Recently, vaporwave and experimental electronic artist, Blank Banshee, released his latest album titled “MEGA”. “MEGA” features a recognizable vaporwave sound that is common througout the fairly new genre, but also has numerous aspects that separate Blank Banshee and his material from anyone else in vaporwave and in the process show the growth in the genre over the last few years. Personally, I was not too familiar with vaporwave as a genre before this review and actually knew nothing about Blank Banshee himself, so I thought this would be a interesting album to review since I did not have a previous background in either the artist or the genre they write in.
Despite not knowing much about Blank Banshee himself, it was very apparent within the first few tracks that his sound was one that heavily relied on the use of reverb. Throughout the entire release the high quality production is constantly accompanied by a heavy use of reverb, which enhances the sound and style that Blank Banshee himself is trying to achieve. However, the use of reverb isn’t the only prominent tool used to capture this desired sound heard on “MEGA”. The frequent use of soundscapes (that at numerous times even creates an atmospheric vaporwave sound), trap influenced beats, and various altered samples helps encompass the ultimate sound of this project.
In my opinion the strongest feature of Blank Banshee’s unique sound is the numerous soundscapes heard in tracks like “Frozen Flame” and “EXOS”. These almost entirely soundscape based songs, mixed in with reverb and even some panning like that heard on the more hip-hop influenced “Sandclock”, help show how multi-dimensional “MEGA” is and in return prove that vaporwave as a genre is beginning to evolve and diverge into different subgenres. These soundscapes and synth pads, created using various pan flutes, string and wind instruments, and other software-generated sounds only help to compliment the trap-like beats heard on virtually every song. Along with this, the bright yet simplistic album artwork helps to visually describe this sound while fitting the vaporwave aesthetic.
When listening to “MEGA” the use of experimentation is also extremely obvious. Fitting the style of the genre itself, “MEGA” constantly jumps from section to section, never staying on one riff or part for too long. The short length in tracks (the longest track on the record is only 2:37) allows for these brief compositions to flow easily from one track to another. Despite experimentation, there are only a few moments where the record is rough sounding and not melodic. Usually heard at the beginning of the release, these seemingly unpleasant sections and samples are slightly distracting, but do not last long and ultimately have a small, yet significant negative impact on the release. Most of the album is actually very relaxed and slow in tempo except for the track “My Machine”, which sounds like a modern version of a notable earlier The Prodigy release. However, during the melodic moments, this experimental electronic sound pays off and helps incorporate the vaporwave sound in a refreshing style.
In summation, I give “MEGA” by Blank Banshee an 8.3/10. If you’re new to vaporwave like myself I definitely suggest starting here with this album. Its high quality production and mix of classic vaporwave influence with modern sounding beats and instrumentals helps bridge the gap between an electronic music fan and a long time vaporwave fan. Listen to the full album below and if you enjoy it make sure to pick up a copy off Blank Banshee’s bandcamp page!
Download “MEGA” here: