SEPHORA脳バイブス – HOTEL GALANTHUS

Sephora - Hotel Galanthus

Named after the Andorran hotel, spa, and ski resort, HOTEL GALANTHUS bills itself as a “digital compilation of the sounds of confort(sic),” but it’s really just a standard sample curation album of mall muzak and easy-listening jams. That’s not a bad thing when the curator elicits an aesthetic leitmotif with careful presentation and editing; unfortunately, SEPHORA脳バイブス’s editing is sloppy, with drastic differences in fidelity between tracks that betray the producer’s limited experience.1 The tracks have no thematic tie to their titles or the sky-high leisure/recreation theme that HOTEL GALANTHUS seeks to elicit. Many of these samples are sonically interesting and provide for a fun listen – such as “5 LANGUAGES (ESP/ENG/FRA/CAT/RUS)” – but clumsily fit into the context of resort lifestyle.

“GYM/GETMOVIN’!” is the chillest track on the album. Is that ironic? Definitely. Is that ironic on purpose? Maybe, but this isn’t the album to ask those questions, especially when the rest of the work sounds so unfinished. Rez x Oscob’s Virtual High trilogy has issues in being too self-absorbed and memetic, but they did a damn fine job at framing their samples through dubbed electronic vocals and imagery. “Snowboard Day” sounds like an outtake from James Ferraro’s Far Side Virtual in its sterile yet unbeatably ebullient sound; it’s a good sample and one that’s certain to give the listener a hit or two of faux-nostalgia.

Framing is so important in vaporwave. HOTEL GALANTHUS is an example of the fact that the genre cannot survive on goofy samples alone without attention to context and interpretation. The best sample curation albums in vaporwave are the ones that cleverly (and carefully) select and edit these samples to elicit very particular moods and motifs, such as Infinity Frequencies’ melancholy Computer Death and ░▒▓新しいデラックスライフ▓▒░’s landmark vapornoise release ▣世界から解放され▣. While the samples themselves are generally pleasant, HOTEL GALANTHUS fails as a vaporwave album in concept and presentation.

1. RECEPTION JINGLE – (1:13) – ★★★★☆
2. FOUR STAR RATING – (1:28) – ★★★★☆
3. BUFFET – (1:13) – ★★☆☆☆
4. FREE WiFi – (1:26) – ★★★☆☆
5. PERSONAL PARKING LOT – (2;32) – ★★★☆☆
6. 5 LANGUAGES (ESP/ENG/FRA/CAT/RUS) – (2:17) – ★★☆☆☆
7. SNOWBOARD DAY – (1:34) – ★★★☆☆
8. GYM/GET MOVIN’! – (2:52) – ★★☆☆☆
9. LEMON ESSENCE/TURKISH BATH – (0:58) – ★☆☆☆☆
10. COLD/HOT JACUZZI – (2:02) – ★★★☆☆
11. EXCLUSIVE SERVICES – (1:23) – ★☆☆☆☆
12. LOUNGE/CHILL/CAFETERIA – (1:33) – ★★☆☆☆
13. FINE SELECTION OF WINE – (2:35) – ★★☆☆☆
14. 6TH ROOM TV ROOM – (2:12) – ★★☆☆☆
15. DO NOT DISTURB – (2:04) – ★★☆☆☆
16. HOPE TO SEE YOU BACK SOON – (2:48) – ★★★★☆

Overall: ★★☆☆☆

1E.g. “Snowboard Day” compared to “Exclusive Services.”

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