Vaporwave has long since been scrubbed from the minds of many who were once inundated with the post-Internet music genre that encapsulated millennial apathy and sneered at consumerist society. There is still a healthy underground scene where the obscure subgenres of otherwise nebulous musical style are represented by artists like Surfing, Windows96 and fellow Vancouverite R23X.
At the end of the day what Lustre Flux has accomplished with A New Breed of Bloodbath is explore the vaporwave cliche aspects of the genre with such competency and with nods to ironic humour that one can only wonder how seriously Lustre Flux is taking their own music.
The most blatant example of this is the track Frank ECCO: Return to 420 Land [無敵], the title is a series of references and inside jokes —Frank likely referring to vaporwave enamoured internet comedian and producer Frank Jav Cee, ECCO undoubtedly referring to vaporwave catalyst Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1, the Chinese kanji at the end being a play on the ubiquitous usage of Japanese kanji in the genre. And then there’s the minute long track itself, which is, depending on how you look at it either a remix of Macintosh Plus’s irreverent 420 / 現덜ㅞⅣτΥεー |, which in itself is a slowed down and modulated recording of Diana Ross’ It’s Your Move. This time the song is sped up and suffers from blatant time stretching problems and offers an odd ode to the genre.
The next example of the humour embedded into this album are the next tracks titled Drown Your Sorrows in MP3s and Solve Your Problems with MP5s. The former is an adept, albeit derivative vaporwave remixing of The Pet Shop Boys’ Yesterday When I Was Mad. In its essence, this is representative of what a vaporwave appropriation track should be —a reimagining of an upbeat 80s song that has been manipulated to sound dissonant or full of sorrow. Drown Your Sorrows in MP3s most prominently features the once inconspicuous line, “It doesn’t really matter ‘cause the music is so loud,” completely dominating the song. It’s pitch-shifted and altered to the point where the once poppy and upbeat song has a foreboding edge to it in this context.
The final leg of the album is where the release really starts to pick up steam. Into the Fog is perhaps the most spectacular song on this record. Straight out of the gate the song is triumphant and optimistic. It’s dense and evocative while not resembling anything that even resembles traditional orthodoxy in Western music but still manages to feel inspiring, like a digital orchestration that has the ability to tap into the sense of adventure that lives within us all.
7.2/10 – a really nice pair of shutter shades