My Favorite Vaporwave Album of 2019 Is...
So what a year it’s been for the Vaporwave scene.
From Georgie Clanton doin’ the first-ever Vaporwave festival to Aloe Island Records quite possibly putting out the sickest Vaporwave Vinyl record I’ve ever seen, we have seen some pretty exciting stuff this year come out of what once was a strictly online music scene. And talking about the music itself, what a year for releases. From Dan Mason cookin’ up “Hypnagogia” at the beginning of the year to death’s dynamic shroud’s infamous “Live From Japan” Drop, the return of SAINT PEPSI and how about the big ass triangle, FM Skyline making moves and getting signed to 100% Electronica.
So much has happened this year, and today, I want to talk about my personal favorite release of the year and why I have deemed it so. Folks, my favorite Vaporwave release this year is TUPPERWAVE’s “Baby, I Miss You”, which dropped back in late September. The follow up to his super successful and seemingly out of nowhere “To You Baby, With Love”, TUPPERWAVE brings, in my opinion, a virtually perfect blend of Vaporwave and Future Funk to the table with this new album, and not to mention the insane list of features he’s got waiting for you upon your visitation.
Imagine, two lovers in America, 1984, separated by 2,800 miles. To TUPPERWAVE, “To You Baby, With Love” and “Baby, I Miss You” represent a long-distance relationship and the struggles associated, hence the letter format for the titles.
One thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that the album covers were designed to be joined; this was a plan TUPPERWAVE had all the way back in August 2018 when the albums were conceptualized. A young Diane Franklin on the TYBWL cover looks happily into the distance over night-time NYC backdrop whilst Jan-Michael Vincent stares solemnly back over a Los Angeles backdrop in the day. The grids interlocking to represent the faint, distant, digital connection that they share. The day and night themes represent the time difference between NYC and LA.
TUPPERWAVE spent a lot of time on these albums, experimenting with subtle methods of achieving the perfect sidechain/bass combination. This is something I absolutely loved on TYBWL and I’m really happy to see it return in BIMY, it was a unique touch on sidechaining that made the tracks feel really delicate on the kicks, where most other albums would just blast your eardrum to oblivion.
For those who do not know what sidechaining is, sidechaining is frequently used as a production technique to allow one sound to stick out from another, applying compression on one channel to dip and to allow that other sound to come through with varying forms of clarity. Using compression involves a trigger, also set to a threshold, which when passed activates the effect. As I previously mentioned, most artists in the Vaporwave/Future Funk scene (I’ve done this too lol) use this technique to allow their kick drum to pump through and just make another dancy, punchy track; however, with TUPPERWAVE, he just lets his overall sound dip down to a faint, liquidy kick on the sidechain and gives his tracks a very delicate, dreamy yet funky emission. This isn’t on every track, if anything we have an explosive kick on Pursuit featuring DUCAT, but on “We Were Dancing” you see more of that bubbly kick come into play and it is straight-up TICKLISH!
On “Baby, I Miss You”, TUPPERWAVE tried to capture each artist’s style that he was collaborating with, all while staying true to his signature sound. And what a variety he ended up getting, producing with Future Funk artist ED. on the track 'Paradise Ocean Club', there is a ton of hopping as ED. is known for finding really nice flowing chops, bouncing around from one slice to the next. Both ADRIANWAVE, DUCAT & UNI DELUXE hit TUPPERWAVE up with that club filled dance flow which came out really well with the 80s samples they chose together.
“I absolutely love these guys and feel like they really lifted the energy of the album in the center, gearing up toward that Vaporfunk drop off toward the end.” - TUPPERWAVE
The latter half of the album kicks off with Melonade, really taking that thumping Vaporfunk approach with heavy sidechaining. TUPPERWAVE recalls Melonade having really awesome ideas in regards to layout, which can be heard with the radio cuts in the track. He also got to work with the big homie Dan Mason, Dan rerecording a majority of the bass and background elements on the samples they chose for the track.
“The sample was improved 10x by the king himself, an absolute pleasure to work with and an absolute musical GOD.” - TUPPERWAVE
So that is an explanation of the album literally, but what truly makes it my personal favorite album of the year? Well for me, TUPPERWAVE and his two big releases this year represent the true beauty of the Vaporwave scene at its current state, the entire community has truly evolved to something beyond music in 2019 and there has never been a time like now where we are all striving to be connected more than anything else. We’ve all made some pretty great friends here, and “Baby, I Miss You” represents the beautiful idea that you can work with anyone you want, learn from anyone you want, artists you’ve looked up to for a while are just as much of a fan of the scene as you are. We all in this together baby.
It’s also the perfect blend of Vaporwave and Future Funk for me, you know me I’m not a fan of that like super high pitched, 130 BPM and up, anime girls all over the place type of Future Funk (It’s just like a sugar overload lol shit be givin’ me a cavity!). Everything is really smooth, a nice blend of all different types of sampled genres to constantly give you a new story upon every start of the track, yet it’s glued together with that unique sidechaining style TUPPERWAVE has really attached to himself so it all blends wonderfully as a full album. It’s like you just finished playing a full 90-minute game of soccer, all you would want is a nice cold beverage right? Drinking something too cold would just give you a cramp and a half... “Baby, I Miss You” is that perfectly chilled yellow Gatorade, just cool enough to quench that thirst.
TUPPERWAVE, who once went as The Vapor Room, has made a couple of releases in the past but it seems that this year he really blew up for many, even his classic-Vaporwave release of “KOALA KORP コアラ” got some pretty solid recognition as well. Entering the 2020’s, who knows what he, or anyone else for that case, has in store for us, all I know is that these are what we are going to be calling “the good times” in the future... So enjoy the ride!
Much love, ur boi (AND HAPPY NEW YEARS!),