The world of vapor moves pretty fast, in fact everyday there is so much new music being put out that it can be a little bit intimidating to try and keep up with what’s going on, especially if you are like me and need to spend a lot of time with an album before moving on. However, it’s these prolific release schedules that artists and the labels hold themselves to that make this scene what it is. Things just wouldn’t be the same without the awe inspiring work ethic and commitment to craft that is on display daily, in many ways it’s the lifeblood of this community, without which that energy we all feel, that exhilarating sense of perpetual discovery would just burn itself up. Speaking personally I feel that it is this sense of propulsion that prevents the scene from stagnating, through a process of continual reinvention which gives birth to new genres and inspires innovation, transforming tired aesthetics and all too familiar sounds into something previously unimaginable. My two cents is that anyone who spends their days complaining that vapor is dead just doesn’t have their eyes, ears, heart or minds open the reality of what is going on around them.
The artist 08風 is no exception when it come to this rule of perpetual motion, as he is about to have two connected albums released just a day apart from each other telling a story of lost love, treachery and the descent into deep depression over a 48 hour period (both literally and figuratively). For those of you unfamiliar with his work 08風 creates introspective ambient soundscapes which seek to explore the inner worlds of emotional life. He has released albums on a range of different labels including Flamingo Vapor, Nightmare Medley, Seaside tapes and Night Light Tapes. And whilst his music which is often tagged with nightmare, is ubiquitously dark in nature, his back catalogue reflects a passion for exploratory composition which draws upon an ever increasing range of textures, sound palettes and emotional timbres.
Beginning 08風’s musical journey into despair is I Can’t Help Being In Love With You which is set to drop 28 March on the legendary Flamingo Vapor. This will be a beautifully packaged CD release that will retail at £3.50 + £1 postage worldwide.
This album is about heartbreak and as the producer the title of each song represents “a single sentence spoken presumably by a man to his love, depicting his current feelings about his current situation”. The end result is a listing experience in which each song becomes darker and more degraded as the reality of the hypothetical protagonist’s situation is revealed to the listener. It is a meditation on the confusion that comes with the dawning realisation that someone special no longer wants to be a part of your life.
When asked about why he was drawn to this album Flamingo Vapor co-owner Vinyl Dial explained that to him the work of 08風 reflects ambient music done right. He praised this album for its “clear direction” explaining that he has a gripe with the directionlessness of much of modern ambient music. He likened the music to that of Locust Toybox (https://locusttoybox.bandcamp.com), the ambient side project of legendary animator David Firth who created the deeply disturbing Salad Fingers web series in the mid 2000s.
This album sets the scene for the follow up release You’re Alone which drops the following day (29 March) on Nightmare Medley.
This album which follows on from the events of I Can’t Help Being In Love With You and presents a “raw depiction of depression”. The four songs that make up this album are each intended to explore one of the emotional states which characterise depression beginning with “feelings of outright loneliness” which was inspired by a desire to create “a song that someone will listen to while curled up all alone in a cold corner of a dark room, contemplating every relationship in their life”. This is followed by an exploration of fear which 08風 explains is intended to invoke a “fear for the future, fear for your relationships, fear for yourself, fear of loneliness”. This takes us into the third track which perfectly captures the feel of emptiness, it’s grim sparseness pushing listeners to confront the incapacity to feel that comes with having “been on the grinder for so long and it all begins to feel meaningless”. And all this before spitting us out into a place of anger, that passive beaten down defeated sort of gurging rage that makes you just want to “scream at the sky”. It is, to say the very least, quite an intense experience!
This album comes out on the lesser known label Nightmare Medley a mysterious label which is run as a collective by a host of secret silent partners. The label describe themselves as a parody account, a joke whose mission is strip away the veneer of professionalism and fakery until there is nothing left but an absolute focus on the music itself. They explained that their decision to support the release of this album came from their admiration of 08風’s capacity to have his emotions “present above all”.