Recently there has been a bit of stagnation on the vaporwave movement. Releases aren’t as numerous as they’ve been, people don’t really know what is and what isn’t vaporwave, there’s a lot of dismissal from big-name vaporwave artists who have henceforth classified themselves as electronic musicians, there’s a lot really…
There are many factors here… One has to be the dominance of the genre by reddit subreddit r/vaporwave, another has to be the fact that the audience isn’t really developed. Regardless of the case, vaporwave should not be stagnant since there are still a lot of people listening to vaporwave and actively listening to vaporwave music, so what is holding vaporwave back?
Vaporwave is known for its numerous sub genres ranging from futurefunk to hard vapour. Many people do not know they exist thanks to a surprisingly high amount of vaporwave “purists” that populate the genre… There are also a number of people who think that vaporwave is ambient music or lo-fi hip-hop music and are bringing those aesthetics to vaporwave causing a dilution in what I think was the main reason people were attracted to the genre in the first place, the aesthetic.
Vaporwave as a genre was supposed to be “anti-music”, “anti-corporate” and different. It was supposed to have that lack of professionalism and lack of polish that surrounds today’s music. This is the reason why the earliest Vaporwave art promoted ancient operating systems, crystal pepsi and fiji water… In order to give it a weird and amateurish feeling that would ultimately make it appealing.
Vaporwave is all about false nostalgia and defiance against corporate culture. It isn’t about lo-fi beats or ambient music or even “classic-style”, that’s not the core of it. It’s about placing something familiar in a way that makes you question everything you ever believed in. It’s not even a musical genre, it’s a lifestyle movement.
I feel like people have lost that idea and that’s why vaporwave is being held back.
Instead of feeling free to experiment and make new subgenres, people feel like they’re being limited to making ambient music/lo-fi hip-hop/classic-style vaporwave and because of that, the aesthetic that vaporwave was once known for is being mixed in with different aesthetics that have nothing to do with vaporwave. People won’t get behind a genre that doesn’t know what it wants to be.
I feel in my opinion that in order for vaporwave to progress and evolve, it needs to be in the hands of many people, not just one. r/vaporwave is considered the source for all sorts of vaporwave but what’s stopping people from actually starting their own vaporwave subreddit? I don’t know why there are very few vaporwave subreddits that are not r/vaporwave nor why there are not many people out there advocating for vaporwave by creating their own art/music and expanding the genre but this needs to change.
People in real life need to know about vaporwave, vaporwave needs to be confident in itself and not let other people have control over it and vaporwave needs to be the movement that music has been missing. We cannot let vaporwave die, at least not yet.