Album Review: S.T.A.R.D.U.S.T. Subsidiary - Arcadia Campus: Virtual Tour

A lot of vaporwave have stories but few are actually concept albums. This one is the rare concept album that tells a story yet is formed around a unique concept. The concept is this, you're a student at the Arcadia Campus in the near future where everything is perfect yet there is still something wrong. That concept could be underwhelming if the album wasn't good but get this; it sounds good.

The story is told through a nameless character who has no voice and few indications of actions; you don't hear what he's saying but there are hints to the conversations he's having with the voices on the album. Many of the voices are robotic and digitized in order to contribute to the feeling of Arcadia Campus which by the way is an amazing feeling; there is tons of unity, tons of goodness, it almost feels like a utopia but there are small disturbing things such as T-Shirts costing $2,000.87 and the need to study to perform your best.

These things help contribute to the feel of this album which is best described as "Far Side Virtual" meets vaporwave meets chiptune. Everything is high-energy, modest tempo and in a happy mood; it almost feels like you're playing a Super Nintendo Entertainment System game, particuarly a Mario game. There is nothing that feels real, everything sounds real virtual and real fake which contributes to the utopianess of the world this album is set in. The production remains like this for the entire album except for the last track which provides revelations as to the true nature of this world.

You may think that having voices would go against the vaporwave ethos; turns out it works pretty well in the album. It blends with the music perfectly and helps to set the environemt of the titular Arcadia Campus. It almost feels real and authentic with the words that they say and the dialog that they have with you which provides an interesting contrast with the fakeness of the world. Issues such as obsolescense and the fear of failure are explored through both the music and dialogue which makes repeat listens interesting since you're trying to figure out the meaning of everything.

It's aural and visual at the same time. It's as if somebody took Shakesphere and made it into vaporwave. There's a lot of depth, lot of thought and a lot of visual possibilities inside of the album. No listen is the same and every perception is different which makes for a lot of replayability possibility. This is a definitive vaporwave album for the sole reason of taking risks and succeding.

Get this album on Bandcamp.

(Editors Note: Artist's name is "01100001 S.T.A.R.D.U.S.T. Subsidiary" but was trimmed down for social media purposes.)

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About T Karras

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  • #1
    January 3, 2017 7:03 pm - Report | Reply

    This album is one of my favorites simply because of its refreshing creativity. In my top 10 for sure.