Listening to this album was an emotional experience for me. Vaporwave is known for nostalgia, but with Seabreaze, released on Net Positive Records, there is a nostalgia of a different sort; the sort of nostalgia that will break your heart. Jake Stevenson is not playing here. This is what it sounds like when vaporwave grows up. While sample-based, nothing feels borrowed. If anything, Mr. Stevenson has made the music more like itself. What I mean is that the emotional payoff originally intended by the artists has been amplified here. Whatever we were supposed to feel listening to the unaltered sample, we feel with more intensity now. There are also some fat and funky back-alley grooves to help punctuate and uplift, so that the overall experience feels entirely balanced.
This album is nothing short of astonishing; a work of shimmering sonic brilliance, like soaring into the future but leaving so much behind, so that there is loss and grief, but also great wonder. The thing about flying at great height is that it is at once euphoric and intense. Well, those two words perfectly describe the experience I had listening to this album for the first time.
I cannot stress enough how much this work is meant to be listened to as a complete work of art, rather than a mere collection of tunes.
Interspersed periodically between the emotionally blistering music are voice samples; some are snippets of media, in the signalwave tradition, but there are others that feel more intimate—more real, like maybe they are real, and these samples add a layer of nostalgic sadness that leaves me with a sense of nameless longing, and a sense of mystery, authenticity and importance to the entire work. I don’t want to issue spoilers. It just… it feels real, and you should hear it.
As I listen to it for a second time, I am finding the initial experience is repeatable. In today’s world it is tough to just stop and listen; we are always doing 20 things at once. Or is that just me? In any case, this album stops my world. It demands that I pay attention. It demands that I stop typing. It wants me to close my eyes. Let it do that same for you. There is a good chance it will be the best hour you spend today. ~ Phaeder