What is Vaporwave?: For this post, I’ve decided to focus on a genre as a whole instead of a particular band or artist. Vaporwave is a relatively new genre (circa 2011) that owes its sound to a slew of electronic sub-genres (plunderphonics [the artful method of sampling–most prominently used in hip hop], synth-wave, smooth elevator jazz [which isn’t truly a category you would find in a record store–but you know what I mean], chill-wave, art-pop, and others). The genre places a heavy emphasis on consumer culture of the 80s and 90s–meaning a lot of the music is derivative of (or actually ‘chopped and screwed’ versions of) retro video game music, cheesy TV commercials, or other long-forgotten media artifacts. This also plays into the visual aesthetic of the genre–mainly in regards to album art. (Be sure to examine the album art seen in the videos in the Recommended Listening section).
Because of it’s overall sarcastic tone, it is considered more of a joke or troll than anything else–another Internet meme taken to musical extremes by “… rich kids in the 2010s pretending to be rich kids in the 1980s.”
However, like any and all outsider art that is largely disregarded by the masses, there is subtle beauty to be found in the Vaporwave genre. Though it is built with forgotten pieces of insincere crap from decades come and gone–the underlying yearning for the genuine cannot be ignored. Not if you truly listen.
Interesting Fact: The genre was solely born via the Internet (Bandcamp and Soundcloud mostly)–a lot of albums released anonymously.
Recommended Listening: The entire album Dark Web by Giant Claw, the entire album Floral Shoppe by Macintosh Plus, and the entire album Blank Banshee 0 by Blank Banshee.