Trademarks & Copyrights – Flashback
Artist: Trademarks & Copyrights
Type: Full-length (LP)
Release date: 12 August 2015
Label: Lost Angles
- Cassette, unknown edition (Lost Angles, 2015)
- Digital download (Lost Angles, 2015)
Trademarks & Copyrights is second only to perhaps DMT Tapes FL in making true classic classic-style vaporwave. Active since at least 2015, this artist created and continues to create sample curation edits in the old-school (see 2010/2011) vaporwave form, relying primarily on adult contemporary and pop music from bygone decades.1 Flashback is one of their earliest releases,2 and it’s also notable for being the second-ever release through the Canadian label Lost Angles, which became a staple of the vaporwave scene throughout the latter half of the 2010s with releases from Chinese Hackers, Dan Mason, and Odaxelagnia.
Flashback wears its influences on its sleeve; this album is entirely about evoking the perennial nostalgia that’s ubiquitous within the scene – or, more likely, nostalgia-for-something-that-you-haven’t-actually experienced.4 Most tracks are long snippets of single songs akin to Cosmic Cycler and waterfront dining in being free from chopped-and-screwed effects, glitches, or skipping that is a primary factor of classic-style vaporwave influenced by MACINTOSH PLUS. Instead, most of Trademarks & Copyrights’ work here has to do with slightly adjusting reverb, tempo, and pitch at varying amounts per track. Some of these edits are more obvious than others: “VIP Room” is a seven-minute pitch-/tempo-shift of eighties disco group The B.B. & Q. Band’s “Dreamer”, whereas “Get Into The Groove” has been thoroughly phased with a texture not too far from an early Daft Punk single edit. Immediately following both songs is the brief ditty “Stallion”, which is mixed somewhat flat and mono, sounding like it’s coming from the center when heard on headphones.5
These little subtleties add up. None of them overpower the samples or imply discursiveness on behalf of the artist. They give each of these short edits their own flavor, but the through-line of faux-nostalgia via the old-school adult contemporary and pop tracks remains a strong constant. Trademarks & Copyrights has since somewhat shifted to a conservative sample curation approach, but Flashback is a good album to grab for some classic-style fun that showed the subgenre was in no way on its way out at a time when dreampunk was in style.
1. Boulevard – (2:16)
2. Malibu – (3:37)
3. Necochea Beach – (1:33)
4. Get into the Groove – (1:21)
5. VIP Room – (7:19)
6. Stallion – (0:48)
7. Cocktails and Cigars – (2:58)
8. Secrets – (2:48)
9. Tonight – (3:39)
10. Stay with Me – (2:31)
1I say this as if the eighties were a hundred years ago. They’re older than me, sure – but I’m not that old either, am I?
2… which RateYourMusic erroneously lists as an EP, despite being a half-hour long and similar length to other T&C3 albums.
4Get to me when there’s a word for this. There’s probably some German thing, knowing that language.
5A non-vaporwave example of this is the 1984 album Fit for Fight by American heavy metal group Witch Cross.