Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave And The Commodification Of Ghosts by Grafton Tanner

By Grafton Tanner

In the age of world capitalism, vaporwave celebrates and undermines the digital ghosts haunting the nostalgia undefined. Ours is a time of ghosts in machines, killing which means and exposing the gaps inherent within the digital media that pervade our lives. Vaporwave is an youngster musical micro-genre that foregrounds the horror of digital media's skill to seem - as media theorist Jeffrey Sconce phrases it - "haunted." Experimental musicians similar to web membership and MACINTOSH PLUS manage Muzak and advertisement tune to undermine the commodification of nostalgia within the age of world capitalism whereas accentuating the uncanny houses of digital tune creation. Babbling Corpse unearths vaporwave's many intersections with politics, media idea, and our current fascination with uncanny, co(s)mic horror. The ebook is aimed toward these drawn to worldwide capitalism's impression on paintings, musical raids on mainstream "indie" and well known song, and somebody intrigued through the altering courting among artwork and commerce.

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Extra resources for Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave And The Commodification Of Ghosts

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What did it mean? What was she doing there, in black and white, framed in formal borders? Was she dead, missing, disembodied? Was this her spirit, her secret self, some two-dimensional facsimile released by the power of technology, set free to glide through wavebands, through energy levels, pausing to say good-bye to us from the fluorescent screen? A strangeness gripped me, a sense of psychic disorientation. It was her all right, the face, the hair, the way she blinks in rapid twos and threes. I’d seen her just an hour ago, eating eggs, but her appearance on the screen made me think of her as some distant figure from the past, some ex-wife and absentee mother, a walker in the mists of the dead.

As soon as the instruments set the stage and a brief pause opens up the space for the vocals, the sample repeats, and we are right back at the beginning. The repeating, poorly spliced samples are funny because they turn the original song into a syrupy mess, exposing the artificiality of soft-rock balladry. The act of repeating a small audio sample, of jerking it back and forth, and of making it stutter – abusing the sample at hand – can be quite comical to hear, as in “” by MACINTOSH PLUS or “R × S = {(r1, r2, …, rn, s1, s2, …, sm) | (r1, r2, …, rn) ∈ R, (s1, s2, …, sm) ∈ S}” by Transilvanian Hunger.

23 Vaporwave stands in opposition to the sleek production of contemporary music and can also call attention to the artifice of music production with oddly cut loops (causing the jagged samples to resist turning over on the downbeat of a measure), continuous repetition, and by exposing the audible “click” of the sample looping over in the mix. The ostentatious display of artifice flips the art of sampling on its head; vaporwave artists tend to disregard the invisible editing of mass-produced, massively consumed pop fodder.

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