Wispy horns that warble like gargling banshees.
Beats that crunch harder than a Chuck E. Cheese ticket muncher.
Groovy samples stretched into parallel timelines that croon with muffled thumps through the walls of our own.
Welcome to The Page Master’s world. We hope you wore something purple.
Released in June of 2014—practically the year 1 B.C., as far as vaporwave’s modern rebirth goes—Vincent Remember’s The Page Master is the elegy of a genre creeping into its chrysalis. Its haunting take on classic vaporwave foretells the new day of vaporwave that would be birthed by 2814 the following year, as Vincent Remember enshrouds its looping roots in the melancholic aura of an unfamiliar necropolis.
As for the album’s namesake inspiration, the 1994 Macaulay Culkin film The Pagemaster, Vincent Remember sees the movie–music connection as purely visceral.
“The movie is pretty much vaporware at this point,” says Mark Cave, the name behind Vincent Remember. “Nobody remembers it. We don't understand why. I mean everybody remembers Home Alone but nobody remembers Pagemaster... the synopsis for the movie was that Macaulay Culkin was reading a book, and he kind of went into the books, into the world of the book and this magical cartoon place where he became the hero.”
“I'm not saying that translates to the idea of The Page Master album. No, I kind of wanted to take people into this purple world. That's something like synesthesia when people see sound? To me, The Page Master is just purple.”
As his seventh album, The Page Master marks significant growth for Cave since his 2013 vaporwave debut, a time of rapid change for the genre as a whole. Cave describes his first serendipitous introduction to vaporwave through Russian producer Massimo Mikelli.
“I was just browsing SoundCloud one day, maybe listening to Mirror Kisses or something, and one of his tracks popped up on the side,” Cave says, “and it was Thelma Houston's ‘You Used to Hold Me So Tight’, but slowed down. And I was just like: Wow. What the hell is this?”
“I loved the way vaporwave’s inception was anti-capitalistic, and then it started to kind of morph into whatever it became afterwards,” he adds, describing how his mindset overlapped with the genre’s. “I didn't go to school for anything like this, but I study spirituality and whatnot and I study how subliminal messages affect the subconscious mind.”
“At first I was just copying what everybody else was doing. You know, just taking tracks and slowing them down,” Cave says. “On SoundCloud, I was releasing music and t e l e p a t h would just comment on some of my tracks, and I would comment on some of his tracks, and we got to messaging each other.”
“We would send ideas back and forth—long, elaborate things that t e l e p a t h would type up. He has a whole story behind the project that he kind of just wrote,” Cave continues, suggesting the brief direct collaboration led to bigger things. “We only worked on one track together: the title track, and he took that sample, then I threw some effects behind it. It was interesting because in the 2814 project he later did with HKE... I don't think that would exist if it weren't for Interstellar Love.”
From there, Cave says Vincent Remember really came into its own.
“The Page Master for me was a time period where I was just finding my footing as a vaporwave producer,” he says. “I was experimenting with more dreamy landscapes…and kind of stepping away from that monotonous, '80s influenced sound of classic vaporwave.”
“It's just not the same old same ol’ slow down an '80s track and just leave it like that,” Cave continues. “It was pretty much just the start of what I wanted to do, and from there I wanted to add other influences to how I produced vaporwave, just getting a feel of what was to come. My last release was Culture Vulture, in which I meshed a world that I personally came from and personally experienced, which is the Jersey club and Baltimore club scene... The Page Master helped me to get to my latest release five years later.”
Cave also cites t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 as an ongoing motivator.
“I wasn’t trying to compete with t e l e p a t h, but at the time he was releasing stuff like every damn day,” Cave says, saying how The Page Master came together in under two months. “I didn't have that much output, but I saw what was going on in the community, and how you had to be a little bit more up on releasing music, so I was trying to compete with that, to say the least. But you know, five years ago that was my mindset. Now I want to take my time.”
From there, The Page Master’s reception was impactfully positive. Both it and Interstellar Love were included under the Hypnogogic umbrella on the original 2014 Vaporwave Essentials Guide, a still-valid compass used by vaporwave newcomers to orient themselves with timeless greats like S U R F I N G’s Deep Fantasy, or Luxury Elite & Saint Pepsi’s Late Night Delight.
“You didn't have all these people asking ‘Is this Vaporwave? Can this be considered Vaporwave?’ I guess people had a more solid idea of what vaporwave was,” Cave says of the scene’s early days, before pivoting towards his thoughts on its future.
“I honestly predict it being absorbed by other cultures and genres,” he explains. “I see a lot of guys really trying to take vaporwave from the internet and make it a physical thing. I'm not speaking about selling records or selling tapes or anything like that. But here in Philadelphia, I've done a few shows with death’s dynamic shroud.wmv and 식료품groceries (Jordan Bortner). And I think from what it's doing now, it's going to become more of a thing where you can connect with actual people.”
Cave describes his own live performances in contrast with other live vaporwave sets.
“I more so treat my set like a deejay set, as opposed to recreating the tracks live,” he says. “I kind of just get out my controller and I'm just blending tracks because I want people to dance.”
“Have you ever been to a vaporwave show? People are kind of just standing there, zoned out to drone music... you can move to a Vincent Remember track.”
With The Page Master finally getting the physical release Cave always wanted, he is looking to the future with enthusiasm—and his biggest fans, his kids, at his side.
“I'm working right now with my partner Bree on our project Camp Candle, and we're going to be putting out a release soon, heavily influenced by Blood Orange and Twin Shadow,” he says. “As far as Vincent Remember, I'm just really trying to figure out a sound and what direction I want to go to next. I don't like doing things twice. I don't like being super monotonous when I approach production.
“I'll look at some reviews, and their biggest critique is that ‘it's not really uniform.’ It's all over the place. But that's me: I have to be a little bit more... not concrete but just a little bit more strategic in my approach. So I definitely want to create the perfect Vincent Remember album next time I release a project, one that can actually transcend just a vaporwave boundary and really break into the greater indie world. I really want to do something like George Clanton and Saint Pepsi. I want to take Vincent Remember to those plateaus.”
Dan Goubert is a contributing writer for Æ². He is the Features Lead of Private Suite Magazine as "deliriously...daniel," and when he isn't collecting cassettes or blogging about breakfast cereal, you can find him thrifting, playing with his cat Jupiter, or scribbling something arcane into a notebook.