2047 A.D.
새로운 삶을 시작






Rumor mill: there are Vaporwave albums. The genre is so utterly focused on singles and rad tracks, although it is increasingly less about segues and vignettes anymore, but real concept albums, spanning an anacrusis or prelude, a midrib or highpoint and a happy end or catastrophe. It is anyone’s guess what Neo-Seoul’s artist 2047 부드러운 아픈 aka 2047 A.D. has in mind with his 12-track opus 새로운 삶을 시작, self-released on the artist's Bandcamp page. Rest assured though that its title translates into start a new life, and heart-warming optimism ensues. If only this uplifting train of thought was matched by the braiding of aerose vestibules, cauterized synths, flaring efflorescence and etiolated undercurrents. But no, here we have a cinematic paroxysm in aural form, one with a richly alluvial soil style-wise, a soil that is prone to become weathered and encounter violent seasons and unsettling topics. Over the course of the album which is set in the year 2047 for a good reason, the traveler flees his or her hometown, crosses abandoned villages and remote forests… and starts a new life, leaving the old one behind for good. Yay! But since we’re in the Snowden years and know that virtual and real escapism are things of the past, 2047 A.D.’s moloch is in denial and in doubt, treating the attempt of leading a new life as a contravention. Here, then, is a closer look at the cyberpunk/vapor chaparral.


The opener 도시를 탈출 (escaping this city) is the benchmark to beat, not because it is the best song per se, but rather due to its shapeshifting stature, the many ancillary paths and stylistic sidetracks that have been recently analyzed in-depth in a recent Vapor Vertebrae edition. In short, the song quite certainly showcases a journey, and a pressing one at that, hurrying from Glitch zones over square lead pulses to a metallic interim endpoint which leads to the freedom-evoking Endless Highway… or so it seems. Turns out that said highway is a solanum, hued in nocturnal nullspaces, comprising a steampunk beat aorta in 4/4 time, several lanthanum-alloyed hi-hat titrations and a rubicund two-note pulse peritoneum. This is not Vaporwave’s definition of a highway. This is retrosternal doom alright!


2047 A.D. doesn’t exclusively succumb to such baroclinic boundaries all the time, and this is where the next set of tracks come into play, all of them gyring between nomological rusticity and technocratic superresonances, i.e. the very pair of opposites that oozes through the vapor ventiducts all the time. The realization thereof, however, makes the following locales and landmarks so immersive. 버려진 마을 (the abandoned village), for instance, is a multinucleate verglas bokeh of vitreous fermions, silvery drone cloudlets and a softly salubrious aura with a less enigmatic hatred. Likewise, the bosky terrain of over nine minutes called 쓸쓸한 숲 (the lonely forest) opens up and presents a periglacial perturbation that is still rather sanguine. The crystalline translucency and polymer-coated sinews are held together by a portentously mechanistic beat and later annihilated in a cybernetic rotoscoping accretion of ogival conniption, eventually leading to 산 집 (acid house), an ambivalently jejune-debonair shard coil of lilting afterglows and low-hysteresis steel jaws, yet again bundled together by the ominous interferometry of an adiabatic beat.


Residents is next, and it is one of the strongest tracks, even though its physiognomy might let you believe otherwise. This is basically a stokehold track with heating immersion circulators, volatile pipes and thermal telomeres, but the stringent constancy interpolates the pernicious proteostasis even better. It is all the more curious to place 새 생명 (new life) next to these desiccate doldrums, but the Ambient-focused coup de main works, leading to a pulmonary pectin plasm that is gaseous and stratiform, even gregarious, letting as much light into its macula as possible… it is an important track for a reason, but more about this at a later point. With 사슴 사냥 (Interlude) which translates into deer hunting interlude, 2047 A.D. has erected the iconoclastic bust in the endemic entity that is this album. Mercilessly incandescent, equally holarctic and hieratic, this proselytizing hypanthium is the lavabo protuberance that towers above the toxic wastelands.


Speaking of wastelands: we shall receive more of them, or what else to call 2047겨울 폭풍 (2047 winter storm) and its punctilio-infested woodpecker beat spectrum, apocalyptic legato melodies and sub-zero kineticism that lets the periglacial spherification hit the synapses in the hardest possible way? To make a potential answer to this question even more bewildering, this is simultaneously the very track with a melody that is most open to scrutiny, allowing the listener to follow every biomorphic key and stem. The idea of juxtaposing this hibernal helix with 고기 수확 (harvest) is equally peculiar, but no less successful. A guitar-interspersed downbeat syncytium at its heart, this gem breathes J-Pop phytotelemata, churning maraca-like hi-hats, cyber seagulls and vermillion synth muons which altogether make the track less bucolic than its title suggests. It doesn’t help, however, for the grand finale features two significantly crestfallen endpoints: Extermination clocks in at almost nine minutes, spawning a diffeomorphism of peaceful tranquility, wind-chime-and-music-box centrioles as well as rain pad magnetotails, whereas It’s Over is a short appendix made of softened piano chloroderivatives, presenting alkaliphilic happiness that shouldn’t exist at this point…


… or should it? The album title translates into start a new life after all, and the only question for the avid listener is to distill if, and where, and when that new life has been started. Does it lie within the boundaries of the album, and if so, is it possible to pinpoint a certain track (track seven is called new life after all)? Or will this life come to fruition sometime in the future, a future that lies outside the aural frontiers of 새로운 삶을 시작? It is questions like these that arise when a concept album materializes. 2047 A.D. has created a masterful attempt at a cyberpunk-oriented ecomorph, what with its tetragonal structures, monoclinic circumambiences and adaxial aureoles. As such, it demands a skilled listener, not necessarily because the material is far out, convoluted or labyrinthine, although I would like to correlate the latter two adjectives with the album as a whole due to its aspects of traveling and mephitic revelations. But no, I think that 새로운 삶을 시작 demands a dedicated listener due to its dispirited, woebegone atmosphere and the disheartened chord regressions that come with it. Heck, you can probably use any adjective with the added prefix dis- in order to outline the admonitory omnipresence. As a concept album, its constituents shouldn’t be torn apart either, so it is best to make room for the multiplex that is 새로운 삶을 시작. A few years ago, Vaporwave was a single- or track-oriented quasi-genre. Artists like 2047 A.D. make it larger than life. Remember the actual album title, and you’ll understand.


Further listening and reading:

  • You can fetch and stream 새로운 삶을 시작 at Bandcamp.
  • 2047 A.D. uses the benign handle @2047_sicksoft on Twitter.


Vaporwave Review 105: 2047 A.D. – 새로운 삶을 시작 (2015). Originally published on Jul. 2, 2015 at AmbientExotica.com.