“That's ultimately why I released Vaporwave Is Dead—it was to gain a sense of liberation from what I felt were becoming the tired cliches of vaporwave,” he says. “I felt a lot of artists in the vaporwave scene, including myself, were in danger of falling into safe and boring formulas of repeating the same ideas over and over.”
When vaporwave first surfaced, many were quick to comment on the aesthetic aspects that came to define the scene—the sleek corporate-inspired sheen and sleaze, the garish colors and dated logos—but what really stuck was the music. The stylistic roots of the genre can be traced as far back as the 1970s and 1980s with releases like Shigeo Sekito’s Vol. II, which has been sampled in a few vaporwave releases alongside an interpolation from Mac DeMarco, but the late ‘00s is when it really started to take shape. Borrowing generously from obscure ‘80s releases artistically, the chopped and screwed dream-like sounds that made up the majority of the landmark releases were, at the time, fresh.
Daniel Lopatin, best known for his work as Oneohtrix Point Never, quietly uploaded a number of hypnotic loops to YouTube under the guise of sunsetcorp back in 2009. The tracks eventually surfaced on a full album with Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1, and as far as plunderphonics goes, it was one of the laziest releases to adopt the approach. However, that laziness worked, and the album became one of the building blocks for what would eventually become vaporwave.
It’s a minimal release that still lends itself well to repeat listens, but when stacked up against what artists in the vaporwave scene would eventually put out on Bandcamp, it is rudimentary. He would later go on to expand upon some of the vaporwave-like concepts further with R Plus Seven and last year's Garden of Delete, albeit with considerably more grandeur and grace.