Vaporwave Album Review: Champion by Teamm Jordann

Saturday, January 11th, 2020 by T r i t v s 正気

Welcome, my friends, to my review of a superb and rare piece of luxurious Vaporwave content brought to you by Teamm Jordann: “Champion”

Artist Description

Teamm Jordann is a collaboration between the two artists Teams and Daytime Television, “Champion” being the only album they have created together. Originally released on its own on Teamm Jordann’s Bandcamp, it made its way to a release with the well-known Vaporwave record label Orange Milk Records. As stated by OM, “Music makers known as Daytime Television and Teams join up to form Teamm Jordann. We’re excited to present their record, Champion, on Orange Milk. I keep saying that I’m not exactly sure what is sampled and what’s performed on the album, which is part of what makes it so exciting. What I do know is that it bangs pretty hard, is super catchy, and puts an emphasis on editing, chopping, and screwing. If you’ve seen the video for “Stadium” (vimeo.com/26452463) then you have a decent idea of what you’re getting into: the sounds of a pixelated digital screen within a screen, a beach run against a DX-7, Michael Jordan dunking.”

With such incredible material such as the “Stadium” music video on Vimeo, and the JORDANN website having hyped this album up, it’s time to take a close, hypnagogic dive into what each of these 12 sounds have to offer.

  1. I Need a Moment

This first track begins with a calming sort of white noise, with a subtle beat that makes it sound like it’s a song that has been lost in the atmosphere and you are just now receiving the distorted radio waves of this song for the first time in eons. This first half of the track takes you to an empty beach at the end of a summer day where the clouds have covered the sunset, and a strong wind chills your body. Once the sun sets, and all is dark and the subtle beat ceases, leaving nothing but a hollow white noise, you can begin to hear a much stronger beat in the distance. As it becomes more clear, the powerful bass boosted and distorted boom snaps you into a late-night 90’s basketball practice session in an empty stadium. This is the first taste of this album’s unique sound/genre, which I don’t really know how to describe it other than being 90’s basketball in music form. The boom fades, and soon the white noise returns briefly before going quiet. The lights in the stadium shut off.

  1. Stadium (Ignition)

After the stadium lights shut off from the practice session the night prior, night is day in one second and everything is lit again. This time the stadium full of people, the basketball game is at its peak, and the advertisement screens are brighter than ever. Admittedly, this song comes as a sort of jump-scare, as the last track was mellow and calm, and this track begins with a really strong tune and LOUDLY. Personally, I like this transition, it thrills me, it pumps me up, and the beat is incredibly hype. The choppiness and bass boosted nature of this track brings me the classic plunderphonics of the Eccojams era to my ears once again, and it bumps really hard. This tune is also repetitive, but over time adds more details into the sound and rhythm that keeps it fresh all the way through. The last 30 or so seconds of the track is completely different though and abruptly ends. As quickly as you awoke to the information overload and noise of the basketball game, you pass out.

  1. Champion

After you pass out, you’re in an all hypnagogic realm of strange visions and sounds. Random voices echo in between your ears and a repeating tone plays while you lay in the sand on a hot summer day, the colors of the palm trees and the sky distorting and changing. You sit up, there are plain white unrendered buildings in front of you. The people look too perfect to be real. You believe it’s normal though, after all you are in a dream world, a different state of mind. You are more open to possibility and your ideas of normality are dissolved. This new world you’ve entered is only temporary though, a place holder for your thoughts that only shows itself briefly.

  1. Belinda feat. Police Academy 6

You awake once more, this time the basketball game is only audio on the radio of the car you’re being driven in. Who knows who’s the driver, the sights of the city across the sunny coast is beautiful, however, some parts of the basketball game you were viewing intermittently find their way into your vision, are these memories, or is it the last bit of consciousness you still have catching glimpses of the ongoing game while you’re still in hypnagogia? The drums of this track never fail to pump me up just as the second track does. The unidentifiable voice sample in this track gives it a hint of surrealism, as well as the gradual development of new details in the repetitive beat sample, give this song life all the way through. It’s an ever-changing game of basketball this life is. Once the track begins to fade, and you hear the faint reverbs of the voice and the beat, it feels as you are transitioning back and forth between wakefulness and sleep.

  1. O

Sleep has won over, you are back in a full dream world that ceases to have any connection to the real world. More strange voices and ambient, slow-moving noise inhabits your mind as you trek the low-poly dunes, with clouds moving faster than your eyes can see, but you feel no wind. Every time you turn your vision scatters, echoes of your movements visiting your eyes several times before you can see clearly again. Everything slowly fades to black once more.

  1. Ass Clap Therapy (20,000 Hits) Feat. Labanna Babalon

I have to say, this is the craziest song on here. It is perfectly surreal, sensual, and it melts me every time I hear it. I don’t really have the words or vision to describe where this could even take you. Perhaps you’re floating through the universe and all its stars and nebulae while Labanna whispers and echoes those words into your ears, or you’re up late at night, scrolling a lagging computer screen that provides the only light in your room, seeing an endless amount of surreal imagery. This song is so strange it’s good, and the select few words I can catch every now and then as they delay and reverb through my head gives me goosebumps every time. Beautiful track. Ass Clap Therapy, 20,000 views who are you?

  1. Ryan Visions feat. Dick Models

After the completely chill atmosphere of the last track, we have yet another jump-scare. This one is really loud, almost, if not certainly obnoxiously so. I don’t really know how I feel about this track. I think it’s a neat tune, but I have to brace my ears and be quick to turn down my volume before it hits. But perhaps that’s too nitpicky, I still enjoy it. It can take you to an old arcade, full of games and bright screens blasting your eyes from every corner. Perhaps the volume of this track assists in this imagery, the loudness of the games pounding your ears as well. All of the retro scores and sound effects creating a symphony of arcade gaming goodness.

  1. Hall of Fame

Once again you are in a hypnagogic state, this time in a casino. This casino has endless seats, booths, and machines, the ceiling being incredibly high and palm trees growing out of the carpet. Thousands of coins being dropped, dispensed, thrown, constantly echoing throughout the casino as bright neon lights, signs, and the screens of lottery machine screens flash in your face. This track continues this album’s surrealism, and its gorgeous ambiance heals me.

  1. I Hurt So Much

Michael Jordan is right in front of you, bouncing a basketball from side to side, the court is infinite, and there are no bleachers. The court begins moving from under your feet, everything is replaced by a sea of lights, a bird’s eye view of a cityscape at night. This track comes in strong with a powerful beat that repeats itself, once again slowly changing overtime to maintain itself, and before you know it you’re engulfed in the song’s musical peak and suddenly the glory of flying above the city ends. This track has its similarities with Belinda and Stadium. You’ve probably noticed by now this album’s theme, style, and the formula with how the tracks are mixed together, and how they transition.

  1. 🙁 feat. Police Academy 6

You’re stuck in a thought loop, you see the same people pass you by on the orange-tinted, sunlit street. You try to move ahead, your walking motion is fluid and unbroken, but the street, the view, the trees, the people, all keep jumping back to their original positions. You notice the beach in the distance, free from this repetition. People moving as they normally would, the waves as chaotic and unpredictable as they should be, and the sun setting fast. You slowly begin to make a little progress, but it’s about two steps forward, four steps back for you. You’re almost at the beach, the thought loop and the repetition gradually fading away. The sun fully sets, and with the drop of the song, the sky lights up to a blinding white and you’re no longer near the beach, you’re in the middle of a tropical forest where you’re free to move, and the sun is brighter than ever, casting god rays through the trees. You experience a lag in your vision and movement as if the jungle around you were slowly rendering. This track is my personal favorite from the album. The familiar steady beat formula with a slow change in instruments and the addition of strange chopped and screwed voice samples creates an ethereal and blissful feeling of heavenly hypnagogic sensations. This track is the most far removed tone and vibe from the rest of the album, but still maintains its similarities in structure with everything else and is a perfect addition to the set.

  1. The New Super Information Highway

After escaping the surreal tropical forest, all there is, is desert. Around you, an ancient Roman colosseum rises from underneath the sand. There is nothing but this colosseum, but voices swirl around your head, bouncing off the walls of the structure. Emptiness is all you can feel. Slowly the world gets darker, and darker until there is no light.

  1. Dior Nights (Outro)

You gradually awaken, your eyes bleary and tired. You discover that you are still in the stadium, this time it is completely abandoned. Who knows how long you’ve been there. The repeating echoes of the unidentifiable voice encompass your ears, just like in the dream, emptiness is all you really feel in the end. After all the excitement, action, and life you had experienced in the past 40 minutes, you can’t bring yourself to feel any sort of emotion. Just as you are empty and your mind is abandoned once you’re no longer dreaming, you and the stadium has been abandoned by everyone and everything that used to exist there. This final track truly feels like an outro. It almost sounds like a mix of the plunderphonic, bass boosted craziness that half of this album is made of, while simultaneously holding elements of the surreal, chill, and ambient vibes of the other half. These two emotions cancel out, and it leaves you with only memories, nothing else.

Conclusion

This album is my personal favorite Vaporwave album of all time, and it makes me feel so many different things. It’s something I can feel and do anything with. I can get pumped to it, dream to it, love to it, reminisce to it, etc. It gives me that classic and strange Vaporwave “unknown emotion” and faux nostalgia effect that most early Vaporwave is associated with. The general formula seems to be what I’d say is half chopped and screwed songs that get you pumped, and half surreal and hypnagogic songs that chill you out and make you dream. The transitions between tracks also has structure. It tends to move from slow and relaxing, to upbeat and powerful in a single second. You can tell by the choppy, screwed samples what era of Vaporwave this was bred in, and I would consider it an essential listen considering how unique it is. It’s Vaporwave, but it’s something else too… Stadium-wave? Basketball-wave? Jordann-wave? Call it what you want, the feelings will always be unique regardless of tags and genres. My statement on Bandcamp is, “This album is a completely different genre on its own… I can’t explain how it makes me feel. It’s so luxurious and ethereal, it is stronger than love.” And stronger than love it is. It truly does transcend my comprehension the kind of places this dreamy album can take me. I hope one day I can get my hands on a cassette of this, but considering how old the release is, as well as its rarity, it’ll probably stay a dream at this point. The cassette version has one bonus track, which you can find on YouTube, but I decided not to cover that one since most people will probably hear the digital release anyway. I encourage you to explore it yourself without my input though.

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