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Vaporwave’s Mini-Boom of Floppy Disk Releases (rollingstone.com)
177 points by pshaw 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 142 comments

Vaporwave is a huge genre which covers a wide range of styles. Here are two favourites which show different styles. From down tempo electro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GW6sLrK40k to new reworking of 80s pop songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jynPLTeBaFc

The main thing that ties in the different styles is the slight feeling of nostalgia and the internet subculture central to it. The playfulness with the subculture is a core element of the subculture. "Vaporwave is dead" is an example of such. It's post-hipster in a way as hipsters are too serious, always searching for the authenticity, where vaporwave will copy and rework stuff. It's kind of close to the way Discordianism worked - is it a music genre thats disguised as a joke or a joke thats disguised as a music genre?

One of the things that, to me, makes it such a vibrant genre is the huge emergent tree of sub-genres that seemingly sprout out of it on a weekly basis. This means that if you're able to accept the basic premise of the genre, there's probably some sub-genre that you can get into.

It reminds me of what we now call the EDM scene, but back in the 90s when it was "Techno" or just "electronic music". There was an attempt to try to map out those sub genres in a great flash presentation: http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/

Since it's valuable, and we're still early in it, it would be great to also do this with vaporwave.

Another important part of the scene is that it's not just a music scene, but a more general cultural movement with visuals, palettes, clothes, food, tv and so on. And on one of the powers of it is that it can not only create new stuff, but draw on an entire cultural period that's already happened.

>Another important part of the scene is that it's not just a music scene, but a more general cultural movement with visuals, palettes, clothes, food, tv and so on.

I’m trying to imagine “vaporwave food” now, and the closest I can get is those weird little Kid Cuisine TV dinners with the frozen blue stuff for desert.

I went to this food... thing... in Palm Springs a few weeks ago. We watched Sitcoms and ate food inspired by them. They went way back to 1960s shows, but it would have been 1000x more fun (for me) had it been full on vaporwave. We were all dressed up, the servers sang and did trivia. It was awesome and now makes me want to throw a Vaporwave food event.

This is a little older, but I think it is still accurate.


Being a fan of the genre(s) myself, it's nice to see that Ishkur's Guide is still available. I remember finding it on Newgrounds in 2000 or 2001 and being blown away by the level of detail.

> Cassette players, they’re not really manufactured anymore, and the prices are going up on used ones

Tascam just released a new deck cassette player, with USB:


They probably mean quality cassette players. Even that Tascam is made using standard cheap mechanisms, it only has the most basic noise reduction (Dolby B) and no tape type selection.

To even come close to justifying its $500 price tag, it should have a proper high-quality direct drive 3-head mechanism, Dolby B, C and S, as well as HX-Pro, at the very minimum to take the cassette tape seriously as a medium for music.

A Type IV "metal" tape with Dolby S and recorded using HX-Pro can sound seriously good, but nobody wants to sink the money into doing it, when they can just sell crappy Type I tapes at hipster prices.

>A Type IV "metal" tape with Dolby S and recorded using HX-Pro can sound seriously good

We had one of those 3 head tape decks growing up. The one we had a yamaha with dolby hx-pro,b,c and dbx. We used to tape cds and try to a/b compare them.

The 3 heads were erase, record and play, which meant you could monitor the recording as it was happening and adjust levels and such. (and results in the weird behavior of the "tape monitor" button on amplifiers).

With Cr2 tapes (not as good as metal, better than normal) and dbx noise reduction it was really hard to tell the difference between cds and tapes.

The quiet parts on tape clearly had hiss without the noise reduction and the dbx noise reduction made the tape sound like crap in your walkman, so we just used dolby C most of the time. The walkman was always the weak link, without cleaning those rubber rollers you could get some weird speed ups and slow downs on playback ("tilt a whirl effect").

DBX was really cool, there were also DBX-encoded LPs available for a while. Unfortunately it also made the recordings sound absolutely horrible if your player didn't support DBX (as you noticed), so it was a massive failure.

The days of physical media for music are generally over, but I just feel cassette tapes could have been so much better than they ended up being.

DBX records.. interesting.

Its hard because once a format is entrenched, unless its backward compatible with the previous media...

The market did try to make a better cassette in the late 1980s/early 1990s.. The "Digital Compact Cassette". they competed with Sony's "DAT" (Digital Audio Tape).



You are right though, at this point digital is king. Its weird thinking back to a time when music was physical, took up space and you had to think about what to play next (and have it with you). You were sort of stuck with the music you brought with.

The main thing I miss is the tactile feedback of seeking through tracks and DJ sets with a walkman. If I held the buttons down only halfway pressed, the output would remain patched in to the headphones and I could hear the pitched up scrubbing sound. Also - when the batteries were dying, it would still play for about an hour, but progressively slower until it finally stopped.

I'm bringing this back to the web for sure.

Vinyl's alive and growing every day. Lots of artists release on vinyl at the demand of their fans and there are plenty of thriving record stores with recent releases.

It's still a vanishingly tiny part of the overall music market, and most people buy them as decoration, rather than to play them.

I do have a turntable myself, a very interesting early/mid 70s direct drive table made by CEC in Japan and sold as a Visonik in Germany. But I primarily collect old albums that were released on vinyl as their primary format, I don't care much for new releases on vinyl.

I still maintain that the vinyl boom is a dad.

I think of all the music that is lost because it isn't digital.

My friend growing up had a huge jazz record collection. He once pointed out that only a small number of them got converted to CD format.

People still buying cassettes are doing it for the LoFi sound anyways. They know their market.

People are still selling top-end cassette decks for $2000+ https://www.ebay.com/b/Nakamichi-Dragon/71574/bn_59488707

People who will spend $500 on a mediocre tape deck?

It looks fancy enough and you can show your friends how retro you are. Sure a CD player would be better in every way, but everyone has those. Sound is really secondary here.

you can show your friends how retro you are.

My hobbies and the things I spend my discretionary money on are superior to other people’s hobbies and the things they spend their discretionary money on.

People still have CD players?

I just picked up an SCPH-1001 (original PS1) on eBay for 25 bucks. With the multi A/V out into a tube stereo, CDs sound fantastic. Not very convenient but a nice option.

The PlayStation really isn't a very good CD player. Its controls are clunky, and it has uneven frequency response and high distortion. But I guess it's less relevant, since you're feeding it to a tube amp anyway ;-)

Well it's piped through a mixer first, and cmon, it was 25 bucks :)

Yea it hasn't been long enough for them to be thrown out yet. Most cars still have them too.

Why not just get an actual 70s/80s vintage tape deck instead?

Because they're i) mechanical and often need to be repaired and ii) shit. Seriously, tape is fucking awful for all use cases except "no other formats exist at this point in time", and that was true in 1982, but not today.

Tapes were pretty durable. Degraded tapes at least played, unlike scratched CDs which could be be effectively ruined pretty easily. Plus portable tape players could be jostled around during playback with effecting anything, while cheap portable CD players would cut out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVoSQP2yUYA - "better than you don't remember". This is an interesting watch if you've got the time.

I use the tape deck in my car more than the CD player, and almost as much as I use the radio.

Granted, that's mostly because I have one of those tape-to-3.5mm adapters, but even the actual tapes I pop in every once in awhile are more convenient than CDs, not to mention more space-efficient.

The tape deck manufacturers today know what's up. Nobody is trying to get serious hi-fi out of tapes anymore. There are cheaper and more effective ways of doing that today.

People using tapes are looking specifically for the imperfections of the medium. Trying to get perfect reproduction out of one would be like selling a synthesizer that only produces the most perfect, clean sine wave. Nobody wants that. The distortion is the instrument.

No of course not, it would be a waste of money to force cassette tapes into having decent sound quality. Anyone who cares about that is going to be using either lossless files or a good modern lossy codec.

What people want is the shitty version of cassette tape, the one they grew up listening to on their birthday present portable tape players. Probably tapes recorded on a middling-quality player from an LP.

And I get it. If I were to buy a classic car of some sort, you can absolutely bet it would have a tape deck, and I would gladly use it.

> the one they grew up listening

The biggest market for cassettes today is for people who never experienced them before.

Well said. E.g. - There’s a lotta love out there for DACs with limited bits (e.g. - 10 bit digital to analog converters in low end 80s synths)

FM8 doesn’t sound quite like a DX100, and all that...

Not out of cassette tapes maybe, but... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KHSz9Gi-II

All I want is speed control on a cassette player. It'd be great for sampling for lo-fi music.

Check out Amulets (a great musician) who once sold a variable speed tape player in his shop [1]

There's also the fascinating OM-1 Cassette Tape synthesizer [2] -- it varies the pitch of the tape to produce different sounds.

[1] https://amulets.bandcamp.com/merch/modified-variable-speed-t...

[2] https://ask.audio/articles/om-1-cassette-tape-synthesizer-is...

Quality/higher-end cassette players for playing generally lo-fi music? Something's wrong here.

I mean, in the article one guy says that he managed to compress and put 3 songs onto 1 floppy and was satisfied with the listenable end result.

Maybe it was all 8-bit?

Dithered 8-bit is approximately the same / slightly better noise floor as a cassette anyway, so if that's the market they're trying to compare to it's "reasonable". (Still silly as hell IMHO, but whatever makes people happy!)

Do tapes recorded with all those features gracefully degrade to be playable on regular tape-decks, or do you need a decoder module for them?

If you do need a decoder, why not just use the tape as a digital backup tape, and write a high-bitrate FLAC file to it? A decoder is a decoder.

HX-Pro is a system to automatically adjust the bias level when recording, in order to increase headroom. It is only needed on the recording device, and improves playback quality on all tape decks.

Dolby B/C/S is needed on both the recording and playback decks, as it changes the frequency response to boost high-frequency sound quality.

Nobody buys a cassette today because they are looking for the highest quality possible, the most pristine reproduction.

I would even venture to say that a distinctive low quality sound would be preferable, if it sounds like a digital it's not so fun anymore.

If you dont care about quality, why would you spend $500

For the same reasons people spend $10k on a mechanical watch with much worse performance than a $10 quartz.

> if it sounds like a digital it's not so fun anymore

There's a DSP for that. Or ten.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, no-one can license Dolby NR anymore. If you want to record or playback tape with noise reduction you're pretty much limited to "vintage" equipment.

You might not be able to license the name, but the patents have long since expired. Just call it "noise reduction B", "noise reduction C", etc.

VCRs have also bottomed out and are starting to rise.


^above video got me started on vaporwave

Isn't this the album that started vaporwave as whole?

There's a bit of a Newton/Leibniz situation concerning the "invention" of vaporwave, and without being too much of a music nerd a-hole, I would generally consider the following four albums to share equal claim on the birth of vaporwave (listed here in chronological order:

Daniel Lopatin: Chuck Person's Eccojams Vol. 1 (summer 2010)

Vektroid as Laserdisc Visions: New Dreams Ltd. (summer 2011)

James Ferraro: Far Side Virtual (fall 2011)

Vektroid as Macintosh Plus: Floral Shoppe (late fall 2011)

That's Chuck Person's Eccojams Vol. 1.

Yes, which was interestingly a side project of Daniel Lopatin, better known by his experimental electronic moniker Oneohtrix Point Never.

One of the greatest electronic musicians of the decade, in my opinion.

Making something that can fit on a floppy disc is pretty cool restriction to give yourself imo.

Do you just cripple the bitrate to squeeze a 3+ minute song on, do you stick to super short songs or do you find alternate means of maximising the space (I'm thinking potentially a mixture of midi files with some guidelines, and super low encoded vocals)

Floppy discs are much more aesthetically pleasing than cassettes (although maybe not cassette boxes) as a decorative thing imo too.

I was disappointed that the floppies didn't contain mods (tracker music).

Maybe you should release that album you have always been thinking of, "Meta Flame", a Torch program that uses DNN to turn mp3 files into tracker files. All advanced compression schemes use the Grad Student Algorithm [1]

[1] http://www.faqs.org/faqs/compression-faq/part1/section-15.ht... (search for "graduate student algorithm")

Diode Milliampere released an adlib tracker album, YMF262, on 3.5" floppy a few years ago. it fits about 13-14 minutes of music. i managed to score a copy, but they're sold out now.


Yeah! The demoscene was releasing size restricted albums (music disks) for decades before vaporwave was even thought of as a term.

Here's half a million songs: https://modarchive.org/

I think mod releases and midi releases will probably happen eventually.

Not exactly “releases”, but freemidi.org gives you a lot to play with.


hell yah. I still have a ton of gabber/hardcore songs in tracker format. (greetz Rotterdam)

music as C64 software: https://www.goto80.com/floptrik

music (making) as a gameboy/gameboy advance cartridge: http://www.nanoloop.com/

Here's a ~2-minute music video that fits on a floppy, about 1 megabyte. http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=74913 The post has some details about how it's done. There's a YouTube link, which is good since the main download link seems to be virus-infected.

Probably it's just triggering your AV's heuristics by using an exe compressor.

Yeah, that's a good guess. VT doesn't detect anything https://www.virustotal.com/#/url/cd39f57162b0bd78f0611118038... so I don't know why Google's Safe Browsing service flagged it.

As someone that grew through the 00's — I commend the ability to package the feeling of the era into a style, and some of the things back then (like your first time opening a Basic interpreter) were neat... but, boy, the cliparts and Encarta era is not something I'd be nostalgic of.

We had a glimpse of all the information that was out there, but still couldn't access more than a little bit of it. It was frustrating more than anything else. Personally I had gladly archived it in the back of my mind till it started to surge back as vaporwave.

I grew up in the 90s and clip art nostalgia is strong in my mind! I think I used Groliers Multimedia Encyclopedia

Wasn't Mini-discs music on a floppy? IN the US as s format mini-discs weren't very successful, but I used one in grad school. Put my CDs onto discs. Energy efficient, didn't skip, remote on the headphone extender cord and sounded great. The blank disks were fun colors. I have a mini home stereo with a minidisc changer, I tried a few recently and they still work.

Mageneto Optical technology.

MP3s killed them. People wanted better than 1 cd->1 disc, but the companies were so worried people wouldn't use them if the quality wasn't great. Sony who owned a record company really seamed hell bent on preventing piracy to the detriment of the technology. The little disks only made it to computers later in life.

I was going to toss them, but maybe I should hold onto them.


No, MiniDiscs are not floppy disks.


I've started a small collection of obsolete media. So far it's just cassette tapes, floppy disks, minidiscs, the stuff I grew up with. But I'm slowly adding stuff, just because I think it's neat to keep them as reminders of what we used to use.

My mind just can't accept that this isn't a parody / publicity stunt.

It's an aesthetic, or as they call it, an a e s t h e t i c. There's nostalgia in that style, when internet was 90s and simpler. When malls were flourishing and it looked like we were heading towards a comfortable consumerist end of history rather than a hyper-optimized automated dystopia. The Windows 95 phone could be considered vaporwave:


Small correction - AESTHETIC (e.g. Fullwidth unicode latin caps) would be more canonical. I believe it's intended to evoke use of fullwidth romaji in Japanese as a bit of a play on Japanese use of english words to sound cool.

When I read text with the fullwidth latin unicode like that, it certainly feels more dreamlike. I think Vaporwave appeals to me a lot as tapes and the aesthetics of foreign-made (eg: Japan, Taiwan, etc.) electronics feel vivid in the fuzzier memories of my childhood.

If the film Inception was made today, the photograph in the vault could have been an old VHS tape.

And yet it's a sub with 100,000 followers:


There's a sub-genre that dubs Vaporwave songs with Simpsons clips that has tens of millions of views on YouTube:


It is indeed very real. Surreal, even.

Simpsonwave is one of those things that reminded me just how great having the Internet is. I'm not in the community by any means, but as soon as I learned about it, I was so happy that it existed and that it had a community putting out work.

Simpsonwave really brought back my love of Memphis Horrorcore.

Come & Get Yo Wig Split! (heavily sampled in one of those Ryan Celcius videos)

If you think that Simpsonwave is weird, just wait until you discover fashwave: https://thump.vice.com/en_uk/article/mgwk7b/fashwave-trumpwa...

It's literally the same as vaporwave, but with fascist titles and graphics. Reminds me a lot of neo-Nazis appropriating metal and punk.

Vaporwave is a weird genre. It's really popular on the internet, but it never quite hit mainstream, I don't see clubs playing it and most of the artists seem to be self-releasing. A vaporwave artist had a gig here in Melbourne a couple of months ago (I can't remember who it was now), and I thought about going along just to see what kind of people actually listen to it in real life.

New Orleans has a whole vaporwave centric Krewe (parade and party social club) led by one of the Arcade Fire frontmen. They threw a pretty awesome party modeled after the 1984 World’s Fair earlier this year.

Well now I have Cybernazi in my Youtube history, guess I should read the article before clicking the Youtube link and then blithely clicking "okay" on the notice informing me that the video content has been flagged. Though I'm mostly just annoyed that they have replaced an "a" with a delta instead of an alpha.

You can't see the imagery when just listening to the music.

There's no message in the music, just the YT video. If you like the music, so what? No need to be ashamed.

A lot of the fashwave stuff sounds great, and no one is going to know why it's considered "bad" by listening.

Yeah but by sharing the music with others youre helping spread propoganda. Even juust watching the video probably helps it spread on YouTube with the recommendation algorithm. Gotta be careful.

You're doing the same thing with Vice articles, and my goodness who are you calling your acquaintances if they are so easily swayed by imagery on a youtube video?

The Trumpwave/fashwave stuff is often other songs with only the music video changed c.f. the original Trumpwave video https://youtu.be/_k1zJV0DSvc

CybernΔzi is an original artist.

Another original artist is Xurious, who does sometimes include spoken word in the tracks (I recall at least one with Woes in it).

I also wouldn't conflate Trumpwave with fashwave. Trumpwave imagery is of course popular with the TD crowd, fashwave not so much when they realize the associations.

None the less, if you like the music, no need to self flagellate.

The video in question though has its backing track by iamMANOLIS

I really didn't even notice the vice article had an embedded video (the wonders of video blocker extensions). I had assumed that the OP had gone down a youtube rabbithole much in the same way I discovered fashwave from looking into synthwave and retrowave.

Edit: wait the Trumpwave video isn't fashwave, and isn't CybernΔzi. I assumed you were referring to the vice article.

I thought the same thing when all these punk and indie groups were releasing cassettes. Then I found out that most people didn't play the cassettes. They bought them because they look good on a shelf. The cassettes have a download code printed inside (Bandcamp will spit out a CSV), so when you actually want to listen to the music, most will redeem the code (or just stream it).

So it's still pretty silly, but not as silly as I thought. I have to presume Floppy releases are similar (Who even has a floppy drive now a days?)

Punks, at least, most certainly do listen to cassettes. Cassettes are cheaper to run in small quantities than vinyl. Cassette players are cheap and easy to find. Punk music sounds good on cassette.

I'm not so sure about floppy releases. But there is probably some overlap between retrocomputing enthusiasts and vaporwave fans. Maybe they're the target market. At least floppies are thin; a shelf full of cassettes will fill up quickly.

> Punks, at least, most certainly do listen to cassettes.

In my years playing punk / indie music (which only ended last year) I did find a few people who said they listened to the tapes. Most people told me they didn't have a tape player, and just bought the tapes for display. But there was maybe one or two people, the hardcore types, who found an old tape deck in a thrift shop, or had a used car with a tape deck.

Even in those cases, I don't think tapes were for every day listening. I would see the same people playing music on their phone or what not. Tapes were for special occasions.

> Punk music sounds good on cassette.

I agree. So for certain projects, I used to record my music onto a tape, and then feed it back into the computer before I uploaded it. I don't know why more people don't do this.

It's a good point about it being for "special occasions". I usually just put on tapes when my friends are over, and the first time I listen.

We did the same in my last band. We managed to also get some interesting effects by messing with the mastering process.

Punks, at least, most certainly do listen to cassettes.

And my wife, as well. She's not a punk, but she buys cassettes and listens to them, too. I assume because it brings back memories.

Duran Duran, Beck, Prince, Police, etc...

Used ones from the record store she picks up for about $2. New releases run more, but I don't ask.

But she listens to them. We picked up a huge box of blank 90-minute NOS Maxell tapes at an antiques store recently, and she's busy recording her records to tape so she can listen to them via Bluetooth in her car (via battery powered BT dongle).

She picked up several brand new tape players and boom boxes in Japan recently to make sure she has something to play her cassettes on. Though I've seen some at Amoeba, too. But they're just way more expensive in L.A.

Never try to understand the logic of a hardcore music fan.

See also: Tube anything.

I for one have a large modern tape collection (underground metal, noise, ambient, and sound-art mostly), and I play them quite regularly.

It's art and nice to display. People do the same with vinyl records, comics, etc., definitely looks cool to have for collectors and lovers of old tech.

Yes. I actually kept some of the cassettes I was given, and they do look nice on a shelf. Plus it's a way to support the band.

I once considered releasing a tape with no music on it. Just nice cover art. I wonder if anyone would know?

I have a copy of this "LP". It's just the cover art, no actual record inside. I guess that made some people pretty mad who actually bought it. https://www.discogs.com/Pigeon-Religion-Why-Do-You-Hate-Pige...

SOPHIE did that with a CD once, right?

Not only similar, but exactly what the guy selling the floppies thinks:

> "And a lot of these people, I don’t even think a lot of ’em play the shit. They just kind of put it on their shelf."

Maybe the right word is "novelty"; it's being done differently in a deliberately obsolete, retro way. Part of that gives it publicity. But it's also a real item. Like Warhol's signed soup cans.

Vaporwave is always half-serious, half-ironic.

It's both sincere and a parody. It harks back to the early 90s, the birth of the internet in the public consciousness, and the feeling that the primitive Windows and Mac machines we had were precursors to the Ono-Sendai cyberdecks we would soon be having. But there's a sense of "oh how naïve we were back then" to it.

It's just hipsterism.

Just like cassette players, mechanical type-writers, old IBM keyboards, VHS revival, taking pictures on film, so on.

Woah woah woah, I can see hipsterism being applied to most in that list, but the IBM keyboards do not apply IMO.

Anecdote: Most hipsters I know give me guff about using mine, and extol the virtues of the ergonomic rubber dome or "fancy" Corsair rgb.

Not judging their choice of kb, only pointing out nobody has said "wow your 1987 beige boat anchor is so cool I'm going to get one"

It is a music genre thats disguised as a joke or a joke thats disguised as a music genre.

I'm impressed with the state of 32kbit AAC streams. You could fit almost 6 minutes of that onto a floppy, and the quality is much higher than an 8-bit MP3

How's Opus for this sort of thing?

One can play around with Opus by exporting audio streams from existing video and audio

    ffmpeg -i sample.avi -map a out.wav
and then encoding that wav to opus

    opusenc --downmix-mono --bitrate 32 --vbr out.wav cor.opus
to decode

    opusdec cor.opus final.wav
and then

    play final.wav
brew install opus-tools sox ffmpeg

Or in one command:

ffmpeg -i sample.avi -acodec libopus -b:a 32k -map a sample.opus

In listening tests Opus typically outperforms HE-AAC by a fair margin. This is for 64 Kbit/s and under.

Would be an interesting constraint to limit oneself to a single html file and use/abuse the burgeoning webaudio API to make an album that fits on one of these.

http://werber.xyz/vaporwave/ made this a while back while trying to figure out vaporwave, still don't get it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwgLAZ3AtaI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdVEez20X_s

I find these are pretty good at explaining the mechanics of the genre

I'm sorry, those are bad. The first is a joyless dissection of wordy music theory, which is to production of music as Freudian literary analysis is to writing. That's all made up post-hoc by the academics, the artist never has any of those intentions in mind when they make music and it describes nobody's creative process. And by the way it's synthwave, not vaporwave.

The second immediately parroted that stupid myth that vaporwave is all some kind of cerebral criticism of capitalist consumerism. Ugh. One pretentious guy wrote a big "think piece" about that back in like 2011 and it spread like cancer despite all the founding producers in those days going on record saying they have no idea what he was talking about. It's just this soulless and cynical method of taking the complex, hard-to-pin-down emotions that music can evoke and cheapening it into some trite social commentary with a shoehorn and a can of WD-40 to make your banalities fit. So sad. And then the guy in the video goes on to make terrible imitation vaporwave to further demonstrate that he just doesn't get it.

Yeah, not sure what the "vaporwave is a criticisim of consumerism" came from. It's a thing now though, since most people started listening to the genre _after_ this theory came out, and many interpreted the music with it.

To me, it was always about the feeling of finding weird, old stuff. You listen to this music on streaming, and you don't know who made it, or where it came from, and then you just never find it again. It actually sounds better on shitty speakers, since it increases the feel of listening to a cassette you found in the dumpster

I went to a music conservatory. Yes, this does accurately describe some peoples' creative process. Even some people who make synthwave. Popular music has been heavily trending away from being outsider art for a while now. People with deeply technical competence in composition have a strong advantage over those that don't. Even Park Jae-sang/Psy went to Berklee. A lot of pop music that you listen to is _extremely_ deliberate.

While I agree with you that the capitalist consumerism criticism was just one guy's read on the genre and is complete bullshit, there are a large number of people who are not ignorant about this music who believe it as well. Even the most well known synthwave artist interviewer/blogger/podcast-host believes it (he used to be a coworker of mine). Music becomes something else completely different from what the artist intended once it leaves their hands.

They're still good videos.

Take a song by Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel and slow down the tempo and you have a glib interpretation of vaporwave.

Vaporwave makes great working music. Anything by ecovirtual on Bandcamp comes to mind

Eco Virtual is great -> https://ecovirtual.bandcamp.com/

Check out the samples too: https://www.whosampled.com/Eco-Virtual/

I like the stuff by Haircuts for Men a lot

Does anyone else remember the brief period in which you could pack 2.88MB on a 3.5” disk?

Was that actually real? Or just a guesstimated capacity using disk compression?

I was maybe 12 years old around that time, and remember being burned by compressed floppy disks not actually always holding more than 1.44 M... My memory is hazy (but fond)

Edit: yeah it was actually a thing! That, and many even crazier formats and storage capacities at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk

I'm interested to know the following:

Is selling vaporwave songs legal, such as those that remix Michael Jackson? If not, who is liable - is it the creator of the song or the seller of floppy disks?

Many of them do break copyright - which is one of the arguments in favour of the "critique of capitalism". You cannot sell stuff and make a profit in this music genre if you cannot sell stuff.

I get the cassette thing because that was an audio format people used for albums, but in the 90s nobody released albums on floppy discs, so this is like all gimmick

There's always that one exception - Brian Eno released a floppy disk album called Generative Music 1 in 1996. It required Windows 95 and a Sound Blaster AWE32 to play:


"The works I have made with this system symbolise, to me, the beginning of a new era of music. Until a hundred years ago, every musical event was unique: music was ephemeral and unrepeatable, and even classical scoring couldn't guarantee precise duplication. Then came the gramophone record, which captured particular performances, and made it possible to hear them identically, over and over again.

But now, there are three alternatives: live music, recorded music, and generative music. Generative music enjoys some of the benefits of both its ancestors. Like live music, it is always different. Like recorded music, it is free of time-and-place limitations — you can hear it when and where you want.

Edit: There is a YouTube recording of someone's generated version of Lysis (Tungsten) from the album:


> nobody released albums on floppy discs

You're forgetting that for many people, part of their early exposure to music is music from within computer games, not just music released as standalone albums.

Much of my favorite music as a kid were soundtracks from 8 bit video games, demoscene releases and background music from loaders and cracks. They also influenced my early tastes/trajectories: I discovered Mike Oldfield, Jean Michel Jarre, and OMD from a single C64 SID release.

All traded on 5-1/2 floppies among friends.

The whole gist behind vaporwave is that is's a vision of the future that never came to pass. So it's appropriate that music was not commonly released on floppy disc.

I am going to declare there is no unifying theory to Vape wave

I remember in those days there was a lot of "demo scene" music that was traded electronically. Not usually by floppy disc, but, well, it could have been.

(Surprising no vaporwave artists has gone this route: release a vaporwave "album" on floppy disc, done entirely in ScreamTracker, and recommended to be played ideally on your Gravis Ultrasound...)

The Yamaha Disklavier has a floppy library. Hal Leonard still sells Pianosoft https://www.halleonard.com/search/search.action?menuid=3984&...

There were also diskettes with standard MIDI files voiced for General MIDI for karaoke & education, playable on the Roland SoundBrush (sequence player for the SoundCanvas synth) and MT-80S https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ks3ucumilU and the Yamaha MDP10 "boomboxes" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikneZi7vUsE

I always had on and off data integrity issues with floppies .... was it just me?

Good thing there was that “podcast on a floppy” post up on here last week.

I'm still waiting for the wax cylinder to come back as the coolest media format.

See for yourself! I present to you, Metal Recorded on a Wax Cylinder:


Nah, steampunk has led a full life and died of natural causes. It's in a better place now.

new 35mm film camera when

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