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Vapor Vertebrae 05-2015 Part A



New Economics





As I’ve written several times before: once Generation Y – or in our case: Generation V – ages beyond recognition and hangs up with other supercentenarian baes, the beloved aural progenitors from yesteryear will sound rather differently once pulmonary purgatory percolates permanently. With New Economics, vaporwaver OSCOB willfully succumbs to one of the genre’s cornerstones that is less frequently pinpointed, but has been there all along: whitewashed haze. In tandem with the omnipresent technique of slowing down or elasticizing the source material, the feeling of viewing something from a distance increases. OSCOB’s little gem launches with a gorgeous galactosamine-fueled Rhodes ambience whose scintillating polymers are as fuzzy as they are coruscating. After this anacrusis, epigenetic saxes and mucoid hi-hats merge into a calcareous muzak surfactant. Similar to Telefunken by VHS Logos, the sounds seem to come out of a transistor speaker. Alternatively, they are echoes from a faraway festival. Or they are nearby, oozing straight out of the secretary’s tape recorder. Naysayers bemoan the loss of high fidelity and proclaim today’s youth exchanges pristine quality for the gravitational redshift. They may be right for a change, but OSCOB’s occasionally plasticized vertebrae sound vanillarific regardless.

Twitter: @VirtualPlazaMax












In a recent tweet, Chrissy Cray aka コンシャスTHOUGHTS revealed the horticultural feat of having planted 216 cotyledons in less than 9 months! Even the most diehard fan cannot digest each and every emerald, but I think this is not the artist’s ultimate endeavor anyway: he offers the listener, bystander or fleeting visitor a good time with his singles, and more often than not, fluvio-phantasmagoric corkers materialize such as the ultramafic Midnight… or the panchromatic 夏物語 (translating into summer story). Both tracks share the same sentiment in that the nothingness is perceptible and looming. However, the recondite void is caulked with the aid of cowbell afterglows, refreshingly periglacial piano positrons, ligneous claves and slapped guitar sinews. The track is not perfectly catchy per se, but the compatibility of and interactivity between the different textures make it work much better than an ultraharmonious hook or segue ever could. Both the midtempo and the oscillating tropopause between purified chords and mellowed palinopsia make 夏物語 an uplifting tune. And yet it is not too ecstatic: コンシャスTHOUGHTS provides those kinds of isolated contemplation and moments of clandestinity that ameliorate the duology of this very fine piece. 

Twitter: @ChrissyCray1





Seaside Spaceship





South Dakota’s Lucas Wilson gyres between two monikers: Mason Callaway is reserved for tight toasts and longitudinal rap skills, whereas U2KUSHI targets the audience of Bubblegum Pop, an artificial niche that is – thankfully enough – as synthetic as the industry-processed unvulcanized pink material. With Seaside Spaceship, U2KUSHI provides his vision of this zoetropic subgenre and is therefore a holistic ingredient of the perfumed cauldron. From its field recording of ocean waves onwards, hyperpolished synth blasts pulsate around 8-bit fermions, methylbutan-coated handclaps jitter near the beach and cautiously acidic but nonetheless scything nematodes sidle in the sand. The song rises and falls through its powerchords, and once they are shortly amiss in the latter half, a kind of withdrawal symptom occurs; the salubrious thermal heat is lost. However, it soon enough comes back in a weirdly twisted and droned shape! Pitch-shifted bumps and caudal chloroderivatives transmute this orthonormal locale into a sunburst-augmented thiazide, adding a great albeit not necessarily new twist to the sparkler. Benignant and mercurial: Seaside Spaceship rotoscopes and photoevaporates. 

Twitter: @u2kushi










Seattleite Cruxal presents Forward, a wondrously Space Ambient-focused Vaporwave gemstone inspired by some recent art house flick called Interstellar. The inspiration thankfully doesn’t translate into sampling the soundtrack by either ridiculing or improving it, whatever this modus operandi means for the respective listener. No, the song’s perihelia surprises with an honest, genuine approach of mediating between cryovolcanic superconductivity and Hip-Hop rhythms. The softly simmering legato synth provides the solar-infused firmament and is itself a great example of a subzero/tropical diffeomorphism; it is potentially hostile towards life, yet luring for that very reason. This makes for a great connection to the movie, but let’s not get overly academic here and rather absorb another macronutrient: the precisely constructed wonkiness of the alkaliphilic synth pads that float and bubble around the barycenter. The surface of their textures is magnificent, shuttling between silvery metallicity and chromogenic avulsion. The beats aren’t tight, they don’t jump at you, and this is a boon, making the track much silkier and enigmatic while at the same time preventing Cruxal’s amniotic halide from becoming an aggressive Trap track. A genuinely glaucous corker.

Twitter: @cruxal





J Λ V Λ . E X E
Stand By

<Fragments EP>






With an artist name such as JΛVΛ.EXE, you have to be aware of the limits, focus and parochial trends this moniker in general and Java itself in particular brings with it, but the Japanese producer is able to handle the situation very well by coming up with a concept EP that is truly tied to the task at hand. The six-track Fragments EP shows in a very evocative and poignant way what the 90’s were all about: defragmenting the goddamn spinning 5400rpm hard drive until your beloved machine is running smooth and peachy again. I’ve chosen the track Stand By due to its multiplied stacks of synth tendons whose auspicious halo insinuates technocratic visions. The many pitch and time shifts are as efficient as the laissez-faire guitar granuloma in the distance, but what really elevates this three-minute track is the amicable aura, the positive incandescence of the lead melody, its granular clarity. It may transfigure and glorify dem golden halcyon days overly much, but this is what Vaporwave is mostly about. I’ve found out that the positivism of Stand By prospers when the volume is increased, further amplifying this annealed-calcined dob into an orthorhombic chromophore with good vibes all around. I wonder if a Registry EP is on the horizon – this one would be for the hardened HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE connoisseur. 

Twitter: @javaexe





Based Frequency





Based Frequency aka Louis-André from Quebec, Canada recently uploaded Butterflies, a dedicated love song. This description is pretty lame, since every love song is by definition a dedication to someone or something, but the result is not what you expect it to be. While both the title and the description work in tandem by delineating that stomach-related mesozoic feeling that once made the world go round, the soundscape itself is what ultimately counts. And here the artist succeeds. The track’s chemotaxis is well-balanced, only cautiously and fragilely hinting at the theme of love, and if it weren’t for the liner notes, you wouldn’t even notice. Vaporwave has come a long way indeed! Basically, the arrangement comprises of two constituents: firstly a looped electric piano epicenter whose vibraphone-esque punctilio emits a cryo-oriented chirality that doesn’t remind of a love song at all due to its tempered semi-elation, and secondly an orderly breakbeat with sweeping snares and bubblicious glucans. The beats wane in the latter half in order to let the listener absorb and distill the melody in all its glory. No schmaltz, no chintzy affection, just a vernal immersion circulator, and that’s exactly what is needed.

Twitter: @basedfrequency
Video: by Based Frequency










David Peña is Explorer!, the exclamation mark revives the jocund attitude of the 50’s and 60’s regarding LP titles that carry the more meaning and pizzazz the more exclamation marks are added to the title. The Exotica scene is chock-full of these things, whereas devoted serious Jazz musicians stayed away from this formula. I’m writing this little excursion in order to make room for Ariana, a coquette who clearly carries a Future Funk complexion but can be tied to a certain exoticism due to the sun-dappled guitars that provide the base frame for the staggering oomph of the 4/4 beat. Add redoubled and then pitched oh-vocals to the flamboyantly lactic scenery, and you’ve got a track that is keen on millennial House formulae without shredding the balance by soulful vocals about meaningless things. Of course Ariana remains a comparatively mundane and profane song at the end of the day, catering to the party crowd, not sporting any parallax layer of deeper truths or unvarnished amphibologies, but what Explorer!’s stomper lacks in this specific regard, it gains through insouciance and carefreeness that radiate and emanate through every interstice.

Twitter: @explorer_music_



Ambient Review 431: Vapor Vertebrae 05/2015 [Part A]. Originally published on May 6, 2015 at AmbientExotica.com.