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Agora Road Listening party: Eis-T's Feedback for artists.

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Eis-T

The Taste of Late Capitalism
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On the 23rd of May 2020 the Agora Road crew hosted a listening party. There were 29 tracks submitted by the forum users, spanning various subgenres of Vaporwave. This resulted in a wonderfully diverse compilation album that can be freely downloaded here:
https://agoraroad.bandcamp.com/album/agora-roads-macintosh-cafe-1000-member-celebration-album .

Consider making a donation to help the Agora sustain itself and to add what can be seen as "The Music Of The Now Age" of the 2020's to your collection.
If you missed the stream or want to watch it again you can do so here on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49O35l9qRhk&feature=emb_title

Without further ado, lets have a look at the track-by-track runthrough of this compilation, with constructive feedback for each submission. More feedback for artists is always better, so please share your thoughts about the music in the comment section of this post.



Mission 2, Vicious Town by Romero Synth
Very atmospheric, great keys. It sounds like it could be in a soundtrack. Production-wise its a very solid track, but could do with a memorable lead or synth solo to make it stand out more. Lovely toms. It reminds me a lot of Visage's Fade To Grey. The glitches could do with some refinement, and it might be worth looking for adding an acapella to it as it has a very poppy feel. But overall a great opener of the listening party!

Campcerous Corp. – beachbody
The gate effect you use is a great great gimmick. The sound has a bit of a crunchy texture that works well. The mellowness of the guitar provides a good contrast. Feedback: have a look at the pitching and mixing of the trap drums, something doesn't sit as well as it could. Maybe look into sidechain compression on the kick to make it pop more.

Moonlight – Brought to you by
Great classic vapor vibes. The mood is spot-on. It starts out as looking through the window on a rainy day and it gets more uneasy and dissonant as it progresses. My advice would be to make it more dynamic by sometimes muting the drums or adding FX in the final minutes of the track to continue developing the movement in the music, as it plateaus right now.

BLANK空白 - グラディエント GUCCI
The panflute is the star of the show in this track. You've managed to bring out the pure gold from the sample. The master of this sub-genre of vaporwave agrees, IsaacASCII wrote in the chat: ​" kudos for that punchy clear vw mastering!". My main grievance is that it is a bit too short. The end sounded like a break. This deserves an overly long disco fadeout.

b l u e s c r e e n - Macintosh & Me
Interesting but rather long intro. I absolutely get summer vibes from this very 80's sounding tack. The glitches are very well executed, as is the mixing (especially the snare sits nice). The abrupt slowdowns were a nice and welcome surprise, and I wouldn't have minded a couple more of those for a slow deterioration into glitchy goodness instead of the sudden white noise transition back to the mac advertisement.

ソッコ - anemonia
Dramatic track and reminds me of infinity frequencies. Harsh noises and looped well. These kind of tracks tend to work well on a concept album in a specific progression. I recommend you check out stray from Diskette Park and the computer decay, computer afterlife from IF, as they are all about that progression through moods and settings to tell a story.

Pachinokoroom winners club - Apology__弁明
I like the vaportrap sound. I couldn't make out any of the lyrics from the vocals which I think was the intention. The xylophone/high pitched melody works very nicely. The trap beats are well programmed and intricate and play around with the groove. I wouldn't mind a bit more melodic content in the lower regions. Maybe a wobble bass? Or a chorus/verse structure?

​Eis-T - -=★=- INCORPORATED [Feat. IsaacAscii]
D Σ Σ S O L V T I O N got mallsofty vibes. Hearing it in the stream made me realize the snare is too loud in places. And the highs are too muffled. It made me realise the breakdown in the end elevates the track quite nicely and it might be worth looking into further extending that segment. You'll be hearing a better version on a forthcoming collaboration album between IsaacAscii and me

Decek - Hazed Mind
My first impression is that it is quite short. It feels like its building towards something that doesn't come. I think the mood is pretty strong, soulful yet uneasy. The track delivers on its promise as my mind is certainly hazed right now. I think this would work well on a concept album where the track titles and album cover offer some guidance. I'd have loved to hear more of the funk in there. ​IsaacAscii: the super clubby basement reverbs get me good this time.

​Isaac Ascii - we can make it
This track is IsaacAscii at his best: Taking a disco song and vaporizing it into something great. There's his signature warmth to this production. The groove and the snare are fantastic, as is the fadeout. I feel like the middle part could've been elaborated further, maybe with a solo or a disco breakdown. Or that organ on solo for a more stripped-down part. This is the type of track that gets more hypnotic the longer it goes on because of the great hook.

Shifty Comfort - Agora Road (Single)

Frantic beat, heavily flanged/phased. It is quick yet slow. Darkbelight noted that the beat is very fluid. My advice would be to see if it can be made into something more elaborate, to see if it can be transformed halfway through into a calmer mood. My advice would be to look at braindance/headfunk for reference tracks.

Lazer Squad- Neon Vibes (feat. Dimi Kaye)
The production quality is very high on this one. I love the instrumentation and the solo's. It feels like the sax and guitar are having a conversation. Mix-wise it could do with a bit of fatness. The drums sound slightly too sterile for how organic the rest of it is. Also the low end could use some more boosting. Other than that I think this is a pure celebration of musicianship! Special shoutout to the woozy synth by darkbelight. A production trick that Catsystem corp uses that might add that bit of depth is a heavily reverbed snare on the 13 every now and then.

Cityman 900 - Virtual Boyz 'N' Da Hood
Strong production and the drum programming is spot on. It could easily be an instrumental from new kids on the block or a vaporized early Detroit techno track. I can see this working as a soundtrack in a videogame or movie. My advice would be to see if the contrast can be enlarged by playing with the dry-wet of the reverb. A dry section would make the wet section feel more impactful. The detune on the synths and the clever drum programming really elevate this track.

β ε τ Δ P V N K - P H Δ N T O M•F Δ I R Y T Δ L E
Interesting track with loads of stuff going on in the background. The arpeggio is the core of the track and gives a very soundtracky feel. My advice would be to automate some of the parameters of the arpeggiated synth to animate the sound further, as compared to the other things happening in the track. The ending is great and takes the music into an unexpected direction. I think it'd be cool to foreshadow this earlier on in the track with the arp. Isaac: ​these subtle rewinds have so much soul . Darkbelight: ​i like the melancholy vibe on this.

Surf Side - I'll never let you go
The groove is undeniable. Saint Pepsi would be jealous. ​It has a very crisp low end, for what is obviously very much slowed and pitched down. Multiple people noted the prominent handclaps. A trick with handclaps that would work well is to add a reversed reverb or the reversed tail of the handclap right before it hits to even drive the groove further (George Clinton and P-Funk artists do this often).

​LCD Noir - Styrofoam Birdseed
I like the style and sound-choices made here. Darkbelight calls it breakbeat lounge, and laCroix日食 noted: the "wah"s make this win for me. Feedback: The break without the drums sounds a bit too chaotic and loses momentum. Quantize or removing some notes might clean that part up. The synth you've used for chords works great. The piano interferes a bit too much with the rest of the stuff in the low-mid end. Adding a sidechain might help to alleviate. Your playstyle reminds me a lot of my own, we should jam sometime!

Desu1441 - urm... also this 1000th member - its me i think
The chords and the phaser really set the atmosphere. It is a tried-and-tested formula but it works great. The high hats are slightly too prominent but other than that you've got a quality slushwave track right there. Great use of nature samples and acoustic instruments to give it that new-agey feel. What mindspring memories does is introduce brief snippets and moments to further develop those later on in the track. That very slow progression of sound and FX is what could take this track to the next level.

VAPOROBOROS Title: VERY GOOD
It starts off disorienting but when the melody comes in we're in the zone. The whistle is the unique selling point of this track. I wish it would be a bit more diverse. There's room for more storytelling through music here. It is a solid core and the whistle is a novel thing in Vaporwave. For blending electronica with a whistled melody I recommend you check out Air - Alpha Beta Gamma, for mixing and blending vocals to melody I think Forever by the Orbital is a great reference track.

Ocean County Mall - Renegades of v_funk
One of my earliest vaporwave experiments was a remix of streetdance, and this is how I tried to make it sound so I really appreciate what you're going for here. The slap-in-the-face snare is spot on, as is the drum programming. And that synth bass is amazing. All this needs to take it up a notch is a tacky-yet-technically-impressive scratch break in the middle. Preferably where you scratch up one of the vocal samples from the intro. There are various vst's that allow you to go wild with this . That glitchy breakdown is a fantastic addition but deserves slightly longer buildup so us b-boys can anticipate.

Matheus Felipe - Empty Street Number 3
I like the melody and the lack of groove. It is so staccato. It feels MIDI. What I'm missing is dynamics. It feels like every note has velocity 127. There's clearly a good understanding of harmonics and melody. With a bit of polishing by automating the note values and the song tempo the dramatic melodic developments could feel far more impactful.

​laCroix日食 - SandWitch REMASTERED
Isaac Ascii is getting strong casio vibes here, and I agree. I think the strings and the drums are a strong contributor to that feeling. Because of the drony nature it is quite close to ambient, as darkbeligt noted. The drum ending is also very fitting. What would take the track to a next level is to add more panning to make it more spatial. As a reference track for mixing your sparse drums with the ambience I suggest the intro of phill collin's in the air tonight.

​KITE0080 - 旋风【为什么
I like the combination of ambience and futurefunk, but man is this short! The filtering of the drums is very nice. My advice would be to build upon the French-japanese connection that is a distinct aesthetic from the late 90's. Any artistic statement worth making, is worth taking the time to make. Allow us to get lost in the world you're building here. In addition, the track should be longer it felt like it was going to build up to be a great song but ended too soon

D Σ Σ S O L V T I O N - 13​:​S a t u r n K i ss e s // 圧力、頭痛、そして薄暗い夜
This track is all about warmth for me. The vinyl crackle is great. I think this one would do well on an album with similarly short tracks that set this type of mood. I'd add a 8th note delay on top of the snare in some parts bit but that's more flavoring and just personal taste. An album that comes to mind that pulls the same heartstrings is Waterfront dining – with love.

Sawan Araib - See you soon
Well you can't go wrong with a DX7 electronic piano like that. The chat describes it as crunchy and fesh, and I can only agree. Quality stuff, but It feels like it could do with some character, as it feels a bit paint-by-the-numbers. Lofi hiphop girl would surely relax/study to your tune! You clearly got the technique down and mastered the style, now dare to be bold and give it more your own spin.

cmd不在 - エレベータ音楽
This has a capital M Mood. The strings are phenomenal. Nostalgia is strong and the people in the chat agree. My advice would be to be bolder and more transformative. You set the mood beautifully, now develop it into something beyond nostalgia.

Greg Delta – Break and Enter
Nice solo work and very poppy. It is very solid and the uptempo drums work well. The guitar is very professional too. My advice would be to look around for a vocalist to turn this into a vaporwave 2 type of track. The keys reminded me of Slagsmalsklubben - Fox Goes To Japan In Order To Meet Other Ninja Foxes In The Tribe Of Hokkaido, and show what a more stripped down middle section and a touch of lo-fi can do for your track in terms of charm and dynamics.

TCR_o_s_i_s - copy-on-file__new directory
The atmosphere is very bladerunneresque. The cyberpunk aesthetic is further accentuated by the downtempo beat. I recommend you check out Zer0 – Black Magic to see how a full album with this sound could work in today's context, as it can be very easy for this to sound dated (like the crystal method dated).

囚人s l o t h - 失敗は避けられない give up
The FX are great and the atmosphere is gloomy. Quite experimental too. Once it's introduced, the way the melody progresses has a very comforting feel to it. The main synth is slightly too overpowering in the mix. The distorted yet overly gleeful sound adds to it. The melody has a very goth feel to it according to darkbelight. The chat dubbed it C H O P I N W A V E. But then it starts glitching :p and it kept on glitching some more. And not even quick, precise glitches, big chunks of stop-n-go glitch. Well played, sloth, well played. I feel trolled yet enriched.
 
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Just received the e-mail that notified me about this review!

As you can see I'm BLANK空白!

First of all thank you a LOT for the effort in doing the stream, the bandcamp album and now this.
I think to speak on behalf of everyone if I say that.
I don't make music just to sell it or for other people, I do music for myself, hoping that others enjoy it, but seeing all this and receiving a positive feedback about my work always brings a big smile on my face.

WITH THAT SAID:

I love every single track of the album, every track sounds like something I would put on the stereo on my usual evening!
But, but, there were a couple tracks that caught my attention:

Romero Synth - Mission 2, Vicious Town
More synthwave than vaporwave but I love that sound and that genre a lot, and this track gives me strong Drive vibes, loved that!

b l u e s c r e e n - Macintosh & Me
I agree saying that the intro was a bit long, but I'm casually working on that sample too, and I loved how he evolved it into a third sample, bringing the whole work to an adeguate comfortable conclusion

Eis-T - -=★=- INCORPORATED [Feat. IsaacAscii]
What can I say, I simply loved this, classical but at the same time original idea, and isn't the "classical but original" the whole vaporwave style?

Cityman 900 - Straight Into The Telecomputing
Kind of the Macintosh Plus vibe, but with a rhythm twist that I particularly noticed. Amazing job on this one Cityman 900.

laCroix日食 - SandWitch REMASTERED AND cmd不在 - エレベータ音楽
Both tracks are something like..wow.
The mood it's chill, of course, but it's like listening to luxury, and I mean that.
These two tracks are what "being in a white shirt with golden rayban's on a boat while drinking a Martini" would sound like.

I look forward to everyone works, you guys rock vaporwave!
With love, BLANK空白
 
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