REVIEW: Peter Zimmermann – VAPORDISCO (2019)

Playing with the same 80s synth aesthetics nearly dragged to death by Stranger Things and the synthwave craze, Peter Zimmermann’s budget disco sound and cover art aesthetics are still exciting for Italo disco fans both dedicated and casual (such as myself).

VAPORDISCO gives itself to its namesake. Smooth sample chopping weaves behind the scenes of slow grinding rhythms complemented by arpeggio synth lines while 80s pop samples are pitched down to create the muddied effect of vaporwave classics.

Warm low kicks and reverb-hazy snares teeter back and forth, complemented by nearly inconsequential hi-hat patterns. Only on the 4th track E X H A L E does VAPORDISCO’s rigid 1s and 3s drum machine pattern face any kind of shake-up (which even then is minimal). Unfortunately, tracks like I NEED YOU fail to enhance or create anew from its sample usage. While the songs aren’t bad by any means, it can leave someone familiar with the source material feeling fairly underwhelmed.

The album’s energy does pick-up midway through with THE NIGHT; a pumping ethereal rollerskating jam sounding like Depeche Mode producing Michael Jackson’s Thriller. From here the album is more artistically ambitious, energized and ready to roll. It’s-, well, thrilling. The overarching theme of the album proceeds to pay off almost entirely from the midway point.

Now energized, VAPORDISCO’s hedonic approach lends itself to the fun and levity one needs to appreciate the non-political escapism that vaporwave has to offer. Once sold on the album’s fun side, VAPORDISCO allows itself to go slightly moodier with VAPORBOI before setting like the sun with hazy closing track YOUR BODY.

Time to hit the rink.

For fans of: Glass Candy, Night Tempo, Naked Eyes

Like Peter Zimmermann? Give these a listen: e•motion, Jaguardini, Niveum

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