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So I decided it's time I put all this 80's/90's hardware to good use- I decided I'm going to make a "Vaporwave" CD (basically cheesy 80's/90's music based around TV show themes, elevator music, and other elements of "consumerism" embracing the optimism of the era with almost satirical zeal).

Here are a few tracks I have so far. Names are temporary and order is speculative. (using the Mirolsav Symphonic Orchestra String Ensembles 2.0- remarkably good for 1995!!) - (humble parody of Mannheim Steamroller's Classical Gas) (probably the cheesiest of all of the above- "helping" a friend come up with ideas for an advertisement score)
Nice stuff! Again I'm impressed by (and envious of) your hardware setup. These things sound far better than people usually give them credit for. They may be more limited in terms of sampling than modern stuff but they have a clean, warm sound to them that I guess can be contributed to clever programming and good filters. I'm not hearing any of that tiring aliasing that to this day is present in many software samplers and synths. I can't say that all of the songs are really my cup of tea but I enjoyed listening to them all, and I wish you good luck with the album!
It's sad because of the space limits of the, so many game scores were compressed or very low-res .wav or .mp3 formats (the music to the original Roller Coaster Tycoon, for example was 22.05 kHz/8-bit .wav files), so a lot of material is lost in the process- even with redbook audio on some games, our signal flow nowadays is even cleaner and more consistent that I'd think there are some improvements regardless.

I did some reprogramming on the oboe in the first one to make it modwheel-controlled. Unfortunately you can only map mod to one parameter, so I can't add a filter too as I would have wished, but that's the limit of the ESI-4000. I believe you can do that on the Mirage, but I really don't want to go programming things in hex and ripping hairs out on a two-character display with memory measured in kilobytes unless I have a few hours to wind down afterwards.

Amazingly these samples are very sparse. Many packs have less than 50, even as a few as 10-15 per instrument. The Miroslav, despite being absolutely fantastic for the time, is sampled in minor thirds (a trick I used for VSCO 2, but would definitely not pass in current pro-level libraries).

BTW, Mattias- I am open to collaborating on this album. If you want to enter a track, just send a suitably cheesy midi version and I'll run it through all the fun stuff. I must warn you- if it isn't cheesy enough, I will have to add outrageously cheesy keys, and no one wants that to happen. Wink
I listened to all 4 tracks. I think you've done a good job of showing that it isn't the samples that make the music, it's how you use the samples. You seem to have used them well.
Thanks Paul! There are a lot of very cool sounds buried behind the mounds of questionable content- especially if used creatively. I should have another track ready soon. Smile
Here's the latest track- I am calling this "The Cold Case". It's sort of inspired by old History Channel documentaries on murders and the supernatural.

Using some cool ultra lo-fi samples for the Mirage (or as I call it, "The 80's in a Box plus floppy discs") by Soundprocess for the arpeggio and one of the pads, and the rest is Technics WSA1 (or as I call it, "The 90's in a Box").
Great stuff! Smile

I must say you might be selling yourself short with the vaporwave tag, though. Your music doesn't really have that certain sense of emptiness and meaninglessness that you get when listening to vaporwave. And as far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing! Vaporwave, like black metal or vanilla dungeonsynth, gets fairly old once you've heard a couple records, and its the derivative forms that tend to be the most interesting anyway. Smile

Naturally, interpretations like this are highly subjective. Smile
Well, I'm still trying to figure out what it is. Some people have said it's vaporwave, others have said it isn't but don't propose an alternative. I've sort of been exploring around all the directions this equipment can go- which is a lot, but there's still more thinking to be done about what I'm actually doing here.

EDIT: I guess the best I can say is- this is the music I grew up with when i was young in games, TV, etc. and it has a special place, despite its cheesy appearance. While I'm definitely trying to be sarcastic about my implementation of its tropes and habits, I'm also trying to genuinely reconnect with what people used to do to make this stuff.
Well, "vaporwave" would certainly work as a tag, as it attracts the type of crowd that might appreciate this type of music. As to actually describing it, you could add "post-" before "vaporwave" to instantly tell people not to expect the loopy soulless Floral Shoppe -esque treatment of nostalgia. Smile
Neo Post-Vaporwave
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