Category Archives: Vaporwave

Have Yourself a Scary Christmas

[play]Have yourself a Scary Christmas

Once again this year, I’m doing a series of Christmas music where every piece is written within a few hours. All of the pieces this year will be at least loosely based on the Vaporwave genre. Today’s song is a remix of Judy Garland singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’

She sounded like she was already a bit merry to me on the recording, but then I ran it through Paulstretch and expanded it by 8 times the duration and it became suddenly clear that this song is actually made up entirely of existential anguish. This remix uses an 8x stretch, a 30x stretch and a little bit of normal speed, all assembled in SuperCollider.

This year, I am fundraising for the Hackney Night shelter, which my wife has been volunteering at. There are very few shelter beds in East London. This roving shelter makes up a large percentage of them.


Shorts #39: Something Happy

[play]Shorts #39: Something Happy (2016)

Commissioned and titled by sevenhelz in honour of Deathboy.

This piece is influenced by the Vaporwave genre and movement and was written in SuperCollider. The melody is based on a markov chain of common melodic gestures. The instrument is based on the ‘Epic Sax’ code by Rukano. The bassline is adapted from the help file on Patterns. The plucking instrument’s durations is quarter divisions of random durations used by the melody, which is what gives it it’s slightly odd character.


The Dream of the 80’s

[play] The Dream of the 80’s (2016)

This is a Vaporwave study.

I’ve recently learned about this genre, which was invented by teenagers doing deconstructive remixes of 80’s and early 90’s commercial culture ephemera. They take audio and video samples of brick and mortar consumer culture and cultural nostalgia to create criticism of pre-online capitalism, as far as I understand it.

I stumbled onto this genre shortly after finishing my Christmas album and realised that that it was very close to what I was already doing. I also had the much more disconcerting twin realisation that early 90’s muzak was a formative musical influence, due to how much I was subject to it during an impressionable age.

For this study, I took the advert for the Cupertino Inn and cut out all of the (extremely awkward) narration and was left only with the very muzak-y background. Because my editing was abrupt cuts, which did not adjust for beat matching, I decided to use granular-style techniques for cutting the audio, but with extremely oversized ‘grains’. I put this over a looped, half speed playback of the cut audio.

For the video, I used ffmpeg to spit out 12 frames a second as jpegs. I then used a python script to glitch every frame and reassembled the video. I editted them together in openshot, which, due to my inexperience, played the video at 12.5 fps, so I looped the closing image.

I picked this advert because I have a relationship with this hotel and because I thought it was extremely odd that they made an advert in 2010 that so completely and unintentionally embraced 80’s nostalgia and human misery. The Cupertino Inn is under new management in the last two years and has updated it’s vibe and furnishings. It is now a nice hotel. You should stay there, not only because I have a financial interest in you doing so.