Toad Computers – ✔ permanent vacancy

Recommendation: ☀☁☁

Toad Computers1 has released music through Swamp Circle, No Problema Tapes, and Ailanthus Recordings. ✔ permanent vacancy is the project’s second full-length album and its second for Swamp Circle, an overarching experimental music label that primarily serves as the creative vehicle for Baltimore-turned-Chicago artist Angel Marcloid. This release combines classic-style vaporwave with vapornoise and experimental ambient music in a way that calls attention to the medium by which music is produced. The album artwork was created by Marcloid, who designs the artwork for all Swamp Circle albums.

✔ permanent vacancy is generally composed with a pseudo-sound collage atmosphere in the vein of John Oswald’s original capital-P Plunderphonics: musically distinct compositions that are looped and edited to create new compositions in a manner that typically implores one to acknowledge the methods used to create the music in addition to giving samples their own identity via recontextualization. Toad Computers utilized a variety of classic-style vaporwave tropes to accomplish this, including real-time pitch-/tempo-shifting, audible cuts and loops, and production fidelity that changes between tracks. This allows each song to have elements that – although not as recognizable as Oswald’s originals – are obviously recognized as such by way of Toad Computers’ method of inclusion. For example, “permanent м as к” changes channels approximately one minute into from somewhat lo-fi production to an intensely clear focus, as if the music has been brought from the background to the foreground. This blatant change in production instantly reminds the listener that the song they are hearing is something generated from recognizable parts, and Toad Computers implores you while listening to identify them as they present themselves.

Songs tend to have an anarchic milieu that sounds as if the music is about to completely fall apart into chaos or collapse on their own weight. For example, “illegal ƟƤɆⱤȺƮI☹₦” introduces a percussive aspect halfway through the track that increases in tempo and intensity with additional sampled layers. “vacancy [  ]” begins with a lo-fi ambient bit that sounds vaguely slushwave-esque before introducing additional percussion that randomly speeds up and slows down. This is what gives the album its “vapornoise” association: the Plunderphonics aesthetic naturally incurs some significantly abrasive textures per the topically arbitrary but subtly controlled points at which the album experiments with its medium. Twenty-four minute closing track “✔ permanence” is the truest mallsoft song ever produced: it’s nothing but samples of an operating plaza fountain and a short muzak loop repeated ad infinitum over the PA.2

Listening to ✔ permanent vacancy is like watching a Stan Brakhage film.2 This album’s strength is in its ability to draw the listener’s attention to the tropes and techniques utilized to create it in an oblique manner that is impossible to ignore.



1. ☜ ❒ reality [ I ] – (1:23)
2. ☜ ❒ reality [ II ] – (1:53)
3. ·•●on! ●•· – (2:42)
4. f a t a ʟ e ϰ c e ρ т i o η – (1:00)
5. illegal ƟƤɆⱤȺƮI☹₦ – (1:45)
6. permanent м as к – (6:22)
7. interwoven subnets – (1:56)
8. vacancy [  ] – (4:37)
9. vacancy [  ] – (2:37)
10. vacancy [  ] – (1:15)
11. ✔ permanence – (24:12)


1SPOILER ALERT: an alias of Angel Marcloid.
2… which makes it one of the best furniture music tracks in vaporwave.
3I recommend Mothlight.


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