Skeleton


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Skeleton (2010), 6.5/10 (mini)
Holograms (2010), 5/10
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Skeleton (spelled as three Chinese characters) codified the vaporwave aesthetic on his second album Holograms (2010). This work compiled 18 brief "eccojams" that mainly used not pop muzak but smooth jazz. Created via loops, samples and echoes, these "songs" plundered old records and wrapped them in shimmery dreamy electronics (what used to be called "plunderphonics" by the previous generation). At best, the sources were deconstructed into agonizing existential structures (Breeze). At worst, these were self-indulgent (and sometimes unfinished) exercises in recycling faceless music. In between, there were songs so flattened that they became ambient instrumentals (Water + Squid).

One month earlier, the ten-song 20-minute "album" Skeleton (2010) had had offered a more austere version of "plunderphonics". Despite the use and abuse of loops, each micro-composition is a dynamic organism, and the range of styles is impressive: Tropical, which seems to blend Gregorian chants and plantation chants, Sewer, dissected and shuffled until it sounds like musique concrete, the interstellar muzak for bleeps and vibrations of Melting, the chiming and blaring avantgarde sonata Glowing, etc. A handful employ the technique of slowing down the singing to the extreme in order to obtain ghostly effects (especially Microwave and Skeleton). Ironically, the less famous album is much more interesting than the famous one.

Skeleton's technique was fairly easy and cheap. No surprise that in 2012 Skeleton released lots of music: the 19-song Liquid Fantasy (2012), the 15-song Illegal Antenna (2012), the 12-song Lost Memories (2012) the 18-song Reflections (2012) the 11-song Safe (2012), with the unusually long Thunder (8:46), and the nine-song EP Vibrations (2012). Best was the EP, and in fact the only other recording that is worth listening to in another EP, the eleven-minute seven-song EP Ancient Science (2013) that borders on ambient music.

As interest in vaporwave faded quickly, Skeleton reduced the frequency of releases but didn't change much: the 13-song Cool Water (2014), the 24-song Lost Memories II (2015), with another lengthy piece, Holiday Style (9:08), the 21-song Poor Homme (2015), 12-song Sunset Melody (2017), with Peace (8:17), the 21-minute 11-song Opal Disc (2017), and the 21-minute 13-song Lost Memories 3 (2018).

(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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