Posted 2019-11-25, evaluated by the judges panel

Well, I did introduce the OCR04XXX series with a spiel about the creative possibilities of working in a non-commercial context, and so it's rather fitting that we're posting our first vaporwave mix - or at least something that touches on the vaporwave aesthetic - in the form of this trippy, unstable, & experimental take on "Bamboo Island" from Skyward Sword, courtesy newcomer Michael Hudak:

"Hello, there! The Bamboo Island theme from Skyward Sword was the perfect choice for a vaporwave track. It's a genre that kind of started as a joke but took on a life of its own, one that's usually inseparable from its nostalgia aesthetic, and very fun to listen to in short bursts.

The concept: It's the BGM to a promotional video advertising a fictional corporate retreat hidden out in the wilderness somewhere in late boom-period Japan. Specifically, 1991. There was a resort somewhere in Japan, built during the heyday of its economic boom, and every year this place would send out promotional video packages to lure customers to a week of fun and compulsion. Imagine! Maybe the place still exists as an invitation-only club, with no Google Maps presence, somewhere deep in a bamboo forest...

("Takeyabu" is Japanese for wild bamboo grove. As opposed to "chikurin," which is a... well-kempt one, a nice, landscaped thicket that you would see in Kyoto travel videos or whatever.)

I'm submitting a second version of this because the first was probably a little too weird for the judges' (very reasonable) standards, and not quite traditional vaporwave-y enough to qualify as vaporwave, which I touted it to be. Hopefully, this new version is. I degraded it even more, but added some more groove and vocal samples, as well as a second verse. Just trying to get a vaporwave track on OCR, and "Bamboo Island" is the perfect track to use, I think.

The singing samples are of me, and the laughter is the great fairy from Ocarina of Time (wrong Zelda game, I know, but she had the best laughs!)."

Like dubstep & other genres that can be more polarizing, vaporwave certainly has detractors; for my money, as Michael says, dosage is key - this isn't an everyday type of genre, for me at least, but I can dig the occasional foray. Feels like a mix of nostalgia and psychedelia, with a pinch of post-modernism thrown in for good measure. Your worldview & temperament are likely to dictate whether that particular concoction works for you, musically and/or morally, but I think the artist helps a bit by providing the full context behind the title. Ultimately some folk don't dig "weird" at all, but I'm of the disposition that there's "good" weird (Lynch) and "bad" weird (Manos: The Hands of Fate) and that the former category can still work inside governing boundaries and excel within parameters. To that end, I love the modulated harshness of the pad sustains in the intro, the transposed vox & fx make sense within the framework, and the woozy, uneasy detuning makes everything agreeably.... vaporous? Inebriated? ...both? Of the revised, accepted mix, Larry Oji writes:

"Yeah, it's not traditional vaporwave, but that doesn't matter. As I said last time around, the source usage checked out from the get go, and the arrangement's creative. It's still arguably too lo-fi, but it still works for the genre, and it's not like it's poorly produced. Last time around, my vote definitely wasn't that it's too weird; I thought it had a lot of potential, but for being so short, it was relatively underdeveloped and ended up losing steam a little over halfway through. Now it has more detail work in the writing along with a brighter, fuller sound, all without losing any bit of the character this had before. Whereas this really dragged on after 1:31 last time around, there's more substance and variation to the leads and textures along with good SFX usage to keep things interesting and not feel like the vision was compromised at all in the effort to flesh this out a bit more. Really nice subtle step up to lift this over the line, Michael!"

I'd personally struggle for the certitude to call something "not vaporwave," more than I would equivocate on the affirmative categorization, such is the genre. What I do know is that this takes the more reverent, ancient, & Japanese vibe from the source and Warhols it into something recognizable in origin but modern, even disconcerting in juxtaposition, seen through the hazy, substance-influenced sunglasses of nostalgia and tweaked still further in the pursuit of new aesthetics. Which is a fancypants way of saying, essentially: "Neat!" Can't imagine what to expect next from Mr. Hudak, but that's a good thing!



Latest 7 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2019-12-05 13:01:50

【 Come. Relax. Enjoy.】

on 2019-11-26 09:06:29

aesthetics がぁち

prophetik music
on 2019-11-26 08:30:11


on 2019-11-25 22:40:02
3 hours ago, Gario said:

Man, I hate this arrangement, lol.

I love the fact that it's on OCR - there needs to be more music on here that challenges my tastes.

You'll come around. :-)

on 2019-11-25 19:11:52

Man, I hate this arrangement, lol.

I love the fact that it's on OCR - there needs to be more music on here that challenges my tastes.

Mr. Hu
on 2019-11-25 18:17:24

@prophetik music"if this was on an OST for a game, there'd be someone out there who said that this is their favorite track."

I kind of treated this like an OST deep cut, yeah!

@Rexy"If anything, it quickly turned into the musical equivalent of a shitpost"

I need to save this quote for the back of a release one day, like the John Stewart quote for The Book of Mormon playbill.

You know, there's more humor in this than most of the stuff I do, so it's really cool to have it on OCR (especially after being a fan for almost 20 years!). And to be mentioned in the same write-up as Harold P. Warren's masterwork?!

on 2019-11-21 18:09:42

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo , 2011, WII)
Music by Hajime Wakai,Koji Kondo,Mahito Yokota,Shiho Fujii,Takeshi Hama
"Bamboo Island"

Tags (12)

Bells,Electronic,Singing,Sound FX,Synth
Effects > Detuning
Effects > Lo-Fi

File Information

4,275,320 bytes


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