Macintosh Plus – Floral Shoppe (2011)

Macintosh Plus is one of many aliases used by Portland-based producer Ramona Xavier. While Macintosh Plus only had one release under that name, it is Xavier’s 11th studio album. Primarily, Xavier records under the pseudonym Vektroid but has also released music under other monikers such as New Dreams Ltd, Laserdisc Visions, 情報デスクVIRTUAL, and Fuji Grid TV. Despite having her name tied to so many aliases, Xavier perpetuates the concept of anonymity in vaporwave by releasing distinctively different music under each moniker. Macintosh Plus is no exception to this diversity.

Floral Shoppe kicks off with “ブート”, a dark and droning lounge song. As the song progresses it gets less and less accessible. Deep vocals are chopped and interrupted by slowed chunks of a forgotten saxophone solo. This constant (albeit unpredictable) arrhythmia continues throughout the song. There’s a constant feeling of uncertainty and discomfort throughout, though this is not necessarily a bad thing in any art form.

The second track is heralded as one of the most popular vaporwave tracks to date, and is called “リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー”. The primary motif of this song is introduced right away: A groovy and well-processed loop from Diana Ross’s “It’s Your Move”. While this track uses samples from Ross extensively, I feel that the way that it is displayed (or redistributed) is very clever. The track revolves around Ross’s misheard lyric, “it’s all in your head,” repeating it several times. The original sample is slowed down to the point where one might mistake the vocalist as male. After several verses and the primary refrain are repeated many times, the song twists into an even slower and more spacey dystopian dirge.

One noteworthy track is entitled “ECCOと悪寒ダイビング”, roughly translating to “ECCO chills and diving.” The track title is presumably a reference to the Sega Genesis game Ecco the Dolphin, and very likely an ode to Chuck Person’s Ecco Jams Vol. 1. A very dreamy and hypnotic track.

The 7th track is one of my favorites. “数学” starts off with a very industrial loop. Various glitchy and mechanical sounds are on loop, joined by occasional saxophone fills. This track is oddly pleasant to listen to. Despite how random and chaotic everything seems to be, there is a degree of order and beauty behind it. There’s no real sense of time despite the elements of the song that loop endlessly. Saxophones, synths, and electric guitars playfully add fills to the texture in a way that would make The KLF proud.

There’s a reason why I recommend this album to people as an intro to vaporwave. That being said, there are certainly some some low points on this album. Some tracks showcase some really inventive and clever sampling while others come off as overly experimental; granted, vaporwave is a very experimental genre. For example, the first track really took some warming up to. I suppose it’s not a bad thing if music challenges the listener in its delivery. If certain music is supposed to evoke certain feelings in the listener, it can be unbelievably refreshing (and challenging) to hear something that makes you feel something you can’t quite explain.

Favorite Track: 数学 (Track 7)

Macintosh Plus - Floral Shoppe

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