Countryside 田舎






I have put many a Vaporwave album into the Ambient section before, ostensibly for the purpose of carving out the potential bond both genres can – and do – occasionally share more often than not. It is hence only consequent if I make a U-turn and put Ambient works into the Vaporwave review section, and such is the case with the mysterious artist Sky空 who hails from Toyama-shi, Japan. The work of art is called Countryside田舎 and is available to fetch and stream at Sky空’s Bandcamp page. It is not an album per se but rather one longform piece of over 20 minutes. It may only mildly share the characteristic traits of the V-genre which continues to grow and prosper like a lycopod and absorbs all the particularities and peculiarities it wants, but it is an honest-to-goodness Ambient piece resemblant of the video game or BGM culture of the early 90’s and thus worth the genre aficionado’s attention. A cristate epithelium full of blue skies, vesiculating centrioles and mellow amicability, here is a closer look at three of the aural columns that make Countryside田舎 so unapologetically rural and salubrious.


Softly simmering harp-like helixes, glistening glockenspiels, music boxes amid these interstices and most importantly, the sentiment of a photoevaporation that has to be treasured before its fragile plasticity is literally gone with the wind: the first cautious phase of Sky空’s Countryside田 舎 is awash with pastel colors in lieu of a neon blaze. The punctilio of the main melody and its tributaries creates a parallax spatiality that is both frilly and enchanting. Everything rests in itself, the perihelic light source illumines the various perianths and particles in different manners, letting the arrangement feel appropriately lacunar. The micro stops and ventricles, however, are filled with life are guarded by a soft orthonormal hue.


No bassline is attached, no low frequency injected, there is no oomph or puissance that could be connected to the radiant chemotaxis of genres such as Drone or even Future Funk; these ultramafic concepts are far away, for Sky空’s abiogenesis is paradisiac on its own. While the surfaces of the textures seem to be sprinkled with water, meticulously mucoid and even attentively aqueous, there is a certain crispness enshrined in their pulsatile nucleus, resulting in a lacustrine-rotoscoping circumambience that is maintained throughout the runtime of 20 minutes. This allocation is strange at first, all the more so since it is seemingly incompatible with the fluffy sky as depicted on the front artwork, and the track title itself which evokes more desiccate and calcined rural trains of thought. But there is dampness in these harmonies, a contrapuntal adjuvant in the wake of aridity.


Finally there is another important remark to make in terms of the principal tropopause of Countryside田 舎, as it is here where the chromophore compounds can truly shine in a diaphanous way. In short: the melody is strong… and inconspicuous. Indeed, the balance of the aural titration seems to be equimolar, there is neither an overly captivating texture nor a attention-demanding isospin on a synth level. Everything is evened out, a potential problem in the wake of modern Ambient with its incandescent galactosamines and centrifugal forces. What the long runtime of 20+ minutes coupled with the congruent stability achieves, however, is an elasticized wisp, a prolonged amniotic estuary that enchants due to the things it purposefully lacks and omits in order to feel much more complete and omnipotent.


What Countryside田舎 lacks in regard to glare, gradient or explosives – and willfully so, I must add – it gains in its closeness to the aesthetic of 16-bit video games. The frequency range is narrowed without losing sight of freshness and fidelity. There are no whitewashed cymbals or bit-crushed hi-hats enclosed in the circumambience, no helicoidal Japanese aesthetic that boosts the heartbeat to tachycardia levels. And yet Sky空 triggers all the right synapses with the presented homeostasis of the things Countryside田舎 evokes and emits as well as the colloidal patterns it hides and superimposes. Alkaliphilic and mutualistic, the micrometry of the track is ultimately based on benignancy: the floating subject feels welcome and safe, and since there is no aposematism, the color gamut is all the more erbaceous and azure-centered. A great lullaby that gains traction when played at high volumes, but is qua its very nature also a suitable concestor for the quiescent times of the day. Dreamlike and oneiric, but shying away from plethoric-sumptuous synth washes, Countryside田舎 emanates satori and bliss.


Further listening and reading:


Vaporwave Review 089: Sky空 – Countryside田舎 (2015). Originally published on Jun. 3, 2015 at