What would one think of when hearing vaporwave for the first time? Something interesting or mysterious? Perhaps even something futuristic or vintage? With a genre of music as unique as vaporwave, it’s hard to put a finger on just one word to describe it as a whole. One such artist by the name of Vaperror has stood out among most others with his futuristic, more toned-down sound; being discussed today are one of his very first albums that brought him to where he is today: Mana Pool.
Containing a storyline from the soundtrack titles, Mana Pool can be presumed as being about the start and end of a dream with example titles being “Aqua Domain”, “Surf” and “://shut_down”. Starting with “://start_up_seq_.exe”, the listener is greeted with a computerized female voice “initializing the startup sequence” then “loading”. The song begins with a calming, almost-airy tempo; almost halfway through, a haunting melody and light bass is introduced, going from peaceful to whimsical without distracting from the original notes. The change throughout the song can be described almost like a fresh drop of water: refreshing and mesmerizing.
The second song, “Krystal GB”, is more upbeat but still holds the same whimsical element as the first song. There is more bass and sounds included, creating more of a faster tempo. “Aqua Domain” is just as upbeat, albeit repetitive, but still lovely to listen to. “Surf” transitions into a chiller, more relaxing vibe that is nice on the ears. “808 Dreams” and “://transmission” follow this same transition but with a more low-key, futuristic sound.
“Tropical Resort” is fresh is perfect for those quiet drives at night. Offering a mellow tropical house beat, it is strangely soothing, captivating and wonderful for relaxing. “Like Water” is exactly as the title says it is: refreshing and chill. This one is also perfect for a casual drive during those lonely evenings. The last soundtrack, “://shut_down”, is similar to “://start_up_seq_.exe” in the sense it contains almost the same elements, such as the same computerized female voice. This time, however, the sequences are limited, allowing the music to speak for itself. The melody is eerie and quieter compared to majority of the album, thus providing a more “polite” exit.
When discussing the album in its entirety, the main focal point that draws peoples’ attention first would probably be the album cover. When looking at Mana Pool’s cover, one automatically notices its bright, sharp colors and visuals. With neon and pastel blues, whites, and pinks blended onto what appears to be a hovering pool, it is difficult to ignore. While the design is on the more simplistic side, it is eye-catching and beautiful to look at nonetheless.
Moving onto the real deal of this article, it would be best to discuss Vaperror’s soundtrack as a whole. Every song, from start to finish, told its own unique story. The bass was never overused, never became too heavy, and did not interrupt the flow of the song. While the vaporwave genre does have a tendency to use a variety of noises and sounds, Vaperror used less of this and stuck with a more practical or traditional rhythm without jumbling random noises together or abruptly interrupting the connection between songs.
The overall tone of the album was very relaxed and comforting with a slower tempo and vintage theme; a style much different from that of other vaporwave artists. As stated before, Mana Pool is like a drop of water: fresh and something you keep going back to for more. Majority of the songs do have an underlying storyline (as described by their titles) and really capture the essence of the aforementioned dreamer’s imagination. The combination of a retro style and slightly modern/futuristic elements is what defines Vaperror’s true musicality and personality. While there were one or two songs (such as “Aqua Domain”) that began to become a little repetitive halfway through, this did not take any charm away from the album or the rest of the songs. Rather, it almost leaves the listener anticipating for what the next song might possibly be. Based on his most recent albums, it seems Vaperror is gradually becoming increasingly better with his works… which means there is much more left to come.
With the vaporwave genre gaining popularity in the growing years, it’s safe to say artists like Vaperror are not going anywhere anytime soon. Fascinating and magical, it is a genre with a mind and style of its own… and is sure to stay around for a long time from now.
Album: Mana Pool
Length: 23 minutes
Released: June 2, 1014
Available on: Bandcamp