CFCE 87.8 FM Weekly Genre: Vaporwave (蒸気波)
I'm not a rock 'n' roll kid. No, I didn't listen to the Doors or Frank Zappa when I was 12. No cred. Anyway, I start everything late, which is always better than ending it too soon. The rock and its teenage emotions that every adult will carry for the rest of their life, I didn't know. It's very convenient, because it avoids nostalgia, you see. No golden years. To tell the truth, and despite almost 600 reviews on the clock, I don't feel like I know what I'm talking about. The impression of only talking, finally writing, and again, with grammatical mistakes, about musical genres that I only discovered a few years ago thanks to countless top 100 best albums of all time. Of an established format, of norms from which cheap metaphors are extended, of weaving three pieces of string on the great canvas of cultural discourse. Yeah, I'm just a tourist in this culture. It's true, honestly, I'm neither a native English speaker nor a millennial. Let alone a fucking rocker.
Besides, the first musical genre I really immersed myself in, except hip-hop, was vaporwave. Let's be clear, I discovered La danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns in "Alone in the Dark", for example. My music when I was a teenager in 2012, it first went to MIDI. So no lyrics, a big change from rap. Atmospheres, atmospheres.... Just electronic music, for landscapes in large pixels. An amateur music in fact, out of any cultural format. From there perhaps, or from this point, the taste of what buzzes, floats and hums in a static space. Of what loops also, because we're not going to illustrate a Point & Click painting with a symphony either. Music as a wallpaper, in short, but which leaves room for imagination. Of course, we'll soon fall back into the 'musical culture': Eric Satie and his atmospheric piano works, Brian Eno's conceptualization of a hollow music for the airport halls and Haruomi Hosono who sets the atmosphere of the Muji stores with almost silent sounds. To wallpaper the capitalist world with a sound halo, its perpetual soundtrack.
If you want to daydream in peace, just rummage through the trash cans of our beloved cultural industry on Youtube and put on a twelve-hour loop of the sound of Inspector Deckard's apartment. Get into Blade Runner mode for no money. They say that all new musical genres appear to the rhythm of technical innovations, it's true. The latest one to date is broadband, which, unlike MP3 in the 00's, which only changed the way we consume music, has allowed the re-emergence and real-time broadcasting of all our music. An inexhaustible material for the new generation which, at an infinitesimal cost, can throw in our faces the vaporous dreams of what was once a future that was inevitably out of the question. We never live in the world in which we grew up and we are absolutely unprepared for the future. The future, by definition, we have no idea what it will be. It's all gonna be distorted. Distorting the futurism found in our digital dungeons, that was the Vaporwave project. "Project", I push just a bit too far. There was no project, it was just a practice, immediately thrown on the networks, immediately consumable, and for a cheap price on top of that. It's not possible to write a usual review about this genre, it's like listening to the rain falling through an open window.
A sedative rain that you can hear as soon as you open this "Building a Better World", an album among many others produced by two of the most important vaporwave producers, Cat System Corp. and Telepath Telepathy Noryokusha. Pseudonyms like big multinational corporations. Pixel-art dreaming, because the future we imagined thirty years ago on VGA screens is now a cuddly toy. A soundtrack for astro-port in a gradation of mauve, with melancholy purring like a big kitty, where announcements resound in Japanese, necessarily in Japanese because the future has always been the East, where the sun rises. Of course we find there the culture, the marvellous sensation that we could meet this good old Deckard or Major Kusanagi in this astro-port, in this city necessarily elsewhere, in which we can only ever be an imaginary tourist. A little luminescent melody, that of "世界の果て", which still hints at ships taking flight in golden skies, not now, but later, always later, always tomorrow.
It's just really beautiful... this album, among so many others, coming from a genre without classic, without landmarks, without interest maybe if not to get away from this idea that we can classify everything, rate everything, rationalize everything all the time. But that's enough now or I'm going to start making some more messed-up metaphors. Come on, shut up and listen to the rain falling, love yourself in your world which is worth another, waiting for a better one. また明日.
Best tracks: "Lost Promises", "世界の果て", "目覚め", "Building a Better World", "A New Life Awaits You", "Dawn Over the Metropolis".
Worst track: "Hiraeth V"