Release date: December 9, 2011 | Beer on the Rug | Bandcamp | Instagram | YouTube

Remember vaporwave? You know, that one trend that swept across the world, getting everyone extremely nostalgic for a time they’ve probably never even experienced in the first place by appropriating old music and early internet aesthetics? Yes, that. We’re gonna talk about it. One of its key releases, Floral Shoppe by MacIntosh Plus (aka Vektroid), turned 12 a mere week ago. Damn, that’s two layers of nostaliga now. Quite meta, if you ask me!

Daniel Reiser

Vaporwave is a subgenre you can get lost in for days. The chilled out lofi blasé approach to exploring soundscapes has more to do with ambient than anything else. The vaping bros that dig down into this stuff find themselves exploring the pop music equivalent, and I’m not sure if they’re aware.

In any case, MacIntosh Plus is a master of their craft. Weaving slowed vocals in and out, with a keen sense of DJ Screw, as much as the soft stylings of traditional vaporwave, and sonic hyperfixations that pitch shift up and down with a wobble, while the inaudible mantra comes full focus enables the listener to get lost in a psychedelic world through an illuminated screen.

Vaporwave always existed as a nostalgia fever dream, and MT+ has always been the torchbearer of that genre, dragging in influences from underground club music and day gazers like Toro y Moi, M83, and Neon Indian. That influence is clear on “Lisa Frank 420 / Modern Computing”. The downpitched vocals still carry the influence of Screw, while weaving 16 bit videogame soundtrack meet ’80s movie dream sequence cutscene synths, and weird little sonic obsessions in a washing machine of online subgenre culture.

The entire album is a statement. A beacon of what vaporwave can and should be, and works in only certain terms of reflection of an up-and-coming generation that focuses on comfort in a post-capitalist hellscape.

’90s TV ambiance, early online softcore nostalgia noise, fuzzy screen soundscapes, or Croccore, can all be different ways to describe what vaporwave sounds like. Floral Shoppe has it all, and MacIntosh Plus AKA Vektroid started a movement with this album that took the niche subgenre from the underground to the forefront of electronic music.

Ditch the clubs, fuck the party, grab your pajamas, load a bowl, and vibe the fuck out to Floral Shoppe while you tune out in front of your illuminated screen, as the world melts away around you. The warm embrace of this album makes it all ok.

Dylan Nicole Lawson

Most people know that Vektroid, or in this particular iteration, MacIntosh Plus, is more or less the Godmother of Vaporwave. At the very least, Vektroid set the earliest standards and concepts for what would be called vaporwave. On Floral Shoppe, we are given nothing short of ethereal, beautiful, serotonin-inducing sounds that I believe make the genre everything it’s loved for and more. Not only what this album is, but what it means to me, are big reasons why I feel compelled to write about it today.

The world needed vaporwave. According to Vektroid’s Wikipedia, 2009 was the earliest years of works that would pioneer the genre. Whether you’re cleaning your house, going on a nice night-time drive, rolling a phat J, simply trying to get your partner ‘in the mood’, or trying to cram as much study time in before finals hit for college so you don’t spend the rest of your life in your parents’ basement; vaporwave has you covered. The sounds, the atmosphere, the envelopment of it all and what it will do to your mind is something no drug or feeling could likely ever substitute. I believe a nostalgia factor comes into play as well, for both listeners young and old, given a lot of it tends to sample or repurpose various elements of instrumentals and accapelas from ‘70s Japanese Jazz as well as American, European, and elsewhere ‘80s pop and r&b greats. Whether it be slowed and reverb’d, pitched and chorus-laden, muffled and automated, or chopped and screwed in any sort of fashion, the reinterpretation of what was into what artists like MacIntosh Plus exhibits on Floral Shoppe is something of art.

You’ll get people who like to talk shit about vaporwave, EDM, dubstep, and what have you… but the fact of the matter is each of these genres and how their music is crafted involves a form (complex or not as you may see it) of manipulating audio and existing sounds into something of your own, even if it doesn’t deviate too far from that original idea. Guess what, nerds? That’s every single note, chord, arpeggio, and dissonant thing you can do on a guitar, and what hasn’t been conventionally done on guitar already; Tom Morello probably already did it. So just listen to Floral Shoppe, get lost in the haze of it, and calm down. It’s going to be okay, I promise.

But getting back on track and subject, while St. Pepsi (now known as Skyler Spence)’s “ENJOY YOURSELF” was my true and earliest introduction to vaporwave sometime about 8 years or so ago, delving into the genre more helped me discover MacIntosh Plus, which then gateway’d me further into other artists. Even if they could all be chalked up to having their similarities, each one had a trademark of sorts of their own for what they did, enough so that it was hard not to fall in love with the genre as a whole. Sometimes you just need a good easy listen, and that’s exactly what tracks like “Lisa Frank 420 / Modern Computing”, “Chill Divin’ with ECCO”, and “Geography” are to me as well as likely anyone else who indulges in this fine wine of a record. Not to mention, aside from lo-fi, you can’t find a fancy, breathtaking piece of visual media on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, or any other viral service that hosts that sort of contact without it likely being soundtracked by something at least somewhat associated with the vaporwave category. Something about it makes everyone feel like they’re in a futuristic, yet nostalgic, ‘80s and/or ‘90s anime based in some sort of beautifully-lit, summer’s-always-in, vibey city somewhere in the world that feels like paradise, but not without the emotional complexities. While that might not seem like everyone’s cup of tea, the genre is still warm and tasty to most ears that receive it, and no less calming and fitting for that great mood you need good-mood-music to go with.

Floral Shoppe is one of a few albums I can genuinely say changed the course of my life and gave me even a deeper appreciation for it. That seems like such a grandiose, exaggerated thing to say about any piece of music, even with being the piece of art that it is, but as Sander Cohen states in Bioshock: ‘Life, Death; The burden of the artist is to capture.’ I believe, personally, MacIntosh Plus and other vaporwave artists do exactly that in a vivid, yet seemingly simplistic way; Capturing all the simple, beautiful, innocent aspects of life, be then natural or man-made, and blending it into a concoction that slips gracefully into the ears, through the brain, and subsequently the nervous system thereafter, and almost permanently alters the course of your stress levels. Vaporwave, and specifically the aura found on Floral Shoppe, for better or worse, is that rosy tint that gets into the bloodstream to remind us everything, somehow or another, can and will be okay. Must be why I love cleaning my room and burning incense to it on a weekly basis!

Dominik Böhmer

Dominik Böhmer

Pretentious? Moi?

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