No point lying, after a couple days of educating myself (a little) about the micro-genres of vaporwave I’m kind of done. This one though by wosX (Wolfenstein OS X) but it’s as much about the whole concept narrative of Ukrainian drug culture as it is the music. It’s difficult to separate any music scene from the party scene surrounding it, but with this one, released in 2015, the party is part and parcel of the music. This is unapologetically music made for drugs that were made for the music. I’d stop short of calling it a tribute, let alone an advertisement, but it’s definitely a musical documentary of sorts, if tongue-in-cheek.
It makes enough sense given the other micro-genres. This one is considered “hardvapor” but there are others like signalwave, segawave and such that sample heavily from television, radio, video games etc. There is a soundtrack and in some cases background music for everything. Clearly a lot of this music is meant to accompany the listener in whatever they’re doing rather than to be the complete focus. You don’t have to be actively listening to be engaged. From the Bandcamp page though, their words:
One of the most forward-thinking artists to rise up from the vaporwave scene in 2015, wosX, (FKA Wolfenstein OS X) presents his biggest album to date here on Dream Catalogue with ‘End Of World Rave’
Identifying the conceptual narrative storytelling of vaporwave and taking it to the next level, wosX has set out to prove that vapor (no -wave suffix) is more than just a regular music genre, and he does exactly that with the drugged up chaos of this Ukraine-themed vapor frenzy.
An album that stretches beyond being just a work of music, ‘End Of World Rave’ is a wide-ranging narrative that has been developed and pushed over social media with a series of sometimes-controversial Ukranian personalities known as the Kroko krew.
And this what ‘End Of World Rave’ is – audio krokodil.. In the words of Vit Yani, “Listen and enjoy if not pussy.”
And incidentally part of the whole krocodil narrative is that it rots the flesh…
And for points of reference, the tracklist:
1. Entrance 00:00 2. I. Alkohol 02:28 3. II. Kannabis 08:17 4. III. Kokaine 11:58 5. IV. Ketamine 16:58 6. Cigarette Break 20:42 7. V. Amphetamine 23:44 8. VI. Ekstacy 27:09 9. VII. L$D 30:36 10. VIII. Krokodil 35:54 11. Armageddon 38:46
I do like this album, but my relationship to the whole vaporwave genre as an umbrella label is an arms-length scenario. This is entirely more engaging and relatable than , for example, mallsoft or signalwave. At the same time, and maybe it’s just a question of my age, it’s too closely connected in vibe to a lot of New Age music from the 70s that often left me cold. I never feel entirely connected to it or committed to actually listening. I always feel I could walk away for 10 minutes and come back without having missed anything at all. There are a couple other vaporwave albums that are considered seminal and important that I have enjoyed well enough to post them, and perhaps that will happen. Yet…
Maybe it’s age. Maybe my head is just temporarily in a different place? My fascination just seems more academic than visceral, and visceral is where the best connections to any art medium happen.