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Vaporwave Explained: An Internet Born Music Genre Meshes Tech Sounds Into Melody

Vaporwave is a music genre originating from the early 2010’s. The term encompasses everything associated with it, including the unique aesthetic of classic roman busts, tropical sunsets, 90’s video graphics and Japanese text. It is a product of the internet and the invisible connections that mesh culture together.

At its simplest, Vaporwave began as sedate and repetitive 80’s elevator music with an infusion of heavily chopped and screwed sampling. In the past six years it has mutated dramatically and is now considered an art movement in its own right. During its foetal stage, the genre was riddled with anti-capitalism and an ironic embrace of advertising imagery.  In a way, Vaporwave represents a form of digital anarchy,  its ambitions subscribe to a punk ethos that inspires DIY creation without aid from music labels or corporations.

Vaporwave has now evolved into an art movement, with some fans arguing that it should simply be called Vapour, as an umbrella term to represent the ideology behind it. The sound of vaporwave, in its current state is still far too obscure and experimental to permeate mainstream charts, many would argue that it’s not even real music. In a sense, they would be right, it’s an example of post-music: the alien bleeps and tech sounds that have crept into our lives re-arranged into melody. But that hasn’t stopped artists like Yung Lean taking the genre (and its entire aesthetic) and fusing it with Swedish production and American hip-hop to make it more accessible.

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