New Dreams Ltd. Initiation Tape – Part One
Commonly referred to simply as “initiation tape“, part one is a Vektroid release under the New Dreams Ltd. umbrella, which comprised many of the early Vektroid releases under different pseudonyms. It was part of a string of mid-/late-2011 releases that also included FLORAL SHOPPE by Macintosh Plus, prism genesis by fuji grid tv, and MIDI Dungeon by esc 不在. In fact, part one came out on the same day as those last two albums: August 2, 2011, which proved to be a watershed moment in vaporwave, especially classic-style. As with its sister albums, part one is commonly considered one of the highlights of Vektroid’s early vaporwave career. It was reissued with an updated and expanded tracklist in March 2013 as Initiation Tape: Isle of Avalon Edition, which doubled the album’s run-time.
part one is a “classic” of classic-style vaporwave and ECCOJAMS music. It received a place on the vaporwave subreddit’s “Guide to Vaporwave Subgenres” under the “ECCOJAMS” tag1, and the expanded edition was featured under the “Vektroid” collection of releases on the “Vaporwave Ultra Guide”, which collects influential and community-chosen releases from 2010 through 2014.2 Unlike the mixtape appeal of many pre-watershed vaporwave albums, the songs here are really work as individual songs in addition to context of an album. “hydrocodone / prom night” has an intro, climax, and outro not unlike many pop songs, except instead of lyrics or any semblance of standard instrumentation, the movements are noted by increased distortion and multi-tracking effects.
As with many early Vektroid albums, part one foreshadowed the evolution of several vaporwave subgenres, and it would not be wrong to credit it with defining a few tropes. For instance, part one changed the style of ECCOJAMS that was previously heard via the swirly earworm samples of extremely recognizable pop music on Chuck Person’s ECCOJAMS Vol. 1 with more obscure samples from adult contemporary and instrumental tracks,3 which would be further explored on FLORAL SHOPPE. The track “midnight luvr”4 opens with a voice saying “This is CBC” with tons of static, then it lapses into repeated television jingles and clips from news panels – similar to broken transmission albums such as telenights by ghosting. Many tracks feature short microsamples that repeat several times and then undergo a change in pitch or tempo or stop midway through a measure, akin to early signalwave albums. The wall-of-sound production on tracks such as “yr slave” may be heard on many releases through DMT Tapes FL and its imprint Verbatim Consciousness Recordings. The album also references “New Life Now!”, a slogan that has become synonymous with early vaporwave, especially those that parody capitalist themes.
Vektroid has a lot of albums,5 and exploring her discography can be intimidating. part one is an excellent place to start, along with FLORAL SHOPPE, fuji grid tv, and the futurevisions classic Shader. A lot of early genre albums get recommended based on being “influential” and nothing else, but part one is a clear example of a piece of music to which it is worth listening not only for appreciation of its influence but also because the songs have aged well in context of what other producers have since built upon its tropes.
(Note: This tracklist refers to the original release of part one, not Initiation Tape: Isle of Avalon Edition.)
1. forever? (introduction, pt. 1) – (2:05)
2. midnight luvr (introduction, pt. 2) – (2:47)
3. timecop – (2:10)
4. neu fatale – (1:51)
5. drftrzz / dstryrzz – (2:11)
6. camaro – (1:34)
7. psr41 – (0:55)
8. hydrocodone / prom night – (3:35)
9. you appeared / you didn’t – (1:43)
10. yr slave – (2:36)
11. meditations save me o lord – (2:04)
12. upper spheres of consciousness – (1:20)
13. rationalization – (1:56)
14. new life now! please – (2:01)