Laserdisc Visions – New Dreams Ltd.

Recommendation: ✂ ✂ ✂ (“Mind Access,” “Ewing,” “Select,” “Untitled”)


New Dreams Ltd. is notable for being one of the first “vaporwave” albums in the sense of what is now known by the term. Released a few months before the (in)famous Floral Shoppe, this album is one of the most recognizable of Ramona Xavier’s early works, kickstarting the “New Dreams Ltd.” umbrella project (although this album was originally marketed under LASERDISC VISIONS) and bringing the ultra-microsample technique of 骨架的’s Holograms to full form. It retains incredible longevity within vaporwave culture, and is often one of the first albums to which new listeners are recommended to listen.

The vast majority of New Dreams Ltd.‘s twenty-seven tracks are sampled from video game soundtracks – most notably Sonic the Hedgehog, a reference that remains popular in vaporwave music production to this day.1 The preponderance of video game samples causes New Dreams Ltd. to be occasionally referred as a part of the “segahaze” subgenre (almost as nebulously-defined as signalwave), which is often used in context with mostly-unedited short tracks whose source material is 16-bit video games. Each song utilizes repeated five-to-ten second sections that make up the entirety of its one-or-two minute run-time. There are lots of new-agey sounds (e.g. “Data Dream”) that feature heavy utilization of woodwind and Japanese flute sounds; in comparison to most classic-style vaporwave, the R&B/muzak samples play a minor role.

Despite its imprint on vaporwave culture, as a listening experience, New Dreams Ltd. isn’t all that interesting, and it does not compare well to current or contemporary trends. Most of the songs are poorly-edited but not in a way that calls attention to the editing process, and most of the songs are simply quite bland. There could have been tons of more interesting soundtracks from which to pull, but the ones that were chosen to make up this album aren’t all that fun of a listening experience; the dogma of uninteresting tracks as commentary on the musical clime is not convincing. This is a work to respect for its influence rather than to enjoy for its content.2

 

Tracklist


1. Mind Access – (1:38)
2. Malls – (1:56)
3. Dual – (0:42)
4. Idgaf Island – (0:39)
5. Rooftop Cage – (0:39)
6. Tingri – (2:02)
7. Ewing – (0:46)
8. Tear – (0:49)
9. Liquid Air – (0:56)
10. Lucky Tomato – (2:20)
11. 3D Wave – (1:03)
12. Into Dreams – (1:14)
13. Forbidden City – (1:01)
14. Rainbow Babe – (1:16)
15. Tree – (0:53)
16. Hits – (0:51)
17. Select – (1:36)
18. Photo Studio – (0:54)
19. Los Santos – (1:33)
20. Information – (1:17)
21. Data Dream – (2:43)
22. Laserdisc Visions – (2:35)
23. Body – (1:22)
24. Yellowhead – (0:56)
25. Kowloon – (1:42)
26. Untitled – (0:32)3
27. Grid – (0:52)


 

1E.g. death’s dynamic shroud.wmv’s I’ll Try Living Like This, whose closing track “난 괜찮다고 또 웃으며 Good Bye” samples the credits to a certain mid-2000s Sonic game that I think we’re all better off forgetting.
2… which is exactly how I feel about The Beatles’ White Album.
Sounds like the zombies from Half-Life 2.

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2 comments

  • Evan

    Great review. The Saturn game Nights into Dreams is also heavily sampled in this one. I knew this release was especially important to me, but I could never really explain why. But then I realized made me subconsciously recall playing that game back in the day (which is kinda the point of lots of vaporware haha..nostalgia).

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  • Thor

    Personally, I believe the samples and songs are extremely memorable and Laserdisc Visions remains one of my favorite vaporwave releases of all time. Instead of the dooming philosophy behind Floral Shoppe or other Vektroid releases, LD focuses more on the dreamy nostalgia of the mid-to-late 90’s, creating this passing soundscape that’s reminiscent of channel surfing on an old TV. The style of LD is barely utilized in today’s vaporwave, and I think there’s still more material to work with to make similar albums, but LD is a certified classic for me nonetheless.

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