Virtual Polygon – Imagine

Album information:


Artist: Virtual Polygon
Album: Imagine
Type: Full-length (LP)
Release date: 22 October 2016
Label: RKM Records
Format:

  • Digital download (RKM Records, 2016)

 

Recommendation: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Vaporwave is a strange genre in many ways, and one of its most curious quirks is how extremely varied artist discographies are more the norm than the exception. Take Virtual Polygon for example – their last five years of releases (from 2013 to 2018) have touched on classic-style vaporwave, dreampunk, vapordrone, and signalwave. Released on Octagram’s label RKM Records, Imagine threw it all for another loop by incorporating broken transmission. This release has as many tracks as it is minutes long (twenty-one) and features the jump-cut aesthetic of the subgenre that sounds as if it were caught between television channels. Samples jump in an out of different sound bites, spoken word portions, advertisements, and cut musical sections, providing a discursivity that’s peculiar to this subgenre even within the plunderphonics’d sphere of vaporwave.

A unique aspect of Imagine is its amalgamation of different languages. Many broken transmission albums (and, for that matter, vaporwave as a whole) typically focus on select geographical and linguistic regions, such as Japanese for prism genesis by fuji grid tv and English for telenights by ghosting. Virtual Polygon included samples from English, Japanese, Chinese, and French within Imagine, which adds a bit more depth to the idea of “broken transmission” by making it sound as if this radio is picking up frequencies from all over the world rather than just wherever the artist decides they want to point their antennae. The musical samples are similarly diverse, including everything from ballet (e.g. “Beyond in Time”) to the quintessentially-vaporwave adult contemporary/pop rock (e.g. “Recovery”).

The integration of these into a cohesive/incohesive musical narrative is middling. Although short, the majority of Imagine’s run-time is mostly spent going from track to track without really making any memorable connections or disconnections. True to form, it’s a discursive listen, but even discursivity has its purpose when applied – which is something INTERNET CLUB and Vektroid demonstrated all too well in vaporwave’s early days. Perhaps this is an issue that could have been rectified by trimming the number of tracks, even as much as a half. It would certainly shrink the album down to size and make it an even shorter listen, but it would make Imagine have more of a point other than a collection of randomness, which was already a saturated milieu within vaporwave by the time this album rolled around in October 2016.

 

Tracklist


1. Imagine – (0:57)
2. Our Trip – (1:19)
3. Beyond the Regions – (0:38)
4. Recovery – (0:46)
5. An Encounter – (3:00)
6. Onwards – (0:54)
7. Call – (0:51)
8. Artifact – (0:54)
9. Compliment – (0:59)
10. Lost – (0:36)
11. Jingle – (0:46)
12. Drive Your Dreams – (1:14)
13. Found Track – (0:38)
14. Re-Dialing – (1:04)
15. Come – (1:04)
16. Skipping – (0:51)
17. Remnants – (1:44)
18. Void from the Real World – (0:43)
19. Atmosphere – (1:42)
20. Beyond in Time – (0:28)
21. Facade – (0:27)


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