永遠の睡眠 – 最初の世界への道
最初の世界への道1 was the first release on Australian label Commercial Dream Records,2 which has since gone defunct (or so is assumed, as it hasn’t released any music in a year and a half by the time of this writing). It was released at the same time on the certainly-active Lost Angles label, which is based out of Ottawa, Canada. It’s the only album thus far from the artist 永遠の睡眠,3 or – as is the case with the pseudonymous nature of vaporwave – the only one from this particular moniker without knowing more.
This album is an example of the unsettling vaporwave subgenre of vaporgoth. Codified by Chinese Hackers, vaporgoth combines vaporwave sampling techniques, dark ambient music, and occasionally industrial music into an album that is designed to be explicitly creepy or ghoulish. 最初の世界への道 precludes the industrial aspects, but it has the dark ambient part in spades. Tracks are constructed from shuffling, vacillating samples that are effected to huge extremes and sound like shifting sands at the dead of night (or that scene in Lawrence of Arabia where the kid sinks into the quicksand).4 It’s somewhat similar to the “deathdream” tag used by HKE, chris†††, and other artists in reference to albums such as вовки тіні on TKX Vault and reflection on BLCR Laboratories (respectively).
Ambient music (and dark ambient) can be diverse despite its focus on atmospheric qualities (just look at HK by HKE or Phaedra by Tangerine Dream), and unfortunately 最初の世界への道 lacks in this respect. Although the scintillating electronic sounds are creepy, the same tropes are used for the entire thirty-seven minute run-time, making it hard for anything to stand out and creating a pretty static listening experience. It’s dark and depressing, but it’s the same kind of dark and depressing per each track, mentally satiating to the point of ambivalence what could have been a harrowing half-hour-plus. вовки тіні almost had this problem as well, but avoided it by punctuating the long ambient sections with moments of crashing gong-like sounds,5 creating an impending sense of dread. With 最初の世界への道, it’s all preparation without any sense of what would happen if the tension were to be broken. No matter how creepy something is, one will feel blasé if it’s the same amount of creepy the whole way through.
1. ゲートで – (5:34)6
2. 音が出ない. – (1:00)7
3. 何かが間違っています – (4:42)8
4. 冷えた体 – (1:45)9
5. 何が起こった？？？ – (4:10)10
6. 移動 – (6:05)11
7. 待ち伏せ！！ – (4:00)12
8. 報復 – (1:31)13
9. 失われた一 – (4:37)14
10. 安らかに眠る – (2:06)15
11. リターン – (2:24)16
1Japanese translation: “The way to the first world”
2Or “CD-R”. Several vaporwave labels (and many more artists) have punny names and acronyms. Another notable one is Verbatim Consciousness Recordings, or “VCR”.
3Japanese translation: “Eternal sleep” (spooky!)
4That fucked me up as a young child.
5Or whatever the fuck was used to make that strange album.
6Japanese translation: “At the gate”
7Japanese translation: “There is no sound”
8Japanese translation: “Something is wrong”
9Japanese translation: “Cold body”
10Japanese translation: “What happened? Is it? Is it?”
11Japanese translation: “Movement”
12Japanese translation: “Ambush! It is!”
13Japanese translation: “Retaliation”
14Japanese translation: “Lost one”
15Japanese translation: “Sleep restfully”
16Japanese translation: “Return”