To make a label takes a lot of luck and hard work. You gotta have the right timing, you gotta have the right aesthetic and most importantly, you gotta have the right artists. This is what this new label from California FOTOSHOPPE CO. has going for it, a label which combines 90s/early 2000s video game aesthetics with vaporwave.
On the surface, it may seem amateurish but I’ve been listening to a lot of the label’s work (including Microsoft Executive’s “The High Life EP”.) and the quality of the music contrasts with the design of the bandcamp page. A lot of the music contradicts the established contours of vaporwave subgenres with its original production and odd takes on sampling, “Pikachu Noticed The Weed” being one of those albums that stands out for it’s odd depth which can be attributed to the depressive moods of the album which is a connective thread between albums hosted on the label.
One of the things that makes the label stand out is that it’s a label but it’s really not a label at the same time. It doesn’t have a Twitter/Facebook page (yet), does minimal cassette releases and has artists who status are relatively unknown at best. It kind of brings back a rush of excitement that can only be felt by people who were there when the genre was first starting out; mysterious artists, work that crossed the fine line between weird and interesting, sounds that really shook your expectations. In fact this might be one of the labels (if it grows of course) that can manage to be one of the biggest labels out there, if it works hard that is.
The owner of the label is the equally mysterious FOTOshoppeツ. The identity may be unknown but the music he releases is reminiscent of the work of the label itself. Downtrodden beats reminiscent of the classic era; whether it’s good or not is up to you but the fact that the entire identity of this label was crafted by this one person is admirable and impressive. The identity of the label also allows for a lot of variety in terms of records, you have straight up nostalgic records that take you back to the days of GBA while you have forward thinking records who’s music betrays the very idea of the aesthetic of the label; if you’re a fan of originally produced vaporwave, you’ll find some of that here as well.
I find it impressive that somebody is able to make a label, fill it with unknown artists and still find success even though it’s not as popular as it should be. To me, that shows initiative, drive and it also shows that anybody can do it if they put their minds to it. This is one well constructed label which even though has an aesthetic that many people may not appreciate, has an identity of its own and is able to stand out from the rest of the vaporwave labels. Let’s hope they manage to handle the expansion part of the label in a decent manner.