What is "Vaporwave"?Vaporwave is a genre of modern electronic music that began in 2010. It is based in the re-contextualization of easy listening, mall muzak, and early electronic music through the aesthetics of early computer culture, non-Anglophone language/culture, and retro-futurist visualizations of the digital age. The majority of vaporwave artists utilize selective sampling and curation in order to create their works similar to "plunderphonics", although there is a sizable population of artists who use partially or entirely original material in the production process. Vaporwave often incorporates surrealist, nostalgic, and cyberpunk imagery. Subgenres include "classic-style vaporwave", "ECCOJAMS", "mallsoft", "vapornoise", and others; historically and culturally associated genres include "dreampunk" and "hardvapour".
If you'd like a brief starter guide to vaporwave and its related genres, then check out the following albums. These are either community-recognized as being excellent examples of vaporwave or are culturally relevant to its growth and development:
- Daniel Lopatin - Chuck Person's ECCOJAMS. Vol 1
- MACINTOSH PLUS - FLORAL SHOPPE
- 2814 - 新しい日の誕生 (Birth of a New Day)
- Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza - NTSC Memories
- 식료품groceries - 슈퍼마켓Yes! We’re Open
- Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica
- chris††† - no lives matter
- Universitat de Barcelona - Virtual Campus (TM)
About Sunbleach:Sunbleach was created by Dylan Kilby on 30 May 2016 to provide a unique, dedicated platform that is exclusively for vaporwave and its related genres. It aims to be a "resource network" for community members, artists, and new listeners. In the month of December 2017, Sunbleach received approximately 75,000 page views.
Music articles are separated into two different categories: new music blurbs and full-length album articles. The new music blurbs are three-to-five line posts on the day of new music releases that provides information such as the artist, album title, and publishing label in addition to subgenre information and available formats. The album articles are longer posts that provide in-depth discussions on an album's historical and cultural relevancy to vaporwave, as well as providing further discussion on production and compositional techniques utilized by the artist. Both types of articles provide Bandcamp streaming feeds or YouTube videos to the official album page that are periodically checked for dead links. The main writing goal of Sunbleach is to describe the music rather than the subjective experience of a critic. Readers should be able to read a blurb or article and have an idea of what an album may sound like before they have even hit "play".
Rather than provide ratings or review scores, Sunbleach provides "recommendations". Sunbleach strives to present its recommendations - positive or negative - in a light that producers may use to facilitate their message in future endeavors. The last thing I want Sunbleach to be is a rag that gushes on or pans albums without providing information that listeners or artists can use to better themselves and their experiences within vaporwave, or for it to fall prey to purple prose that talks about music without really describing it. Sunbleach does not have any requirements of release history, label status, or renown; it is a platform for listeners to find new, old, and obscure releases.
Sunbleach also publishes album-of-the-week features, interviews with artists and label owners, and visual art. There is a daily-updated Twitter handle (@Sunbleach_Media) and a Facebook page to which readers may subscribe for up-to-date information on current releases and articles. On 2 December 2017, Sunbleach unveiled a new splash page for official and fan-made vaporwave music videos.
Community engagement is a significant focus of Sunbleach. For example, Sunbleach's publishes end-of-the-year lists written by community members in lieu of an official list.
Future Projects:Since a large proportion of the vaporwave community is present in non-Anglophone countries, I would like to translate the most popular Sunbleach articles into languages other than English. Currently, the only translated article so far is no lives matter by chris†††. With financial support through Patreon, I can spend more of my time focusing on translations while working with international members of the vaporwave community to ensure quality.
Another addition to Sunbleach that I would like to launch in the first half of 2018 is a small merchandise page for stickers and other small items.
One large-scale project that will be determined by issues of time and money is starting an affiliated promotional service that submits releases from vaporwave labels and artists to platforms that cater to independent and experimental artforms, such as university student radio.