Penthouse Apartment – Trump
Believe it or not, TKX Vault once had a late night lo-fi vaporwave release – and one themed around Donald Trump! Trump was released on 8 August 2015 through the Dream Catalogue imprint, which primarily catered to experimental works that weren’t entirely fitting on the parent label. By this time, classic-style vaporwave was on its way out for Dream Catalogue, which would soon play a large role in the explosion of hardvapour that became a dominant creative force within the vaporwave and cyberpunk music scenes throughout 2016 and 2017. By the time of this album’s release, Donald Trump was still considered a bit of a fringe candidate in the Republican primaries instead of the party front-runner and eventual President of the United States of America that he is as of this writing. Whether due to these circumstances or others, Trump was deleted from the TKX Vault catalogue at the end of June 2017 along with three other albums. Since then, three have been added back,1 but there is no word on the status of Trump.
Trump is true late night lo-fi and sample curation at its core. Similar to artists such as luxury elite, Trump lifts nigh-complete samples from nameless instrumental, muzak, and adult contemporary sources with exceptional amounts of distortion and degradation added to the mix, as if the listener is hearing the results of thirty years of tape decay. Opener “The Art of the Deal” (named after Trump’s famous book on business) and closer “The View from the Top” feature brief samples of an interview with Trump himself that was likely recorded back in the eighties. Many track titles reference Donald Trump and Manhattan living in some way or another, e.g. “NASDAQ”, “East 56th Street”, “Trump Tower”, and “Evening in Manhattan”. Similar musical motifs were also featured in The City Never Sleeps by Television Experience, which is another TKX Vault album.
As for concept, by its very nature Trump is an embodiment of the idea of vaporwave as a deconstruction of capitalism. Now that being said, vaporwave as a medium for commentary on political and economic structures is by no means a universal theme or approach in vaporwave and vaporwave-influenced media, but it’s practically impossible to ignore such when the subject is Donald Trump. Just the title is bound to repel many prospective listeners, although the actual music has little to do with the man (with the two aforementioned exceptions). Perhaps it wouldn’t even be on the radar if it weren’t for its attachment to the TKX Vault name, but Trump certainly is representative of a piece of the cultural and vaporwave zeitgeist that existed in late 2015 – and, to some extent, still does.
1. The Art of the Deal – (3:59)
2. Trump Tower – (3:51)
3. NASDAQ – (1:27)
4. Power Lunch – (3:52)
5. East 56th Street – (3:25)
6. Evening in Manhattan – (1:56)
7. Limousine – (5:01)
8. Dinner for Two – (2:12)
9. Private Jet – (3:09)
10. The View from the Top – (4:20)
1NEXUS_DAWN by 2047, now credited to DREAMTEK; Holy Forest by UNFR, now credited to Unknown Forever; and 暗い自然 by Bleed.