Vaporwave is both a subgenre of electronic music and somewhat of a meme.
It was created in the early 2010s as an ironic variant of Chillwave.
The blueprint for the genre was established in 2011 with Vektroid’s Floral Shoppe, which released December 9th 2011 under the pseudonym “Macintosh Plus”.
The genre went on to build an audience on sites such as Last.fm, Reddit, Bandcamp and 4Chan.
This style is defined by it’s sampling of 80s and 90s music styles, including smooth jazz, elevator music, Windows computer sounds (created by music legend Brian Eno), and vocal or music samples from 80s or 90s advertisements.
The music samples usually undergo some degree of digital processing, typically being slowed down, and/or pitched to a lower octave, as well as being chopped up and looped.
The visual aesthetic of vaporwave is characterized by early internet imagery, late 90s web design, glitch art, anime, 3D-rendered objects and cyberpunk tropes.
Following the wider exposure of Vaporwave over time, a large selection of subgenres eventually emerged, including Future Funk, Mallsoft, Hardvapor, and vapor trap.
The first emergence of Vapor trap that Im aware of was Vaperror’s Mana Pool, released in June of 2014, characterized by it’s use of ambient ethereal sounding synths and computer sounds.
Let me be clear and upfront about what my goal is here so there isn’t any confusion.
I want to create a beat that I can rap over, but also maintains the DNA of the Vapor Trap style.
I’ve heard a lot of vapor trap beats, and I understand that they’re not meant to be rapped over, but in this series I rap on all my beats.
Let’s get into the cook-up First off we’re going to find a sample of a video game console start-up noise.
Next we’re going to load up a portion of the sample in edison and figure out the pitch by selecting “detect pitch regions”, so we can properly tune the sample.
Okay, it’s E. so now we’ll go select the E key in the channel settings window.
And Also set it to cut itself so the sample doesn’t bleed.
Meaning, whenever I play a new note the last note I played will be cut off immediately.
Now we’re going to make a little sample chop melody type thing with this sample Alright I think that sounds pretty good.
I pulled up this arp in omnisphere.
This expansion has 3 different arps that all move in the same way, so I just layered them all.
I did this because with some I liked the textures they had but didn’t like them as lead sounds.
Now we’re going to lay down some chords, using each note from the Dreamcast chop as the root note of each chord.
So the first 2 chords are A Major, Then I’m moving to a D Major, and Finally C major.
Ok I like how that sounds.
I think the key we’re in is D major, however the C major chord is outside of that scale, so why doesn’t it sound bad? Well I’ve mentioned this in videos before, that you can go outside of a particular scale as long as you resolve the borrowed notes by moving a semitone up or down.
In this case the the C note is the only note not in the D major scale, but it resolves itself by moving up one semitone in the proceeding A major chord.
I think the music theory concept we’re using here is referred to as a “secondary leading tone”.
Next I pulled up this patch in nexus and laid down a couple notes to accent the beginning of each bar.
There was a little too much going on with the sound, so I decided to add the gross beat’s half speed preset to slow it down a bit I also added A low cut EQ at 466Hz and a delay set to 1/2 heres what it sound like now I pulled up this omnisphere texture, and I accented the other 2 notes in the chord progression I don’t use this very synth often, but I found this gamey sounding synth and just copy and pasted the arp chords into it’s piano roll I downloaded this old AOL “you’ve got mail” vocal I put a slide note at the end of it so it sounds sort of like a tape stop effect I’ll go a bit more in depth with this video and show you how I lay out my 808s basically I start out creating a rhythm just using the root note of each chord Later on I start trying to spice it up a little by adding slide notes or other notes within the scale Usually I’ll want to end the phrase by making the 808 hit more frequently, that way it feels like each phrase is building up toward something and it gives it a sense of forward momentum Here’s what the 808 sounds like by itself.
notice that I decided to add another slide note here I laid down a kick that just follows the 808 I added a clap I added this windows 95 computer sound I laid down this perc I made this hat pattern I added this perc I laid down this chime type sound from Windows 95 I’m also thinking of using this windows error sound, but im not quite sure where I’m going to put it yet Im using this Mario coin sound I found this cosby coke commercial and I’m going to sample it Heres the portion I sampled I’m also thinking of sampling this classic 80s PSA at the beginning of the beat.
Alright, that’s pretty much every element of the beat.
We need to figure out what we’re going to use for visuals.
I think I’ll just use photoshop to cut out an image of an old computer and a statue and I’ll lay them ontop of a vaporwave gif later on.
I’m not the best graphic artist, I’m pretty dumb when it comes to working with photoshop, so don’t expect anything amazing.
I’m also going to add random japanese text to the image.
Here’s the final product Now we have to write some lyrics.
I’m going to try to make as many references as possible to the internet, and video games.
my vocal mixing is the same as always.
There will be a link to my vocal mixing tutorial in the description section of this video.
With all of that out of the way, let’s see what we’ve come up with.