The story of popular music downloads starts with something decidedly guerrilla. Napster. Back in 1999, when the service launched, the idea of using the internet to fileshare was still in its infancy. Part of the reason was the clunky dial-up internet most users had access to, another was the fact that the idea simply hadn’t entered public consciousness yet. 1999 was CD Country- with bands able to shift millions upon millions of units- ironclad by the MTV Industrial Complex.
Live shows change that. You have to be in New York, San Diego, London to be able to go to live events. They’re clustered in big, traditionally music focused cities. You need the cash to shell out for hotel rooms, travel, tickets. Some people won’t even be able to get in the door if they missed out on snagging one. Suddenly Vaporwave starts to look a lot more like a regular music genre, one with physical limitations. Where it helps to know who is who, what’s hot- what’s not, and what’s happening downtown. An evolution, or a regression?
To take computing out of the vaults of the elite and the corporate, and into the living rooms of America, seems obvious. It’s such a blunt truism in 2019- why shouldn’t everyone have access to a computer? But in the late ’70s, the ambition of Jobs was Promethean. Everyone must have the power to self-actualise, everyone must have the tools the chart their own course. The promise of computing, dynamism and power: for everyone.
In the midst of this chaos, the mixed feelings many hardcore Vaporwave fans have for the album can be understandable. While this plethora of jokes may amuse, it’s unclear what exactly is being constructed from them. Other than the internet’s love of culture jamming for jamming’s sake. Memes are supposed to be absurd, and the more irreverent or abstract the combination, the better.
These tunes are warbled and stretched to create the kind of funky mutations later perfected on Floral Shoppe. A1, the album’s opener and a sample of aforementioned Africa, is totemic Vaporwave. Duelling it out with リサフランク420 for the genre’s definitive performance. The fact that Eccojams also predated Africa’s recent resurgence as an anthem of 80s nostalgia, makes it all the more impressive.
Nightdrive95 is above all a relaxing show, John Connell’s demeanour is pleasant and his voice warm. He shows a depth and respect for the genres he covers- especially genres which are so often mocked and maligned. But despite the diversity of music covered by Nightdrive, John still manages to choose tracks that feels cohesive within each show.
Even better, Myspace always had a soft spot for music. One of the main appeals of the website during its heyday was the ability for artists, musicians and internet celebrities to connect directly with their fans. This kind of relationship was previously only possible through forums and IRC channels, but Myspace added a slick sheen to the process that made it truly accessible.
In a video recorded last year titled ‘What I’m Obsessed With’ Reviewbrah outlined the appeal of short-wave radio to him. Short-wave transmitters are unique in their ability to pick up signals at much longer distances than traditional radio receivers.