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Vaporwave in 10 Years

mast

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I wanted to make this thread a while ago but felt that it may not generate too much discussion. Chat seemed interested so here we go.

Vaporwave is approximately 10 years old. Interestingly, no one can quite agree on the definition of Vaporwave, but I think we can agree it is a genre of music. Like other genres of music, it spawned sub-genres(Mallsoft, Signalwave, I think even influenced HexD/Surge) and what could be called a subculture(or at least growing communities like Agora). Unlike other genres though, Vaporwave is primarily an internet driven genre. I think this sets it apart from almost everything else except maybe Nightcore and Witch House. It seems to me this could give the genre longevity that usually isn't afforded to a lot of other genres.

I'm not trying to play armchair musicologist here, but it does seem that genres of music rise and fall like anything else. They never completely die out, they simply become more niche. Usually somewhere down the road the genre goes through a revival with a younger generation, as well.


Vaporwave has been primarily sample based(remixes, plunderphonics, etc), but I think it's possible newer artists will place a greater emphasis on original compositions rather than the sample based approach. At the same time I really can't see producers creating original lounge music compositions just to slow them down. Perhaps Vaporwave will subsume more genres of music and media to be used as source material?

I feel like I'm trying to fit a waterfall through a drinking straw here and not really getting to a point. I just find in interesting to think about how the genre could change and where it could be in 10 years. I'm very interested in hearing Agora's thoughts on the matter.
 
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naa

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I watched Witch House rise and fall as a music genre over the course of several years, and I don't know if vaporwave will go in the same direction necessarily. I used to think vaporwave would die out the same as Witch House did, that the community would disappear, music artists would start going towards different genres, and it would mostly just be used as an aesthetic influence for other things.

Agora Road has kind of changed my opinion on that. I'm not a musician, and I don't know much about music production, so I never knew exactly how invested people are in keeping vaporwave music alive. There's so many people here dedicated to making vaporwave music consistently, and I think there always will be at least some people who are like that. Even if the genre becomes more and more niche I will always be looking out for it, so to me I think it will probably always feel alive even when it is very small. The same way I imagine there's probably very small communities and indie musicians dedicated to Witch House still out there, somewhere other than the Witch House >redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk page.

There's people like vaporwavemaster1 who have been following this genre for decades, and he's said there were years where the genre felt dead, but that it has always returned eventually. I believe in that.

I think vaporwave will definitely change over time, and I'm looking forward to seeing how. There's people here pushing the boundaries already which is very exciting to watch, like memoryhead's use of guitar tracks in his music, the track off of Uncle_Boonmee's Eternal Blue album that is entirely unsampled, VirtualDepravity's stated goal to make vaporwave with as little sampling as possible, AlmostHalf10's track Artic has a unique sound using samples his friends sent him, AnanaSUPREME's unique samples and overall genre bending, the variety of kliffi's tracks, pixel_star_ghost's recent orchestral, anime OST-inspired album 星物語 -star chronicles- and so many more, this is just some of what I've listened to and noticed recently. Any time I go to the music artists threads for the month there's people doing new stuff and it's really exciting to see. There's something really special about seeing a genre change and grow like this. There's a lot of people in there refining and building on what vaporwave is, and what each subgenre of vaporwave is as well. I really appreciate everyone making music and sharing it here.

I've also seen some people making more Y2K-inspired music, or music that pushes out of the boundaries of what vaporwave is "supposed" to be, and I'm really happy about that. There's a lot of purists out there, but this genre doesn't need to be constrained by that. Vaporwave grows, and changes, and that is part of what keeps it alive. This is just like, my take though.
 
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AnanaSUPREME

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V2k not being considered Vaporwave is in a way just the fault of older Millenials who can't seem to understand that cuspers and Gen Z did not have the name nostalgia as them. Geopolitical events also change what people define as nostalgic, we can see (for example) how Disco did not arrive to Italy until the 80s and it's the reason why Disco Pop/Eurodance/Eurobeat came to exist. Most individuals would jump to conclude that Eurobeat has nothing to do with Disco without considering it's structure and the same is happening to Vaporwave.

When things grow organically, their shape is more like tree branches than straight lines.
 
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naa

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V2k not being considered Vaporwave is in a way just the fault of older Millenials who can't seem to understand that cuspers and Gen Z did not have the name nostalgia as them. Geopolitical events also change what people define as nostalgic, we can see (for example) how Disco did not arrive to Italy until the 80s and it's the reason why Disco Pop/Eurodance/Eurobeat came to exist. Most individuals would jump to conclude that Eurobeat has nothing to do with Disco without considering it's structure and the same is happening to Vaporwave.

When things grow organically, their shape is more like tree branches than straight lines.
Thank you for saying this, you put it really well. I totally agree also
 
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kliffi

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I hope sampling never becomes unfashionable and that there will be wider appeal for sample-based compositions as time goes on: it's the bread and butter of the scene. A lot of vaporwave artists that achieve crossover followings shy away from sampling for legal reasons (a condition I hope will change; copywrite law around composition is absolutely incomplete) but it gives this false impression that sampling is done out of necessity or as a shortcut. I think the more that artists, fans, and promoters can talk about and emphasize the compositional elements of vaporwave, the faster we'll escape the myth of vaporwave as low-effort meme music. (Explaining vaporwave to non-fans is an uphill battle sometimes still...) Excavating and arranging samples and finding creative juxtapositions have just as much compositional integrity as a handwritten melody imo; even when an artist just slows down a track to slap on an album--it's a concept--I think that production can be as deliberate and as authorial as a traditional composition (if it sounds good ;))

There is more avant-garde sampling and experimental mastering happening in vaporwave now than ever, and producers and fans are more engaged than ever; places like this forum are great for talking about the music and the culture that sounds it and pulling back some of the unneeded mystique that has been keeping the music from redefining itself. But we're already well along that way.

Thank you for mentioning me next to so many great musicians! The diversity of music and compositional approaches on this site is awesome, and it'll only get more diverse.
 
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