V/A – Adhesive Sounds School’s Out Summer Sampler 2017

Getting tired of vaporwave yet? Here at the Death of CDs, the rabbit hole continues to deepen release after release. The sampling of 80s obscure easy listening never seems to get old, and the genre continues to connect the world in unprecedented ways. At their Loop summit, Ableton posted an article concerning the role local environments and regions play in the modern music industry. In the past, scenes of like-minded people usually gathered in one area (i.e. Seattle’s grunge scene or the emerging metalcore scene in Lancaster, Pennsylvania). But very quickly, new scenes of music are popping up through the Internet like never before. Vaporwave was perhaps the very first, and on this latest offering from the Adhesive Sounds label, you’re about to see how truly globalized this scene is.

Adhesive Sounds is a vaporwave netlabel based in Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 2014, the label has been releasing albums quite frequently, but only recently did Bandcamp Daily post one of their releases from artist 自決 9 6, “Haha Technology”, to their new and notable section. However, the label’s most recent release, “Adhesive Sounds School’s Out Summer Sampler 2017”, is a massive compilation of tracks from various vaporwave artists. Sixteen artists are featured on this mammoth selection, and all of them come from various parts of the globe. While some hail from the Florida, Kansas, Hawaii, and New York here in the U.S., others come from Canada, Japan, Australia, Italy, France, Argentina, Ireland, and Chile. It is simply impossible to give an in-depth track-by-track review, but here are a few sentences of what you can expect throughout.

The classic vaporwave style can be found from artists like Form, OMI5, 豊平区民TOYOHIRAKUMIN, skyline divine, and バーチャルボーイa t s u. Hi-tech synths, manipulated vocals, and saxophone licks meet a barrage of filtering and effects for a surreal, tripped-out feel. A few tracks like TVVIN_PINEZ_M4LL‘s “Idle Rumors ’17” and Trademarks & Copyrights‘s “Orchids” slow down and loop their samples indefinitely. On the former track, anthemic pop chords and gated drums are repeated into oblivion a la Eccojams, while the latter twists an R&B track into ethereal atmospheres. Elsewhere, there are some ridiculously fun and funky moments. The squelchy bass and classic synthesizers of air jordans™‘s “love for the game” feel apt for cruising city streets or shopping at the mall, as does ΣPSON’s “MALIBU DREAM SQUAD”. There’s even a manipulated anime pop tune from b o d y l i n e, which is sure to excite some listeners.

However, there are some intriguing offerings that push past the traditional vaporwave sound for something different. Soda Lite‘s “Olinda Falls” continues the compilation’s chilled-out feel with an absolutely gorgeous ambient wall of glimmering bells and 80s percussion. Gyoza District’s self-titled offering provides a downtempo hip-hop groove with traditional Asian strings and soothing background ambiance. バミューダ b e r m u d a ‘s “it’s still hot outside at 3 a.m.” speeds up the hip-hop flow slightly, but fills it with jazzy horns, a Stevie Wonder-esque bassline, and experimental electronics that makes for a great summer tune. Lastly, tracks from 自決 9 6,  haircuts for men, and KöSHRiMP utilize original synths and production that sometimes veer into video game/chiptune territory. In particular, the latter sounds like a long lost Aphex Twin track that should have been included on a third Selected Ambient Works volume.

In short, this is a mammoth release from Adhesive Sounds, and it contains a variety of sounds and sub-genres within the vaporwave microgenre. Some tracks carry out the traditional template, while others push the genre to new places. As with any compilation, there are a few tracks that feel weaker than others, plus given the massive explosion of vaporwave artists that exist, you’re bound to find a few whose music you won’t care for. However, as a whole, every track seeks to carry out a chilled mood that feels like those summer breaks you might have had as a kid. Everyone knows Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”, yet for those of us from the 1980s and 90s, this is the kind of music we’re perhaps most familiar. Here, it’s as though that music has returned, yet it’s as warped and distorted as our failing memories are. It’s in that sense that this compilation succeeds, and before the summer is over, you should at least take a listen to it.

Title: Adhesive Sounds School’s Out Summer Sampler 2017

Artist: Various Artists

Genre: Vaporwave/ambient/hip-hop/downtempo

Available to download or purchase on limited cassette at https://adhesivesounds.bandcamp.com/album/adhesive-sounds-schools-out-summer-sampler-2017!

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