“Amiga-Tech” is the sophomore release from Bermuda vaporwave producer Shima33. For those who aren’t familiar with vaporwave, it’s like DJing in that it’s a sample-based art form. However, vaporware is geared toward a particular appeal: nostalgia. Vaporwave artists have sampled infomercials, television theme songs and smooth jazz; at its best, the genre transforms the hollow background noise of a past era into something dystopian, haunting and groovy.
On “Amiga-Tech,” Shima33 brings together all these elements. As a producer, he chops and screws his samples to give his music a distincitvely off-kilter, industrial sound. His use of pitched-down vibraphone samples and echoed snare drums create an atmosphere that’s like a slick digital mesh. At the end of the day though, these descriptions don’t do justice to why “Amiga-Tech” is so brilliant. Simply put, the album taps into a part of human emotion that other music hasn’t before, and it’s hard to explain exactly how. All I know is that like the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul,” “Family Guy” and egg creams, “Amiga-Tech” is an inherently good thing.
“Amiga Tech” begins with the track, “life is a rollercoaster,” which trucks along to clamoring, gated percussion, slowing down and speeding up erratically while the pitched-down vocal mantra “life is a roller coaster” repeats over and over again. The album continues and suddenly I’ve reached the end of the world–it’s all so strangely clinical, like the Duty Free area in an airport. God is talking over a loudspeaker and I can’t make out what he’s saying. It dawns on me that God is the cartoon guy from airplane safety pamphlets, the one with the oxygen mask over his face. A sensation of docile relief consumes me. I understand the order of things.
For a genre of music that’s only 5 years old, “Amiga-Tech” stands out as a bar-raiser, and that’s because it’s very real. From the album’s cover art which has a CGI version of what looks like one of the Easter Island heads, to its chopping and screwing of smooth jazz saxophone samples, “Amiga-Tech” conjures the sounds and aesthetic of a childhood I was too young to remember, but still find comfort and familiarity in. In this sense, “Amiga-Tech” represents, to me, a thrilling seed of untapped sincerity. To listen to “Amiga-Tech” and other albums by Shima33 visit shima33.bandcamp.com.
Howard is a member of the class of 2017.