Fakeman’s Tape Deck – 001
Ladies and Gentlemen.. Fakeman is proud to bring you something a little different… The Tape Deck! A monthly collection of releases that have caught the eye.. Have turned the head.. but more importantly.. include some of that sweet Future Funk and Vaporwave as well as the usual Synthwave loves. That being said, you’ll see that this month, some don’t fit a genre, which makes them all the more exciting..
The Tape Deck is designed to bring you a shorter format review with the chance to discover something you would never have listened to. So welcome.. take a seat.. maybe grab a cigar.. because this month the word is ‘smooth’ – Something 2020 needs. Enjoy.
Marina II – TUPPERWAVE
TUPPERWAVE has been an ever-present artist in the vapor scene for many a year. With ‘Marina II’ it was suggested that this might be his last release – should that be the case then he’s leaving on the continued high that he’s had all these years.
Writing about vaporwave / chill wave / future funk is never an easy task but, for me, its a more satisfying process with albums like this. With ‘Marina II‘, TUPPERWAVE is bringing those beautiful sun-drenched evenings on the pier. The strong inclusion of brass and guitar licks are as satisfying as they are enveloping into a world of 90s corporate parties with a 10 piece band for entertainment.
TUPPERWAVE invokes the bittersweet vibes of an era that lived off the fat of the 80s but where soul was lost. And yet, the nostalgia is smooth and rich in softness. The ever-present juxtaposition.
The final track, ‘Legacy’ is a beautiful reflection on a superbly talented artist’s exit from a scene that he has truly made a mark upon. It’s ‘into the sunset’ tone is undeniable and would turn the biggest critics of this scene into an appreciating listener.
Marina II is truly a love letter to the Vaporwave / future funk genre and clearly a reflection on TUPPERWAVE’s years of presence in the scene. You don’t need to be a Vapor and future funk fan to enjoy this work – It’s medicinal.
Spectral Hands – Alpha Chrome Yayo
Alpha Chome Yayo… How do you begin to describe the work of ACY? The Belfast-based producer has been prolific in the recent 12 months with a large breadth of music that cannot be classified in the genre. ‘Spectral Hands’ is marketed as ‘a bone-rattling journey through the spirit world’. As a listener and fellow Shinnichi, the Japanese influence and vibes on this release are undeniable.
The album is littered with beautiful moments of melancholy and simplicity that are as refreshing as they traditional. Yes, that’s a complex description which is nothing but contradictory but there is no other way to describe the works from this underestimated artist.
2020 has lead to on a bit of a jazz discovery for me and that might be why this particular release has struck a chord. However, that being said, it’s very hard to define where ACY’s work sits… and in a world of labels, that’s a welcomed change. If recent years have taught us anything, it is that to label someones work as something specific can simply limit the creativity.. So throw in some big brass, hit me with electric guitars and then throw me back to 18th Century Japan – because the world needs it.
The true test of a sound is how it translates at 4 in the morning in a dark room with nothing but the sound. ‘Spectral Hands’, despite its description, is better than that warm blanket you have just put on for the winter. And its diversity will keep you awake until it’s time to get up.
Nevermann – Gentlemann
How often do we hear the phrase ‘it’s not 80s enough, bru’? The irony of the phrase is lost on many given where the synthwave scene sits as a pastiche to the era but was always intended as an extension, an influence, not a restriction.. That being said, the synthpop scene has some moments of beauty amongst the myriad of entrants. And Nevermann’s ‘Gentlemann’ is a great example of just that.
The Swedish contingent have brought some great synth acts to the table in recent years and we can add Nevermann to that list. ‘Gentlemann’ is balls to the wall synthpop in its execution and isn’t afraid to own that space but also doesn’t overdo it. There is some sax, there are also some gorgeous warming vocals (Andrea is sublime) but it is technically sound. Nevermann has brought OSC in on this album to bring that additional support and it comes through in how clean the mix is on this ode to our favourite era.
Never underestimate the need for clean, friendly synth with vocals in a year like this or any other year.… ‘Gentlemann’ brings to the 2020 everything that this year is missing… Fun, happiness, clever decisions and something you dance to.
Additional note: The incredibly talents JJ Mist and Hilda Denny both feature on this release. The latter, I have not heard much about but she is highly impressive in ‘Andrea’ and JJ brings ’The Sun Keeps Shining’ those Madonna vibes.. Just get the album, for fucks sake. It’ll make your day.
Waterfront Dining – Popcorn Hollywood
Waterfront Dining – Prolific and talented are 2 words I would use.. His work has been quite a benchmark for me in recent years for how you approach the plunderphonic sound of Vaporwave.
‘Popcorn Hollywood’ is most recent release that comes with a strong 80s vibe.. but as refreshing as you would expect from WFD. ‘Wayfarer Private Investigators’ is all out 80s OST with it’s vocal and arrangement.. I would argue that it goes against the grain of WFD’s usual releases however for those that are not knowledgeable of the Vaporwave work, WDF is a great place to start.
‘Really Nothing (it’s over)‘ takes the EP back to the 90s with it’s tone.. perfectly sitting between the eras we love.
There is a lot I could write about this artist that goes far beyond the limits of the Tape Deck. He’s the artist whom I own the most vinyl and cassette releases.. Such is my love for his sound.. But for now get your ass to Bandcamp and check out this dude’s work..
After Dark 3 – Italians Do It Better
Well.. There are writers out there that can speak about the impact of ‘Drive’ on the synthwave scene far better than me..so I will let them do that.. but what I will say is that US label ‘Italians Do It Better’ are deeply intrenched in that World that introduced us to the music we love.
‘After Dark 3’ is the latest collection of tracks from the label including work from artists such as Desire, Chromatics and Pink Gloves. Last year saw a tour of the 2 former acts that reminded us all of the importance of such a label and the originality of its artists.
‘After Dark 3’ represents a solid and reliable sound. If you are not aware of them.. this album is a good place to start however I would implore you to look deeper into their artist’s earlier works. Johnny Jewel defines the sound of the album with his track ’Surgery’. That IDIB sounds is intoxicating and reminds us all why they are one of the most professional labels in this ’scene’, but that being said their artists are beyond the borders of what the scene has defined for itself… Compilations are tough to master in any genre, ‘After Dark 3’ continues the IDIB tradition of tasty tracks that bring the nostalgia but remind us all that originality is possible..
Marina II from TUPPERWAVE can be found at the TUPPERWAVE Bandcamp
Spectral Hands from Alpha Chrome Yayo can also be found here
Nevermann’s new Album ‘Gentlemann‘ can be found over at Timeslave Recordings and there are cassette’s still going!
Waterfront Dining’s ‘Popcorn Hollywood’ and the rest of his amazing discography can be found here
‘After Dark 3’ from Italians Do It Better is currently chilling over here. Go check it out
And that’s it.. November’s Tape Deck. Let me know what you think.. But for now you’ll need to excuse me, I have to return some videotapes.