Fridays mean one thing here at Celadon Plaza: Review Day. As stated in my introduction post, I'll be taking the time to review, in depth, sold out Vaporwave Physicals to provide you with the information you need to decide if they are worth the potentially insane resale prices.
Today we explore the vinyl pressing of the iconic 2012 Vaportrap LP, "Blank Banshee 0".
Whether or not it is true "Vaporwave'' or if Banshee decided to tag the album with the word on Bandcamp to drum up hype is up for debate, but "Blank Banshee 0's" impact on other artist to recreate that "Vaportrap" sound is unmatched. The album was a different sound for the emerging genre in late 2012, featuring computer sound effect samples and trap inspired instrumentals. The height of popularity, of course, came in 2016 when YouTube user Lucien Hughes published S U N D A Y S C H O O L featuring Banshee’s “Teen Pregnancy” off of the album, creating the “Simpsonwave” trend that may have resurrected Vaporwave’s popularity…
But that’s not a discussion for today. Onto the Vinyl.
"Blank Banshee 0" was released by Hologram Bay on April 18, 2018 at an unknown,
limited edition on blue vinyl. The pressing has commanded outrageous resale prices on Discogs as past sales show the latest copy sold at an absurd $249 dollars.
The question has to be asked: Is it worth it?
Based on my copy on the album, I would call the pressing quality “very good.” There’s a bit of surface noise during the first tracks on each side, but other than that, it’s almost dead quiet. The record is nice and heavy and looks gorgeous. The dark blue wax and purplish label compliment the iconic album artwork very well. My copy arrived flat as a pancake with no warps or defects.
The only gripe I have is the choice to add pauses in between the tracks. The digital version of BB0 flows smoothly song to song without pauses in between, and the pauses here on the vinyl do tend to take you out of the moment and lessen the experience. We’ve seen this before with classics such as the Late Night Delight vinyl from My Pet Flamingo. It isn’t enough to prevent me from spinning the record, but it’s definitely annoying.
Content wise, the music is iconic for a reason. Banshee pioneered the Vaportrap sound with this album and, in my opinion, it still stands as his best work. His following album, “Blank Banshee 1”, is more of 0’s style with some better production, and following entries “Mega” and “Gaia” reach further and experiment more with Banshee’s technique. But, none to me bring the same level of enjoyment as BB0. Tracks like “B:/ Startup,” “Dreamcast,” “Purity Boys” and of course, “Teen Pregnancy” just take me to another world in ways that other Vaportrap can’t. Banshee’s work on 0 is celebrated for good reason; it was a new sound emerging from a young genre, and one that went on to undoubtedly inspire the likes of Vaperror, Nxxxxxs and more artists infatuated with the choice to incorporate trap elements with Vaporwave’s sample techniques. I don’t love every song (not the biggest fan of “Bathsalts” and “Deep Space”) but the ones I do love, I really love.
Given the fact that the vinyl was around $30 retail when it dropped, I would say it currently is not worth buying from a resale market. However, I must note, this is a stellar pressing. Everything about it, outside of some small surface noise, is fantastic. Holding the iconic album cover in my hands is truly something special. So, with that said, whether or not this is worth it to you may depend on your attachment to it. This album is truly an iconic and historic piece of Vaporwave’s short history, and it doesn’t seem like it will be repressed (outside of some small restocks), so if the opportunity presents itself, maybe it would be worth it for some collectors to grab it for under $200.
Blank Banshee 0's recent sales history on Discogs
Bottom line, if you’re a hardcore collector who needs to have the icons of the genre on wax, look for a copy at the best price you can. I’d say given the sales history, anything under $150 would be feasible and anything under $100 would be fantastic.
But, if you’re a casual fan who just wants to own the album physically, I’d steer away from the vinyl. If you must, the cassette has sold for around $50 recently, so that may be an option.
With BB0, we definitely approach a line for physical vaporwave. It’s one of the most expensive physicals on the resale market for a reason, which is a shame for new collectors who want a copy in their collection. It’s a good lesson, if anything, for both fans and labels. Fans: Do everything you possibly can to get a release at drop, because you may never get another chance again. Labels: Repress your products. Obviously there can be external factors that prevent this, but the demand is surely there and the product would easily sell out another run of 500 copies in a matter of minutes. If I’m Hologram Bay, I’m doing everything I can to repress this and all of Blank Banshee’s catalogue. Unless of course this is a case of creating scarcity to drive up the value of their product, which wouldn’t be the first time it happened. Not all labels can be as wonderful as 100PercentElectronica…
But, as for "Blank Banshee 0", that will wrap up the review. I’ll be rating 1-10 in three categories for a total score out of 30 and giving an opinion on buying it secondhand with a maximum price I would pay.
Pressing/Sound Quality: 7.5
Aesthetical Pleasure (Album and Vinyl/Cassette Art): 8
Album Content (Music): 8.5
TOTAL RATING: 24/30.
SUGGESTION FOR BUYING SECONDHAND: Avoid unless necessary. High resale prices and no repress in sight.
SUGGESTED PURCHASE CEILING: $145
Until next time, hope to see you around the Plaza!