Let me take you back to 1988. Electronic music is evolving and changing with it's newfound popularity. But like all trends they tend to be revisited at some point in the future, last time we covered the influence of Kraftwerk, Space and Giorgio Moroder on electronic music as a whole, this time we're shooting for something a little different. This release here has recently been rediscovered and labelled things like 'proto-vapourwave' and such, and yes I will admit it does have vibes not too dissimilar to vapourwave but it's just par the course for a ambient/new age record of that era, think Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene 12 years before this LP.
Now I'll admit that some parts of this LP have certainly not aged well and parts do sound incredibly dated. But once again this is an important reference point, as both a record of it's time, and to chart the influence it has on modern music, particularly vapourwave as a whole, hell OPN's label is even called Software.
Software - Island Sunrise [click to download] |HTML5|
The titles on this LP are pretty great, they have all that technological longing and mystique that was present on Kraftwerk's Computer Love, combined with this contrasting running theme of the coast. Like Kraftwerk's songs were about being hunched over your computer at night, and then this album sounds like it's made for a moody reflections montage in an artsy film before picking up around 3:40 or so in.
Software - Magic Beach [click to download] |HTML5|
Software isn't some one-off side project either, the German due were at it and making albums until around 2000, with their last release ten years after Digital Dance in 1998. The title track follows the same pattern laid down by the previous one, ambient and hazy until around 2:40 when the drums come cascading in.
Software - Digital Dance [click to download] |HTML5|
Finishing the coastal theme we have the final track that unlike any of the other tunes wastes no time getting the drums involved. There's some lovely sounds sprinkled throughout but they never stick around long, the same could be said of the LP as a whole, it is only about an hour long with 9 tracks. There is more than enough to go around though, the bold opening tune is a hefty 9 minutes 21 seconds long.
Software - Percussion Island [click to download] |HTML5|
I do have a certain fondness for this type of stuff, after all raiding my dads tapes for stuff like this was what set off my interest in electronic music, and I can certainly see how it's effected the scene as a whole for sure. Cliché in parts? for sure but give it a try anyway, there's some neat stuff on there.
-Claude Van Foxbat