Wednesday, 25 January 2017

New Gaia "New Gaia" (2016)

If you're familiar with the genre then this records album art, rooted in nostalgic gaming aesthetics, would let you know its a Vapourwave release, the worlds first international music genre built on the anonymity of online culture. "New Gaia" made its way onto a 2016 top list and peaked my interest. For what Vaporwave has revealed itself to offer, Id say this is a pretty fair representation of its strongest points. The self titled record is a typically aesthetic journey through chopped and churned sampling, reassembled in a duality between the future and nostalgia.

It opens up with a striking sample reminiscent of the pianos in Moby's "Porcelain", although I could never pin point the exact moment its lifted. There are a few other recognizable snippets throughout but its not the focal point. Moby's pianos, paired with the sounds of birds chirping and an endless depth of looping reverb, sets the tone a soothing journey through an oddly crowded aesthetic where instruments collide and peak much to the enjoyment of the listener. Its often awkward drum tones and burried sweeping phases are subtle nuances reinforcing the dreamy, sometime ethereal soundscapes. The record doesn't have many remarkable moments but keeps a consistent tone through its short songs totaling just under twenty minutes. Its construct is fascinating, with many manipulations and technical arrangements to imagine what technique is behind the oddities of sound. Between the more obvious constructs emerge many fluid and crafty transitions which aid a seemingly static sound into an organic evolution where a sampled lead instrument often diverts our focus as the setting around it shifts and transforms.

Its mood and atmosphere, slightly alien, strangely homely, captures the senescence of this musical format far better than others Ive heard since "Macintosh Plus". The short and abrupt nature of the songs left me with a personal feeling that more could come of these soundscapes, thought they are involving and each one creates a prominent sense of something unworldly to imagine into. I think for this sound to really strike a nerve it needs its expansive ideas more track time to evolve, however whats being created is fascinating and most welcome to my ears.

Favorite Tracks: Strange New Feel, No Looking Back
Rating: 5/10