Memorygarden禅 (pronounced Memorygardenzen i think) makes “vaporwave”. Let’s all pause here to take a moment and understand a little about vaporwave before going forward. According to Urban dictionary Vaporwave is:
- mall music
- elevator music
- ironic critique of global capitalism in the form of sample based infomercials and home shopping networks
So you could say it’s kind of nostalgia in weaponized form. A statement on consumer society, and our modern disregard for concepts of ownership in art. I guess along with the prior descriptors for vaporwave (mall music, elevator music, infomercials, and home shopping networks) you should add video game music, because I swear every track here is from the wii but it isn’t. But it is. Or not… I don’t really care anymore because I like it.
Memorygarden禅 has made a completely recognizable, and yet unplaceable record. It sits in the part of my brain that was first imprinted upon playing video games all night long as a kid, and that’s endearing. The album is titled ‘Districtアトランティス’ which translates to ‘District Atlantis’ and this record embodies that concept. You’re submerged the entire record, it’s aquatic and spacious, and those feelings were captured exceedingly well. I don’t know if this is vaporwave in its most strictly defined form, but I do know that I feel like I recognize every single piece of it, and it’s like seeing an old friend.
I’m literally sitting here playing samples of sped up Memorygarden禅 to try and identify why its so deeply ingrained in my memory.
Its beautiful ambience can lull you into a sense of peace, then occasionally jar you back into feelings of anxiety. It has moments of real emotion that can make you forget that you’re in your cubicle at work. I totally forgot I was going to get my headphones, and I’m on the 8th track now still listening on my laptop speakers. If Memorygarden禅 emailed me tomorrow and told me all of this was from some menu screens on the wii, I wouldn’t be surprised. At the same time I’d be pretty impressed they were able to gather these things together and have such a cohesive vibe throughout the record.
I’ve gone into a track by track breakdown, but that seems tedious and wordy. Tracks 3, 4, and 8 were my personal favorites. They evoked an underlying corrosive aspect to the otherwise pretty exterior (and I’m a sucker for that kind of thing). You probably won’t hear any of this. That’s because I’m crazy, and I accept that, but take my word for it that it’s there. I’ve translated each of the song titles, and the song titles are worth translating. You should translate them yourself, because I feel like it adds something you won’t get if I just print them here. It’s not as if copy/pasting into google is difficult, but I’d rather not fuck up the artistic license that Memorygarden禅 has decided to take by leaving parts in Japanese.
I like this record, because it’s enjoyable, and has a perfect feeling for quiet creative mornings or a walk in the woods or something. The last track feels like a victory, and I think that’s because it’s from the end of a mario game. Isn’t that really what we all want? To have the end of a Mario game in real life, where we beat the bad people and save the ones we love?