Starting this week, Visual Signals is going to have an “Albums of the Week” mini review series for the entire year. Even though right now I’m writing one article every day until Feb 1st, this little series ensures fresh new content from VS at least once a week going forward. Also, “the week” is in regards of Saturday to Friday and by “Top” I mean just stuff I listened to and enjoyed. Doesn’t mean I listened to everything, so if I missed your album please feel free to DM or tag me on Twitter and I’ll give it a listen. Plus, it’ll give me a chance to listen to new music and cultivate future artists to interview for the magazine.
I won’t be limiting the music to only Vaporwave and it’s sub-genre’s but I will be dedicated to only sharing Bandcamp releases. This way these shoutouts can help indie artists going into the 3rd year of Covid (found this is an interesting read). More than ever do we need to support our artist friends, so give them a purchase on BC or share this post to help spread their sounds to others. Without further ado, top albums of this week:
Nitewind | Nite Tapes Deluxe by Nitewind
Originally released in 2020, this synth/chillwave album recently returned with a fantastic cassette release. The compressed and wavey tunes sound directly ripped from a VHS and the design pulls that package wonderfully together. The album blends in with the synth wave genre but I think this is a case of branding can help elevate a release.
ボイドを超える by Macroblank
After 猫 シ Corp. recently Tweeted his had just discovered BarberBeats, it seems the genre has elevated out of its small scene into a constantly talked about genre. Yet some how the genre seems to be dominated by only a few artists. The moody backroom sound is difficult to emulate and the forerunners of it are getting all the attention because of it. Here’s a 2022 release by one of the kings, Macroblank, to keep the genre moving forward in the new year.
5 AM in Japan by //DLM
This was the first time I had ever heard of the artist //DLM. Listening to the album all the way through I feel like this was a strong homage to Birth of a New Day. It had a lot of the same sampling and audio techniques, background ambience in Japan and that ethereal effect that draws you into that kind of daydream. Oddly enough, I was yearning for drums the entire time, I think if the artist wanted to release a lo-fi hip-hop remix album, it would work better than they’d expect.
Under the Reign of a New Power by Thangorodrim / Haryon
This short split between Thangorodrim and Haryon was one of my favorite dungeon synths of the week. Additionally, I think the album art is a huge draw. The cover art is by Dan Capp who has become a staple in the fantasy / dungeon synth scene. IMO, this is his best work to date.
Hallowed Land by William Kage
Indie game developer / musician William Kage has perfected the 16 bit era video game sound with the use of authentic samples directly from the SNES. In this album you’ll find remakes from Final Fantasy, Super Mario, Super Metroid, Secret of Mana and more. This is more of a compilation album, as it contains tracks from four previous albums William Kage has released. This time neatly packed to a cassette release with 27 tracks. There are a few cassettes left, so if VGM is your thing you’re not going to want to miss this.
wear flowers in your hair by DΛRKNΣSS
Speaking of artists who are crushing it under the Barber Beats genre, DΛRKNΣSS has released a new album. Personally, I like the DΛRKNΣSS aesthetic better than the BDSM / Creepy feel of Haircuts for Men and some of the Romantics of others in the scene. Yet, DΛRKNΣSS still sticks true to that minimal color, outline art style that has defined the genre. Another great album to throw on in the background and relax to.
sunlight⍓moonlight⍓highlight by PREMATURE ᐖ DODO ⌼ CASINO
This album stands out on First Class Collective as a very moody release gone wrong. The cover art doesn’t look like something typically released on the label as it almost looks Barber Beats. It’s a “Late Night, Vaporwave, industrial, harsh noise, glitch… please stop” album that I’m not sure what it’s trying to be. Sunlight moonlight highlight just gets harder and harder to listen to the longer it is on. Which makes it interesting and unexpected. Wait… is that Ethan’s voice?
If you see an artist you know, let them know we shouted out their music. If you like the music, give it a purchase on Bandcamp. If we missed something, let us know on Twitter or come discuss it with us on the Discord. Until next Friday, have a good weekend.