[Feature] 2016 Community End-of-the-Year Lists

Rather than put together a Sunbleach official end-of-the-year list, I’ve decided to do things a bit differently by featuring community lists instead! There are a few reasons for this:

  • I suck at making “top” lists.
  • It’s way more fun to read others’ thoughts on music and the year in review.
  • Featuring lists made by yall helps to build the vaporwave community as more of a “community” than simply a collection of users who happen to post on the same boards.
  • Most “top” lists in music media are pretty easy to anticipate, and the need for a cohesive “ranked” document risks foregoing or being ignorant of experimental, lesser-run, or otherwise unknown releases with which fans may be more in tune.

Sunbleach made posts on Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook that asked for personal end-of-the-year submissions from anyone with something to say. Submissions could take the form of actual lists, blurbs per album, or whatever other forms of writing of which one could think. No edits were made to each list other than to fit a consistent formatting for publishing. Submissions did not have to be on albums, either; if there were a specific series of labels or artists that have stood out, then submitters were welcome to write about that as well!

Each list was extremely different, which demonstrates how diverse vaporwave is as a community and as an art form. Pretty much every subgenre was featured at least once, from broken transmission to hardvapor. Going by appearances alone, Rain Temple by 2814 may be considered the most well-received release of 2016, appearing on five of eight submitted lists. With three direct album mentions, one shout-out, and several other side projects featured on several lists, Sangam appears to be the community consensus on the best artist of 2016, with Vektroid and HKE following closely behind. Labels are a bit more difficult to pick out, but Dream Catalogue (plus imprints) and PLUS100 had the most unique albums/mentions, with Bedlam Tapes, Business Casual, DMT Tapes FL (plus imprints), and BLCR Laboratories also receiving significant recognition.

Some other albums that appear more than once include:

  • Hong Kong Express – Hong Kong Express (3)
  • ΣƶɦĂk – Technological Hallucinations II (2)
  • Pop Up! – Flavored (2)
  • chris††† – no lives matter (3)
  • チェスマスター – I am Chesumasuta (3)
  • Incarta’95 – INTEROFFICE (2)
  • Blurrydog – Blurrydog’s Quest (2)
  • w u s o 命 – Lonely Streets (3)
  • Blank Banshee – MEGA (2)

Here are the community end-of-the-year lists, in no particular order. Thanks for reading!


  1. Hong Kong Express – Hong Kong Express (TKX Vault)
  2. ΣƶɦĂk – Technological Hallucinations II (Cyber Dream)
  3. Virtual Dream Plaza – Guardian (Pyramids)
  4. 王阳明 – 小畜履 (Capital Tapes)
  5. W¯¯ – 该水流有其言力 (The Library)
  6. 2814 – Rain Temple (Dream Catalogue)
  7. I am Adam, of Eternia – Sky Lobby (Fantasy Deluxe)
  8. Deus Hand – Goddess (The Library)
  9. DJ Alina – MANIAX (Dream Catalogue)
  10. t e l e p a t h – A (Dream Catalogue)



Ya boi vhs here with the hottest slowed down 80s samples of 2116.

ΣƶɦĂk – Technological Hallucinations II (Cyber Dream): I’m not just saying this because I’m on Cyber Dream Records, but this album – is really good! I’ve never heard vaportrance (?) this good; the mastering is silky smooth, the album flows as a coherent piece and while it doesn’t take itself seriously, and it establishes it’s late night nightclub vibe really well.

Pop Up! – Flavored (Business Casual): Future funk albums often consist of sped up Japanese disco with a GIF on Artsie Music. Not this album. On the outset it does, but listening to the intricate sampling and detail, you can tell some real talent went into this album. I could pick any out of his trilogy, all worth checking out, but Flavored really stood out as an album with lots of emotion and energy.

Sangam – You Forget This (Dream Catalogue): This is pretty personal, but as soon as I read in the description that this album was based on Northern England, I pretty much had to listen. And it does so perfectly! The album is grimey and depressing, but yet there’s a glimmer of hope or aspiration, and the dreamy pads and soundscapes capture this perfectly. Waiting on a Welsh vaportrap album now.

DJ CAMGIRL – Problems (PLUS100): PLUS100 is one of the best record labels to come out in 2016. Maybe even in the 2000s. DJ CAMGIRL, who I assure you is most definitely not VAPERROR, blends sugar high arcade samples with drill n bass breakbeats to create a frantic, messy but energetic 30 minutes. If there was one bad side, it’d be the depressingly short length. sad emoji

2814 – Rain Temple (Dream Catalogue): Telepath needs to chill. Like seriously – stop! Other than their massive 16 hour album, their TELEVAPE collab and 2814, there’s no stopping this hypnagonic pioneer. Rain Temple is a great follow up to their previous album, and shows no signs of slowing down. The atmosphere is dreamy and eerie at the same time, the synths are on point, and it still surprises me that there are no samples. There needs to be more vaporwave like 2814, innovative, yet welcoming at the same time.



I don’t have a album of the year, but I do have a label of the year, that being BLCR Laboratories, with such albums as In Search of the Chessmaster, 愛慕 / 悲哀, M O U T H T R I P, and Storyline – to name some of the great albums that blcr has put out this year. I love the home-grown talent like reef frequent, Kagami, Zeta, and Debris (okay he isn’t homegrown by BLCR, but he’s been there). The artist of the year is in my opinion is Sangam. He has been consistently great, which a lot of artists that are great lack.


MC 469:

Notice: All albums must be streamable on Bandcamp in some form to qualify for this list. This list is in no way finalized and if your list is finalized or presented on a major platform before 2016 even ends, you’re a filthy hack. I’m not counting non-album singles, but if I were, Tiny Mice Rice would be on here.

  1. Deakin – Sleep Cycle (My Animal Home): He actually did it. The absolute madman.
  2. [septet] – أنا أحب الفتوةA​+​B​+​O​+​U​+​T (Psalmus Diuersae): This album was up for like four days on the psalmus bandcamp page in place of the fourth bully. It might have been a dream, but I like it.
  3. christtt – no lives matter (Bedlam Tapes): Glad I missed how much beef Oscob started with people so I can still like Bedlam Tapes lol.
  4. Fuuka ASMR – Squishy Moments (HR Recordings): It’s like post-pulsation plunderhouse.
  5. Untitled – Untitled [editor’s note: unable to find currently]: Three full tapes of orgasmic spring ambient stuff.
  6. ikwyRLg – ikwyRLg (self-released): I’ve been following this guy for like 5 years at this point. Still has never released a bad album.
  7. Eric Taxxon – Sky, Simplified (self-released): This guy’s released like 10 good albums this year you haven’t heard. Sad poppy gay vaporish ambient. Good music to watch someone cry in the airport to.
  8. Jerry Paper & Easy Feelings Unlimited – Toon Time Raw! (Bayonet): Like Tom & Jerry but Tom is sexually repressed and Jerry just ate 10 Snickers in a row and feels bad about it
  9. James Ferraro – Human Story 3 (SCM): I like it even more since my tape came.
  10. Even Oxen – Arrayed Above the Seraphim Lights (Punch Bowl): Potato lady album but noisier.
  11. M. Sage – Rife W/ Typo (Orange Milk): Jazzy OPN. Cool.
  12. Djwwww – Arigato (Orange Milk): Kenji’s getting addicted to surrounding his Twitter profile with pictures of landfills. It’s concerning.
  13. defunct – Aquatic Sketchbook (Tetra Systems): The only fish I’ve ever eaten was at a Chinese buffet when I was 8. I thought it was chicken. It was really rubbery. I vomited.
  14. Black Label – Homeword Alternative (self-released): I miss when /x/ used to do the worlds.com threads. It’s such a shit board now.
  15. Echo Lane Afterschool Inc. – The April Tape (self-released): This guy’s made the same album over and over again like 12 times using different instruments and equipment with very little progression. Thank God for that.
  16. VAPERROR – Acid Arcadia (PLUS100): IDK why I don’t hate this lol.

I haven’t listened to any of Jim O’Rourke’s new stuff from this year yet so keep in mind that would probably be half of this list. Check out my Twitter handle @god469suck and my new album on & Options called Brawl.






I wanted to briefly talk about a few the albums that I don’t think will be appearing as much in other lists, or might just be generally overlooked. This doesn’t comprise every one of my favourite albums from this year, but it’s hopefully a rounded selection! Also, I find it tricky comparing all these fantastic albums to one another, so albums appear in no particular order.

Diamondstein – The Ridges (Dream Catalogue): The Ridges is a wonderfully atmospheric cyberpunk album, which blends brooding ambient subtleties with dark rhythms that manage to be both relentlessly energetic and deeply foreboding at the same time. The album ebs and flows within its 6 tracks – carefully giving the listener enough space to recover from the more hectic passages. From the relentless thumping and intricate text-to-speech vocal samples on “Conversations” to the massive guitar-driven conclusion of The Carving, the production on this album is near flawless. Each track is beautifully sequenced to lead one into another, creating a seamless 39 minutes.

CTO & Ray Sherman – GDGA1 (Vektroid): One of the best surprises of 2016 was the return of Vektroid – all in all 10 albums this year (both new and re-releases). The latest, GDGA1, sees a brave venture into the world of harsh noise. An ever-shifting mass of glitching sounds accompanies the listener throughout the entire experience, sounding at times like a volcanic eruption inside a 56k modem, and at times like a swarm of tortured JPEG souls. (Okay, it’s really hard to describe this album!) The listener is also at times teased with a gentle layering of soft and dreamy synths underneath this chaos, as well as the occasional series of punchy kicks, which adds a masterful extra dimension to an already complex album. Despite sounding so bewilderingly alien, there’s something simultaneously contemporary about the imagery painted by these soundscapes. A brutal and difficult listen, but highly recommended. I want more!

Vektroid – Vektroid Texture Maps (Vektroid): At the risk of throwing every Vektroid release this year on the list, it’s worth mentioning Vektroid Texture Maps, which is a compilation of previously unreleased material spanning from 2009 to 2013. The tracks, naturally, are very varied but everything all fits together nicely to create an entertaining sonic journey. Fans of her work from this period should definitely consider checking this out.

暗い自然 – 氷床 Earth (BLCR Laboratories): Sometimes it takes only a few simple ingredients to make a great vapour album; 暗い自然, although presumably very sample-based, manages it with dreamy piano leads calling out from an even dreamier bed of sound. There is something achingly sad but beautifully reassuring about the tone of this album. Listen to this one while staring out your window at 5am and reflecting on life, the universe and everything.

Sangam – You Forget This (Dream Catalogue): Delicate yet richly atmospheric, You Forget This is among the best that Dream Catalogue has ever put out; 20 cuts mixed together to create one seamless album. Each track is often melodically short and simple, but they are all layered, produced and delivered with incredible detail and emotion. This is enhanced even further by atmospheric sounds woven into all the tracks, from wind to rain to ringing telephones to city traffic. A magical experience that is guaranteed to transport you.

luxury elite – noir (self-released): noir isn’t an album that is massively revolutionary or game-changing, but instead one that builds and improves on lux’s previous work. Each track is so tastefully constructed with driving beats and smooth sounds that it forms (as with every luxury elite album) the perfect soundtrack to cruising the city streets in the dead of night. Of course though, each track paints its own unique picture, so the album is never bland. A classic that withstands listen after listen.

HKE and Immune – Evolution (Dream Catalogue): Okay, this isn’t an album, but this mix was the first thing I heard from Dream Catalogue this year, and is still one of my favourites. It’s a fantastically mixed selection of tracks picked by two of DC’s finest. Listen to this if you want to immerse yourself in a chilled out cyberpunk dream, or just discover amazing new artists from the vapour-sphere and beyond.



Yeah, I half-lied when I said that I didn’t have a list. It’s not a ranking, just a bunch of superlatives. This will almost certainly change in a few days’ time (and I’ve almost certainly missed a few), so consider it a snapshot of what I’m thinking on 31 December 2016 than as anything definitive.

Artist/Album superlatives:

Label superlatives:




  1. COCAINEJESUS – We’re Worried About You (Dream Catalogue)
  2. DARKPYRAMID – New Humans (Dream Catalogue)
  3. 2814 – Rain Temple (Dream Catalogue)
  4. Blank Banshee – MEGA (self-released)
  5. 仮想夢プラザ – 愛の傾き (self-released)
  6. テレヴァペ – (PLUS100)
  7. w u s o 命 – Lonely Streets (Crystaltone)
  8. death’s dynamic shroud.dmv – Classroom Sextape (Orange Milk)
  9. Leisure Centre – High Fashion (self-released)
  10. チェスマスター – I am Chesumasuta (Dream Catalogue)
  11. b o d y l i n e – twinkly (Verbatim Consciousness Recordings / DMT Tapes FL)
  12. STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ – PRƟMISE (Business Casual)
  13. Hong Kong Express – Hong Kong Express (TKX Vault)
  14. Incarta ’95 – Interoffice (Verbatim Consciousness Recordings / DMT Tapes FL)
  15. Remember – Welcome to Axico Industries (PLUS100)
  16. Sangam – 在上升 (PLUS100)
  17. AUT2M – Introspection (PYRAMIDS)
  18. 仮想夢プラザ – 夢市 (Dream Catalogue)
  19. Ganz Feld – Unwise 2.0 (Lost Angles)
  20. Palacio Del Rio – No Title (Vektroid)


The non-vaporwave music I loved this year:


  1. Noname – Telefone (self-released)
  2. worldgrinder – echochamber (New World)
  3. Seabaud – 陽光 微笑 Sunshine Smile (Cyber Dream)
  4. futurebandit – Virtual Memory (self-released)
  5. Suli Hyuga – Dream-Hop: Rising (self-released)
  6. echochamber – i’m real, i’m here (New World)
  8. FIBRE – 810 (Business Casual)
  9. Ruf Dug – Treatment 32 (Dream Catalogue)
  10. worldgrinder / apollo drive: After School; Seifuku Hop (New World)
  11. Cyberocean – modem モデム модем مودم (self-released)
  12. SHENZHEN GLOBAL – 私は眠っているだけです (New World)
  13. New Dreams Ltd – Fuji Grid TV EX (Vektroid)
  14. 猫 シ Corp – NEWS AT 11 (self-released)
  15. echochamber – when they benefit (New World)
  16. Blurrydog – Blurrydog’s Quest (Elemental 95)
  17. Goolagoon – Life of Crime (self-released)
  18. 2814 – Rain Temple (Dream Catalogue)
  19. Night Tempo – Pure Baby Maker (self-released)
  20. Pop Up! – Flavored (Business Casual)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *