Basically it’s in the title…more specifically what is ‘the wave.’
Let’s name a few then I’ll dive in, we have …
- Future funk wave
- Mall soft wave
And on and on ….
It was created early 10’s in the music genre of lo-fi nostalgia. It’s properties combine both political and whimsical identities. The original phase was based on a ‘fuck the system’ type of style, not in similar to the drag pop age of the 80s.
It was a creation and a reaction to economic social forces,globalization, consumerism mixed with nostalgia of things that could have been.
So strong in its appearance and weird in its presentation. Yet that is the point.
A man called Daniel Lopatin released an album called ‘Ecco James’ under the pseudonym ‘Chuck person’(link below).Esquire describes this as the, “mayflower of vaporwave.”
With a strange remix of 80s music and scratched remixes it became quite popular in the underground genre.
‘Floral Shoppe’ was the first album ever named under the vaporwave genre in 2011.(see below)
Vaporwave itself is basically a mix of 80s /90s web design, glitch art, anime, 3D rendered objects and cyberpunk tropes etc
It is an expression on counterculture and has long since then remained an underground thing and it remains that way as that’s its purpose. It was later pushed by artists and film makers to mainstream but never touched the mere depths of its predecessors online to this day. It will never be fully accepted because of its niche qualities with no focused agenda. Which …let’s face it everything in the public eye has to have an identity and an agenda right?
It’s a parody of pop, a sarcastic look at what could have been socially or economically. Almost dreamlike edits with nostalgic qualities to remember a distant time where everything was a utopia. When in fact it was hardened with restrictions, war, protests and segregation for most regardless of the era.
Its peak was in 2013 and by the time celebrities had caught onto the theme such as Drake or The Weeknd it was over, or so many people wanted you to believe. Even now 10 years later I have personally found myself listening to constant wave music, creating edits and discovering a new world that almost seems like something I’ve been creating all this time and never known.
Since it has been around for over a decade it have now filtered into other areas ofcourse both in art and in music allowing people to get niche as you can be. It could be a social middle finger about political offences, which can spread into darker genres like nazism or trump (NOPE).
Or you can like ‘soft mall’ or elevator music with flowers and floating like edits to express your fluidity. Whichever the construct it doesn’t matter really because it’s a social comment on what is happening right now in this very moment.
“ provides us with a necessary expression of our moment.”Esquire
“Relates to cultural memory and buried Utopianism within capitalism”Esquire
When ‘Simpson wave was introduced that was the involvement of VHS quality video with retro filters on most edits.This evolved into the music movement of Synthwave which sole purpose is to trigger the nostalgic film theme tunes of the 80s (this is my favourite).
Influences from an older movie demographic like blade runner or Scarface etc with even newer movies like Drive to revive the 80s retro wave…which is the same thing as Synthwave.
It’s retro futurism like terminator and synth like music has inspired so many things both game aesthetics to cyberpunk yen to fill the senses.
I’m not on for the political side or deconstruction of a theory. I am however a curious person who likes to stumble upon things and grow knowledge in them especially if it involves my favorite era.
It can be seen as taboo for the 80s generations as a lot of things nowadays are cross-contaminating between 90s and 80s along with modern wave music, however it’s keeping the dream alive well into 3 decades later.
The wave movement can be seen as out of date and old news but for those of us that have found it keep finding new meaning and a new way of expression in art , music and dialogue and for that I’m thankful for it. It has helped me become more diverse in my creativity and allowed me to venture into an almost hidden era in itself.
I hope it can keep fueling as it evolves into mini waves along the way and I’m glad I have found this place to both share content and create no matter what the reason.
Keep riding that wave, whichever it is and evolve, grow and create my fellow Yenners, in this current climate that we millennials and x gen find ourselves in, It vitally important we keep this alive.
Thankyou for reading
The Yenner 📠✨
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