Chungking Mansions – Encyclies
Vaporwave is an exceptional genre of music for many reasons, but one in particular is how many artists flit around through different labels, subgenres, techniques, and style within a small bit of time. It helps that the genre is so interconnected – just take a look at Dream Catalogue and follow who’s worked on what with whom – but it also shows the propensity of the genre to allow new and different ideas with every album.1 The worst than can happen is nobody listens to it, and the creator still gets the experience of making an album.
Take Chungking Mansions for example. Chungking Mansions’ first release came out in March 2015 through Dream Catalogue. Over one-and-a-half years, the artist released eight albums on Antifur, Tekres, TKX Vault, and Adhesive Sounds in the genres of hardvapour, ghost tech, classic-style vaporwave, and hypnagogic drift; respectively. It’s pretty fascinating to see how artists within the genre attempt new styles and practice integrating new ideas throughout the tight-knit community that’s always informing and always interacting with each other. Where one artist explores, others are always interested in helping them figure out this new sound, and you can see that in certain styles like ghost tech, early dreampunk, and even vapornoise.
Encyclies is album number three for the Tekres label, which was created by Halo Acid following the release of Days of Night for TKX Vault to focus on ghost tech music.2 This nine-track album is pretty removed from the ambient vaporwave that characterized his split album with 蜃気楼MIRAGE on Secret Deal, which was released only eight months prior. It’s one of the most ambient releases on the Tekres label, with a sound close the genre’s roots in ambient techno (dreampunk and hardvapour notwithstanding). The melodies and rhythms are generally simple, and the percussion is dominated by four-on-the-floor house beats with the occasional snare work-out. Choice track “Sunglint” has a synth line that sounds like a 64-bit video game soundtrack.
1. Austro – (4:04)
2. Chlorine – (5:00)
3. Encyclies – (5:00)
4. Ladder – (3:42)
5. Forest – (4:16)
6. Dusk – (4:08)
7. Cage- (5:08)
8. Sunglint – (5:15)
9. Aqua Regia – (3:57)
1Someone should make a statistical model of that. I’d be very interested in seeing how vaporwave artists adapt and change throughout their career.
2HKE did the same thing with Pyramids. It’s not coincidence that the first Tekres release was a split album between the two.