NOTE: A lot of these artists are new to me, so I don’t have descriptions for all of them. I will return to this post after listening to their albums and can give a better impression.
Love it or hate it, Barber Beats is the latest in emerging genres from the Vaporwave scene. Most can agree it started with Haircuts for Men (HCFM) and has spawned a small set of artists lightly claiming the Barber Beats category. Some even question HCFM might secretly be some of these artists but regardless of who is making it, the genre has sparked a lot of interest and has formed its own aesthetic.
Here’s a few album covers that really set the theme:
One will notice the presence of busts, status, art of the renaissance, and large prominent fonts. I thought busts in Vaporwave was getting stale, yet some how these artists have brought a fresh breath to the classic aesthetic. Additionally, your eyes are drawn in by the minimal but impactful use of color. It’s a style that connects the various artists together under a common sound. I’m all for it.
I will be honest, I’m a sucker for musicians with names that blend the English language in new ways. Oblique Occasions, I can’t think of a more fantastic two words to blend into painting the imagery of life.
I’d love to know the source of these eyes. They are haunting in the tears that run down the cheek. What had happened to paint such a face?
Gods Of Something
Gods of Something is one of the few (if only) BarberBeats artists that uses the traditional sound and accompanies it with slowed house like percussion. Nearly every track is 4 to the floor and I appreciate the difference this artist is adding to the genre.
This self-titles release was originally a Monodrone project but it seems it split into its own alias after releasing Fireflower Foundation.
New to the scene with two albums and fantastic artwork. Their 栄光の阻害 is a slower pace than normally found in the lounge sound but the sampling is on point. Check out the song: ウルトラプレモ
I was first introduced to this album through the The Lost Barber Bundle by Apollo Lounge cassette drop. I had moved apartments just when the 4 pack cassettes shipped and I thought I had lost one of the biggest releases in BarberBeats history, but somehow with Apollo Lounge’s help and a few months of MIA, I actually ended up getting the cassettes. Extremely happy to have this one in the collection.
The track he hurt me, I killed him was the track that opened me to the genre. I had heard other songs but one hit different and became an instant repeat.
Gods Of Something had just introduced me to this artist. As you can see from this album, they’ve released Barber Beats all the way back in 2018. I wish I had known when this released on cassette in December 2021.
Haircuts for Men
HCFM doesn’t like being grouped in Barber Beats, apparently, but most give them credit for starting the genre and album art aesthetic. Without them, the genre wouldn’t be as organized as it is, imo. I really enjoyed HCFM before I even knew what the Barber Beats was but the haircuts were great during that period. Everyone was bashing on them for just adding reverb to jazz music, but man am glad for their contribution to the scene.
I believe Machina Pensant originally was a Vaporwave artist who went by the alias ｂｌａｎｋ世界. They came into the scene with a few albums but this is the one I remember the most. They also have this neon yellow mech album called Temple that is half Barber Beats, half lo-fi.
PanPan isn’t strictly a Barber Beats artist but they’ve had two albums released on cassette in the genre.
DARK DESIRE • ダークデザイア
I’m pretty sure arizcorpアリズコープ is meme-ing on the genre but some of their tracks are surprisingly decent.
Another alias under arizcorpアリズコープ, caffeine content is a little more upbeat than the lounge of BarberBeats but maybe that’s the point of the name. コンシャスラウンジ is a great track.
Stunning album with a darkness that echos better than the album cover would lead on. The first track, 願いの峡谷, hits with window-95 type chimes and synths that float between the drums. I really enjoyed this one with headphones on.
Check out the track 台無しにされた休暇. Olympius has a couple of great albums, which I had never heard of until putting this list together. Surprised to see they are not as talked about. My only thought would be some of the drums don’t blend as smoothly (at least in this album). So maybe it’s a mastering problem or maybe just not enough ears, yet.
Just to prove the order of this list means nothing, Nocturnal Hotline has an incredible array of beats. I like the lack of two-toned aesthetic and a lot the tracks sound like they original bass-lines, which I appreciate.
This is a “rechops” album featuring music from some of the bigger names on this list. Which is unique enough to show that BarberBeats isn’t just adding reverb to lounge music.
Message Me Later
You know I had to save the best for last.
Looking Through Sheets
modest by default
The Precious Essence of People
I really did my due diligence on this one but if I missed an artist let me know on Twitter or chat with us on Discord. Thanks to Tails_155 and GodsOfSomething for discussing Barber Beats in #lounge-talk and motivating me to compile this list.
So there you have it, the majority of the biggest names in BarberBeats. Do you think the genre will stick around? I hope so. I really hope we get some new innovations out of Vaporwave in 2022 and BarberBeats seems to be leading the way in that fashion. 🗿 Until the next one, cheers. — KITE0080