears the qualities of the mesozoic melodies and glorious textures overcome the focus on filters by a wide margin. Now where's the next longplayer, dear artist?

Twitter: @VHSLogos





Stereo Tropic
Just A Dream

<Night Works LP>





That certain quantum of nostalgia is what makes or breaks a Vaporwave tune. Whenever a certain song — or any song for that matter — is counted to the V-genre, it better has that soothing-silky something, or else a flamewar ensues. Stereo Tropic from Palm Beach, Florida is but one epicenter of all waves, whether they're made of vapor or chill. Not just coincidentally enough is Faint Waves involved in the project, himself frequently featured on this site. Just A Dream is the prelude to the full-length opus Night Works, the sophomore follow-up to 2015's Corduroy & Silk. As both the album and song title freely reveal, the night is not just worshipped, but transmorphed here into an ennobled reticulation of hatched amethystine vibraphone/electric piano fermions. Overtly — but not overly — jazzy as well as caulked by isothermal low-freq globs, distant star-lit sheltered choirs and tawny hi-hat/Hip-Hop helixes, Just A Dream is much more lilac-rubicund than its orthochromatic front artwork suggests, but believe me: the album adheres to mauve/taupe color schemes with ease. The good kind of contemplative isolation: Stereo Tropic has you covered.

Twitter: @TropicStereo






<Digital Paradise LP>





If Onalaska, Wisconsin's true-to-form V-powered producer 懐かし2002津波 aka Draven Stedman comes up with a track title such as Newcomer, it is a questionable choice to begin with, for he surely can't fool those who follow the scene even halfheartedly. This guy is prolific, and he loves Ambient. Regardless of the title which must not be mistaken for a description of the artist himself, Newcomer is a stupefying pressure cocoon of aqueous/aeriform ambience. Taken from the full-length album Digital Paradise as released in April 2016 on OSCOB's Bedlam Digital label, 懐かし2002津波 presents nine minutes of bliss that are situated exactly between the Ambient and Vaporwave pools. Beatless legato flumes, gouraud-shaded steel guitar apparitions, agglutinated veils in b-minor are altogether put into a tasteful XXL Lo-Fi corset. Immediacy and vast emptiness ooze simultaneously through the ethereal void. Turn the volume up to catch most of the phantom frequencies, or else Newcomer remains in a faraway sphere within the passage of time, though the distance is very much intended, I take it. Draven Stedman has been given nine minutes; he turned them into a wonderfully soporific superstructure.

Twitter: @DravenStedman   @BedlamTapes






<Subbal Tea Works LP>





New Jersey's Cinctulan approacheth thy earth (or was that ears?) with a particularly diaphanous chimescape that gyres between metalization and majestically euphonious alloys of rapture. Ugokuhodo is taken off the full-length work Subbal Tea Works as released in February on Vito's Florida-based DMT[REC], and it certainly is the most retrogressive piece of this whole Vapor Vertebrae edition, bringing back the IDM-accentuated tropes and topics of mid-90's Warp Records material, what with the deliciously apocryphal hi-hat schism, the twistedly convex parallax setup of the beats, and the purified gloss of the glasses, bells and whistles. Add the orange-colored bursts of these incessantly flickering synth aureoles, and you have an aural hybrid whose analogue wisdom melts with artificial steel, glockenspiel jitters and momentary interstices of quasi-silence that allow for lacunar structures where sounds and their sustain phases can float into. Plasticity is guaranteed, plastic not so much: Ugokuhodo is your benignantly bustling hymn, whether you prefer it to be a Vaporwave tune or an IDM artifact made in the post-millennial phase.

Twitter: @Cinctulan


Vaporwave Review 157: Vapor Vertebrae 04/2016. Originally published on Apr. 15, 2016 at AmbientExotica.com.