What a year it has been to be a fan of physical media and Vaporwave! As we look back on out first year of existence, there's so many great releases that we at Celadon Plaza had the pleasure of talking about. It's hard to narrow it down, but for the sake of highlighting the ones that went above and beyond our expectations, that is exactly what we will do!
Before we begin, I (Andrew, the owner) wanted to take a quick moment to talk about the site. If you're not interested, scroll down and check out our list still!
Celadon Plaza was created this year with the goal of providing two main things: A running archive of Vaporwave vinyl and cassettes and a place to give greater recognition to talented artists and labels throughout the scene who keep our genre alive on physical formats. These two would work together to create the ultimate central location for lovers of physical Vaporwave!
Celadon Plaza was created out of my deep love for this genre and for the preservation of physical media. It was to be a passion project that I worked on in between the busy parts of my life to not only wind down, but to give back to a community that has given me so much over the many years. I silently have been a member of the Vaporwave scene since my early teen years. I decided this year that I wanted to do more. To do something that, at least in some small way, could help others enjoy the hobby of collecting their favorite music and in return, help the artists and labels producing them at the same time.
Keeping up the site has been no small task since we launched in March. I have worked very hard behind the scenes to keep the Physical Archive as up to date as possible with all releases (so I hope it has been useful!) You probably have noticed that not all of our content releases perfectly on time and some weeks do not have a Physical Update. Unfortunately, I am human, and my life had to take precedent at various times throughout this year, hence the gap weeks and abandonment of projects like Top Physicals of the Month, Reviews, and Vapor Vinyl Spotlights. I hope you can forgive me for this. Many of these types of posts will be returning in 2022, while not as frequent. So please look forward to more unique posts along with the Weekly Updates!
I want to thank everyone who reads and interacts with the site on all our platforms. Your words of encouragement and thanks have meant a lot to me. Celadon Plaza has slowly become exactly what I wanted, a place to give back to the community, artists and labels who I have respected for years.
Labels and artists in the Vaporwave scene: This site will always be for you, to highlight and spread the word about the important job you all do of preserving our favorite genre physically.
If all goes as planned, 2022 will be a transformative year for Celadon Plaza. Exciting things are coming that will push Celadon Plaza beyond the virtual realm!
Alright, let's get into the list now. Here are Celadon Plaza's Best Vaporwave Physicals of 2021 (in no particular order)!
Vįr+üål Åįrßñß & h º r ¡ z º n щ ¡ r e l e s s
Label: Liminal Garden
Release Date: November 11
Liminal Garden blew us away in 2021. The label champions the belief that "beautiful music deserves a beautiful representation in the tangible realm," and we couldn't agree more. Time and time again, Liminal Garden provided us with stunning, high quality, limited edition cassettes that lived up to their mission statement.
'PARADISEပေါ်တယ်PORTAL' showcases the talents of Vįr+üål Åįrßñß & h º r ¡ z º n щ ¡ r e l e s s as they bring us a journey through a beachside mall. LG preserved this beautiful album on extra-long C120 cassettes with clear shells and hologram foil stickers. Not to mention, each package contained a personal, handwritten note from the label owner, really driving home the feeling that the people making these tapes truly love the music as much as we do. We were honored to be one of the lucky 10 to snag a copy, and if you are one of the other 9, you are the only others who truly understand how special this release is.
Featured Song: ✻ ✼ ✽ L0vįng❧Y0u ✻ ✼ ✽
Label: Business Casual
Release Date: April 2
Chocked full of delicious Future Funk, Pop Up's 'Flavored' and its irresistible, groovy loops and masterful chops was in sore need of a physical reissue. Business Casual, who gave us its original tape run back in 2016, delivered in April with Pop Up's first ever vinyl release. The true holy grail of the Pop Up catalog, 'Flavored' being pressed caused unprecedented excitement here at Celadon Plaza. The 140g vinyl got the treatment on hot pink wax that imitates the delectable beverage pictured on the jacket. It's an album that we throw on and could loop endlessly. Each track has a unique personality and choosing a favorite is next to impossible.
Business Casual is one of the most consistent labels in the scene, going strong since 2013. Their dedication to quality in both music selection and physical production is highlighted in this product.
Featured Song: Hot!
Aloe Island Adventures
Aloe Island Posse
Label: Tiger Blood Tapes
Format: Vinyl, Cassette
Release Date: April 16
In one of the biggest surprises of the year, longtime Future Funk fans rejoiced at the reissuing of an Aloe Island Posse album. The artist hadn't had a physical release of one of their full albums since 2017 (not counting their Anthology collection via My Pet Flamingo in 2018) and prices of their tapes skyrocketed on the second hand market.
Enter Tiger Blood Tapes, who at this point are well known for resurrecting old, beloved Vaporwave albums on physical formats. The label reissued the classic 'Aloe Island Adventures' on both 100 tapes and gave it its first vinyl pressing on 200 "Strawberry Lemonade" records. Aloe Island Posse's contributions to early Future Funk were huge, and it was a highlight of our year to finally see one of their best albums make its way to wax.
Featured Song: Live From Outerspace
슈퍼마켓Yes! We’re Open
Label: Geometric Lullaby
Release Date: April 2
The sound of fans' pleas for 식료품groceries' first album to be pressed to vinyl echoed around Vaporwave forums and servers for years up until this April. The obvious choice for the label to do so always seemed to be Geometric Lullaby, given their affinity for pressing high quality products of some of Mallsoft's true classics.
This became a reality in 2021, when Geometric Lullaby pressed not one, not two, but all THREE of 식료품groceries' albums, doing so in the perfect way. All three (슈퍼마켓Yes! We’re Open, HOUSEWARES, & 인터넷 쇼핑 (Ascension)) were released as open pre orders to ensure everyone who wanted one could get a copy. Geo Lul has a habit of going above and beyond to make sure the physical representations of its albums is truly special, and '슈퍼마켓Yes! We’re Open' exudes this energy. The 180g bronze vinyl is housed in a 350gsm jacket and poly-lined sleeves with a incredibly detailed wrap around obi strip. We also can't forget the sweet SmartShoper Rewards Card included with each order, making each purchaser a Loyalty Member at the supermarket in which 식료품groceries' music endlessly plays.
Geometric Lullaby didn't have to do any of this. This album could have been thrown together cheaply and quickly and still sold hundreds of copies. But they made it truly exceptional, and for that, we praise them.
Featured Song: Aisle 9 (Palm Leaves, Breezes, and Sunset Gradients)
Updated Floral Experience
Label: Aloe City Records
Release Date: June 4
When you hear of a Floral Shoppe tribute album, your immediate thought is probably that it isn't very good or was created to be a meme. That's not the case with 'Updated Floral Experience.' Vapor Insider (who goes by MACマイナス here) provides a well produced and executed homage to the iconic Vektroid album released 10 years ago. Each song incorporates the same sampling and production techniques used on the original album to give it the feel of being a true sequel to the legendary Floral Shoppe.
Aloe City Records originally released the album on cassette in 2020 after a certain label that will not be named scammed fans out of their tapes upon its original release. Aloe City did a fantastic job providing those who were scammed with new copies, a high-class move. After a teaser in 2020, 2021 saw the album finally be pressed on deep purple and an absolutely breathtaking purple/black/white splatter Fan Club variant. The vinyl pressing even contains additional bonus tracks not on the digital release, and they are worth the price alone.
Aloe City Records gave Vaporwave fans a lot to be excited about this year, but their pressing of UFE takes the cake.
Featured Song: 現代文化の死にゆく魂の新しい見方
Label: Neoncity Records
Format: Vinyl, Cassette
Release Date: May 7
Barbwalters has quietly produced some of the most unique Future Funk of the past four years, and 'Innocent' is no exception. The eight tracks feature heavy French House inspiration while still maintaining that Future Funk feel everyone knows and loves. The creativity with the samples goes far beyond what is normally expected of the genre, with tracks like 'Emotions' and 'Reverie' standing out.
Neoncity Records treated Barb's fans in May with a vinyl pressing of the album, featuring new artwork, and a reissue of the cassette including a holographic print of the alternate cover art that can be interchanged with the j-card. We picked up the cassette and were very pleased with the quality, both in appearance and sound. Barb's albums have been hit after hit and we cannot wait to see what they have in store for 2022!
Featured Song: Emotions
ダウンタンブルと死にます ep (tape edition)
haircuts for men
Release Date: July 9
Haircuts for men treated fans of his smooth and exquisite lounge-type beats with a number of physical releases in 2021, but the surprise return of the original tape copies of his 'ダウンタンブルと死にます' EP was hands down the highlight of his drops.
HFM's ダウンタンブルと死にます ep originally released on Bedlam Tapes digitally back in 2016 and was given a tape release in 2017. However, a good number of the copies were dubbed incorrectly, and featured the Side B tracks on both sides of the cassette.
HFM reissued the EP on both standard and limited edition cassette in March of 2021, but surprised everyone in July with the news that he had a few remaining original Bedlam copies as well. These versions of the original run were dubbed correctly, and were being released by the artist in a new, VHS style case rather than the normal plastic ones the other editions came in. This was quite the treat for longtime haircuts for men fans, giving one of his undisputed best works a proper, deluxe physical. The case even featured a purposefully cheap price tag, giving the album the feel that you found it at a bargain bin in a thrift store. The green and yellow corner on the album art is also featured as a separate layer of paper, making it stand out.
Haircuts for men fans had much to be thankful for in 2021, but the masterfully crafted selection of sampled-tracks coupled with the superb presentation of this EP make it the crowning jewel of his 2021 physicals. The artist understands the love for his music on the cassette format and continues to respond accordingly with making his music available physically.
Featured Song: 呪われた思い出
Label: Oasis LTD
Format: GBA Cartridge
Release Date: August 6
Do you want to know how influential Oasis LTD's releases were in 2021? Celadon Plaza was founded strictly to archive and report on the vinyl and cassette formats. However, Oasis LTD took Vaporwave physicals to a whole new level in 2021, so much so that we began to archive a brand new format for releases, one that so far is exclusive to them!
You can bet that we didn't expect to be experiencing Vaporwave physically through a Gameboy Advance this year, yet here we are. Oasis LTD put out a number of albums on the GBA Cartridge format in 2021, and we had the pleasure of picking up two of them. Of all the releases, seeing 'Spaceship Earth' come to this format was the most exciting. A true staple in the genre, its original release dates all the way back to 2013 via Business Casual. The feelings that Whitewoods' album invokes truly match the visual representation it was given through this GBA Cart.
How much further will the boundaries of physical Vaporwave be pushed? No matter the answer, it's safe to assume Oasis LTD will be one of the labels contributing to the push.
Featured Song: Beach Walk
The Lost Barber Bundle
Macroblank, Oblique Occasions, Monodrone
Label: Apollo Lounge
Release Date: May 7
Included albums: 肉と魂 ep, 色あせた現実 (Faded Reality), 圧倒的な魅力, Ruined Opportunity
Barber beats exploded in popularity over the past year, in no small part to these artists. Macroblank, Oblique Occasions and Monodrone have contributed countless beats that have kept us listening all year, and various labels have issued physicals of them as well. However, we decided to spotlight Apollo Lounge and their 'Lost Barber Bundle' in this post.
After unfortunate circumstance led to these four albums having their original tape releases canceled, Apollo Lounge stepped in and announced the lost bundle in May. What makes this even more commendable was the price the label sold the albums at; an insane $28 shipped to the US! Working out to $7 a tape, Apollo Lounge made a classy move to help those who originally wanted these albums before their runs were canceled on a previous label. The tapes all look and sound brilliant and feature some of the best works from all four artist, with 圧倒的な魅力 by Oblique Occasions being a personal favorite of ours.
Thank you to Apollo for making sure these albums saw the light of day on the cassette format!
The Halcyon Days
Painkiller Project (不安、痛み)
Label: Underwater Computing
Release Date: April 9
Underwater Computing made this choice incredibly difficult. The label had countless tape runs this past year that blew us away with their presentation and quality, but ultimately, we decided to go with DΛRKNΣSS' 'Painkiller Project (不安、痛み).'
Atmospheric and vaporous come to mind during a listen of this album. DΛRKNΣSS delivers the catchy beats they are known for but in a way that feels distressed. It's not upbeat or happy, but not completely sad either. The album conveys to us a feeling of uncertainty, and in our opinion, tries to tell a story in a way other albums in the subgenre do not attempt.
And that's completely ok! Barber beats don't need to tell a story; their existence as easy listening and smooth lounge beats is perfect. But, the decision to try and convey something more through an album in this subgenre is bold, and DΛRKNΣSS does an exceptional job at this.
Painkiller Project is truly one of the best in the artist's catalog and was a phenomenal choice to be issued on tape by Underwater Computing. The on-body printing in particular is superbly crafted and a joy to observe. Out hats are off to another label who truly excels at preserving our genre physically in some of the most beautiful ways possible.
Featured Song: Paranoia
That concludes our Best Vaporwave Physical of 2021 special post! We sincerely want to thank each and every artist and label who released Vaporwave physically in 2021. You all provide a valuable service that helps our genre not only survive, but grow. There were thousands of Vaporwave physical items released in 2021, and making a list of only 10 took immense time and effort to craft given the high bar that has been set.
This list is not the only 10 that were worthy of purchase last year. Believe us when we say we could have made a list pages long talking about something we love from each of the 100+ physicals we bought in 2021.
As always, remember to subscribe to our Mail List to receive all the weekly and emergency physical updates and check our complete Release Archive to stay up to date on all the various releases happening around the Vaporwave scene. Be on the lookout for more unique posts of this type as well!
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Thank you for reading and until next time, hope to see you around the plaza!