Wandering the Aisles

In little-traveled corners of Bandcamp, you can find musicians carving out a musical niche that is dedicated to creating weird soundscapes under the banner “mallsoft” or “vaporwave”. The aesthetic choices of these artists seem to explore the alienation of shopping— and capitalism, by extension— of large and empty mall spaces, of terrible music forced on you as part of the cost of traversing those spaces and a love of carving cracks into that facade with glitched imagery, echo effects, stuttering and distant.

This album from 식료품groceries was my introduction, starting as it does with a synth cover of a Cyndi Lauper song, then in track 2 (지하철Morning Commute), you hear the rumbling of a train and a soft jazz saxophone that somehow keeps pace with the train’s motion. There’s distant cymbal crashing from some other music source that has nothing to do with the saxophone, and automated voices reading announcements that just flicker at the edge of awareness.

Before you know it: You’re at the mall. Track 3. You Are Here.

Enjoy exploring the aisles.