nano神社 (✪㉨✪)






There’s not just one SEGA… there’s many SEGAS for all of us, ten of them compiled on nano神社 (✪㉨✪)’s eponymous digital album, released in June on Port Richey, Florida’s DMT Tapes label and available to fetch and stream on the respective Bandcamp page. The galactic front artwork of skeptical space cats notwithstanding, SEGAS is ultimately a human(e) album, crystallizing the doldrums, uplifting vibes and occasional mayhem that is so central for a good story about relationships. Indeed, the golden thread of this work is less concerned about nerds, computers and the various issues of program language. Towers of synths and mountains of R’n’B vocals are tossed into the listener’s cochleae, with all the implications that come with Vaporwave in general: slowed down vox, stretched chords, color errors and a stampede of filters that interpolate and augment the original material, making it stumble and tumble gracefully, adding surprises on various levels. Here is a closer look at Tallahassee’s mysterious 神社 (✪㉨✪) aka Person Guy’s hyperventilating coruscation. The album points leeway but backwards, so let’s regress into the verglas estuaries of the 80’s.


Walking up the harsh cold stairway, with luminescent synth cloudlets flickering in the background: once the – possibly inebriated – friend with benefits turns home to his beloved honey, she, I suppose, immediately zaps him into a synthetic flume of staccatofied 80’s synths, breakbeat conniptions and glittering faux-xylophone helixes, all of this happening in the vox-carried opener Can’t Stop. The theme is set, and so the adjacent Get In The Summer Groove enchants with airplane engines, microbial ocean waves, elasticized Reggae toasts and a filter-perturbed calcareous cowbell breeze, altogether forming the underbrushes for the background choir’s pectin-fueled euphony and arhythmic bubbles that pester the marimbalicious groove.


Meanwhile, Katz Lounge succumbs to a faintly industrial flute-processed entrepôt – it just sounds better than just writing warehouse, right? – and lets the interstices between the Rhodes rhizomes and guitar granuloma breathe in equimolar terms, whereas I Wanna Be With You is awash with amethystine R’n’B centrioles, sunset-lit Oberheim polyphonies and soothing saprotrophs on the vocal side… qith the occasionally bent filter a given. When I’m With You rounds off the first quintet with pyrethrin pleas, soothing cymbal scintillae and a molybdenized whitewashed moiré over the whole locale that even affects the muted saxophone.


The second phase of SEGAS is kicked off by the old adage Love is Like a Dream, an yttrium-alloyed synth basin of protruding synth scythes, artificial crystalline droplets and a dense megafauna that tones down an overly good mood in favor of a macula that focuses on the lycopod-inheriting ventricles and intermediate stages where sounds, sustain and micropauses meet, mesh and depart. The potentially apoplectic She Set Me Up depicts the fallout of long-distance relationship and blames the lamenting girl for it… that was a common thing in the 80’s, I’m afraid. The destroyed cenobitism is all the more quirky in the given melody-based context of synth guitar sinews, neutraceutical soulful vocals of the same-titled original and a curiously light-flooded mood. It’s over, isn’t it?


I’m Shugga Free launches with a strychnine overdose which translates into a gorgeous clave-accompanied flanger phantasmagoria of debonair guitars, prolonged vocal hooks and the accretion of every lilting element, no rotenone needed as the euphoric individual jumps into the sunrise. The juxtaposed I Can’t Forget You launches with a warped and droning chirality of ascending spheres which lead to an appropriately bongo-underlined guitar cytoplasma, a laser interferometry and multinucleate chord progressions which ultimately point to the finale Loner Lagoon, a Mallsoft instrumental despite its lagunalicious title. Volatile marimba microlensing, stop-and-go gridlocks on the beat side and a superionic legato veil round off an echoey marble-walled tetragonal thiazide, the mall of your dreams. A paradisiac/technocratic closer!


SEGAS and the impression its title evokes remains eventually unfulfilled once the album is over, for this is not a BGM-infested ventiduct into video game memorabilia and the lore of heroes, no, nano神社 (✪㉨✪) worships the eclecticism of the 80’s by means of synth-heavy material that is most of the time vocal-driven and slowed down. Make no mistake, this album is the product of a curator in the first place, not a creator, but this is no bad thing at all when the original material is cleverly disassembled. Instead of dismantling the constituents themselves, 神社 (✪㉨✪) cautiously alters the beats, adds supra gridlocks, interfering noises and pulsating pauses to the fusillade of epigenetic synthesizers, additionally succumbing to Vaporwave’s ultramafic magnetotail by slowing the macronutrients down. The result is a megachromatic metallicity, carving out phantom frequencies, stressing the talons and telomeres of the harmonies, revving up the energy by means of stumbling segues, vignettes and squeezed jams. The phototropism of SEGAS is best suited for the aforementioned Mallsoft followers, less so for fans of Casi(n)oware, but why the secession? This is chromogenic Vaporwave!


Further listening and reading: 


Vaporwave Review 091: nano神社 (✪㉨✪) – SEGAS (2015). Originally published on Jun. 6, 2015 at