Every generation feels as if the word “nostalgia” is only applicable to the pop culture of their youth. As if nostalgia isn’t something once experienced, long forgotten and now remembered, but it is something only explainable in terms of tangibility, whether it be a video game, a television show or a piece of music.
It feels as if this current sentiment behind nostalgia and its sudden influx can be attributed to the wider access of these tangible qualities due to technology. With this being said, there is now the possibility of proposing the concept of “new-nostalgia.” Or rather, a fusion of old beliefs and tastes mixed in a way that is not enjoyed simply because it resonates of forgotten youth, but because it is progressive to today’s society as well.
When Anamanaguchi released Power Supply in 2006, this marked a new progression of the chiptune scene, a music scene that worships everything 8-bit and is heavily devoted to the “out-dated” sounds of the 80’s and to an extent, the 90’s generation. A time when the quality of video game music rang out as distorted as the pixilation it displayed, and before consoles were able to contain grating symphonic compositions that were in bad enough taste that they could easily score any overblown Hollywood feature.
What Power Supply did was take the sound of chiptune and combine it with a modern punk aestheticism. Still completely instrumental and deeply melodic, yet the sounds of live instrumentation gave it a feeling of fresh air, as if to remind you of the experience of the present moment. To remind you that you aren’t the kid you once were, playing Nintendo in your room happily alone on summer vacations, but you still retain that notion of childhood and wish to reflect on it.
Six years later after Power Supply, Slime Girls self-releases his debut album, Vacation Wasteland, dumped in this new-nostalgic, post-Anamanaguchi world. While Anamanaguchi is the most obvious group for those to relate Slime Girls to, doing so completely misses the point of such music in general.
While the music of Slime Girls is similar by ear, it is worthy to remember that a lot of 8-bit and chiptune isn’t necessarily about creating a distinct sound, although this is not to discredit Slime Girls or any other chiptune artist. It’s as similar as it is to liken LSDJ to chiptune as it is to relate an 808 to hip-hop. A common sound, but with a different presentation.
That is why the quality of emotion is the true distinction to a unique chiptune artist. Again, relating back to the nostalgic elements of chiptune. It’s not that “Artist A” sounds like “Artist B,” it’s that is “Artist A” or “B” making music that captures the emotion of a time both past and present?
It’s not important that Slime Girls may sound similar to Anamanaguchi, it’s that Slime Girls is producing chiptune music that resonates in a distinctly emotional way unique to his own inspirations. With that being said, Vacation Wasteland is one of the most distinctly melodic and emotional chiptune releases I’ve ever heard.
It’s a raw summer album that holds no gimmicks to the chiptune scene. It simply just is. It’s punk rock. While Slime Girls may owe everything to his influences, at the same time he owes nothing. It’s an album that is very apparent in being deeply personable and transcendent of its technology.
Thematically, Vacation Wasteland is surprisingly both futuristic and nostalgic in terms of it being somewhat referential to Anime and Japanese Pop Culture. With titles such as “Neo-Tokyo Sunset” and “Spring Break 199X,” listeners may be reminded of shows that embraced cyberpunk elements and the frontiers of space coupled with a heavy musical backdrop, perhaps shows such as Macross or Bubblegum Crisis.
The album even closes with a bonus track, the opening theme to Neon Genesis Evangelion, “A Cruel Angel Thesis.” Vacation Wasteland seems highly thematic and plays out like the soundtrack to an anime series or movie, and to end with a cover of an opening song to an anime makes it seem as if Slime Girls is teasing the listener for the beginning of another album and another time spent wasted in paradise.
Slime Girls- Neo-Tokyo Sunset
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