Digital Voyager – Nightlove
Artist: Digital Voyager
Type: Full-length (LP)
Release date: 8 July 2015
Label: Floatsoft / Ailanthus Recordings
- Digital download (Floatsoft, 2015)
- Digital download (Ailanthus Recordings, 2015)
Digital Voyager is one of many pseudonymous (nameless, even?) vaporwave projects out in the ephemeral reaches of the Internet. Rivaled only by black metal, the very nature of vaporwave in its aesthetic of fleeting memoria and the ease by which artists can create and upload their material1 lends artists to create these fantastical entities that pretty much can’t be tracked down unless the artist comes out and says “yes, this is me” out of character. Digital Voyager certainly is no exception, with Nightlove being only one of a few albums ever released by the artist (in addition to a collaboration with コンベアーCONVEYOR in 2016).
Nightlove was the first album ever released on the Floatsoft label, a briefly-run Internet-exclusive label that released six albums in 2015 and one in 2016. The label’s only available page was on Neocities with the barest of designs. All album links went directly toward a Mega.NZ upload file, so albums weren’t even available for purchase or donation through services like Bandcamp or iTunes. However, some of these albums were self-released or issued through other means; Nightlove was also released on the Ailanthus Recordings label, which has been home to starts such as Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza, Psychic LCD, International Debris, and death’s dynamic shroud.wmv.
Nightlove is a straightforward classic-style vaporwave release. The music is comprised of pitch-/tempo-shifted edits of adult contemporary music and smooth jazz. Additional production effects include sidechain (used to great effect on “Night Drive in Tokyo”) and the incorporation of crowd chatter. There is a distinct late-night milieu, as with “Empty Cafe” in its sample curation of a lonely saxophone lead. There is a dance vibe on some of the more funk-oriented tracks such as “Wake Up Neon City”, with just a bit of glitch for computer-generated groove. “Saturday Morning Memories” samples a scene from the Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro.
The presentation is inconsistent. “Disco Haze”, “Photograph”, and “Distant Horizon” sound like they should be in an entirely different album when compared alongside “VHS Daydreams”, “Moonlight Lullaby”, and “Groovy Taxi”. Differences within an album are not necessarily a negative – take any Toad Computers album as an example, which blend classic-style and drone – but Nightlove switches between glitch-hop adult contemporary edits, ambient sound effects, and unchanged samplism with source material of often quite different production values. This thematic inconsistency is difficult to unify under a cohesive theme, and Nightlove is not tied to broken transmission or vapornoise in a way that would make such discursiveness applicable.
1. Startup – (0:55)
2. Photograph – (5:59)
3. VHS Daydreams – (1:15)
4. Night Drive in Tokyo – (4:17)
5. Empty Cafe – (1:30)
6. Disco Haze – (5:09)
7. Wake Up Neon City! – (4:56)
8. Groovy Taxi – (2:25)
9. Distant Horizon – (2:18)
10. Saturday Morning Memories – (4:56)
11. Moonlight Lullaby – (7:09)
12. Goodbye – (3:52)
1This is a gross overstatement, but it has some validity. A lot of classic-style vaporwave and hypnagogic drift sounds can be made by anyone with Audacity and a weekend. Whether it sounds good is, of course, not dictated by such.