Vaporwave: An Emerging Genre

In recent years, the genre of “Vaporwave” has come to exist as a subgenre of electronic music. In its inception, it typically involved slowing down popular songs from the 70’s and 80’s, dropping the pitch, and basically making entire songs out of mere samples, making use of a multitude of effects to add variety and, in some cases, make the song nearly unrecognizable. Occasionally, artists would instead use types of “elevator music” and edit those in a similar fashion.

Below is an example of how artists would remix older songs:

The genre has evolved over the years however, while it’s still a very new genre that’s existed for less than 10 years, it’s already changing. Now, the genre consists more of electronic music, beats and rhythms made by the artist on their own, making the music much more original. Of course, the songs still have the same feeling of relaxation, and chill beats, but now with much less sampling, and more potential for faster songs as well. Here’s an example of some more recent vaporwave:

The reason that I find the genre of vaporwave so fascinating is because how quickly it has evolved in it’s short lifespan. Genres like rock and roll, jazz, and pop have been around for ages, and we’ve seen them change over that time, but for me, personally, I never saw the inception of those genres. With vaporwave, however, I’ve been alive during its entire lifetime, I’ve seen it change, and I’ve even learned how these kinds of songs can be made with relative ease. Of course, you need to have a basic knowledge of music and such, but if you have a simple program like Adobe Audition or even Audacity it’s not impossible to capture the feel of vaporwave, or at least classic vaporwave. Here’s an excerpt of something I made out of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, using only effects available in Adobe Audition:

Now, I have some music experience, but the only instrument I’m knowledgeable in is the drums, so I wouldn’t say I’m incredibly musically gifted. My point of all this being that I am really just amazed at how unique and yet how simple this genre is. It’s only beginning, so it’s potential hasn’t even been realized, the possibilities are endless, and if it’s evolved this much in such a short amount of time, who knows how much it’ll change in the years to come?


Marshall Littlefield is a media personality and aspiring voice actor who has experience editing video and audio, as well as experience in writing both creative and informative projects. He attends Assiniboine Community College and loves every aspect of media production, from video to audio; editing, recording, shooting, and performing, he finds joy in it all.

One thought on “Vaporwave: An Emerging Genre

  1. Very interesting article here Marshall, It’s truly fascinating to me what the internet has done to the music industry, Often times I find myself scouring the internet for new music and run into something so over the top it baffles me. This new genre of music is In my opinion completely due to the internet and I found it interesting how it is evolving at such a rapid pace with fans all over the world. Your article was formatted well and It introduced me to the genre due to the incorporation of sound clips and video which I think engaged me as a reader.
    ps: May I suggest Simpsonswave?

Comments are closed.