TUPPERWAVE is an eclectic Vaporwave producer from Brisbane, Australia. They’ve been producing music under this moniker since January of 2017. Their latest album, entitled “Marina” was released on February 25th 2020.

The cover artwork for “Marina” is colorful and vibrant. In the lower left hand corner is a roof-pool overlooking a lush beach. Behind the beach is a city. This seriously looks like it would be a great place to unwind, relax, and pop open a bottle of wine. The sun in the sky appears to be getting ready to set transitioning from what appears to be a hot, oppressive day into a gorgeous summer night.

Admittedly, I am not very well-versed in the intricacies of Vaporwave. I’m well-aware of some of the bigger names in the scene, and while I could’ve elected to go down the rabbit hole that starts with “Floral Shoppe” and all of it’s bizarre iterations, there’s something that attracted me to TUPPERWAVE’s work—it felt much more accessible as a newbie to the Vaporwave scene. When I pressed play on “Marina” for the first time, I became instantly relaxed and happy.

The foundation of “Marina’s” production lies in a careful selection of blending a variety of samples into a salient musical structure. Transforming already existing music into something new without it sounding like an obnoxious loop takes real talent—and TUPPERWAVE has that in spades. Tech-wise, “Waterfront” was the most impressive sounding track as it not only accurately captures the atmosphere of standing in a random mall in the midwest during the 80s, it really sounds like you’re listening to the music on the same tinny speakers those places had back then. Almost all of the music on “Marina” takes a similar form ranging from sounds you might hear in a late 70s television commercial, or the type of tune you might’ve heard while on hold over the telephone.

“Esplanade” was my favorite track from the album. From what I can tell, it takes a mid-80s City Pop female vocal track and downsamples it into an androgynous vocal range. While stuff like this is common to Vaporwave, by taking something beautiful and turning it into pseudo-nightmare fuel, the way TUPPERWAVE arranges it into a slow-paced waltz complete with a romantic brass section is absolutely wonderful.

“Marina” is one of those albums that I’m not afraid to just turn on anywhere I’m at, especially if I need some thing to calm my nerves after a crappy day. It also happens to be one of my favorite albums to play in the kitchen while I’m washing dishes, cooking, or staring down one of my cats. Overall, this has become one of my favorite goto albums this year, and I highly recommend it to both those who enjoy Vaporwave and to those who aren’t as familiar.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Lovers of all things Vaporwave, and those who aren’t as familiar but would like an accessible album to try.

Stand-Out tracks: “Esplanade,” (THE HORNS OH MY SWEET GODDESS THE HORNS), “Waterfront,” “Blue Sky,” “Kirra Sunset.”

Album Color Profile: #6633FF

You can find all things TUPPERWAVE at https://thevaporroom.bandcamp.com/

Void Stare is a cyberpunk influenced dark synth project from Australia. It features the vocalist from Brisbane’s black ambient metallers Spire. “Zero One” tells the tale of an “omniprescent dark force” that either traverses through or exists simultaneously in multiple locations. These locations in “Zero One” are all cyberpunk or science fiction related. Each one is given a track, which is a really cool idea for a concept album. It reminds me a bit of the Loc-Nar from the movie Heavy Metal (1981).

The first time I spun “Zero One” I didn’t get it. And I suspect that the majority of people who give this album a go will be in the same boat. THAT SAID–“Zero One” isn’t your garden variety type of darksynth that exploits the listener by using major scales or their relative minor scales to inject the music with “feels.” This album is purposely engineered with the intention of satisfying listeners looking to be confronted with something a little different.

For the most part, “Zero One” is instrumental with the exception of two really cool moments with “Soldier (A Martian Death)” and “Seethe (Trapped in Obsidian Eyes).” Other songs like “Crusader (Perfect Heresy Machine) feature what sounds like Mongolian throat singing. Structurally, all of the songs are fully fleshed out explorations that avoid using the traditional verse, prechourus, chorus structure. There’s a noise element to this album that adds to the album’s atmosphere. At times, “Zero One” reminded me a lot of the live action Ghost in the Shell (2017) soundtrack, but I think it tends to be a bit more bleak. Other times I felt small traces of Tangerine Dream (think “Phaedra” and “Rubycon”) sneak into Void Stare’s work. Keep in mind though that this has a more postmodern sound to it production wise.

“Zero One” is sophisticated darksynth in the same way that Emperor’s “IX Equilibrium” is sophisticated black metal. You are going to hear something new every time you give this album a spin. With that in mind—ask yourself: how many darksynth artists are capable of creating a similar experience?

Overall, Void Stare isn’t in the business of creating music that is easy to listen to. Don’t expect bass drops with “Zero One.” This is NOT a melodic, lead driven dark synth album. The first couple of times I listened to “Zero One” I missed so many small details that make this release really fucking good. It is an album that will attack any preconceptions of what you’d like to think darksynth should sound like. “Zero One” has a challenging repertoire of songs that are dangerously catchy once you are prepared to understand exactly what it is that it is doing.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Listeners who want to be challenged, folks who like something a little darker, people who like music that takes risks.

Stand-out tracks: “Rachel (Suffer by Design)” (aka the fucking best track, I love this one), “Decomissioned (Abandon the Protodome),” “Tannhauser Gate (N6maa10816),” “Crusader (Perfect Heresy Machine)”

Album Color Profile: #C62828