バーチャルSound Terminal – 寂しい地下鉄 dreaming
Artist: バーチャルSound Terminal
Album: 寂しい地下鉄 dreaming
Type: Full-length (LP)
Release date: 31 December 2015
Label: Beer Wizard
- Blue and purple splatter cassette, unknown edition (Beer Wizard, 2015)
- Digital download (Beer Wizard, 2015)
寂しい地下鉄 dreaming1 is vaporwave-plunderphonics taken to its logically-glitchy extreme. Released through the Beer Wizard label on New Year’s Eve 2015, this eccentric full-length is the debut of バーチャルSound Terminal,2 who would later release music through Elemental 95 and Seikomart – two labels that generally focus on “classic” vaporwave subgenres such as classic-style vaporwave and hypnagogic drift. According to Beer Wizard, 寂しい地下鉄 dreaming only comprises the first eleven tracks of the album with the other nine3 referred to as “BONUS MATERIAL”; the cassette and digital versions bundle them all together, so it’s best to view both halves as a single package.
As with COMMERCIAL PARENTING by Start-Up シーケンス, 寂しい地下鉄 dreaming skirts the line between “classic-style vaporwave” and “noise”. バーチャルSound Terminal starts off their introduction to the vaporwave world with a sub-minute sample of “Thus Spake Zarathustra”3 and chopped-up voices. This sets the stage for the album, which continues on for ninety-three minutes of completely distorted, bugged-out vaporwave where the pile of digital artifacts almost totally conceals the vaporwave tropes. Other tracks incorporate feedback, heavy electronic distortion, and popular music samples that have been wrung out of all context and left to dry on a malfunctioning toaster oven. Anime samples make up a substantial portion of the non-musical content, and some of the album’s rhythmic moments (e.g. “どうやって I Lost My Mind”) recall I’ll Try Living Like This from death’s dynamic shroud.wmv.
But for an album that’s built on being as wacky as possible, it’s surprisingly statically composed. Pretty much all of the tracks have similar composition despite the topical bizarreness: lethargic rhythms with mixed-up samples produced with glitch/noise tropes. By the time the eight-minute “私は退屈だとき、私はアニメを見ます” hits, there aren’t many new concepts that weren’t heard on track number three – with the exception of a couple incongruous nigh-ambient tracks that are almost silent. Additionally, 寂しい地下鉄 dreaming features a ton of tracks but not many songs, kind of like the vaporwave equivalent of squeaky-clean technical death metal that’s obviously instrumentally proficient but without the songcraft to back up the talent. Quite a few of the songs are just unstructured nonsense, but without the disorder-as-purpose that can make such nonsense engaging. In this sense, 寂しい地下鉄 dreaming gets in the way of itself a lot, where interesting ideas such as the mid-track Japanese voice glitching on “私は退屈だとき、私はアニメを見ます” are over to the next idea before they’ve had their chance.
バーチャルSound Terminal would go on to take a hypnagogic approach to vaporwave for future releases. They inserted hip-hop instrumentation upon release of Girl in the City on Seikomart in January 2018. 寂しい地下鉄 dreaming showed a producer who certainly knew what they were doing, but without the experience in songcraft to back that up.
1. オープニング – (0:57)5
2. ステップアウト Alone – (7:206
3. どうやって I Lost My Mind – (6:52)7
4. Inanimate フィギュア – (2:44)8
5. Love, Sex,…..Departure (x Lucid Sound Driver) – (2:36)
6. ここに一人で Without You – (3:27)9
7. Sad Sake 徒歩 – (6:29)10
8. 愛の資本主義 Broadcast Behind Glass Panes – (1:40)11
9. Lonely ブルーナイツ – (6:52)12
10. 闇に座っas the train nears – (2:58)13
11. ロスト・イン Thought (train ride home) – (3:10)14
12. 外国グリッチ – (7:35)15
13. 脳日レユニオン – (3:24)16
14. Somethings Wrong With The Tape (x Lucid Sound Driver) – (3:17)
15. 私はあなたが何かを持っていることができますね – (3:52)17
16. 私は退屈だとき、私はアニメを見ます – (8:03)18
17. 韓国のポップクラシック – (2:32)19
18. Nearing これの終わり – (3:38)20
19. Spirit On Tape (x Lucid Sound Driver) – (3:14)
20. Why So Down (それだけで終わりました) – (12:22)21
1Japanese translation: “Lonely subway (dreaming)”
2Japanese translation: “Virtual Sound Terminal”
3Beer Wizard’s blurb erroneously refers to tracks 12 to 22 being the “BONUS MATERIAL”, but the twentieth track smushes the other two together for a single twelve-minute suite. If you only have twenty tracks, you have the correct download.
4Famously used by Stanley Kubrick in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
5Japanese translation: “Opening”
6Japanese translation: “Step out (Alone)”
7Japanese translation: “How did (I lost my mind)”
8Japanese translation: “(Inanimate) Figure”
9Japanese translation: “Without you (Alone here alone)”
10Japanese translation: “(Sad sake)22 Walking”
11Japanese translation: “Love’s capitalism (Broadcast behind glass panes)”
12Japanese translation: “(Lonely) Blue Knights”
13Japanese translation: “Sitting in the dark (As the train nears)”
14Japanese translation: “Lost in (Thought (Train ride home))”
15Japanese translation: “Foreign glitch”
16Japanese translation: “Brain day reunion”
17Japanese translation: “I have something for you”
18Japanese translation: “When I am bored, I see animation”
19Japanese translation: “Korean pop classic”
20Japanese translation: “Nearing (End of this)”
21Japanese translation: “Why so down (It’s over)”
22Actually pretty clever.