Illustrating the many sub-strains of what is now collectively branded as “vaporwave” is almost as difficult as isolating what defines the genre as a whole. It runs the risk of easily skipping over the nuances of what each individual artist seeks to achieve conceptually with a relatively similar musical template. While Computer Decay is similar in approach to, say, Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1 — it’s composed mostly of minimal recompositions of corporate muzak, popular hits, and New Age music (with a little classical and romantic thrown in) — Infinity Frequencies’ modus operandi here is a more restrained realization, where elements are condensed and highlighted until they are merely colors and refractions, something very distanced from many other practitioners of “vaporwave.”
These refractions, these glimpses into a surreal world distanced by time and matter, are made anew with their recovery. The majority of the ephemeral matter these pieces are lifted from — VHS, audio cassette, vinyl — fade as they age. All we have left from the heyday of these media are memories that evaporate as time passes. But when they are chronicled and recycled into these haunting drones and mirages, their inherent meaning shifts from obsolete to something more revelatory. The track titles reference time (“Forever,” “Waiting”), decay (“Flesh,” “Atrophy”), and ultimately death (“Forgotten,” “Absence”), and while these words may be blunt and simple, they match Infinity Frequencies’ aesthetic. The combination of distorted voices, whirring keyboards, and vaguely mournful strings invokes a nostalgic reflection of fragmented experiences, from the panoramic splendor of “Traces,” to the desolate isolation of “Forgotten,” to the resonant, eerie beauty of “Serpent statue.”
And while it’s obvious that very little is being done technically in the way of source manipulation — apart from the incessant looping, delay, reverb, and pitch-shifting — this is ultimately the point. By focusing on (perhaps) unidentifiable snapshots and drawing them out, warping them ever so subtly as would the natural decay, Infinity Frequencies takes the emphasis away from his own physical craft toward the then-unseen characteristics of the original, be as it may that in Eccojam form they are devoid of their creator’s intent.
In other words, Computer Decay isn’t your typical “vaporwave” construct. Yes, all the signposts are here, but something very different is articulated here. It goes back to what its original creators may or may not have been attempting to do but were assumed to be doing anyway: a subversive take on our own fall into the “virtual plaza,” a post-capitalist commercial doom. When Infinity Frequencies reveals to us these artifacts, gathered from the recesses of the collective knowledge, their unintentional beauty lulls us into a dream recovery of haze and vapor, and we’re privy to a similar slip into obscurity and decay.