蜃気楼MIRAGE / Chungking Mansions – Secret Deal
Secret Deal is one of very few honest-to-god vaporwave albums released by TKX Vault in their initial fifty-album run.1 It is comprised of a fourteen-track split in equal portions featuring 蜃気楼MIRAGE2 and Chungking Mansions, both of which had been active producers in the vaporwave (and related genres) scene for a couple years by the time of this album’s release on Valentine’s Day 2016. The split is organized so that each track is by a different artist. On any other split, this would already make for a discursive release, but 蜃気楼MIRAGE and Chungking Mansions amp it up by creating music in pretty much entirely different styles throughout the whole album.
Secret Deal incorporates a variety of musical styles inspired by vaporwave. The two most commonly-represented are sample curation (e.g. “two of us” and “czonmdh”) and hypnagogic drift (e.g. “ttfe” and “City’s Nightlights from the Rooftops). No like tracks immediately follow one another. The album begins with a full sample of two men having an argument in Japanese that flows into a surreal hypnagogic track that leads into a jazz instrumental with a g-funk keyboard line. The average track is about two minutes long, giving some tracks that vignette-aesthetic that is aesthetically related to classic-style vaporwave. As with other TKX Vault releases, this album has a big-city feeling to it; but unlike The City Never Ends by Television Experience or METROPOLISからオーディオ by ニューシティ, Secret Deal has a positive and occasionally even playful atmosphere to it that is interspersed with pensiveness instead of the constant paranoid affect of its sisters.
Fans of this should check out ELECTRIC▲L TE▲RDROPS by DARKPYRAMID, a stepping stone between vaporwave and dreampunk with similar romantic undertones.
1. 蜃気楼MIRAGE: Intro – (1:19)
2. Chungking Mansions: ttfe – (2:19)
3. 蜃気楼MIRAGE: czonmdh – (1:57)
4. Chungking Mansions: HKExpress Check-in Terminal – (4:00)
5. 蜃気楼MIRAGE: two of us – (2:15)
6. Chungking Mansions: Cadillac Brougham Limo – (3:05)
7. 蜃気楼MIRAGE: jswmf – (1:36)
8. Chungking Mansions: Royal Suite – (2:29)
9. 蜃気楼MIRAGE: room service – (1:17)
10. Chungking Mansions: Attach Case – (1:37)
11. 蜃気楼MIRAGE: dt – (1:13)
12. Chungking Mansions: Red Diamonds – (3:10)
13. 蜃気楼MIRAGE: top secret deal – (3:10)
14. Chungking Mansions: City’s Nightlights from the Rooftops – (2:51)
1Fifty-two if you include Disgraceful. by Shima33, which was deleted sometime in 2016 and replaced with DECISION MOMENT by ULTRACOMPUTER, and The Vaporwave Trials by Triad Research Laboratories, which was deleted in 2017 and replaced with The Life and Death Trial by Triad Research Laboratories.
2Japanese translation: “Mirage”