ロストエデンへのパス (The Path To Lost Eden) is the 2015 album by Vaporwave and Electronic psychedelic artists t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 and Nmesh, respectively.
With a 2 hour runtime, this behemoth of a split album forces even the most reluctant listener into its steady molasses groove. Massive layers of synth pads blanket the album in a lush fog, a defining feature I would eventually come to view as an intense dedication to New Age flaccidity.
Interrupting ロストエデンへのパス’s slow serenity are moments of jarring tackiness. E.g. the Nmesh produced 心はシダであります, in which punchy synth flutes dominate all sonic space. Other notably grating moments include a scattershot of speech samples; a litany of gritty male monologues throughout the album and the standout soft-pornographic dialogue of 体熱.
Copy from the album’s Bandcamp page sells Nmesh’s use of speech sampling as the following: “Fans of Nmesh will recognize his narrative-like composition techniques, with use of quotes to maintain a sense of cohesion between the different tracks and new age vibes…”, which posits that the most finely crafted art in relation to this album is the art of good copy.
By track 9 I had wished the album had ended by track 2. Nmesh never quite breaks away from or expands upon this sound, which by the time the album nears the 1 hour mark I can only pejoratively call it a ‘formula’. Chord progressions feel like an afterthought with each snippet of speech acting like a marker of time- more so a palette obstruction than a much needed palette cleanser.
I couldn’t have been more bored by the time the Telepath b-side takes hold. Not the ideal mentality to be in for the slow textural works of Vaporwave, particularly for a near 7 minute long soundscape.
Tacky synth flutes carry over to the album’s b-side, much to my disdain. But while remaining sonically complimentary to the Nmesh a-side, Telepath creates a degree of vigor which had previously been lacking.
The third Telepath song 東京の夜 blends percussive folly and synthetic instrumentation into a lush and rewarding track not topped anywhere else on the album. The use of processed vocal samples are intriguing here, especially after so many milquetoast speech samples across the a-side.
I wish Telepath’s contribution could have been more of a saving grace to ロストエデンへのパス, yet still has the shortcomings of a repetitive hour long work by itself. Perhaps if released on its own my view of the Telepath b-side would be more complimentary, but what doesn’t fix an hour of slow synth pads is more of the same.
In total, ロストエデンへのパス (The Path To Lost Eden) acts as a work of New Age Exotica by two white men- Nmesh, or Alex Koenig from Kentucky, and Telepath, or Luke Laurila from Ohio- and which at times uncomfortably strays into Orientalism.
While individual tracks have at times been intriguing to me, the album itself fails to expand upon ideas and emotions within the aesthetics both artists have stringently adhered to. There’s plenty of other meditative works out there to be explored, don’t worry about getting through this one.
For fans of: Macintosh Plus, Mandragora, Cobalt Road