Phytolithic Vaporwave 

Aokigahara isn't a household meme in electronic music circles — and particularly in the Vaporwave scene — as of yet. The name of the infamous Japanese suicide forest sounds poetic and picturesque when Occidental tongues absorb the illumined aftertaste of lush greens and mysterious woods. Aside from the dark secrets of the bosky locale, it is usually used in delightful musical contexts. In real life, Aokigahara is a place of doom and desperate souls. In Vaporwave, enchantment and enigmatic ethereality reign.


Two artists who make this place their own both stylistically and metaphorically are Dan Mason, who in his eponymous Aokigahara Forest side project exchanges the flumes of Future Funk with vincristine vapor veils (see the review of his debut here), and STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ aka Tachyon Plaza who is more loosely connected to the forest at hand in that he "only" pinpoints Aokigahara as his heritage. Otherwise, the auroral druid relies on Vaportrap territories through synthesized, usually self-written slides of cristae, droplets and helictites. SΛCRED GRƟVE ƟNLINE (2015) was a case in point, and now there's something new. 


FLƟWER is the EP where STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ has — hopefully — his innermost strength, letting it flow in a fusillade of three staccato-esque blipfests that are as delightful on the surface level as they are when the molecules unite in order to create lenticular melodies, shimmering in twilight, salubriously no less, with a fourth and final sample-based and more traditional Vaporwave track to round them off. Self-released in December and available to fetch (name your price) at Bandcamp, here is a closer track-by-track look at the artistic achievements.



When a soundscape forms a particularly successful symbiosis with the attached track title, I’m one to notice. In the case of the opener Blossom, both the textural and compositional exceed and immediately welcome the listener with the most benignant depth. A soothingly arpeggiated four-note melody inherits an increasingly glissandofied morphology, helicoidal harp-oid glints swirl next to the handclap-underlined apocryphal cowbells. These entities turn Blossom into a shimmering pale green pastel phragmoplast. The transparence and perceptibility of each layer only boost the designed accessibility of this floral gateway.



No questions asked: Lilyheart is the showstopper of the EP, thankfully enough without any gaudy attitude or epiphanic erethism. Its profoundness lies deeper, and this is not even a figure of speech. The outer rhizomes of Detroit lead to an aural phytotelomere. The tension increases slightly when the hi-hats and cymbals gain puissance. Whether it is the laser pulses, the encore of the zoetropic harp or the sun-fueled synth pearls, STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ circulates between electropositive clarity and interstitial hatches, thus making Lilyheart an alluring hybrid. 


Mana Flower

The pointillistic blotchiness is key to the whole FLƟWER EP but finds its amicable climax in Mana Flower. While the textures haven’t changed and still encompass the well-established array of biomorphic blebs and coruscating centrioles, the context of the melodic midrib is altered in order to become more filial and puerile. It would be unwise to mistake these adjectives for the concept of being childish or infantile though: Mana Flower aggregates these insouciant spirits so that the positivism can be superimposed onto the yearning and softly threnodic micrometry that are tantamount fermions within the fragile cosmos of the third track.



Here we have the purposeful alternative scenario that cracks the quercetin carapace open and feasts on the sporophytes of the previous three tracks. Always is a totally different affair, one might be tempted to proclaim it as the real Vaporwave artifact of this EP; it may be too energetic and vigorous for that though, despite the slowed-down state. It is built on the same promise as Cobalt Road’s finale Bliss off his release Purgatory (2015): reversion. Both final tracks comprise of a synth hymn from somewhere else while the producers alter frequencies, bend the filters and succumb to the hetacombic fear of Pop. The main difference: Cobalt Road propagates elation, STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ on the other hand juxtaposes lycopod nostalgia with crestfallen timbres. A portentous polymorphism


Pyrethrin Fantasies

FLƟWER is mellow, a devoted piece of innocence, created to fragilely brighten up anyone's day as long as Vaporwave and its adjacent substyles are considered by the listener as guiding lights and glowing relics. STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ has undoubtedly grown as an artist, even though he willfully links back everything he creates to the conception of forests, plants and nomological erethism. The field of nature-driven Ambient music in general and electronic music in particular is crowded, true enough, but it is less crowded in the V-school.


Vaporwave is also about consumerism, but certainly not exclusively! STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ paves the jungle paths with organic foliage and aqueous galactosamines. While this EP is and remains a concept EP, the songs are the actual stars, not the concept itself. You can dive in and out off FLƟWER seamlessly and without ny problem. The listener is never truly overwhelmed as is the case with synth-heavy New Age works and Drone encounters. This is good news which allows everyone to feast on the nutritious sound beams while still being aware of one's self.


Vaportrap may be acidic and hectic on purpose, but FLƟWER decreases and decelerates things enough to make this a lactic effort. There are no bone-crushing basslines, no truly spiky hi-hats or lanthanum-alloyed cymbals that clash with the soothing atmosphere. Even the depth of the Detroit-oriented synths isn't intimidating; meaning derives from the assembly point, the lacustrine genesis of all partaking constituents. As such, STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ's EP remains everything at once: a small (enough) EP for workout purposes and daydreaming, but with an ever-luring redshift in cerulean colors.


Further listening and reading:


Vaporwave Review 144: Staqq Overflo – Flower (2015). Originally published on Jan. 7, 2016 at