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?
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.
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.
Tascam just released a new deck cassette player, with USB:
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.
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").
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.
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.
I'm bringing this back to the web for sure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 biggest market for cassettes today is for people who never experienced them before.
FM8 doesn’t sound quite like a DX100, and all that...
There's also the fascinating OM-1 Cassette Tape synthesizer  -- it varies the pitch of the tape to produce different sounds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There's a DSP for that. Or ten.
^above video got me started on vaporwave
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)
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.
 http://www.faqs.org/faqs/compression-faq/part1/section-15.ht... (search for "graduate student algorithm")
Here's half a million songs: https://modarchive.org/
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.
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.
If the film Inception was made today, the photograph in the vault could have been an old VHS tape.
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.
Come & Get Yo Wig Split! (heavily sampled in one of those Ryan Celcius videos)
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.
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.
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.
Edit: wait the Trumpwave video isn't fashwave, and isn't CybernΔzi. I assumed you were referring to the vice article.
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?)
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.
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.
We did the same in my last band. We managed to also get some interesting effects by messing with the mastering process.
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 once considered releasing a tape with no music on it. Just nice cover art. I wonder if anyone would know?
> "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."
Just like cassette players, mechanical type-writers, old IBM keyboards, VHS revival, taking pictures on film, so on.
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"
ffmpeg -i sample.avi -map a out.wav
opusenc --downmix-mono --bitrate 32 --vbr out.wav cor.opus
opusdec cor.opus final.wav
ffmpeg -i sample.avi -acodec libopus -b:a 32k -map a sample.opus
I find these are pretty good at explaining the mechanics of the genre
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.
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
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.
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
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?
"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:
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.
All traded on 5-1/2 floppies among friends.
(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...)
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