Okay, now Vaporwave ventures into the 70’s, a sentence whose occurrence would have been highly unlikely only two years ago and shrugged away as a typo. However, German producer and every hetaera's paramour OSCOB aka Virtual Plaza Max really did it, albeit partially so, with his seven-track finger exercise called チャンネルサーフィン1978–1984. Translating into channel surfing 1978–1984 and available to fetch and stream at the Bandcamp page of Florida’s supreme Vaporwave vestibule DMT Tapes, OSCOB’s endeavor is to revive the oft-cited cenobitism between you – yes, you – and your TV.


Given the timespan that’s taken into account in this short album, television offers endless hours of fun, historically speaking. Incidentally, an intelligently patched TV-themed Vaporwave album has been created before: Ghosting’s Telenights (Dream Catalogue, 2014) celebrates the fibrillar variety of Canada’s TV stations and admixes peculiar goodies and VHS lore few and far between. OSCOB’s approach differs in that it takes us to Japan, the zoetropic zest of all TV nations. And yet, チャンネルサーフィン1978–1984 is unexpectedly stable and coherent, lasciviously soliciting the power of the Japanese rockstar as depicted above. His cajoling glamour and cataleptic aura win him the hearts of attendees and spectators alike. Within and around the epicenter: fluorescent commercials and gallons of nebulous blur. This is a Vaporwave album drenched in viscidity, the aural equivalent to myopia. I don’t understand a word, but that’s my loss entirely. Japanese Vaporwave fans will have a field day with this artifact though, and so did I despite my language-related limitations. So here’s a closer look at OSCOB’s mucous braiding.


A constant warm haze of pink noise is the album’s morphogenetic superstructure, and so the opener 電源オン78 (power on 78) is the incipience of every benignant glow, leading to a world of promises and – once advertisements are involved – obliquity. Piano-accompanied Rhodes jingles, stretched verbiages of questionable heritage and Japanese adages fill the room. From mystery chimes over square lead pad-infused Synth Rock infusions to AM Radio frequency filters, the opener is a saltatory nematode which reaches a stabilized contingency in its latter half. A first highpoint without any highs treble-wise. The adjacent 暖かい静的79 (warm static 79) is the last capsule before the official Vaporwave decade – the 80's, Sherlock! – is declared. Handclap-fueled synth ecomorphs, over-the-top J-Pop suprematism, MIDI brass bursts and a washed out cymbal kineticism round off the stratiform fibroblast of the radio star. And with this short glimpse into the late 70’s ends this paragraph.


The 80’s arrive. The age dawns. OSCOB is already there, and dinner is served: Tvディナー80 (TV dinner 80) is chock-full of prawn-flavored chips, apple-like surfactants and cervical vocals of mutual friendship and understanding. The liquedous guitar in tandem with the coruscating bells provides the megafauna for a gregarious ballad to make out. Meanwhile, ソファで眠っています81 (sleeping on the couch) showcases oompah rhythms, clownery nepetalactones and an alkaliphilic polyphony in the most histrionic ribcage possible. Wild electric guitars, lawnmower-esque tone sequences and a faux-debonair suaveness make the hi-hat fusillade a lilting ergosphere. The plasticized bokeh and frequency cesspool notwithstanding: OSCOB transplants the original vision into the listener’s cochleae, and the rest is put together by one’s brain, against all odds.


No surprise, but none is needed anyway: 一人で82 (In person 82) is another amicable accretion of japanophile telomeres. Whether it is the rising chords of the strychnine-coated jingle, the apocrine interstices of the shady main song or the violent gravitational interferometry in the shape of rumbling earthquakes (which, I might add, lose their oomph in this soft-boiled peritoneum), the television audience is totally into the rockstar, jizzing yttrium crystals out of their beef ventiducts, to use but one single euphemism. What follows is the great insomnia of 83: 不眠症83 encapsulates another wackily rotoscoping commercial before the plasmatic magnetotail of the backing choir-infested ditty causes a proselytizing perturbation that won’t let you sleep, period. Plethoric and apocryphal, this purported prosopagnosia lets the crowd go bonkers… if I only knew the reason. Egad, the long-winded finale アラームがオフに起こっています84 (the alarm’s going off) is nigh, kissing the listener goodbye. Orogeny-bending recitals make you shame-sweat for a short moment, true that, but the actual finale is more of a perianth than a cauliflower: an equimolar cross-linkage between muon-alloyed NRG horn helixes, amniotic hooks and choral avulsions add euphonious superfluids of glory to the endpoint.


What Japan and Europe know is no secret to OSCOB either: the TV is your PAL. All lame nerd jokes aside, チャンネルサーフィン1978–1984 is an infestation of the Japanese spirit, presented as is, without clarifying explanatory notes or any accompanying avowal, so it’s for the artist to know the amethystine source material and us listeners to find out the agglutinating link that holds the performances together. At least the latter isn’t as hard a task as expected: the EP is mercilessly stringent and resilient. In lieu of staccato tunnel visions à la Tam Arrow or mercilessly apoplectic stop-and-go contretemps, チャンネルサーフィン1978–1984 is a tame, sophisticated halide made of nostalgic overdrives and percolating memorabilia that blaze through the hippocampus by the power of cathode ray blasts. Or the aural equivalent thereof.


This collection of seven tracks is certainly not meant for everyone, nor every vaporwaver, and truth be told, there are people who prefer the crisp purity of Vaporwave in lieu of the boneless jelly that is exclusively based on the mid-freq range. I for one happen to adore the limewashed blur, but can fully understand a varying mileage. However: be it the polyfoil commercials, verglas bridges or majestic coruscation of the chorus, OSCOB’s caproic corker has a human physiognomy, offers solace and alienating amphibologies aplenty by opening a window into the panchromatic past that is phylogenetic to our cultural understanding of artificial worlds and idling irrigation… or was that irritation?


Further listening and reading: 


Vaporwave Review 085: OSCOB – チャンネルサーフィン1978–1984 (2015). Originally published on May 30, 2015 at AmbientExotica.com.