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The Search Is Over: Toyohirakumin’s Nakano Botanical Gardens

Vaporwave, vaporwave, vaporwave. It is a thing that still exists, and a micro-genere fond of Japan. REALLY fond of Japan. Releases from vaporwave artists often figure splashes of Japanese on the cover and on the tracklisting…hope you have a good Firefox add-on…and some songs are built around samples of old J-pop or Japanese commercials. Funny thing though – most of the people making this music are not Japanese! Despite the constant claim this stuff comes from Japan (Neo-Tokyo, OK), it never really is.

Until (maybe) now, with Toyohirakumin. This artist is from Sapporo, and the Twitter reveals Japanese not at the usual goofy level on display. Newest album, Nakano Botanical Gardens, is a very relaxing collection of music, avoiding a lot of the hallmarks of vaporwave (vocal samples, mainly) in favor of just lightly manipulated takes on music coming from…who knows where. Yet this one is inviting – “A Wonderful Library” just drifts by all lovely like, while “We Arrived In Sapporo” is a lovely snow-smacked jaunt. And the saxophone, oh man the saxophone. It blows through some of the songs here like a phantom on the street, probably the most stereotypically “vaporwave” thing about this album, but I love it. This is an above-average collection to emerge from the genre, from a maybe possibly Japanese person! Listen below, or get it here.