Released a little over a year ago, Before Sundown is an album for summer if ever there has been one. Its tracks are warm and at times they are even pensive. It may be the most thoughtful dose of classic vaporwave you will come across. Comprised of eight tracks that distill that fledgling feeling of hope one gets at the turn of summer, the album is lush and possesses a focused and consistent sound that lends itself to future listens.

Compared to some of waterfront dining’s more saccharine compositions, Before Sundown’s tracks feel fresh and well-endowed. Beginning with ‘introduction for a longing heart’, which samples Keith Forsey’s instrumental composition for The Breakfast Club soundtrack, the album begins (as the title says) longingly. The track is slowed down only slightly but the effect is remarkable. Not only this but the added eighth note delay that assists the mood as it stumbles along, matching up perfectly with the sleepy qualities of Forsey’s instrumentation.

We are taken into minor key territory on ‘finding oz’, a transparent and hopeful love song that borrows a meteorological image taken from The Wizard of Oz. Elsewhere, ‘summer ring’ and ‘into the tide’ further situate the listener into a summer mindset, complete with pledges of undying love vis-à-vis a promise ring.

‘heat of the night’ samples a famous balearic beat number by William Pitt called ‘City Lights.’1 The track manages to give the album a sense of urgency while still maintaining its elated qualities. The piano line is particularly euphoric, as it ascends and descends again and again, leaning into an endless loop. ‘vanilla pie’ too is a nice track with a melancholic progression, buttressed by a synthline and lead by a piano.

‘break-ups to make-ups’ is one of the sweetest tracks on the album. It fades in with a gently arpeggiated synthesizer, giving way to a full back beat and a charming progression that is central to the track. Sampled here is ‘Promise Me’, a gentle balladic number from the freestyle girl group, The Cover Girls. If any track on Before Sundown effectively sustains the feeling of hope to be found in summer, this is it. Every turn is warm, every change is uplifting.

Closing out the album is ‘you…’, a downhearted track that feels like a relationship that has ended. Sampled here is ‘I Am Waiting For You’ by Stéphanie de Monaco.2 The track is down-pitched ever so slightly, giving the vocals a sultry quality that is befitting of this album. Whereas the rest of the album finds itself focused on love and its promises, this song is restless and longing for something to be restored.

Chasing the release of Tales from the Heartside by only two weeks’ time,3 Before Sundown feels like an escape from this world. The album is a calm in the midst of bustle, a focused and soothing paragon of summer beauty. At the bottom of the album page on Bandcamp, a single phrase is written in Japanese: 来て、私を見つける… which roughly translates to “Come and find me…”. This seems a fitting response to the call of ‘you…’, beckoning one to never stop looking for that person they’ve lost.

  1. The bassline itself is apparently a sample from Dennis Edwards’ ‘Don’t Look Any Further,’ which was an even bigger hit than ‘City Lights.’
  2. Stéphanie de Monaco, if you did not know, is a princess of Monaco as well as the daughter of Princess Grace of Monaco, known formerly as Grace Kelly. I am not making this up.
  3. The super-album released on DMT Tapes FL between waterfront dining, 「サンセット Network❾❶」, Trademarks & Copyrights, and VITO蒸気の波を行います.

C. Thielen

Musician, thinker, beer enthusiast, lover of vaporwave.

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