Karma Salon by b l u e s c r e e n & The Secret Provider
Chill. What is chill? Chill is a state of mind, man. It is the level of relaxation that comes when one takes a step past the realm of something simply being calming. You need to go beyond calming. Then you’ve entered the chill zone, and make no mistake about it: Karma Salon by b l u e s c r e e n and The Secret Provider lives in that zone.
The album’s tracks alternate artists beginning with b l u e s c r e e n’s “5AM Opening”, a track that paints a picture of a man riding the train to work at an ungodly early hour. An ambient atmospheric track that does a good job serving as the album’s opener.
From there the album slides into The Secret Provider’s first track on the album, “Beach Club Cafe.” It’s a smooth lounge song complete with background ambiance. Nothing super special about it, but I never say no to songs like these.
These first two songs do a good job of setting the tone of the work while still highlighting the differences between these two artists. Each of them seem to have a different idea of just what their idea of “chill” vaporwave is.
Here is where things get tricky though. I hesitate to go over the rest of the songs one by one in fear that I will be using the word “chill” far too often. In fact, I can already sense the head shaking my editor will be doing just from the first paragraph. So instead, I will be going over the stand out songs.
I thoroughly enjoyed b l u e s c r e e n’s track “Tips Included” because I think the saxophone is a very underrated instrument in vaporwave. I love the almost dark jazz feel of this track. It gives off the feel of a man trying his very hardest to entertain people in a shopping mall with his sax only to discover that not a soul is listening. However, the track ends with a channel flip sound effect which is followed by some tropical sounding music and a woman speaking Japanese. While that is very vaporwave, it just felt like a gimmick on what was otherwise an interesting song. Maybe there was a theme and a reason for it being there, but if there was, it was lost on me.
Track ten on the album, “Everything’s Alright” by The Secret Provider, gives you that classic vapor sound with the slow and crooning voice that emerges when one slows down a sample by just the right amount. The words sung are completely indecipherable of course, but as the title of the song suggests the voice is almost comforting and calming, assuring you that that world isn’t ending—at least not tonight.
“Membership” by b l u e s c r e e n is dripping with Luxury Elite’s influence. It has that 80’s Tom Cruise movie feel, but with a bit more lo-fi added to it. Plus, more saxophone! Much less dark this time around, though, and a lot more sexy. In fact, it seems like a lot of songs in the latter half of the album have the muffled lo-fi sound to them. This is not really a bad or a good thing. More of an observation really.
After giving this album a few listens, I think what I like most about it is its variety. While the songs on their own do not do anything that has not already been done before, you have to respect the variety that comes with the album. Each track reaches that “chill zone” I mentioned before in its own way. For example, b l u e s c r e e n’s “10PM Ramen” gets us there through a gloomy and doomy jazz track, while The Secret Provider’s“Jewelry Store” gets there with some good, old-fashioned mallsoft. Two different styles, but the same destination.
All in all, I rather liked this album. While it does not do anything extraordinary, I feel it certainly sets out and does what the artists intended for it to do and it has a wide enough variety of songs(nine from each artist) to keep things interesting— making it a solid vaporwave duo album when you are in the mood for something… (are you paying attention editor?) chill.
b l u e s c r e e n
The Secret Provider
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