Review Summary: ECO VIRTUAL continues to keep us up to date with the latest weather analysis around the globe with an album that showcases their keen ability to create a nostalgic atmosphere.
Vaporwave is one of the most fascinating musical trends to have appeared in recent times. Its appealing take on new age combined with its criticism of consumerist society makes for a thought provoking listen and creates its own world. This world that vaporwave seems to take place in, of course, never happened but at the same time it feels like it did. This strange feeling of nostalgia is often applied to vaporwave albums and their related imagery and ECO VIRTUAL are somewhat notable in the vaporwave community for being particularly good at creating this nostalgic aesthetic (aesthetic perhaps the best way of describing ECO VIRTUAL's sound in a general sense) through their creative approach of presenting their music as a weather channel.
Though ECO VIRTUAL has all of the common aspects familiarly associated with contemporary vaporwave artists; the chopped and screwed lounge/new age/department store muzak sound, the fascination with glitch art, renaissance artefacts, old fashioned computer systems, 90’s circa anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Sailor Moon and of course the Japanese kana spewed everywhere. ECO VIRTUAL also has a particular affinity to exotic plant life such as rainforests, banana trees and aloe vera and of course the thing that characterises ECO VIRTUAL’s particular brand of vaporwave: weather.
With ATMOSPHERES 3, ECO VIRTUAL has taken the nostalgic climate of the albums predecessor and combined it with a faster paced environment, touching on storms and gardens and giving the album a groovier sound than the drifty ATMOSPHERES 2 possessed with songs like the evocative “Shinsekkijidai Nostalgia” and “New Moon” having catchy vocal hooks that help you get into the songs atmosphere and drive the songs. The album makes it clear from the get go with “Stonehenge de Taima Kitsuen” that it’s an entirely different beast to its predecessors and yet exactly the same idea with its hollow percussion and soothing synthesisers. The new age style music commonly associated with department stores and elevators is the main musical focus on the album, much like the albums before it and other contemporary vaporwave artists, however ECO VIRTUAL's sound has it's own distinct aesthetic to it and ATMOSPHERE's 3 showcases that well.
The weather of ATMOSPHERES 3 provides a little more variation than ATMOSPHERES 2 had with songs like the mechanical yet organic “GEOMAGNETIC STORM (watch)” with its layers of clanking percussion superimposed over a warm guitar line followed directly by the brief two-part track “HUMIDEX / Nettaiurin Surf” which unfortunately is far too short but conveys a cool atmosphere while it lasts, briefly transporting you to the humid climate of the rainforest. One of the albums stand out moments is the breezy jazz of “Lavender Club,” it’s cool saxophone painting both the seductive allure of an adult lounge, complete with bar and pool and at the same time, the self-indulgent isolation of an internet café. Throughout the albums short life span it provides the listener with a thematically focused, uplifting sound that can only be found in vaporwave. Unlike a large percentage of vaporwave bands that jumped on the band wagon when Macintosh Plus and co arrived on the scene a while back, ATMOSPHERES 3 displays that ECO VIRTUAL has something different to offer to the vaporwave scene while still remaining distinctly vaporwave. Although it does need to be noted that ATMOSPHERES 3's music is best combined with ECO VIRTUAL's photography and images that can be found on the band's facebook page. Nonetheless the album proudly stands on its own as an intriguing vaporwave album.
ECO VIRTUAL’s ATMOSPHERES 3 nicely takes the empty background filler of elevator and department store muzak and reverses it’s effect to create atmospheres that fill the music. Throughout the ridiculously brief running time of the album, ATMOSPHERES 3 transports you to Stonehenge, rainforests, internet cafes and a plethora of other assorted natural and inorganic places with its “Advanced Climate Research & Analysis Music.” ATMOSPHERES 3 samples new age, lounge and muzak aesthetics to create an immersive LP that showcases ECO VIRTUAL’s keen ear for nostalgic sounding music and provides the perfect backdrop to their Eco image. Accurate weather predictions and environmentally friendly, ATMOSPHERES 3 is a captivating vaporwave album with its own twist, be sure to check it out.