猫 シ Corp. & t e l e p a t h - Building a Better World
Album Preview by Pad Chennington
What’s cookin’, what’s poppin’ it is ur boi Pad Chennington, and let me tell you… I am so, SO excited to say that one of the most highly awaited albums in modern Vaporwave history has finally been dropped upon us. On July 27th, Vaporwave legends 猫 シ Corp. & t e l e p a t h released Building a Better World on the Hiraeth Records label, making this album the first official release for 猫 シ Corp.’s fresh new label. Expectations have never been higher for a Vaporwave release—will the dynamic duo deliver?
Carrying the catalog number ‘HR001’, Building a Better World was revealed to us on the Hiraeth Records Facebook page back in early June and ever since that initial announcement, the hype train has inevitably left the station with vapor-passengers from all over the globe. But no, this ain’t no choo choo train baby, this train is a sleek, pearlescent high-speed monorail and it is our first glance at the technology this world has to offer. Now that the album is live, it is finally time to step off that train after being on board for weeks and get our first glance at this new, promising world Corpy baby and t e l e cooked up for us.
I want to explore this album with you, paint a picture of this enhanced world by taking a look at the songs on here, the sounds and instruments used, the brilliantly charming 8-bit, yet 4K, album artwork, the crazy range of physicals made available for sale and, last but not least, give you words from the man 猫 シ Corp. himself on the creation of this album. The future of Vaporwave is here, it is time for Building a Better World.
“Our dreams, our thoughts, our love for music that evokes a story. Personally, I wanted to create something dark and light - a city in decay and an off-world colony where life is better. Or, is it moving away from a dying world into new dreams..?” - 猫 シ Corp.
Who doesn’t love the hype from a good collab? Building a Better World had the potential of being one for the books, and many of us wondered what would really happen if we fused together the retro, yet futuristic pristineness of 猫 シ Corp’s touch on production with the slushy, never-ending dreamscapes of t e l e p a t h in 2019. After years of mastering their craft, we are working with some primetime Vaporwave assassins here my friend.
Oh, and don’t forget my friend, we have seen both of these artists collaborate not only with each other in the past but also with other big-time artists in the Vaporwave scene (猫 シ Corp. and waterfront dining on ...With Love 愛を込めて and t e l e p a t h and VAPERROR on 超越愛). With this swing of the bat, we are really working with two seasoned veterans on Building a Better World, two producers who both have consistently solid resumes whenever working with other artists different than their own styles. How high could they set the bar this time around?
Clocking in at just about a 40-minute run time, Building a Better World contains a 9 song tracklist full of airy pads, angelic synths and echoing sound recordings that all wonderfully bring to life this feeling of suddenly stepping into, what seems to be, utopia. The blending of Mallsoft from 猫 シ Corp. with ambient Slushwave from t e l e p a t h provides a 2-for-1 deal to make the value of this album quite worthwhile to any Vaporwave fan, but, will that be enough to make this album truly unique and evolved from their partnered releases in the past?
Building a Better World is an album you can almost feel with your fingertips, textures have never been more alive as songs like “目覚め” and “Sector 131” cause you to spiritually brush your palms against the carbon fiber buildings full of beneficial technology we can’t even comprehend yet. The album is never endingly suspenseful with components like ambient synth build-ups/swooshes, ghostly expansiveness from the delicate panning of instruments, and wonderfully placed trinkets of sound like echoing voices or crystal clear rain falling in the background to really put the cherry on top. This constant build-up of suspense, a grandly unknown escapade befallen upon our eyes from stepping foot into this world for the first time, is what gets the point across of this album entirely. Entering a world of this quality or magnitude would leave us in awe for hours, days, or even years, so I love how the sounds on Building a Better World aim to replicate that feeling in audio form.
“T e l e p a t h, for example, delivered such otherworldly sounds at a point that we really felt like we were creating something from a different world, something out of a dream or from the future.” -猫 シ Corp.
As we constantly flow between both artists known and established musical personalities, Building a Better World ventures beyond the stereotypical reverb-intoxicated mall or the idea of sluggishly moving through the starry cosmos at the speed of a snail (I’m sorry, but sometimes listening to t e l e p a t h makes me feel that type of way!). The two artists really took the time to mesh together what they know and bring the best possible concoction to the table with a new and futuristic flair. The album was worked on for about 2 years, and hey, it really goes to show.
“We both delivered parts for the album, one track has a bit more Corp, while the other has more t e l e p a t h. Some tracks do not even sound anything like the first demo anymore... Plus, tele did those amazing synth sweeps.” -猫 シ Corp.
猫 シ Corp. has stated in the past that Hiraeth Records will primarily focus on non-sampled Vaporwave, so the praiseworthy self-produced technique displayed on Building a Better World is a great addition to 猫 シ Corp.’s already incredible artillery of releases (and rendering up something this delicious is quite impressive for an artist who has focused his career so heavily on samples). A lot of that woozy, ambient and atmospheric Vaporwave that we have seen time and time again leaves us feeling nostalgic, however with Building a Better World, we really experience a sound extremely refreshing and hydrating compared to releases from the past. Track 6 titled “Building a Better World” sounds like you are slowly regenerating your health back to normal, a spa-like adventure adjusting your body to the new type of air this world contains. The final track on the album, “A New Life Awaits You”, really ties the whole trip together and is your final introduction to this new world created from the two producers, what you choose to do in this new world of abundance is up to you.
Building a Better World stands apart from the ambient alleyways full of other projects that repeatedly try to induce the same nostalgic aroma, 猫 シ Corp. and t e l e p a t h have truly built us a brand new world. Instead of sounds that provoke memories specific to you of a setting once visited, Building a Better World excites your imagination with a sandbox-style world full of towering buildings waited to be populated and established. Instead of smoky, blurry and unclear paths ahead of you, The expert production and placement of sounds on Building a Better World provides you with contact lenses so powerful that you start to notice every pixel of color in the hovercraft highways above you.
Talking about pixels, let us take a look at this gorgeous artwork created by Mokmok and 猫 シ Corp.. On the cover we have two people staring at each other, and despite having any sort of facial emotion, I like to believe they are looking at each other with a sense of accomplishment and excitement. This new world, which perhaps they created themselves, is now ready to be explored and grazed upon as the sun sets on it’s first day of operation; a beautiful gradient of magentas and blues painting a creamy coat over the intricate buildings and infrastructure in this new land. This is some crazy cool pixel art.
Now, let’s take a look at the physicals made for purchase for the album, and oh baby do we got quite a selection here. You knew Hiraeth Records had to go big or go home for their first release, and to do that they gave us a variety of different physicals and variants to choose from.
For cassette collectors, Hiraeth Records baked up 3 different color pro made and dubbed cassettes to choose from (Indigo, Blue, and Purple). If you fancy a vinyl, we also have 3 different options to choose from on their Bandcamp page with all tracks specially mastered by t e l e p a t h himself. The first one, a magenta translucent vinyl record, really captures the color and mood of the album artwork and was limited to 300 copies. A “strictly limited”, hand-numbered marble vinyl record was also sold at a run of 150 which was limited to one per customer. And lastly, a standard black vinyl record limited at 300 copies.
Oh, and one last thing (see, I told ya they went big here!), 猫 シ Corp. and t e l e p a t h have also included a “Special 1988 CD” of the album that contains a CD-only bonus track with an alternate ending. The CD also has a purple back to match the artwork, everything here designed with dedication to replicate the other worldly sense of Building a Better World. The specific master made for the CD gives a crisp yet hazy and retro-inspired sound with a punchy low end, perfect for them long car rides. As expected much of these physicals sold out incredibly quickly, however, the CD and black vinyl record are still available for purchase if you are interested!
Vaporwave has gone through a bit of a renaissance in recent years, so an album like Building a Better World and what we have come to expect of it prior to release was our perfect opportunity to test the waters of what “can be” for future releases within the community. While we can all still adore and visit the virtual abyss the earlier Vaporwave community provided, we are in a time now where human interaction and collaboration are key to the ongoing excitement of the current state of Vaporwave, and there is no better way to showcase the beauty of human connection with an album like this. Building a Better World, in a sense, represents the community we are constantly building for Vaporwave, a new and better world with more potential from artists, labels, and fans like you and I than ever before.
Much love, ur boi, Pad Chennington.
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"Also known as "Youtube's Vaporwave Valedictorian", Pad Chennington is a content creator who has created a substantial following on YouTube for his videos discussing all things Vaporwave. Starting in the Fall of 2017, Pad's videos range from reviews to breakdowns, interviews to unboxings, and much more, always revolving around odd and interesting music genres found throughout the internet. Pad has also recently released an album in February titled "CONTRAST" that is available as a free download via the My Pet Flamingo label."
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