Athens, Georgia-based artist Vaperror makes a glorious return approximately every five or six months, and now that spring is finally here, he appears on his own label PLUS100 Records with a hybrid release that is torn between the quantitative aspects of an LP (12 tracks) and EP (a runtimeless than 25 minutes). Acid Arcadia is short and sweet, a luring locale, loaded with multitudes of synthetic patterns, eclectic formations, sumptuous hooklines and an adamantly fast presentation where bits and bytes, blips and bleeps as well as blebs and bubbles emanate and emit the living daylights out of the package. Choose your poison, for Acid Arcadia is — or rather was — available in pink and green tapes, CD versions and digital-only incarnations. Acid and Juke unite, Vaporwave and Jungle form rhizomatic bonds. And don't you worry: Vaperror's release is less acidic and baneful than the title might led you believe. It is also his most contingent one style-wise as of yet, succeeding the nutritious aquascape debut Mana Pool (Dream Catalogue, 2014), the gorgeously dreamy laid-back aurora that is System Delight (self-released, 2015) and the stupefying all-encompassing genre wonderland Polychromatic Compiler (Dream Catalogue, 2015). Here, then, is a closer look at the three primary constituents that form the mighty cornerstones of Acid Arcadia.
Acid Arcadia is fast. It is running on all cylinders without succumbing to Dutch Hardcore traits or industrial Gabba gluons. Vaperror's latest work is a dream come true for joggers, runners and workaholics. Despite hefty BPM rates, your boy from Athens avec Detroit traits manages to inject multinucleate breaks and beat patterns. While the second track 900X Fighter Engine sports a four-to-the-floor engine that is comparatively open to scrutiny — how to not recognize a 4/4 beat? — even in the wake of its otherwise crystalline-pulsatile aura, the SoundCloud single Sinusoidal Wibbler hasn't changed one iota since its appearance on AmbientExotica's Vapor Vertebrae writeup, still enchanting with eclectic cowbell-infused woodpecker wisps and coruscating chords. This blipfest is then followed by the emerald/viridian Crystal Body, yet another smoking-fast but mercilessly good-natured vapor trope made of solid helictites. And Unknown C is beyond your average tunnel vision. You want speed? Ya boi vape has you covered!
Melodies have always been in the epicenter of Vaperror's tunes, whether you consider his inaugural trap juggernaut Sega Dreamland or the Ambient-focused last quarter of his second Dream Catalogue outing Polychromatic Compiler. One cannot stress this focal point enough, for this EP/LP hybrid is called Acid Arcadia after all, so you can rightfully presume some nasty bile and mis-chromosomed prongs. Thankfully, Vaperror comes up with a rather playful, benignant kind of Acid. Elysian slides are the second omnipresent ingredient, whether their ethereal glow appears in a stereo-panned mauve hue as in Press On or in the two more pointillistic incarnations of Carbon Universe. You can't probably sing along to any of the tunes, lest you sound like a falsetto fuckwit, but the ever-rotating set of synths, textures and punctilio nuclei causes major goosebumps throughout Acid Arcadia's runtime
… and, why not, Acid!
The sunlit kind of Acid notwithstanding, Acid Arcadia isn't all glitz. The gyration between cotton chords and hatched harshness is but one golden thread. Retrogressive 303 tentacles vesiculate here and there, for instance in the incredibly nocturnal blitz mayhem Error On The Dance Floor: the shift from mephitic medulla-craving pads over siren patterns to concrete cubes on top of flangered fermions has to be heard to be believed. It is utterly enthralling, its cheeky Future Funk appendix notwithstanding. Likewise, the centrifugal core of My Secret House is supercharged with euphonious synth pads, but since it is a large building after all, it consequentially finds enough room for a warbled acid hook. My Secret House is still the most straight-forward tune of them all, with less sophistication and easier trickeries. This artist doesn't need to prove his love for labyrinthine lariats 24/7, right? Meanwhile, the lanthanum swamp Blip Guttermix is the very best and most apt description of a track's physiognomy and appearance, and while it is just a mere interlude of less than 30 seconds, the foamy, semi-dry puddles of camphene and adjacent jitters clearly invoke the A-train that is also known as Acid.
Acid Arcadia is as eupeptic and ebullient a work as fans can expect from Vaperror, but at the same time, it is also the most contingent work, with a good chance of the majority of the listeners liking all its tracks if only one suits their fancy in the slightest way. The high-energy mixture of Juke, Acid, Jungle and Vaporwave makes for an highly intriguing listening experience. The chords, pads and tercets shimmer in panchromatic colors, and true to the nature of Acid, the melodies are easy to grasp but hard to emulate, making any attempt of singing along to the presented material an echopraxia, albeit a noble, not a mocking one. In each and every interview that Vaperror has given, he insists on the importance of practicing, nurturing the skills, getting to know the tools, superseding the technical limits and cognitive obstacles. The artist's name and the slow, dreamy, malleable nature of Vaporwave force him to stretch this endeavor, and long before Acid Arcadia, Vaperror remains in his own sphere, injecting vigor, verve and hydrazine into our favorite style, genre and niche. As much as Mana Pool is the gold standard and System Delight the supramellow noosphere: hit the road, go outside, Acid Arcadia ennobles every sprint.
Further listening and reading:
- Acid Arcadia can be ordered and streamed at PLUS100 Records.
- Artist and label on Twitter: @VAPERROR @PLUS100Records
- All Vaperror features and mentions at AmbientExotica can be found here.
Vaporwave Review 156: Vaperror – Acid Arcadia (2016). Originally published on Apr. 5, 2016 at AmbientExotica.com.