Hidden Aesthetic EP






The high-rise towers of producer JΛVΛ.EXE are built on synths and mounted via the spirit of the 80’s. If the review ended here (and it obviously doesn’t), chances are that this sentence would be the cause for alertness, as it represents >85% of the whole Vaporwave output, and we all know that this genre is a cesspool, cauldron and elixir all at once, so choose your poison if you dare. So let me be more precise: Hidden Aesthetic is a self-released six-track EP, available at Bandcamp and ultimately short and crisp. Only one of the tracks crosses the two-minute mark, making the whole listening experience feel like a fugacity. However, the release holds water and literally makes sense, showcasing the artist’s three-part formula that won’t be spoiled in the opening paragraph yet, as it will be unraveled at the end. It is a strange endeavor to review such a short work in-depth, I’m fully aware of it, but I wouldn’t take the risk if it weren’t for the superimposition of clichéd Vaporwave attributes… and the very destruction of these in this here EP. Oscillating between polished synths, 1980’s redshifts and fluvial circumambiences of the caproic kind, there is only one thing that’s possibly wrong with Hidden Aesthetic, and that is its title due to the bounteous clarity with which JΛVΛ.EXE knows to seduce the broadminded fan.


The short EP launches with Virtual大富豪 which fulfills the dream of being a virtual multimillionaire for about two minutes, thank you very much for being this generous, JΛVΛ.EXE! It is only consequential that synthetic crystalline coin tinklings waft in the backdrop while the slowed-down remembrance of a soulful singer is quasi-disturbed via short arhythmic arpeggio/punctilio alternations of the beat. Chromophore electric guitars and euphonious fermions of the 80’s offer an alluvial vestibule and likewise allow a peek into the incandescent world of pachinko, or shall I say ka-ching? The adjacent デジタルLife (digital life) meanwhile offers an excitingly bubblicious mall ventiduct filled with artificial guitar preons, whitewashed hi-hats and laser-like wind gust vesicles. Once the handclap-interspersed MIDIlicious brass ensemble comes into play, the humid-mucoid duology of the track experiences a shortlived Reggae/Dub flavor before Secret待ち合わせる (secret meeting with somebody) spawns magenta-tinted heartbeats, superstacked synth talons and plasmatic polymers of lascivious lust, oh yes! Make no mistake though: this is no chintzy tryst but an orthorhombic proteostasis, radiating mellow mirages and oneiric obliquities all at once. A hypermafic corker for sure.


The EP’s second half is chock-full of suggestive orogenies, just to prevent using the paltry term that is known as erection. 逆行しHardware radiates the promised retrograde vitalism via baroclinic soul sermons and over-the-top backing choirs. Here, the aesthetic isn’t hidden anymore but thrown into the juvenile face of the innocent bystander. Love is in the air, thermal immersion caulks the black interstices, forvea fluxion flows in this adiabatic lounge lilt. It is nonetheless the weakest spot of JΛVΛ.EXE’s album due to the exaggerated performance that seems inordinate and grandiloquent in the given context, but no harm is done in the end, for Caffeineブレイク is at the rescue and lures with its gorgeous jitters, woodpecker pulses and apocryphal flute flumes. The fairy tale melody is rightfully mocked by the artist and made more interesting with the aid of superionic processing. The constant staccato and beat-skipping might be tiresome in an academical context, but here in the world of Hidden Aesthetic it works to the song’s advantage and lessens the tackiness of the saccharine cotton candy cloudlets. The finale ネオンNights (neon nights) is the only song that crosses the two-minute mark and rightfully enchants with its sizzling synth guitar telomeres, prismatic bass undergrowth and softly droning legato nepetalactone morphism. A positive aura is in the air, everything is in order until the last third of the track is nigh; here, the well-known jitter bubbles are resurrected for the last time, adding neutraceutical blasts to a stratiform luminosity. What a night…


… and what an EP! JΛVΛ.EXE continues his journey through synth-fueled locales and fields, and I for one am glad about the twists, nuts and bolts of the material. It is in fact three large cornerstones that function as the overarching constants in every one of the artist’s releases that trigger all the right synapses: firstly, the content is laid-back, easygoing and slowed-down, taking a bow before the Vaporwave convention while at the same time ameliorating the genre fad with polyphonous strata that work really well in this elasticized state. All the phantom frequencies are brought to the foreground, the material is therefore gravitationally pleasing. This leads to the second boon, namely the good mood that is omnipresent and ubiquitous, never waning for a second. There is that kind of safety and benignancy that cannot be faked, enigmatic mysteries are only faintly perceptible, and if these clandestine flares appear, they only augment the fun. Hidden Aesthetic doesn’t offer a string of Bubblegum Pop serenades, but both the amicability and phototropism enchant tremendously without ever being fulsome or based on conniption. This leads to the final ingredient of the formula, the little apoplectic twists and interruptions rhythm-wise. They rev up the energy and function as microlensing devices of disorder and mayhem. These twisted synth slides or crackles are antagonistic/contrapuntal fermions whose only task is to cheekily inject a glimpse of chaos and uncertainty. Since JΛVΛ.EXE hardly overacts and uses these jitters wisely, they are mild-mannered and debonair, working to a song’s advantage and in tandem with the orographic atmosphere. Hidden Aesthetic should not be missed and never be underestimated. It’s archetypal Vaporwave alright, but to me, this means endless fun!


Further listening and reading: 

  • The album is available to stream and fetch (name your price) at Bandcamp.
  • On the Twitterz: @JAVAEXE


Vaporwave Review 076: JAVA.EXE – Hidden Aesthetic EP (2015). Originally published on May 9, 2015 at AmbientExotica.com.