I love reading about vaporwave and this is one of the more thoughtful pieces on the genre. Is there a place on the interwebs that features reviews, opinion pieces and long-reads on Vaporwave? The only thing remotely close to this is an online magazine that has produced a one-off issue which was very nice.
I recently delved into what Mark Fisher had to say about music, hauntology and the slow cancellation of our future. I am fully convinced that if he knew about vaporwave and embraced it, he'd still be with us...
here you might as well think he's taking a vaporwave stance in this, right?
Fisher ended his presentation discussing the music most closely associated with the term hauntology — Burial, The Caretaker, and artists on the label Ghost Box. The Caretaker with its distant ballroom melodies from the 20s and 30s, takes its name from a famous line in The Shining (a film dripping with hauntological significance.) Burial, however, looks critically at a more recent time — the 90’s rave and drum’n’bass scene. Fisher called Burial, “the Edward Hopper of our time.” The lyrics and titles of his songs are self-aware of the nostalgic expression of scratch and crackle. The music Burial samples and mimics was ecstatic at the time, but he transports listeners to the underbelly — the “sense of dilapidation, broken glass, and empty warehouses,” the morning after a rave party. Responding to a question from the audience about his UK-centric examples, Fisher explained Los Angeles-based Ariel Pink was one of the first artists mentioned as an example of sonic hauntology. Then again, the UK has a particular history starting with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Extremely strange experimental music composed by Delia Derbyshire and others found its way into people’s suburban homes. Fisher called it, the “greatest penetration into everyday life of experimental music.” It was a “utopia we actually lived in.” Ghost Box artists, drawing from “library music” samples, are in many ways re-dreaming this past. Fisher did not talk about hauntology as it applies to photography, but the Instagram and Hipstamatic iPhone app toy camera mimicry is yet another example of contemporary culture restless in temporality. The topic has fascinating artists like Harm van den Dorpel. Likewise, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling writing on atemporality in the digital age, find the specter in fashion and design. If “history has run out,” as Fisher says, hauntology only grows more relevant as years go on.