Virtual Polygon – EXIT
Recommendation: ✂ (“Fade”)
EXIT1 is the fifth album released through Asura Revolver, a Norwegian vaporwave-and-associates label that primarily features influences from drone music and IDM.2 It’s produced by Virtual Polygon, whose debut EP visuals was released in 2013. Most Virtual Polygon albums used some combination of classic-style and ambient vaporwave (of which both may be heard on visuals‘ two tracks). EXIT is the artist’s droniest and longest album yet, being six tracks in almost an hour of run-time. In a conversation with label head R0x4ry, Virtual Polygon stated that he made EXIT following a nightmare and that it is a “slow-moving horror film”.
You know those air-and-space documentaries where a lonely, cycling synth progression plays over footage of floating astronauts and close-ups of the Earth from space? That’s kind of the vibe held by EXIT – like the first half of Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks by Brian Eno (which was produced for exactly this purpose). EXIT is full of long, drawn-out synthesized sounds and pure tones with no percussion or even rhythm that gently progress through each track’s length. Songs don’t end so much as they simply flow to the next idea. The whole album has a soundtrack nature, with some emotional cues (e.g. halfway through “Fade”) that evoke the sensation of watching a moonrise. There are some stereo effects whereby certain tones will rise on the left or right and gradually encompass the entire span of the mix, as if the synths are steadily rising and falling like breaths.
EXIT is peaceful, but it’s also repetitive. The indistinguishability of some forms of dreampunk, drone, and ambient vaporwave can be to their benefit as background music; but here, EXIT is pretty much background music. After “Decaying” and “Loneliness”, the listener knows what to expect for the rest of the album. The same pensive tones flow through each track with not much change, and although this creates some occasionally stellar moments of reflection (again, “Fade”), the overall experience is a static one. All that being said, it would likely be quite successful if played alongside a video projection of space exploration3 due to its wistful melancholy. Start with “Fade” and go from there.
1. Decaying – (12:56)
2. Loneliness – (8:19)
3. Fade – (13:16)
4. Doppelgänger – (12:03)
5. Fate – (6:49)
6. Afterlife – (6:09)
1Not to be confused with the ADOV album of the same name.
2Less on that second one.
3Similar to how 2001: A Space Odyssey wouldn’t be the same without the Ligeti compositions.