Search This Blog

Friday, August 4, 2017

CREATIVE SAMPLING or How Vaporwave Is Made; Saint Pepsi's "Better" and "Issac Washihgton"

Image result for saint pepsi

[A 2015 article I never published]

Vaporwave, like its' older brother chillwave, and it's parents, hip-hop and house before it, is a sample-based music that, even more than any of the above, is reliant on incorporating huge chunks of songs, or even entire songs as its' foundation. It's a remix genre, if you will, that is sometimes criticized by the uncomprehending for being lazy, or emblematic of artistic decadence, in the same sense that the modern film industry really is bankrupt of ideas and therefor cannibalizing the past for new material

But far from being creatively bankrupt, vaporwave has become the little-genre-that-could,  surpassing it's precedent microgenres (or memegenres), chillwave and witch house, in terms of both popularity and influence.  The music continues unabated, diffusing ever further into the cultural mainstream, and as recently as 2015 produced a major masterpiece in the form of I'll Try Living Like This by death's dynamic shroud.wmv.  

One of the major bases of vaporwave is pitch manipulation, slowing down pre-existing tracks. Vaporwave artists are hardly the first, or even second,  to do this. The Houston artist known as DJ Screw pioneered the style, known as "chopped and screwed", and all slowed-down tracks owe something to this originator.  In 2009 the concept hit the internet in a big way, in the form of "drag", which was basically a subgenre of witch house, and made useful effect of the ghostly, disembodied sound inherent in slowed-down vocals.  

The vaporwave artists exploit the possibilities of the slowed-down beats, to rhythmic effect.  The slowed-down track is further manipulated with edits and effects, and the results are often (but not always or necessarily) very different from their source. Tracks are re-titled and presented as the vaporwave artist's own work, which causes the consternation of those who don't respect creative sampling.  But the naysayers fail to comprehend just how difficult it is to find fresh beats, even having the whole corpus of recorded music at your disposal as source material. Not just any track will work downpitched--it takes some intuition and practice to pick those tracks that have the potential. When it works, the effect can be hypnotic and strange, almost otherworldly, and can seem to stretch or suspend  time.

No one proved more adept at mining the past for fresh beats than Saint Pepsi, whose releases dominated 2013, and established a new subgenre within vaporwave; future funk. Here, we  compare two Saint Pepsi classics, posted below, with their original source, to shed some light on how this music is made. In the the first example, the possibilities of editing are explored, and in the second, the potential of downpitching or slowing the tempo is demonstrated.

THE BEST OF LATER VAPORWAVE // テレパシーの by t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 and 猫 シ Corp.

This is the album that entranced me and took my obsession with vaporwave to another level, and led me to focus on T e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 as the premiere vaporwave artist. But don't make the mistake I did initially and ignore the other half of these split releases---猫 シ Corp. is a great artist in their own right. The only thing I know about t e l e p a t h is that they were a partner in the Dream Catalog label, and one half of the groundbreaking 2814 project. This release is from May of 2014, and is no longer available from Bandcamp, possibly due to copyright claims. I have provided a download link that I found after a lengthy search. This represents vaporwave at its moodiest, most introspective extreme--a product of the memory farm.


THE BEST OF LATER VAPORWAVE // t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 and Vincent Remember : interstellar love

This may possibly be the definitive vaporwave album--- the album most representative of the style and genre as it developed into its full maturity. Released in early 2014, originally a Dream Catalog release, this album is composed of down-pitched eighties pop songs, digitally processed and manipulated in a manner that utterly transforms the underlying material. This pirated music is entirely illegal and illigetimate, according to all accepted legal definitions, and yet it is the full flower of the mad phase of creativity that followed the wide distribution of pirated music production software and the ready availability of the entire corpus of recorded music for raw material, and the best, purest example of endemic internet culture. When the cultural history of this era is seen in retrospect, it is certain that this --- vaporwave at its purest --- will eclipse the "legitimate" music being offered up by the  MSM, by far.


Not my download, but as it is no longer available from Dream Catalog, I share this link for those who need it


THE BEST OF LATER VAPORWAVE (2015-2015) death's dynamic shroud .wmv // I'll Try Living Like This

This is an album I listened to relentlessly in 2015. A product of Philapelphia producer James Webster, it is built around R&B samples, and deserves to be listened to in its entirety. Not derivative of other vaporwave, it has a mood and atmosphere unlike any other. A true masterpiece of the genre.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

New Emo // Night Language by Molly Shannon, Molly Shannon

Shared by Balam Acab on facebook, this album by Portland Oregon band Molly Shannon, Molly Shannon turned out to be interesting and a breath of fresh air.  The vocals seem right, and the instrumentation is apparently organic, like real instruments; reminds me of early Modest Mouse. "Everything made, produced, broken, replaced, repaired, recorded by msms over 8 strange years of pain & damage." 
 Stay sad, my friends.

Friday, June 3, 2016

2011 Chillwave // Race of Robots

"Race of Robots is a multi-genre musical project created by Zach Holmes and Coby Nida, from Washington, D.C. The two blend and create a new take on 80’s and 90’s music. The styles spawn from R&b based vocal melodies, Indie rock and Reggae influenced guitars. Along with a new hint of Chillwave and an added dose of Hip Hop based sampling methods"
Class of 2011 chillwave, very nice, generally overlooked and underappreciated. As new music is stagnating, or in a repetitive cycle, I will focus on mining the past for buried gold, especially from the 2009-2012 era. There is another album also free and great, on their Bandcamp page. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Download // anothercountyheard's Summer 2011 Chillwave Mixtape

Add caption

Classic chillwave mixtape from your's truly. Download it as a zip file of separate sequenced MP3s.

01 Purity Ring- Ungirthed
02 Slow Magic - Sorry Safari
03 Rimar - Ways
04 Seabright -Sea Samba
05 NazcarNation - Beeswax (StewRat Remix)
06 Regal Safari - Lake
07 Active Child - Hangin On
08 Flourish Fill - Gentle Beast
09  Team Rockit - första hjälpen (chop n screw u)
10 Blood Diamonds - Grins
11 Phoenix - 1901 (Essáy's Heat Edit)
12 Active Child - Playing House feat How to Dress Well
13 Balam Acab - Motion
14 CFCF - Cometrue (Physical Therapy Deep Forest Mix)
15 Seabright - Faye
16 Hard Mix - Memories (Purity Ring Remix)
17 Alicia Keys - Unthinkable (PHYSICAL THERAPY REAL HEAVY VIBE)