Musician Telan Devik is doing some amazing work with Vaporwave aesthetics–both in music and visual art. The artist, whose Bandcamp page is subtitled “Futuristic porno music” has released a new album, Reinventions. If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out on Bandcamp or YouTube. It’s definitely one of the best Vaporwave albums of 2016 and a must listen for anyone interested in this genre of music.
Why? Well, it’s quite rare to find an album that has one great song after another. With Reinventions it is really easy to listen straight through. Even Macintosh Plus’s landmark album Floral Shoppe only contains a few really catchy tracks.
One of the core aspects of the Vaporwave aesthetic is taking the listener on a journey. Telan Devik certainly accomplishes this with Reinventions. One interpretation is that we are being transported to exotic beach cities and dark neon alleys all in pursuit of romance.
Beginning with the first track, “Before You Came To Me,” low and slow vocals are blended with the smooth sounds of the trumpet and flute. It’s a classic yet catchy Vaporwave feel that continues all the way to the end of the album with “Japanoid.”
“Mistral,” the album’s second track references the famed European wind and blows across our ears as easy as a warm ocean breeze. Telan Devik has created a video for the song that perfectly captures this feel. The smooth sound of the saxophone is played behind neon lights, a marble bust, and ocean waves crashing on the shore.
In the last few months, Talen Devik has produced a number of “Edited Funk” titled songs. Reinventions’ third track, “Edited Funk Part IV,” builds upon these experiments in Vaporwave funk to create a bassy ride along the ocean, likely in a Corvette or DeLorean.
“I’ll Be Gone,” sampling A-ha’s mega hit, “Take On Me,” once again typifies the Vaporwave aesthetic. While instantly recognizable, the repetitive slowed loop leads listeners to a place different from the original song. It eventually leaves us at “Meninos Da Rua” (“Street Boys”) which has a distinctly Latin feel.
This exotic theme continues with “Miami Boats,” an overt reference to the popular 1980s TV show, Miami Vice. Telan Devik has created a video for this song, which includes a looping clip from the show. The slow, bassy vocals paint mental images of a palm lined harbor along serene blue waters.
“Edited Funk Part V” builds upon the earlier funk-inspired tracks and forms a bridge to “Suite.” Here the album’s story takes a slightly darker tone, conjuring pictures of a night time walk through steamy back alleys illuminated by neon signs. As the reverb fades and the track recedes into the distance, we are left wondering, “What’s around the corner?”
Turning it, we find “Not Followed”–a slowed synth sample with occasional runs of rapid drum beats. The track ushers the listener to can only be described as a penthouse within a shimmering glass condo tower. Here, the deep voice featured in the track “Just Take Care” seduces us using an R&B sample and leads to a beautiful, dreamy romance.
What came of that night? Telan Devik doesn’t let us find out. Instead we are whisked away in “Cockpit Views.” As the title suggests, the track evokes a flight in a private jet high above the clouds. Is this a dream or is it Vaporwave?
Reinventions ends with a set of five pieces that bring to a close the album’s aesthetic journey. The groove of “Private World” moves into the funky beats of “Aesthetic Athletic Club.” This ode to Vaporwave is interrupted by the trippy trumpet solo of “Herbs,” referencing the listener’s altered state of mind.
Emerging from a daze, we find ourselves on Monday morning at “Breakfast.” Where did the weekend go? Were we really jet-setting to exotic beaches, penthouse romances, and dark neon alleys, or were we really at home in Japan the whole time? The last track “Japanoid” leaves one wondering.