I don’t buy into the argument that it is a “purely aesthetic” music genre. But I will say that the aesthetic and the music do go hand in hand. I think it’s actually kind of interesting (and sometimes maddening) that there is a genre that the album art is almost as important as the music on the actual album. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Let’s be honest, I think most people “discover” vaporwave through the art that is packaged with it. Seeing the bust of helios over a pink and black checkerboard over and over again on /mu/ is basically the reason I found vaporwave in the first place. So yes, the album covers (and the net art scene as a whole) are pretty important. I think they bring people into the scene that wouldn’t have discovered it by chance in the first place.
Yet this does bring up an entire new set of problems, just how the actual music in the scene can get stale, and stagnant, so can the art accompanying it. Yes you can slow down a 80s disco song AGAIN and yes you can use a roman bust and some hirigana with a vhs filter AGAIN, but that isn’t going to move the scene forward. It’s just gonna be the same stale shit over and over again that is gonna bore the die hard fans and make the new fans disinterested.
I can’t say if the scene is about “hit the ceiling and burst the bubble” but I will say that those who are interested and passionate about vaporwave needs to make sure the newer artists on the scene are getting the exposure they deserve. And if you think you can do something new, something that will add to the vaporwave experience, fuck, go pirate bay some audio software and rip some youtube video mp3s. Make something, explore, ask questions, dive deeper.
I’ll end this little rant with what I think was the best part of the “Floral Shoppe 2 explanation” from Dreamcatalogue:
“What is innovative now is vaporwave. Because of its presentation, the music becomes more than just a song and instead something larger than that – having a cinematic effect, if you will. I know this is a concept that Hong Kong Express shares as it is something we have discussed, and is the reason why Dream Catalogue presents their albums and music videos (except Floral Shoppe 2, heh) with such vivid imagery behind them. This is ultimately the next innovation in music, and people who say “vaporwave is dead” are completely off base, I tihk. I say instead that music is dead, and may vaporwave continue to live.”