Macintosh Plus/Vaporwave/Aesthetics/Visual Rhetoric 4/7/2018

It occurred to me yesterday that artists who release music without the help of a DIY label are just as relevant to this project as artists who do release music with the assistance of a label. How unfair and close-minded of me.

So, in honor of that revelation, I will be focusing on an artist who I don't necessarily enjoy personally but nonetheless appreciate due to the fact that she is one of a handful of artists who inspired an entire generation of experimental electronic musicians to fearlessly push their chosen sub-genres into realms never before imagined. Ramona Andra Xavier releases music under numerous monikers--the most well-known being Macintosh Plus. However, I will be focusing on her moniker Vektroid--being that this is the one she uses for her Twitter account.

Brief backstory: Xavier released an album entitled "Floral Shoppe" under the moniker Macintosh Plus in 2011 via the label Beer On The Rug (I know I just said she releases music independently--I swear this is the one and only time [to my knowledge] that she released an album via a label). With this album, she helped invented a new electronic sub-genre known now as Vaporwave. Classic Vaporwave (I say "classic" because--as I said before-- there are many offshoots of this genre) plunderphonics-based music mostly comprised of 80s songs sampled/slowed-down/chopped/looped. It's more complicated than that--obviously--so if you want to know more, I suggest following the link.

A large part of Vaporwave is its visual aesthetic . I will be focusing on this aspect of Vaporwave for this post being that, rhetorically, the aesthetic is more powerful than the music itself. This is endlessly intriguing to me.


So, above we have a few typical Vektroid posts. Notice this has nothing to do with her music--directly. These are just photos that speak to retro video game nostalgia (I think that's a Sega Dreamcast?)--which is a common theme in Vaporwave visual aesthetic. Notice the amount of likes (and retweets) these photos have. A large majority of Vektroid's Twitter is devoted to these kind of posts. They seem to work for her music just as much as any post that deals directly with the advertising of her albums.


And, above we have two different posts that are actually geared towards advertising Vektroid's music. Language is sparse. The post that contains the actual link to her BandCamp does not have any rhetorical value, really. There is no scheme behind it. It's a statement of fact, and nothing more. However, the post above it is endlessly more interesting. One word and one symbol (Seed, &). The way they are arranged does not necessarily create an image--but it's something more than just a word and a symbol being repeated over and over. The word and symbol do not have meaning in themselves (besides denoting the name of the album, obviously). The rhetorical situation becomes visual--because of this lack of meaning in the words. If spoken aloud, they would be a mantra of sorts. However, this is not the case.

With all of this in mind, I plan on searching for scholarly articles (for my next post) that deal with this visual/textual relationship.
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