Amun Dragoon – ＵＮＬＩＭＩＴＥＤ ＤＲＥＡＭ ＣＯＭＰＡＮＹ
Amun Dragoon was one of the first artists to fully utilize the spectrum of new age music in vaporwave production. Not simply sample new age for some ironic giggles – but to utilize fully the new age aesthetic (stylized however) as a medium for the peaceful, relaxing, and moderately unsettling reaches of sound architecture. ＵＮＬＩＭＩＴＥＤ ＤＲＥＡＭ ＣＯＭＰＡＮＹ is this anonymous artist’s debut album, released toward the end of 2012 when the ambient vaporwave and futurevisions subgenres began to increase in popularity.1 It’s hypnagogic, but not in the way of the hypnagogic drift subgenre: “hypnagogic” as in that curious border between sleep and awake2 – hence the title.3
Tracks run the gamut from unintelligible ECCOJAMS to straight ambient music. There’s an eclectic variation in run-time: half of the tracks are under two minutes in length, but there are several that run for three, four, and six minutes. This aspect will fall either way with listeners: some will enjoy them as snippets of half-inhabited dreamscapes, while others may interpret the preponderance of eighty-second tracks as a surfeit of unfinished ideas sprinkled among the long-form ones.
Songs such as “ＦＯＲＥＳＴ ＯＦ ＴＨＥ ＡＮＣＩＥＮＴ ＴＲＡＶＥＬＬＥＲ” and “「ＨＹＰＥＲＰＯＷＥＲネット・サーフィン」subspace adventure test call” have an eerie, cinematic ambiance akin to dungeon crawler video game music – think of the Forest Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. “ペプシ エナジーコーラ「ＰＥＰＳＩ ＥＮＥＲＧＹ ＣＯＬＡ: ＤＩＭＥＮＳＩＯＮＳ」”4 sounds like an early Aphex Twin-esque ambient techno beat mixed with the soundtrack from Kirby’s Dreamland 3;5 it’s one of the best tracks on the album. Both “Ｓｅｃｒｅｔ Ｈｉｇｈｗａｙ” and “アムン・ヅラグン #0001 – SIMULATION PROJECT 1, ツキハナ「ＭＯＯＮＦＬＯＷＥＲ」” feature a funk-inspired bassline; it’s a little unbefitting in context of the entire release, but it works for the respective tracks. The majority of the shorter tracks feature smooth, gentle waves of synthesized sound – and in the case of “宇宙-お化け,” literal waves, too.
There’s a huge problem with the mixing, and it markedly interrupts the flow of the album. The ECCOJAMS tracks “ＪＡＤＥ ＰＡＳＳＡＧＥＷＡＹ” and “MEMORY INVOKE 059” are awfully loud, and they follow two of the quietest songs on the album; Amun Dragoon might have been making a statement here about the physical effects of different stories in dreams through volume, but it’s unlikely – and if the artist were doing so, it is aggravating rather than erudite. Speaking of quiet, “ＰＲＩＭＯＲＤＩＡＬＳＯＵＰ [GENETIC RECALL TEST]” is a half-decent ambient track, but it’s almost unlistenable in its uttermost quiet. Having to continually adjust volume levels is frustrating, and it reflects sloppy production despite (potential) conscious effort otherwise.
ＵＮＬＩＭＩＴＥＤ ＤＲＥＡＭ ＣＯＭＰＡＮＹ has some serious faults in mixing and pacing, but it is decent overall with several essential tracks. It is not a consistent futurevisions album, but its variety may make it a good place for one interested in the subgenre to begin their odyssey.
1. 「ＳＥＡ ＯＦ ＤＲＥＡＭＳ ＦＬＯＡＴＩＮＧ ＭＥＴＲＯＰＯＬＩＳ」夢の海フローティング大都市 – (2:26)6
2. Ｓｅｃｒｅｔ Ｈｉｇｈｗａｙ – (1:50)
3. ＦＯＲＥＳＴ ＯＦ ＴＨＥ ＡＮＣＩＥＮＴ ＴＲＡＶＥＬＬＥＲ – (2:00)
4. アムン・ヅラグン #0001 – SIMULATION PROJECT 1, ツキハナ「ＭＯＯＮＦＬＯＷＥＲ」 – (2:44)7
5. ｐｌａｎｅｔ ｅｇｇ: ＰＵＬＳＥ – (4:40)
6. ＪＡＤＥ ＰＡＳＳＡＧＥＷＡＹ – (4:08)
7. Ｆａｎｔａｓｙ Ｂｒｅｅｚｅ – (1:22)
8. 宇宙-お化け – (2:00)8
9. MEMORY INVOKE 059 – (3:42)
10. ペプシ エナジーコーラ「ＰＥＰＳＩ ＥＮＥＲＧＹ ＣＯＬＡ: ＤＩＭＥＮＳＩＯＮＳ」 – (1:48)9
11. ＰＲＩＭＯＲＤＩＡＬＳＯＵＰ [GENETIC RECALL TEST] – (6:23)
12. 「ＨＹＰＥＲＰＯＷＥＲネット・サーフィン」subspace adventure test call – (1:17)10
13. MEMORY INVOKE 025 – (1:22)
14. 「あなたはだれですか？」 – (1:11)11
1E.g. Sacred Tapestry’s Shader
2If it sounds poetic, that’s because it is.
4Say it five times fast. Katakana included.
5… and I can’t believe I made that reference.
6The Japanese translation is the same as the English text.
7Japanese translation: “Amon dragon”
8Japanese translation: “Haunted space”
9The Japanese translation is the same as the English text.
10Japanese translation: “Internet surfing”
11Japanese translation: “Who are you?”