Is Barber Beats the death of Vaporwave?

GENOSAD

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So here's a question I've been pondering for a while, and it's something I'd like to get other peoples' opinions on: Is Barber Beats the death of Vaporwave?

Let me start off by pointing out the 2009 vaporwave era where the act of "slowing and reverbing" wasn't even a defining feature of Vaporwave. There are several songs in ECCOJAMS alone that actually speed up some samples in addition to looping 2-to-5-second segments of certain songs. This "looping" technique was actually more prevalent than slowing down a song, as was the method of chopping up portions of a song and re-arranging them to make a new experience.

It was Macintosh Plus who popularized the concept of slowing everything down by doing just that in his Floral Shoppe album, which is how the misconception of Vaporwave being "a song that's just slowed and reverbed with no other changes" came about. It's easiest to see how someone would arrive to this conclusion by listening to "ライブラリ," which I would argue makes the least changes to its samples out of the whole album. As far as "slowing and reverbing" goes, this is probably the closest that Vaporwave got to it before exploding in popularity.

Barber Beats is the ultimate conclusion of this process. While previous forms of Vaporwave were more concerned with remixing samples to make a different experience, Barber Beats does nothing more than the slowing and reverbing that can be associated with newer or less talented Vaporwave artists. To me, it seems like the popularity of Barber Beats is its own sort of resignation with Vaporwave as a whole. It's done. It's finished. Why bother trying at this point? Let's just do the bare minimum.

With all this said, what I'm really asking is whether or not Barber Beats is:
a. A de-evolutionary "dead end" of Vaporwave
b. Resorting to the bare minimum because we know that there's nothing new to be done with Vaporwave
c. Deserving of its popularity
(ik I probably got a bunch of facts wrong here, pls don't hurt me)
 
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A music genre doesn't die, an intangible concept as music can't exactly die, it's just that their popularity fades away, just take a look at people who still makes disco or dubstep music to this day, in my perspective, Vaporwave was more like opening gates to a new kind of content, arts and aesthetic, anemoia became even more mainstream and to the masses than ever before, what i've seen lately tho is the resurgence of breakcore, drum n' bass and hardstyle who are trying to revive that old early-mid 2000s era of the internet between us zoomers.

In my opinion, vaporwave started to get boring to me a few years ago, because it wasn't a nostalgia for something you haven't lived yet, vaporwave is starting to became ironically, something nostalgic on it's own, what i think what's gonna happen is that vaporwave either evolves and deconstruct itself, or that we will have a vaporwave for vaporwave, that's how it is, at the end of the day, letting an old stallion rest for new horses to throttle seems like the best and most natural course of action.


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If you're a listener who loves the original punk attitude in vaporwave, where enjoyable sample flips and a cool cover art is above all else, Barber Beats is a return to form. It's not a regression for the genre, because at the end of the day all that matters is that the music is enjoyable to listen to. You're not concerened about the progression of the art in the same way you don't care if it's even their own music.

I'm someone who prefers the post-music era that was spearheaded by Dream Catalogue, and at this point Barber Beats is just noise to me. What is beautiful about electronic music, is that it made individual music production accessible. A genius like Duke Ellington was bounded by the limitations of two hands and required an entire band to tour. If he were alive today he could synchronize and sequence multiple instruments through MIDI or compose in a daw. What I'm saying with all this, is that one person can share their musical vision in the purest form. The other artists required to record are not adding in their own flair; every decision in the composition of a concert or album can be done solo.

There are so many independent artists that create unique and personal insights into themselves through their electronic music, so why would I want to listen to this flood of slowed down Jazz fusion albums? This doesn't mean I look down on this type of music (I was the first person to purchase a Macroblank album on Bandcamp), but that the sound is running its course. The reason it was exciting when HFM was the only artist doing this style, is because a subgenre that doesn't challenge itself only has enough room for one artist. Once Macroblank and friends hopped on, it quickly diluted itself and became a tired sound.

No, Barber Beats is not killing vaporwave. It is telling though that passionate music fans are not excited about the genre when compared to music streaming users. The genre is perfect for algoriithms and people who only want a consistent sound from an artist rather than innovation.
 
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Are there not 40,000 sub categories of Vaporwave at this point anyway? Maybe they are different things? I don't know. Art can be a Banana I just crapped out if someone pays me for it. That's the danger of art. Crap can be good.
 
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Are there not 40,000 sub categories of Vaporwave at this point anyway? Maybe they are different things? I don't know. Art can be a Banana I just crapped out if someone pays me for it. That's the danger of art. Crap can be good.
I think what bothers people about barber beats specifically, is the sheer number of releases being made in the hopes of being profitable or viral. This is similar to all of the classic vaporwave that was dumped onto Bandcamp after floral shoppe, which hurt the genre to the point that the "vaporwave is dead" meme started. Fans of modern vaporwave are worried that history may repeat itself, and vaporwave would yet again have to find meaning beyond plunderphonics.

I don't think this will happen though, the real current threat to vaporwave as a community is the limbo that Bandcamp is going through right now.
 
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GENOSAD

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This is similar to all of the classic vaporwave that was dumped onto Bandcamp after floral shoppe,
Not sure I'd consider post-Floral Shoppe to be "classic vaporwave;" that's a term I would reserve to the ECCOJAMS era from 2009-2012. If anything, the Floral Shoppe era is more like a vaporwave boom. It hit the mainstream (for want of a better word) at that point in time, and I can't help but think that anyone who calls BB a "return to form" probably only ever listened to tracks that just did the "slowed and reverbed" gimmick.
 
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Not sure I'd consider post-Floral Shoppe to be "classic vaporwave;" that's a term I would reserve to the ECCOJAMS era from 2009-2012. If anything, the Floral Shoppe era is more like a vaporwave boom. It hit the mainstream (for want of a better word) at that point in time, and I can't help but think that anyone who calls BB a "return to form" probably only ever listened to tracks that just did the "slowed and reverbed" gimmick.
It could be a return to form for some because it's achieving popularity while not being discrete about the origin of samples; it's the first time since Floral Shoppe where people are arguing about if something in vaporwave is theft, genius, or just stupid.

As for whether Floral Shoppe is classic vaporwave, for me it is because I got into vaporwave around 2019. I categorize the period that began with EccoJams and finalized with Floral Shoppe as the classic era. I also use the term for releases that delve into plunderphonics.
 
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It could be a return to form for some because it's achieving popularity while not being discrete about the origin of samples; it's the first time since Floral Shoppe where people are arguing about if something in vaporwave is theft, genius, or just stupid.
Ah, I see what you mean. That's not a return to form so much as it is history repeating itself in terms of how the general public views the genre.
In terms of Barber Beats "not being discrete," I find that to be a dubious claim. While MACROBLANK did start crediting his samples recently, and he did always say that "everything is plundered," he never gave credit to the original songs until a couple weeks ago. And even then, the songs he used were always on the obscure side of things, while any Vaporwave sample was always of a popular song. The hardest time you'd have in finding a sample would be showing it to your parents and having them say "I dunno," then having to show it to your uncle so he could say "Oh yeah, it's this song from 1986." With Barber Beats, actually tracking down a song is much harder because it's almost guaranteed to be something with a thousand plays at most. The only reason I knew that Barber Beats edits were so minimal was because YouTube's content ID had no problem at all picking them up.
 
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In my opinion, vaporwave started to get boring to me a few years ago, because it wasn't a nostalgia for something you haven't lived yet, vaporwave is starting to became ironically, something nostalgic on it's own, what i think what's gonna happen is that vaporwave either evolves and deconstruct itself, or that we will have a vaporwave for vaporwave, that's how it is, at the end of the day, letting an old stallion rest for new horses to throttle seems like the best and most natural course of action.
i feel like an artist that capturez that "vaporwave for vaporwave" kinda thing izz christtt cuz altho he mainly references older internet culture in general there r still a ton of meta referencez 2 vaporwav itself and just internet music as a whole ... obv nawt evvry album is like this but still interesting nonetheless cuz i rlly dont c anybody else exploring that kinda territory besidez him
 
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I would say Barber Beats is the most low-effort, basic genre of vaporwave possible, from everything I've seen of it. There's a video in particular by A Bucket of Jake where he just goes to a popular sample playlist and makes some barber beats to troll:



That said, I don't think barber beats is necessary the death of vaporwave or anything. All the other genres are still going strong and as far as I'm aware, they're more popular than barber beats, and for good reason- if I had the choice between listening to cool music or lame music, I would choose the cool music
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