We need more Ƚ in the V, and this cryptic formula has finally found its way to AmbientExotica, so why not ennoble the neoteny of the V-genre with Lamitina from Norfolk, Virginia? After his viridian punctilio debut Geo City Circuit on the progenitor of all things Vaporwave, the regularly featured Dream Catalogue label, Lamitina returns to his home base with the technicolor sunset ATLAS//RADAR, a 21-track concept behemoth available to stream and fetch at Bandcamp (name your price). And as if it were nothing, the artist invents a new subgenre en passant: Vaporsludge. There are people out there who rightfully roll their eyes when new composites, genre blendings and stylistic superimpositions are said to be discovered or created, alleging that all of these things aren’t novelties. Vaporwave itself isn’t necessarily fresh. Heck, it isn’t even seen as a distinct genre by many.


The brief delineation of these technical categorizations is important though, for ATLAS//RADAR is not only highly advanced and apprehensive, but encapsulates the progression in a state of debris, decay, regression, and these states are themselves reflected differently in four dedicated sections or conglomerates that can be deciphered by means of their track titles; more about this in a moment. Meanwhile, in Lamitina’s own words, he has "begun viewing sound more and more as a texture that’s malleable, hence my dubbing of it Vaporsludge.


There are tracks that are still pretty solid and groove-based, but about halfway through the album, I played with the idea of the music being part of a piece of hardware that has become corrupt." This kind of corruption has been targeted before, for instance by Fatal Memory Error's Cherished (Dream Catalogue, 2014) or Vaperror's System Delight (self-released, 2014). In Lamitina's case, however, this kind of corruption leads, so I hope, to a cathartic revelation about the state of the holistic genre in general and the listener’s anticipation in particular: can you cope with the simultaneity of stupefyingly blissful melodies and helicoidal havoc? Is Lamitina’s ATLAS//RADAR a blooming light… or a looming blight?


Only the best bits and velvet vignettes have made it to the album. This should be the achievement of anyone’s LP, but Lamitina makes this endeavor a case in point in terms of the first five tracks which comprise a string of numbered pieces, many of the interim and originally agglutinating pieces amiss and unavailable. That’s curation, or better still: curation that is open to scrutiny, for the fact that parts are being missed is itself transparently revealed to the listener by means of inconsecutive numbers. At least we get the morphogenesis of them all, namely Part 1 which emits a neutraceutical hue. Coruscating hi-hats, polished synth sinews and seraphic-prolonged backing crystals altogether create a paradisiac panorama which makes for a superb start.


Part 3 is a verglas vestibule to leotard-demanding workout Hip-Hop, whereas the adjacent Part 5 severely enchants with stratiform longitudinal bliss in the shape of electric piano vesicles, ultramafic muffled drums and large-grained maraca maculae. The mood is utterly benignant, making this a salubrious shelter if there ever was one! While the short Part 6 embraces warped curry callisthenics of the sitar-esque kind, Part 8 revs up the panchromaticity with insouciant Rhodes emeralds and alkaliphilic fermions, kissing the listener goodbye with this interim finale of the amicable pentathlon. No rough edges yet.


Of course ATLAS//RADAR is far from being over: the above gateway is just a finger exercise, albeit an atmospheric one. The diffeomorphism between adiabatic edges and soothing mirages continues unabatedly. The second portion of tracks is distinct in that its constituents carry comprehensible, nonrecurring titles that even make sense when read out aloud, among them the album’s accidental centerpiece and Ambient lavabo of over three minutes Niacin Parties which oscillates between ogival power Shoegaze, benthic swamp caverns and blurred pulsatile telomeres, thereby decreasing the endemic temperature to cryoglacial levels.


Power Poison on the other hand is a MIDIlicious matutinal mica of over-the-top flutters, brass allusions, ligneous clave clicks and – huzzah – rotoscoping cowbells amidst finger snaps, with the spacy dark matter boulevard Atlas At Last Home functioning as another intermediate endpoint to the album section, and it’s a Gothic one at that: dissipative laser sounds, inimical stokehold stomps and an umbrageous chirality make this the creepily histrionic solanum of the bunch. The amount of spikes and bevels increases.


There’s a third section of three tracks – thus a triptych – which is all about architecture and premises, but it is the fourth and final segment which lets ATLAS//RADAR efflorescently photodegrade as promised by Lamitina’s accompanying text. The duology of demotic/demonic decay is once again reflected in the titles whose physiognomy spawns conniption as the aural integrals are mostly embroidered in all-caps. Take NERVE ENTER for instance whose diaphanous aura is mercilessly bruised and torn apart by apoplectic afterglows, metallic magnetotails and juvenile jitters; euphony isn’t ostracized, the opposite is the case due to the magnanimous reverb, but the existence of said reverb also points to a void or emptiness, and it doesn’t lead leeway but into the abyss. The polyrhythmic FLOAT offers another synergy: it is plethoric and parochial at once, emanating a calcareous-carbonaceous metallicity loaded with screeching polymers, bit-crushed mis-chromosomed tidal flexing and thermal immersion helixes.


The connected gODS offers a similar ventiduct into Industrialism, sporting violent lanthanum flaring, gravitational redshifts and superionic scrimshaw scapegraces. It may seem as if Lamitina is willfully going downhill, but the penultimate REMAIN is a comparatively lachrymose planetesimal of fluvio-lacustrine harbor mists, semi-brazen gunmetal blips and an alluring Ambient-based chemotaxis. The mephitic-chlorotic apotheosis APPLY 1 unites the barycenter of Glitch with the mesozoic tropopause of Microhouse or IDM. Beatless but not percussionless, the arcane ventricle oozes viscid chromophores, elasticized synth flumes and crackling interferences. An unexpected human(e) touch rounds off the zoetrope.


ATLAS//RADAR is a magnificent blueprint – despite its saffron-crimson hue – that showcases how a Vaporwave album can be established, suddenly destroyed, then built anew, and finally expelled from reality. Lamitina’s second album on Dream Catalogue is a centrifugal force, its orthogonality breathtaking, the diversity eminently exciting. There is something in here for everyone, and danger looms when such a sentence appears, for it advertises the infamous mixed bag at best or hints at a laissez-faire arbitrariness at worst. I’m aware of this. And yet do I repeat the assertion: ATLAS//RADAR has something for everyone, at least for everyone in the know, that is.


The clash between mild-mannered perianths, synthetic avulsions and amniotic preons on the one hand, and inflammable chloroderivatives, aliphatic catenae and moxie steelification on the other hand is successfully nurtured, maintained and then augmented throughout the album, if not on a per-song base, then definitely when the four distinct sections are considered as a whole. With every unsatisfactory arrangement and track thrown out even though it might hurt, ATLAS//RADAR is a debonair guardian light in the first half, a perturbed ignis fatuus in the latter, and finally gains some sort of spherification at the very end when a colloidal fleeciness serves as the antagonistic force to the methylbutan-alloyed stealth. The appearance of a style-related iconoclasm within the same work: that’s rich… and utterly successful!


Further listening and reading:


Vaporwave Review 079: Lamitina – ATLAS//RADAR (2015). Originally published on May 14, 2015 at