Appropriation show and tell “Vapourwave”

by | Oct 10, 2017 | Show & Tell

V a p o u r w a v e

PDF Document


I chose the vapourwave genre not only because I like listening to it, but also because I think it is a perfect example of appropriation. It takes samples of songs from the 80’s – 90’s (typically jazz, elevator, disco, r&b, hip hop music), and transforms them into something new. Well not really new, but something very different from the original songs. The samples usually get chopped up, slowed down, filtered, or cut, which gives the new appropriated piece a very chilled out, laidback and slow vibe, thus giving perhaps nostalgic, utopic or surrealist feelings to the listeners. Vapourwave is also based around the concepts of failed promises of capitalism, hence the music and visuals are often associated with old commercials, computer softwares, technology, popular entertainment etc.


Aesthetics play a big role in the genre too. Aesthetics is a word usually associated with the visuals that go with the music. It’s what makes up vapourwave, its unique visuals. Often you’d see Japanese letterings, old Microsoft layouts, brands, purple / pink color schemes and retro style graphics in music videos of the genre. Again, taking old visuals from the 80s and 90s, and transforming them into something new. Sort of like a collage thing. Examples of music and aesthetics can be seen in the PDF document above.


With the themes of nostalgia, capitalism, consumerism, satire, surrealism, and not to mention the art, really gives this genre its uniqueness and makes it a great example of appropriation.