Hello everybody! This is my first time writing a review on Æ² and I'm happy to contribute! I write reviews on Vaporwave & Future Funk albums on my website Agora Road and I also have an aesthetic Vaporwave community Forum called Agora Road’s Macintosh Café. You can check it out here! Now enough about me, let's get on with the review of One Hundred Mornings by Windows 96.
To start I need to state that this is a legendary album in the Vaporwave community that was released on Bandcamp on July 13th 2018. The first thing you will notice is that this album uses a lot of synths in its tracks, but still keeps its ambient vaporwave-esque style. We do have some standouts and it does have a unique rhythm. Below are some songs that hold dear and true to vaporwave. Now let's get to it!
Caligula - When I first heard this track I thought “Wait is it Christmas already?”. It may be just me but the use of Christmas bells are apparent through the track. If Windows96 meant to hit the nostalgic side of Vaporwave to really get into your neocortex and hit those fuzzy Christmas nostalgia, then you'll be hit right at home (with me at least). Aside from my personal feelings of Christmas nostalgia the rest of the song is a perfect mix of electronica, synths and memorising chillwave beats with a hint of sampled lyrics. Also, as I'm listening to it some more, I can see this as a “schools out” Summer kinda song.
Abstract - Abstract is the perfect name for this song because it really is “abstract”. It starts off calm and elusive with a nice slow piano, then a sudden shift to wavy beats and wavy humans. This track will possibly give you a psychedelic experience and leave a rhythmic ocean of time sound infused in your ears.
Visions I - Up next we have Visions 1, Windows96 added a nice flute to the mix and we can hear it mix masterfully with the drums and the padded synths in the background. You can think of this track as a vaporwave forest soundtrack, I feel like if this song were in a music video, it would go well with shots of waterfalls and abandoned forests (instead of malls). Don't get me wrong this track is still true with synthesizers but I just have the vision in my mind that this song connects with nature. Just like how the album cover is a lone reflected mountain.
Bliss - Now Bliss… what can I say? This starts off with some classic smooth clicks of drum sticks and piano melody. Then it infuses with a baseline of synths in the background and added fuzzy effects. I feel that this track has more of a futuristic dream vibe. It keeps its original style from the beginning and we get flutes from Visions I; However, not gonna lie, somewhere in the middle of it all, it did sound like the beat was a little repetitive and seemed like it got stuck.
Rituals - Rituals is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. Right away this song presents you with an upbeat electric piano and synthesized beats. Then we blast off with a faster version of flutes and you feel like your in a dance-off with a spiritual deity and chasing a psychedelic dance studio. That may be why it’s called Rituals, you have to perform the ritual of dance with this being and honour the vaporwave spirits.
Mind Mirage - And now we come to the end. Mind Mirage is the last track of the album. This one really ties the whole album together. It masterfully takes all of the good parts in almost every track and infuses them into a perfect symbiotic rhythm. We can even hear those bells from the first track very distinctly. When listening to this album you will feel like you are immersed in a mirage in the virtual plaza. This would be the most psychedelic sounding song on the album, there are more shifts in instruments and feels like the sounds are going from left to right of your mind.
Overall this is a wonderful album to listen to and you can hear the shift from ambient to more Synthwave and psychedelic throughout the album. This is the epitome of the Vaporwave scene. I highly recommend that you listen to this album RIGHT NOW! Don’t just take my word for it, play this album IMMEDIATELY and prepare to have your world changed.
Illustration by dutchtide