Seeing as most of my releases draw from video game soundtrack, it’s not a surprise this one kind of does too. Delving into these PC-Engine and NES role playing games often feels like rummaging through an old cardboard box in the attic and it always gives me intriguing new ideas I want to implement in my style of music. That’s when the clashing begins. The synthwavey aspect of the ep certainly stems from games like Hotline Miami or Slipstream, but there is no denying the fact that HOME played a role, too. Translating those influences into a coherent sound is difficult but also very interesting.
When we played it for the first time, I was only about 10 years old and I was just thrilled to experience those adventures with all these colourful Disney characters. I wasn’t always there when my friend played it so I never saw everything in the game. And I didn’t even understand or process what was happening story-wise. But for years after that it stuck with me, that boy called Sora and his adventures.
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?
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.
But this wit and flair are completely absent on Requiem. And the effects of it are punishing. This is an entirely earnest, stonily serious, album. Full of millenarian and apocalypse. Despite the guile with which Ferraro previously tackled topics of technology and capitalism, this time, with mankind’s destruction of the environment firmly in his sights, he’s not joking.
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.