[Feature] Channeled Era’s Top 10 Favorite Vaporwave Albums of 2017 (Q1)
Ever since the start of the new year, I have been ranking as many vaporwave or vapor albums as I can that have been released in 2017, and since the first quarter is over, I reckon it’d be cool to make a post on my ten favorites so far all the way from January to March. Let’s begin!
#10: Panzer Paradise – Electromagnetic
This first entry is coming from a good friend and relatively new vaportrap producer who shows great potential in future albums, and he shows this in Electromagnetic. Panzer Paradise’s third monthly album of 2017 best represents his clever sample techniques and methods whether he’s sampling from video games or old school music, and also features seamless transitions between tracks and enjoyable trap beats. I also recommend giving his January EP weak a listen as well.
#9: R-ODD – Caffeine
Business Casual has been on a roll with great releases in 2017, and the first of these albums to make it on here is from a relatively new face in the vaportrap scene by the name of R-ODD. His debut album Caffeine best shows off his particular style unlike any other vaportrap producer, with breakbeat or jersey club influences, great samples and a generally quirky vibe given through the rest of the album, and the music videos accompanied are nothing short of weird. He also remixes Sia in this album. What else is there to say?
#8: Brat’ya – Nightwalker
Another Business Casual release that deserves some love, Nightwalker is a synthwave album produced by Brat’ya featuring his own fresh lyrics and vocals occasionally accompanied with Katie Locke. If you knew the lyrics, then you will absolutely find yourself singing along to the vocals on top of fantastic synth melodies and outrun instrumentals. Every single track from this 80’s styled retro album is amazingly well done. Brat’ya is definitely another synthwave artist to look forward to seeing more of in the future.
#7: Matsuchi & Samasukuru – ココロ ～ ｢Kokoro」
What you generally want in a future funk album is more than just danceable samples with revamped drum beats. What adds more to these albums is well done chopping and screwing with the samples and all around more effort put into them to make them even more upbeat and enjoyable. Nowhere is this more true than with the new collaborative album with Matsuchi and Samasukuru, and despite the great amount of anime aesthetics typically found in future funk, this album is nothing short of awesome.
#6: Jon Salem – Indigo
The new Kaiseki Digital label birthed at the beginning of the new year was founded by vaporwave producer Iacon with the sole purpose of telling narrative stories through the form of originally composed music albums, and Jon Salem successfully achieves this with Indigo, the second release on the label that takes you on a trip to a world of indigo children who are gifted with psychic powers. This downtempo ambient vapor album comprises of lovely synths and melodies, well blended in with IDM beat patterns and Boards of Canada influences that make this piece well worth listening to the whole way through.
#5: Pursuing Paradise – Lust and the Downward Spiral
When I first heard Pursuing Paradise’s sophomore album Adult Contemporary Novel on Bedlam Tapes, I fell in love with the style immediately. The style of Elevation’s side-project can be described as a broken mixtape that compiles pop and rock songs to narrate a love story. The emphasis is on the word “broken” as the mixtape compiles song loops, speed changes, echo and many more audio glitching techniques to show that. This third ECCOJAMS album is no different, except the love story theme is of lust and sexual needs that take over the relationship portrayed in this album. If you’re not familiar with Pursuing Paradise, please give this a listen.
#4: Sonnig 991 – MALLSOFT ODYSSEY
As misleading as the title is, because the album is in no way mallsoft, the third and final Business Casual release on this list is still significantly well-made and not worth skipping just because of its mistaken subgenre. The production of this vaporwave album is spot on, taking brilliantly hand-picked samples and remixed into a whole new song. The “Berlin Windows Shopping” mini-series is awesome, the occasional transitions are outright brilliant, and the whole album alone is an amazing experience. It is easily the best that Business Casual has released so far this year.
#3: w u s o 命 – Hold It Together
While I’m personally not that big of a fan of hypnagogic ambient albums, there are certainly some exceptions, especially those that mix hypnagogic music with other genres like breakbeat, or techno, and Wuso’s Hold It Together on Bludhoney Records does that flawlessly. Hold It Together is more than just an album, it’s an experience. One that consists of flawless transitions, brilliant storytelling melodies and fantastic techno productions all in one the best hypnagogic synth albums Bludhoney has ever put on their main label. All of the tracks titles perfectly describe the music that goes on with them: “Haunting Memories” opens the album with haunting atmosphere and drums, “Subtle Optimism” brings in subtle synths and breakbeat patterns that lighten up the mood, and “Graceful Descent To Madness” is nothing short of just that. I recommend this to the moon and back.
#2: river water analysis group – 5-29-16 mycosocial
Although Sylvan Idyllics’ latest Question Records release is not technically vapor, the album is too good to even resist putting it near the top of a vapor list, and it deserves some love here, regardless. This gapless album beautifully blends noise, trap, and synth to generate the perfect feel-good listening experience for a rainy day. This album generally switches from hip-hop or trap beats to beautiful synth melodies and back with the occasional broken noise interludes and transitions here and there, and it does it flawlessly with a sprinkle of rap samples, acoustic guitars and even a few fragments of dialogue. This overall experience is fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough.
#1: ZONΞ ΞATΞR / §E▲ ▓F D▓G§ – ZONΞ ΞATΞR vs. §E▲ ▓F D▓G§
One of the most anticipated vapor albums ever since it was first brought up in October 2015 has finally been released onto Bludhoney sister label Chamber 38, and I can easily say it was well worth the wait. If you’ve been following me on Twitter [@ChanneledEra wink wink] you’ll know that I’ve talked a lot about how good this split LP is even after ten days of release. I love the album that much. ZONΞ ΞATΞR’s more plunderphonic side consists of cleverly chopped up slug metal samples mixed in with a bit of the broken transmission style similar to his main project Nmesh’s Dream Sequins, only with more metal and horror film samples (e.g. Chthonian Ayahuasca), meanwhile the alt alias to hyphyskazerbox known as §E▲ ▓F D▓G§ takes on a more electronic and surreal take on his usual oceangrunge style. Both artists made a successful attempt to bring about the chaotic theme of disaster between two mythological creatures through the power of musical production. It’s only been three months, but I can easily say this is among the best vapor album released in those three months
If you want to keep updated on my best and worst vapor/vaporwave of 2017, check out the document linked here! Thank you all so much for reading this, and I hope to see you in future articles here at Sunbleach!!