W¯¯ – 该水流有其言力
该水流有其言力1 was released by the enigmatic artist W¯¯2 on the even more enigmatic label Vapour Library3 on 1 September 2016. This album is W¯¯’s debut, and it described the emotional aftermath of the break-up of a four-year-long relationship and the escapist depersonalization that resulted.4
该水流有其言力 is composed of samples from film, classical music, and pop media with additional effects such as delay and reverb. The result is a mix of classic-style vaporwave and vaporgoth music, although without the “goth” sludginess for which vaporgoth is known. For example, the album begins with a sample from Casino Royale in which James Bond’s love interest Vesper Lynd drowns when trapped underwater in an elevator; W¯¯ stated that this demonstrated how the break-up “was like a quick plunge into water”.5 The track title translates to “Kina Gordon Absolute”, which has a dual meaning in listing a recipe for the cocktail known as a Vesper martini and in referencing alcohol’s role in the end of W¯¯’s relationship.
These small bits of information are certainly not obvious – 该水流有其言力 hides itself in many layers metaphorical and musical – but the sense of sadness is present. In discussing the album, W¯¯ makes many references to hell,7 with the idea that to be separated from the feelings of warmth and love is to experience hell – which also happens to be the theological basis of the Christian Hell, insofar as Hell is the separation of the individual from the Divine.6 Speaking of Christianity, “帕特里克(新七/七)” is a recording of unaltered ambient sounds from the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on 7 July 2016, the five-year anniversary of W¯¯’s first date with his former love.
Although arguments can be made that some aspects of and artists within vaporwave have moved on from elements of nostalgia for a purely aesthetic, futurist, or other approach, 该水流有其言力 is an album for which nostalgia plays an important role. The aftermath of a break-up can elicit so many feelings, not the least of which is remembering back to times gone by with a yearning for wanting to change or go back to fix things – which is natural, although impossible, and should be acknowledged as a part of the grieving process. Hence, the aspect of nostalgia and yearning is a deep and important current throughout 该水流有其言力, but nostalgia here is much different than on a classic-style release that samples 80s pop music.
However, 该水流有其言力 ends positively. “雨林 碧玉” is a track that references a present given to W¯¯ by his brother following the break-up as encouragement to move on. “它为五在早晨 . . .” is a recording of W¯¯ reading a letter to the former lover in Mandarin Chinese, expressing his gratefulness from their time together. 该水流有其言力 is not an album about dwelling on the past, but acknowledging it and using it to further one’s future endeavors and romantic encounters. It is a gorgeous example of melting together samplism and original material with heart sans irony that is uncommonly found within vaporwave. The sampling might be a little too on-the-nose at points (“雨林 碧玉” is the theme to Assassin’s Creed II practically unedited except for slowing down), but the package is worth it. Listen to this in full, not by individual tracks.
1. 基那戈登绝对 – (1:57)8
2. 地下水路 – (8:11)9
3. 华尔兹苍白的眼睛 – (9:48)10
4. 帕特里克(新七/七) – (0:59)11
5. 斯威尼银翼 – (3:31)12
6. 雨林 碧玉 – (5:36)13
7. 它为五在早晨 . . . – (2:14)14
8. 一旦之前，总是 – (5:26)15
1Chinese translation: “The water has its own words”
2Also known as Watching Waters.
3Also known as simply The Library.
4This information and other in this article comes from this Reddit post, which the artist wrote following the album’s first anniversary in September 2017.
6Whether by choice, predestination, or circumstance is outside the scope of this article. Hopefully that’s not a disappointment to anyone.
7Again, taken from the Reddit post.
8Chinese translation: “Kina Gordon Absolute”
9Chinese translation: “Underground waterway”
10Chinese translation: “Our waltz pale eyes”
11Chinese translation: “Patrick (New Seven / Seven)”
12Chinese translation: “Sweeney silverwing”
13Chinese translation: “Rainforest jasper”
14Chinese translation: “It is five in the morning…”
15Chinese translation: “Once before, always”