Lockbox – Passion Beam
Passion Beam by Coloradan artist Lockbox1 is an old album – at least by vaporwave standards. This November 2012 album was the forty-second release on Ailanthus Recordings, one of the original standard-bearers of vaporwave and modern cyberpunk music. In addition to availability as a free digital download, the initial release of Passion Beam included a cassette edition that has since sold out; at least, the link on Ailanthus Recordings to the Lockbox leads to a dead page. The cassette edition also featured an “exclusive secret album” called Retina Priest on side B, which has not shown up as a rip on the Internet as of five years later.
This release is a contemporary to the score of 2011/2012 vaporwave albums in which noise music was a main compositional element, such as ▣世界から解放され▣ by INTERNET CLUB and ラキア2019 by Hantasi. Passion Beam doesn’t quite go as intensely as those two releases; it uses a mix of ECCOJAMS surrealism and CD-degradation to create what sounds like the effects of pressing a magnet against a computer disc drive while it’s trying to play your mom’s adult contemporary mix.2 This decay is mixed with a classic-style vaporwave lo-fi production. Although this aesthetic has aged somewhat middlingly now that so many albums have taken these tropes and run farther with them, fans of distorted ECCOJAMS will probably get a few spins out of Passion Beam.
1. yeah lord/gem-eye unfolding – (1:42)
2. turned to radio downpour – (2:00)
3. babe wrap – (2:42)
4. cinema wash-diamond life – (1:13)
5. macarena (cover) – (1:34)
6. ffo poikirby – (0:25)
7. anime pearl – (2:31)
8. aight rainbow (aight time) – (3:32)
9. chrome night out – (1:57)
10. passion beam – (3:09)
11. portal pants – (0:33)
12. you literally melted me – (2:20)
1Not to be confused with GOLDBOX, a project on Elemental 95.
2Apologies to those offended by this overwrought Pitchfork simile.